FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 35
 
 

THE JOHNNIE SQUIZZERCROW EXPERIMENT - A BEAUTY PAGEANT FOR THE MORALLY UGLY

I have just done a JSE review - did you like it?  What did you think?  Or more to the point - did you even fuckin' read it?  I try, that is all I can do and here is another EP from the same stable, with the same politics and the same stretching vibrations.  I like 4 track releases, they are easier to zone in on and seem to keep the band fresher and with more options, plus it is a great way to keep the releases coming and make sure all are enthused.

The first of the four here goes under the name of 'Nothing To See Hear', a statement of the obvious telling us that what we see and hear may be not the truth - get way with ya, and here's me believing it all (add sarcasm).  Nothing new comes my way verbally but the music is a fine blessing with a  languid approach that slowly pupates and ultimately develops into a slow flapping flutterby of pseudo-reggae drifting. From those initial tones of exotic lands through the barely tiptoed landscapes bare of needless ornamentation to the brass blessed transmissions and switched out musical cogitations this is tepid gentleness with a point to take note of.  An execution well granted by a band in their own comfort zone.  

'Dictator' is a pertinent song in today's on-line world of political advisers and social commentators.  You know the ones, those who like to come across as holier than thou and who are self-appointed commanders of a hidden script scrawled by God-like hands.  A guitar flicker bends, a bass pootles with weight and the drums splash and bounce beneath the tranquil she-tones with a resolute belief built on nothing less than cultured gentleness.  We have a mockery of the mass manipulation that many claim to have avoided but in reality are grasped quite firmly by and who are duly kept under the cosh.  The only freedom you can hope for is your mental freedom but to believe you are mentally liberated is the ultimate state the controller's want - it sounds a paradox, but it isn't, think on.  This is a nice trickle of harvested escapism and the band play the texturised angle just right.  For me the song is outdone though by the gem that is 'Pink Knickers', an anti-fascist/right wing stab in the eye of the halfwits who bowl their balls of bullshit judgement and try to take down our wickets of decency with waywardly aimed arguments of idiocy.  The jaunty lift blended with the spite make this a sweet and sour combo to jig along to whilst taking pride in your anti-prejudice stance.  Dance, play louder with each spin...fuck the haters.

We close this 4 track tickle-tease with 'Hide 17', a loose funk-o-delic shuffle hustle that blends trifling components of that which has passed and filters through a meshwork of the most commercialising arrangement thus far.  Again only the barest application is donated by each component but what we get is a fairly complete sound that has a smooth, finalised liquidity that will not cause offence or irritate nervous souls. It is played mightily well and although I grade this as the limp nob in a pack of god trembling members it will meet the needs of the many. Tis just lacking a little colour for me, but there ya go, each to his, or her, own.

And again JSE prove their adeptness and ability to compose a darn good toon.  Thinking, thoughtful and thoroughly convincing this lot make a nice change from many cacophonic kerfuffles that come my way. 

   

DOWNTOWN BOYS - SELF-TITLED

I like noise with animation and if that activated racket dances on the cusp of nonsense but somehow manages to keep within the realms of rhythm it can make for a very exciting escapade.  Downtown Boys from Providence are a crew that dabble with danger and as per, sometimes create crude crapulence, sometimes shit with stinking success.  The excitement is blatant though and here, on a re-release, they expose their raving arses and let the sonica squirt out without thought of making an error - tis sometimes the only way to do it.  I strip naked, don a pair of extra thin latex gloves and plunge into the rectum that produces the rhythm and, after much huffing and puffing, come out with a review as thus.

'Callate' is wonderfully ramshackle mayhem screeched out with much ado about many things and has a certain gushing fervour that many long-term and stagnant bands are severely lacking in.  This is a perilous number built on nothing more than zeal, desire and over-popping hormones.  Crank the volume up high and smash your head against the wall over and over again.  The cruel and clatter-twatter approach is intriguing and I expect things to develop further and to bathe my slap-dash loving soul in waters of wicked extremes.  My expectations are met with the fuckin' deliciously exciting foam over slapped out under the banner of 'Slumlord Sal'.  This is a beauty, a number that scrambles beneath the skin like a horde of acoustic ants on whizz and scurries over the senses bringing something akin to a chaos-induced orgasm.  From the creamy brass tones that fracture and cling on to the rushing seizure that pleases my inner core where the whirling and twirling DIY elements await bombardments of noise that are not overly processed and maintain a danger that we must hold onto – this is high impact joy.  The song has guts exposed, it holds nothing back and that throat-shredding front roar is a blessing.  All components buzz my gonads, I never complain when I get that sensation. Hot damn mother knit me some more undies!

'Corra' begins with souped down bassism before vulgarly bubbling, she-bitching and untidily shit flinging this way and that way with little thought of orthodox routine.  The band have a seething intensity and are not afraid to cause hurt via the airwaves and leave you...wondering.  The spasms of brass, the sporadic oral explosions and the speedy time all copulate to win favour - oh aye.  'Work' closes, slops out and slings itself on your lap in a somewhat lazy style.  The ad hoc and slipping methodology that begins the flow is not the best style adopted so far but with patience a certain attraction is borne.  The band are keeping things on the leash here but they are still holding plenty of threat with the wired up banshee at the front spitting to good effect.  I am unsure of this one though as the controlled and the crazed make for strange bedfellows that leave me...a trifle confounded.  This may be no bad end result and it certainly creates room for further thought.

So there you have it, a 4 track dabbling for a band based on emotion and free-wheeling flamboyance.  I am mightily impressed by that second track and, if the truth be known, the CD as a whole.  A band of this ilk are obviously going to create sounds that grate, explosions that really miss the mark but when they get it right, for me at least, they really vibrate the sensors.

   

SUGAR PILL - OUT OF THE GATE

Sugar Pill come under the Fungal spotlight via Rich A Train, a I dude I have done a bit for over the years and who continues to plough out good old punk vibrations via his bands and his label.  This is his latest offering via a 4 piece from Austin, Texas and comes on the embryonic label BVI Records.  Only 3 tracks to taste so I dip in, dip out, re-splash and then scrawl.

'Monsters' has wire strains I am familiar with and also has a slant that is typical of the string manipulator at the helm.  The sobered and accepting vocal method though adds a chilled angle to a song that is very tightly structured and follows a blinkered, straight ahead approach that only strays to indulge in the odd wire wank.  No excess of flamboyance is had and I know some who will say this is a trifle too flat-lined for its own good and has a template that could be plastered with further horrified adornments.  I am among that crowd, I suggest this one gets retreated and is souped up with spook aspects and the she-wailer has her screams enhanced, thus creating a treat to savour.  It isn’t bad, but it isn’t an overwhelming  wonder either.

'Aodh' is a better track, very unsettled and with an underlying threat that promises to erupt at any time.  The opening verse sets out its stall and tells you that the safety option is not to be taken.  The grinding fascination, the slapped drums and the vocals that finally growl and grab are a joy to behold.  I like the strength exuded by our resident banshee, I like the rock and roll basics that are brandished throughout this episode of noise and when the volume is cranked I get more melodically wanked - it is quite a feeling.

We close the three track teaser with 'Out Of The Gate', a thrashing instantly hungry number that alternates speed and chant styles and keeps things fairly simple but mightily effective with fuck-rushed wordage liable to reinforce one's spine and prepare them for the eternal battle that we all need to keep on top of.  The thoughtful to the frantic, the composed to the crashing-  this is a double ended dildo of discordance that, if you are acceptant enough and not riding any high and mighty horse, will shaft yer rear with good vibration - at this stage it will do for me.

3 tracks, 1 I am not keen on 2 I very much like.  There is a good platform on which to build here and I anticipate an upswing on their next release which I hope is another three-way tickler - it keeps me hungry and on the ball.

   

THE CRAVATS - DUSTBIN OF SOUND

Angles, tangents and awkward acoustic facets are things I always appreciate and, even if I find them most discomforting, I feel there is a greater long-lasting effect than something that I merely consider OK.  When offensive attributes copulate to construct a sound that challenges and, in an underhand and cultured way, entertain, then one could suggest a recipe for success is had.  How the cacophonic cooks use this recipe and the way in which the ingredients are manipulated is a make or break process - something The Cravats do not shy away from.  These producers of abstract dishes have an eye for certain complimentary tones and paradoxically pleasing noise clashes and, on this latest release, we see many flavours thrown our way with challenging abandon.  The band first tossed pancakes of irritation in 1977 and now, with a pending tour, the frying pan of contradiction is brandished again and I textually throw one off the wrist and claim it to be something akin to a review - this is what I have splashed forth.

'King Of Walking Away' is multi-layered fragmentary fuckology that moves with lightly brass-rubbed affect before self-inducing a schizoid attack of the vapours that come in shape-shifting uncertainty.  Within the kooky peculiarity comes a sound-fix of outré fascination that compels the luggite to pay closer and closer attention.  Abstract punk splashed onto a carved up canvas with nothing less than provocation being the order of the day.  This singular segment of sonic testing is a decent opener and par for a crazy course of unpredictable hazards. From the tentative, to the regular and onto the experimental and eventually to that which is something with circus-esque tomfoolery - all the while the band make a point but one is unsure as how to take it - a tangent too many have completely fallen free from.  'Batterhouse' is a cruel bastard that flies in under red light radars and drops discordant bouncing bombs of clobbering intent that sends spiteful shrapnel, this way, that way, piss way, twat way.  The opening siren whinge and the initial doodlebug downpour spits excitement and throws us into a chaos of uncertainty as the band add further violence to the assault.  The vocal style is naturally unhinged and reacts to the cacophonic catalyst which is looking for nothing less than...aggravation.  It gets it, right in the shitter and this electrically charged upheaval does what it sets out to do and that is, to disturb.

'Motorcycle Man' tunes in and begins with almost a trace of something akin to the orthodox - how dare they!  A soupçon of brassed spices are sprinkled with care whilst the fidgeting chug of the acoustic engine forces itself down the rhythmic roadway.  We sneak off into digressing byways of finger-poked curiosity but all the while a certain direction is clung to and some semblance of sanity is had.  Still we have the hard worked and very quirked essence but I reckon I am on top of this one and happy to just sit tight and enjoy the ride.  Dramatic levels rise further next with a bass rumbling grim grind known as '100 Percent'.  A filthy foam-up that bubbles with a wonderful swamped stench I am utterly attracted by and willing to wallow in.  The vocal emittances are riled, almost alligator-ish in their shifty way and the horned up inclusions add an extravagance to the melee that is theatrical and very magnetising.  The Cravats have a style not to be underestimated or thrown to one side because your patience is limited.  Indulge, ponder and...hopefully musically prosper.

I skip on, angled and awkward as you could wish for.  'Blurred' is equally maladroit with an uneven approach that throws us uphill, downhill, against many throbbing walls and in an end dustbin of kicked-to-fuck confusion.  There is a gauche application that vexes the attentive cranium and serves up a situation of clashing discombobulation.  I stick with it, am eventually won over and nail this as 'thinking man's' music that must be cradled, replayed and pondered.  With some TLC the sonic soil gives rise to tonal tendrils that choke out applause of the most convincing kind.  A warped song for sure, a success nonetheless.

Briskness comes, 4 ready roasted nuts are ploughed through.  'Powerlines' pulses, telegrams forth before a riff is received.  A mid-paced side-wind cum sub-grind jerks off with a certain noodle-nobbed nonchalance that is surely soon destined to fracture.  The crack comes in one hard-throated roar whilst the machine judders and buggers in one gruelling mess.  There is no denying the advancement though and I enjoy this arse-bruising trip.  The rise of the brass is par for the course and incessantly captivating.  'Jingo Bells' begins with a lost soul striving to be heard in a quagmire of toxic tonality hoping to raise a frisson of excitement within the eavesdropper’s hearts.  The cries are eventually drowned; a meaty fist of pummelling sound punches holes in the substrate whilst disharmony and head-clatter-fuck vibes arise.  The soil at ones feet breaks apart via the emitted quake - the danger felt is par for a very crooked course.  'Bury The Wild' is a repeat beat bastard that nags with disease ridden desire borne from I know not where - 'e causa ignota'.  From the throbs comes radiated release with a blossom of soaring delight likened best to a respite from suffering when the head hits happy zeniths duly exaggerated by relief.  This is a fuckin' good rousing song that slaps together many sensation and man when those horns blow so does mine.  'Bigband' is keen to corrupt, silks in, bass bumbles and then destroys any suggestion of things tamed coming your way.  Flesh is flayed, the band are flagellating with ardour (filthy bastards) and end up somersaulting into a melting pot of bubbling psychotic mayhem that at times tub twats, wire whines and seizures.  It is a crazy mix but out of it comes life supreme, a feeling that all cobwebs have been cleared, all stress has been eased - that is one of the fine aspects of this noise, very good for the soul methinks.

The stretch homeward is upon us, 4 outbursts to tackle and 'Whooping Sirens' promises more of what has transpired thus far.  Testing pressures come from curious hands looking to stretch limitations further still.  A schizophrenia still persists, an uncertainty of mind that creates an uncertainty of direction, something some will embrace, some will be repulsed by (the latter lot are the silly cunts).  From the thoughtful to the sub-gung-ho, from the mockingly sane, to the vulgarly unhinged, The Cravats create a deliberately contradictory melting pot of sound one can never fully grasp - this is a modus operandi not to be undervalued.  'Hang Them' is a nippy ditty that wriggles along like a caterpillar up your back passage.  Add to this a pseudo-Edgar Wallace rhythm and you have more than one mystery to fathom.  A song from the meddling hands of a mad scientist and with a uncomfortable patternation that somehow works for all the wrong reasons.  Within the Pollockonian splatter something regulated and organised is had - concentrate hard now, do not miss the thread.

The last 2, 'Big Red Car' is running on an off-centre track, I am a mere passenger being tossed about...and off I reckon.  The pulse is stop/start chuggery with the inner pistons purposely misfiring and creating a situation in which the exhaust can be blown and we can be duly choked.  Crackpot chassis shaking stuff, that upholds the strained set.  We clash into the final brick wall with the snippet known as 'All U Bish Dumpers'.  Flutter brass arises from substrates of confusion, we are given lyrical nonsense of almost 'Lear-ish' leanings.  Whispered and ambiguous, I find this a subdued shut down and I know not what the fuck is going on and why the hell it is occurring.  The band keep you reeling with discombobulation until the very last, you can never question their awkwardness.  Not my favourite song but I would be a rotten sod to nail it as 'rubbish' after such an interesting acoustic journey.

That is that, a treat of angular aggravation and done with an eye for artistry and an ear for experimental trespassing.  The Cravats have something different for you here, a bastard-punk parade of multifarious melody that will, if you so allow, keep thee guessing, re-assessing and wanking with wonder – watch yer foreskin folks!

   

NUDIST - BURY MY INNOCENCE

I am sticking my assessing pecker into varied external orifices yet again and this time taking a tumble on the tuned in, torn to fuck mattress of tonality with the band Nudist.  This release is a treacle-ised 5 track tester.  The band, via Facefuck, slag themselves down as Post Metal/Sludge/Noise/Psychedelic/Doom - a mix to turn the bowels of the more commercialised to stinking liquid.  I have swallowed many eggs of binding before tackling this in the hope of inducing balanced shittery so that the end review is more accurate - it ain't gonna be easy.

'Strengthless' rises with slow anguish, claws through barriers of seeming cloying pain with bloodied hands.  It is a slow and draining commencement and when the scorched vocals come even they are caught in the barbs of suffering.  This is benumbing noise that is nothing more than a pollutant to my varied dish of listening matter.  I strain hard, I clutch at straws, I jack up the focus and wind forth the magnifying lens.  I am struggling here and am nailing this as a depressing puke up of slow, turgid, meandering murk that is very much in need of a pace injection (preferably right up the arse).   'Bury My Innocence' is a chopping mush of defeated discordance that accepts a state of play and wallows in it.  There is a disharmony within the strain, a constipation of noise and an ill-fitting overcoat of worm-eaten wretchedness.  You have to be in some mood to listen to this and the spoon you use to feed it into your gaping may will have to be well oiled.  The band have talent, the talent though gets battered underneath the persistent dragging flow that takes too many turns for its own good - what about some regular riffage chaps just to alternate the attack?  I remain outside the stinking circle.

The self-examination and fake proclamation at the masses comes via the fumed fuckery slapped down under the banner of 'Bloody Waters'.  Initial murk is steadily poured before sharp infecting barbs are thrown in and the surface simmer of vocal annoyance adds the seething accents we have been beaten with so far.  The song progresses without any thought of change and hits a wanked down patch of sticking trouble that hinders the flow in no uncertain terms.  I am swimming as best as I can here and looking to salvage something I find to my liking.  The final wind-down here is destined to aggravate those on the cusp, I am one of those, I flee with my assessing tail singed.  'Dead Leaves' and 'Drift' close this crushing EP in the way expected.  All areas are slamming and head-melting but the former song is my fave and has a moment of bass and blast copulation that closes the song and leaves me wanting to play one more time.  Pace is injected, the band finalised the movement with the most impressive flourish and I am eagerly replaying and digging the moment of respite cum success.  The final song comes like toxic fumes beneath ones door.  It is a warning that outside a blaze is happening, it won't be long before your protective doorway is ash and you are to be burned...alive.  An ominous bass throb, a tympanic scuttle and then the tribal tongues of hating flames devour.  It is as you were, the band are unremitting in their stance and play a tight, compact and hard hitting game right up until the very death.

No, not my thing at all, too drawn out for me and I always prefer my heavy duty noise to be quick, to the point and done in double quick time.  If you are looking for something dark, damaging and mightily destructive this may be your thing, the band know the groove they want to be in and I am sure there will be no distracting them from that - and why should there be?  It would be interesting to see them nail a few zipped up quickies though - nudge, nudge!

   

VILLY RAZE - IGNITE

Villy Raze was, and still is, a member of that tight spiked unit known as The Dead Class.  I have seen the band a few times, they do just fine and this plucker fucker is a decent frontman.   Since I last saw the Liverpool crew the lead lad has been dabbling and here we have his latest produce.  I plunge inwards and as per, all I can do is offer a sonic suggestion as to the ingredients and give my honest viewpoint, the rest dear peruser, is up to you!

2 tracks and the first of these is entitled 'Ignite (Franny Asprin Extended Mix)', a weak wanked weaving song that hails from tranced dance-floors and mixing rooms where those who like things processed can get off and do their noxious thing.  This creamed mix is all very synthetic and although my tastes are eclectic and quite-embracing there are one or two sonic spectrums though that really shrivel the genitals.  Jazz is one, the electro-ponsed piffle borne from diluted 80's sub-dreams is the other - I put this in the latter bin.  Look I can't like everything and I won't hide behind a mask of falsehood just to try and look like some all-knowing overlord of acoustica who has deep insight into every musical nuance.  This grates on the gonads, is too wishy-washy to strike a chord and travels on for far too long.  I bail and move on to track two.

The second track is called 'Ignite (Franny Asprin Mix)', what we get is more of the same, I grind my gears and pull off the stick with frustration and try and force myself onwards.  Again, like a Bird's Angel Delight, this is too fluffed up, lacks any substance for this punked soul and leaves a nasty aftertaste I need to swill away with something more...real.  I hate being so negative and despite the attention to detail, the wonderful change in style for the artiste and, if I may say so, faultless application and in-scene adherence I can't get my choppers around the shaft of sonica and suck out anything that is appealing and worthy of more time, sorry bro.

I am done, I tried.  No doubt to some I have failed, to some I have hit the nail on the head, to myself...cripes what a trial.

 

THE COWBOY - SELF-TITLED

3 gringos kick their acoustic mules to fuckery whilst twanging and clanging out a roughshod rock and roll effluence only the true investors in the mire will get.  This trio of troublesome tuned-twats spring from the orifice of Cleveland and create a corrosive accent not to be undervalued.  This sandpapered, raw-boned, spit and sawdust shittery is a commodity revelled in by many dirt-dive dwellers and I am joining in the fray and seeing what acoustic bruises I gain, it is all part of the encompassing perversion.  

I tear my pants down, get ready to be fucked over and am met with the instant delight known as 'Everyday We Grow', a superb groovy number with a great vocal accompaniment that really appeals to my low-down dog dirty soul that has a penchant for playing things with a wonderfully roughed but reality soaked edge.  This a treat built on minimalism with accents aplenty and one that is so easy to get in the groove with.  Feel that rock and roll rhythm man, the sub-(fuckwit)-standard but mightily effective production - and enjoy.  'The Cowboy' is a chaotic title track that soils itself with naturalised and off-the-ragged-cuff noise making filth the grub-connoisseurs will roll in.  It has all the ingredients of an embryonic outburst from a band still finding its feet but rises above such a foundation due to its cute know-how and subtle suggestion of focus.  Hesitation opens, a test grumble is taken before the pour down of clutter-fuck-it, piss-bucket noise comes and showers our heads with a corruption to either protect yourself from or get soaked by - can you guess which option I'll be taking?

'Golden Man' and 'My Champion' may have both walked from the previous shower, they have a similar feel but with a strict shout and clout characterisation that keeps the songs on a certain straight and narrow.  The first is a basic battering ram of vocal discord that repeat slams against your sonic skin whilst the second drills with a raw directness using a sonic screwdriver of gouging spite.  Both efforts are wonderfully stripped and unscientific and stick to the most primitive principles of racket making.  Nice.

'Sneaking Leaker' spirals and twists after a plodded start.  The manic relish served up amid the clatter-twatter tunery is delightful and that lo-fi sub-60's film noir detective vibration appeals no end to my untidy ass.  You can't beat a bit of loose-wristed, fuck-fisted DIY noise when played with a certain naturalness.  This song moves through the motions with abandonment but has a control not to be underestimated.  Right up my acoustic avenue this stuff - a cracker.  Next and 'The Door' is left ajar, we peek through and hear a din rattled forth with punk recklessness and rock and roll fervour borne from artistes refusing to professionalise matters.  This one is sharp, bloodied by bass riffs and delivered like a bomb through your letterbox - boom and all is up in the smoke of memory.  

'Peaceful Dreamer' is a scurrying fucker with a robust honesty and stark scrapyard appeal that borders on something patched up from many clanking parts.  This again is back to the intrinsically basic bread bowl of din making and the band kneed with ardour and kick up plumes of clogging dust to splutter on.

'Smaller Rider' segues in, brandishes a sharpened stick of toxic nastiness and brings forth an almost jammed up jerk off to get saturated by.  It is a very splashed abstraction of mis-fitting restlessness that comes, vibrates and halts in a most abrupt fashion.  One thing is apparent here, this Cowboy ain't willing to prolong the shoot-outs.  Come, get shot down, suffer.  'The Burner' is a dirty dish of colliding condiments that leaves the tastebuds...molested.  These tracks are being coughed up with ease, like the phlegm from a bronchially blasted vagabond who has spent too much time on the roll-ups and not enough on the meths.  It is a rough expulsion, it fits right in to the outcasted acoustica on offer thus far - I am not complaining.

3 left you gits.  'The River' flows over an uneven bed of hindering rocks but will not be denied.  The extended musical intro leads to a doped out vocal entrance that is soon whipped into a frenzied waterfall of slamming sounds all the while destined to be dashed on the boulders of the end silence.  You know what is coming, you either run away or accept the rhythmic bumming...however painful it may be.  As a DIY pervert my arse cheeks are spread - call the head doctor.  'Beyond The Yard' is a nagging mush of dirty mind-affecting sewerage that flows in a cruddy fashion and carries all sorts of floating detritus best left undescribed.   A rotten drift that stinks of sonic meanness - here I find a complaint, I think the band could have done so much more and really riffed up with violence, prodded the membrane of a new musical mire and over-elaborated matters and let themselves go.  Never mind, I move into the last with hopes still high.

'On The Farm' is the last blast, no rush lads, plug in, wire up and clatter.  The remnants of decency that are left are given one final kicking by a ramshackle construction that is best played at maximum volume so as to aid the pogoing madness.  It is a rust bucket of dissolving dinnage, we have had it all the way so why change things at the last - fuck off.

The band here have a style, a way of doing things that will appeal to the calloused cacophoneers with attention spans of glue-sniffing dogs.  It is worthy of time and attention, it may give a buzz longer than the aforementioned solvent and, for those who like things short and sour - this will do the job.  Next time though I demand the band throw in new flavours - gotta push tha' knows.

   

THE MIGHTY BOSSMAGS

From Anti-Pop Records comes The Mighty Bossmags, a crew who confound the senses with a warped and weird masturbation of sound that humps from many angles and keeps one on the edge of the quite moistened seat.  The band hail from Warrington and being from such a place you only have 2 options - stop in, self-abuse and talk about the weather or...make merry melodic mischief - thankfully the latter course of action has been taken here.  I am a mere victim thrown into the cauldron and left to stew.  I clamber free and spit out an assessment, hang in and see if you agree or disagree, all I can do is my honest and well-intentioned bit.

The introduction is titled 'Intro' (fuckin' hell these free thinking buggers) and is a cool brew of B-movie circus horror, with a whispering imp tempting our tuned hearts and requesting we step into a nightmarish freakshow of melodic waywardness.  I am easily won over, I step forth with the skeletal fingers of excitement playing merry dancing Hell up my upright spine.  The first cabinet of cacophonic curiosity to sail my way is the topsy-turvy oddment known as 'Ghost Ship'.  A heaving journey full of accurately accented slants and with a good robust rumminess that creates an engaging musical presence that delightfully emanates a sub-insouciance borne from souls wrecked but ready to rock on.  It is a fine mischievous meander with skanky hunger, florid oral vibrations and a subtle chill factor that defies any cloying fug.  I abandon ship and jump forth and peer at the delightfully tagged specimen known as 'Withered Hand'.  A truly gruesome monster mash of involved and submerged devilry that sees the band run themselves ragged in a haunted house of vision-soaked pandemonium where events unfold and the madness found soon takes over and dictates a little too heavily upon the direction of the discordance.  The sonic spells cast by each contributing component clash and explode and leave us in a mist that ends up lacking focus. Each and every turning reveals a new chill and thrill but I find myself a trifle lost in the over embellished mix - I nail a note on the backdoor of this outburst - things could have been so much more!

The next splodge of sonic shittery to drip from the walls of the halls is the instantaneous snagfest known as 'Gazebo Anthrax'. This number, I am sure, will have a short shelf life and no sooner has it infected the tastebuds with its multifarious flavours than it has gone to pot and developed a crust of fungal illness that will leave one indifferent.  It is the case with many quick ball grabbing outbursts although there will be times when a reflective jig is needed and the delight rekindled.  We must concentrate on the here and now and this is an uplifting quick fix built on a sing-a-long sensationalism that really nips the nipples of attention and perks them up no end.  I play very loud, I jig and swig and end up nutting my pet Budgie - it may give you some insight into the joy this one injects into the easily led framework - oh the wonder!  'White Limousine' is the next exhibit to cast ones peepers upon, a disturb sub-psycho-billy oddball, swirling and twirling with hypno-aural deviancy that eventually takes the song to echelons of pseudo-madness and necessary respite.  A mental breakdown or a deliberate ploy, you decide but it isn't long before we are back on board and taking the last revolution to silence, lovely.  Rumble drums are keyed up and a jaunt comes under the flag 'Poison Tree'.  The mix is majestic and jester-fied with an impish underscore that keeps one far from comfortable - this is a crucial ingredient.  The vocals are neatly rasped but remain lucid, the theatrics are at work yet again and the inner pseudo-barn shindig is reinvigorating, the need-riddled rundown wonderfully desperate.  A tidy tune for sure!

'Too Much' is eagerly at it from the start and displays an efficient hunger that takes us into a surprisingly radiant skankoid snippet to get those dancing juices flowing.  Hit the dance floor brothers and sisters, here we have a clashing peach that will keep all eclectic and manically electric eavesdroppers...plugged in.  Deliciously played with a salivated edge one gets truly encouraged by.  I hear a suggestion of a band called 'Imbalance' in the mix, I really do need to get out more. 'A&E' is a more balanced affair but again the band nail it home with a scooting session of sonic smoothness that is never once taken off its own tuneful track and, although moments of mania invade, this is a very zested mix and a formula that the band are using to their utmost benefit.

3 wrist flick wank offs (or rapid reviews if you so please) - 'Waste Of Time' is a pulse pusher that grabs the gonads of the rock and roll carcass and re-injects with animation and much needed sonic spunkery - dirty bastards.  Again I feel a sub-terror tonality and this all adds to the longevity of the CD as a whole, not just this song.  Bass hypno reggae worming comes next via the tidy streetwise fuck that is 'Rise And Fall'.  The opening switch down casualness is peppered with pointed vocals and a certain astringency of tone that is only soothed via a chorus of grandiose accents.  This segment raises the bar and alters the strain of the drift.  In fact this song never settles and moves from here, to there, around the corner and up your jacksie with a mix and match approach that will keep you eternally guessing - the question is though, are things overdone or is this a moment to ponder all the finer facets of the band under the spotlight?  Come on ya buggers make a decision!  The final song of the quickly examined three is 'Ghost House'.  This one is a journey of fun-fair creepiness with a clawing and gnawing repetition that grates to the marrow.  The waltzing jerkiness and the over-cooked echo style make this the weakest wank in the pack of pulls and I am not keen at all.  Tis a shame as it could have been so much more, the lads have missed a trick methinks.

2 left, only one blip so far (in my cruddy opinion) and the penultimate song comes and hits me full in the mush.  'Johnny The Claw' jazz cymbals in before harsh wire slashes come.  A grisly episode of gnashing choppers this with a stalking presence never far away along with a mentally disabled feeling that suggests one is being prepared...for the kill.  We are still in the crooked cabinet, we are still entertained.  We slam the door shut on this mix of melodies with 'Banana'. This rousing shindig is designed to give the soul, the brain and...oh those private areas...one last reason to throb and tingle and bounce to the joyous vibrology.  The opening holler, the persuasive chilled tonality, the whipped up passion and the gushing zest that shows this discordant dog still has its lipstick out and raring to go is all there for we, the mere perverted listeners, to admire and get off on.  This finish is needed, a fizzing and glowing full stop to a strong CD and one that I take good note of.

The Mighty Bossmags have an uplifting freshness and are an animated band that will undoubtedly get the crowds moving and a grooving.  There is a good spirit here and if ever you need to shake out some cobwebs or a touch of the blues - well, why not try this?  All I can do is scribble and nudge, the rest is up to you.

   

HOOLIGAN - TEENAGE REBEL

Hooligan are back and after making a fine impression on me last time out this time they are changing the style and offering up a more mixed bag of tonality.  The release is on Reekus Records, has a new rhythm section on board and offers up 4 tunes to ultimately spin, digest and feedback upon.  I play and replay again and again and eventually plough out a review that goes like this.

'Teenage Rebel' is a cover of that old teenage troubled classic by The Outcasts.  The original was a textured rock and roll affair that relied on delicacies rather than what we could term as vulgarities.  Here the same formula is used, the crew do not shy away and this is a straight-forward imitation with the players applying themselves with attention to paying a full homage to a song that is well and truly lodged in many memory banks.  The irked, hormone hassled angle of the ditty rekindles memories of a youth lost and from the dulcet bass tones, through the fresh observant vocals and the crisp underscore of scurfy guitar this is a winning number all the way and is played here with a lucid and old-time earthiness that, in this day and age, is perhaps given too little attention.  Straight from the street corner where the pissed off strugglers dwelt, from a time of yore that was less plastic and less hygienic, what a stunner. 

'Generation On Fire' begins on subdued and compacted tones before slowly moving through highly orchestrated motions that are rinsed through with post-punk confidence and a general feeling of a band who are highly articulate and having a 100% belief system.  The mix is clichéd in many parts and several moments are highly recognisable to the punk pervert who has spent too much time listening to this branded outpouring.  This is a cultured song and in keeping with the youthful rebellion and inner disgruntlement of those formative years where dreams and anguish went hand in hand and a need to kick back was never far away.  Come on you young buggers, have it!

Solitary strums in a wilderness of silence come, are soon escorted by an almost pleading voice before all areas are rallied and operating.  'Calling Joe Strummer' is a cultured song reliant on a desperate angle that needs some sort of hope to cling to, some reality injected back into a life with a void.  Another saluting song this one, an effort that doesn't appeal to my anti-hero/up the zero stance but a construction that is played with intriguing articulation and an adherence to certain simplistic and delicate designs.  This is another example of a band still wandering down many avenues of acoustica.  This is no bad thing but the questions arise - will they ever settle or have they done so already?  Either way the band do know how to make a tune.  We close with 'Gang War', a more assertive song with tympanics and wired mechanics all blinkered and bounding towards each verse and chorus chunk in strict unity.  This is perhaps the most bog standard composite of the quartet with a glaringly obvious punk streak that will appeal to many manky pinger.  It has a good clean bite, a hard-boiled edge and a down-to-earth drive that makes sure all areas are direct and in tandem - all I suggest is you add a bit of juice in the speakers and away ya go.

Well another one down and hopefully more to come from this highly capable, efficient and ever toe-dipping band.  Where will they splash out a sound next, what style will it be, how will the punters take it?  Here is my take on the here and now, my recommendations are for all old schoolers to dabble.  I think this is where it will find greatest praise but, you know me, I think everyone should try everything and try and put something back into the melting pot too - onwards.

   

THE ROUTES - DIRTY NEEDLES AND PINS

The Routes are a Japan-based jazzy band man, they pull you in with that retro fuzzery borne in garaged vaults were sub-surf spills, passion effervesces and a certain stomping and grinding gyroscopic spellbind of sonic excitement overflows.  I have dealt with this trio of tunesters before, last time I was  split down the middle and niggled by the similarity between the vibrations, I am asking for more this time around - come on chaps, let the flavours be many.

'You'll See' is a sprightly number with a good corrugated edge and much clattering and sizzling action going on within the almost ramshackle weavings.  The fervour and fruitiness of the hypogeal offering germinates and rises and sends out many clasping vines to not be discouraged by.  The song is animated, zapped up with much electrified vivacity and if your dancing shoes are ready to hit the floor and do their thing then this is the tune to waggle your hips to.  Not a bad start and chased along by 'Ego A Go Go', a funky hop-frogging rock and roll bazaar of many free flavours for us to cast our lugs over.  A veritable 1950's hot-dog strut of sonic swagger that bubbles with a life and a Chuck Berry-esque quirkiness that keeps the tail feathers frazzled and the legs dancing.  The band combine this old-school aspect with a garaged earthiness and a clear and spunk-laden sac of sound you may be happy to get impregnated by - I know I am.  We move into slightly darker realms next with 'I Ain't Convinced', an exploring blend of mysterious tonality that has suspicion etched in every strum every tap, every utterance.  Again we have a repeat hook that continues and is only given true respite through the more fluent chorus episodes that unravel themselves within the textured weave.  The Routes are of a distinct strain, the strain is pure, monochrome and effective, here we have a real slinky dink extract of their magnetic sound.  In darkened alleys a doorway glows, from here there is a sound going down, one must enter.  As the cold and dank night is left behind the warm radiance and heavy acoustics hit the head - tis The Routes on stage, let’s get down and dance baby!

'Somebody's Child' is suggestion of a swirling psychedelic movement rinsed through with lo-fi experience and fizzled over with tremulation-tastic touches of the most 'sub-scene' style.  This is one to digest over many a lamp-lit spin, in a room where illuminations are subdued, a reefer is ready and a heavy tipple is invested in. Sit back, get leathered, take in the spillage.  The vocals are snotty and cocky, almost spat out in a paradoxical charismatic way that has a certain chemistry to get addicted to - pass me another needle of noise, I'm gonna shoot up the sounds ma'an. 'Dysphoria' has a lovely drift of rusted irritation that appeals to my stressed and overstretched side.  I fall into many webs of clogging pressure, the state indicated in the title is well recognised and as I move and groove to this corrosively blended mix I feel a certain therapy taking place.  The band adopt a lick and stride forth with it and make this a simplistic listening experience with...an edge.  That dirty, unhygienic slant is an acoustic powder to be snorted, I am reaching zeniths.  Crank-angled keys combine and copulate next as the sneaky, under-the-carpet earthworm of sound known as 'All I Find' inches towards to attentive trouser leg.  As matters travel, a tickle is created, consciousness is aroused and we feel an itch.  We squirm, the squirm becomes a dance, it is a slow and spasmodic display but we are infected nonetheless.  A fine molten brew of ambient sensations come, my only grouse is that events outstay their welcome (or am I being picky).  'My Hardened Skin' isn't a genital-based jaunt of one for scleroderma sufferers to get too excited by.  It is one for the long-term pachyderms who, after many years of hassle, are now immune and proud to wear their hefty epidermal layer.  This throbbing song takes its time, has 'whoa hoa'd' assistance and moves with a hard strategy that sticks to a definite path with no trespass taken.  It has many good aspects and liberated touches that imbue life into a frisky but restrained framework.  It is one of those growers, stick with it and make sure the almost inconspicuous shift from the regimented to the released is noted.

Finally we hit the last, are met with pulsed reverb echoes, a languid skin crawl comes, a prolonged sprawl of wire work that is smeared.  The gobbage of ‘No Return’ gets involved in the laboured approach, I find myself clambering to stay in the zone.   A treacle-drenched trudge that feels like glutinous snot hanging from my aching snout, a substance that dangles, delays, distracts.  I try and wipe it clear, I attempt to discover some liquidity - I fail.  Light sparks from within the morass - it is too subdued, I bail before I get ground down by the gloop.

8 tracks, a couple of blips I find personally annoying but many aspects I find most rewarding and easy to get acquainted with.  The Routes are a sub-genre group of a distinct essence - are you inhaling the fragrance or snorting with revulsion, there is only one way to find out!

   
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