FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 38
 
 

BONES PARK RIDER - THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD

Named after a 70's skateboard wheel the band here are far from young and this shows in their very educated and highly considered outpouring that, is wonderfully difficult to categorise.  There is a blend and old and new, a streak of conscientious pondering and a mix that shows all units have been pre-planned and baked with precision.  The band hail from Sheffield, the question is, is this CD a bag of old scrap iron or is it the real steel and cuts to the bone?  One thing is for sure, you will get nowt but honesty from me, and allegedly done in the worst possible taste (but what do they know).

Firstly I cut my teeth on the song known as 'Guilty Pleasures', the first acoustical card in the pack, illustrated by The Tower, a sign that despite what we think, we have no control in life whatsoever.  The lyrical content is vision-inducing ambiguity and weaves around a central pole of sound that is cultured, well thought out and...dramatic.  There is a slow-simmer intensity that sees a panoramic theatre unfold before our eyes with the only blemish that there is no initial claw, reaching out of the scenic sound to clutch at our throats and infect the framework with a genuine hook.  I overlook this personal niggle though and move on with positivity high into track 2, 'Superhuman'.  A pleading track that desires strength and a helping hand to step away from the shadows.  A strong start sees the wire-based weavers drive with intention, the drums slap around with consummate naturalness and the vocal deliverer posts forth a distinct tonsil style that rises, glides and has a certain...chill.  The band are operating with a fluent and adept artistry and maintaining texturised sensations that need time, patience and consideration to appreciate what is on show here, and elsewhere.  Crepuscular nuances, abandoned sinkholes of emotion, flowing turmoil yearning for an upswing - enjoy!

'Died Pretty' is a premeditated occurrence that slowly ascends on tenderly treated cables and a rigid drum beat interspersed with deliberate flick ripples.  The climb to the accomplished presence of the rhythm proper is liquid, the disrobing of the oral delivery is considerate and what we get is a finger poke at those who make heroes, and duly end up embarrassing zeroes.  The idols are surrounded by parasites, expire young and all for what?  The robust application of all areas is in keeping with the thematics set and again we have a structure that remains upright and just has that something extra without becoming doused in pomposity.  'Nothing Left To Talk About' screwdrives, knuckles down, maintains a steady pace and makes sure all pistons in the engine are working as a unit and pushing out noxious plumes from the acoustic exhaust with equal effort.  The tune is well oiled, has good levels of irritation and is a provoked number that is reacting to far flung crap that works into the substrate of the carcass like a malevolent worm intent on causing internal destruction.  A gauntlet is thrown down, battle lines are drawn, the charge is tally-ho'ed and we have the greatest abandonment of arms - what we get is another accomplished song that grows with time.

The only flaw so far is that all songs are of one strain and although of a lofted standard there are no peaks and troughs to accentuate each individual segment - the cloth is all of one pattern and I have reservations creeping in as regards a certain awkward ennui sneaking in - I hold my globes and hope not.

'When Good Men Do Nothing' is ideally timed and alters the pace with subtlety and offers up a chance to assess what the hell is going on and how good this band actually are.  The start of this song is subdued, making way for low misted 'whoa hoa's' that take us, with an arm around the shoulder, into the pre-meditated and questioning construct proper.  The unearthing of depravity, the peeling back of stark layers and the exposure of spineless selfish shittery all become clear in a slowly molten swirl of effective deliberateness.  The sub-operatic pronouncements and assured effects of the controlling parties is all part of the majestic donation I am more than happy to admire - a memorable moment if ever there was one.  'Table For One' is a concrete follow-up, exuding a strong arm tactic and power through each and every section of the song.  Strums and slaps come in abundance between short moments of respite before each onslaught against another crime of ambition that sees all parties...suffer.  An authority pervades the output, the band dictate the tempo and raise the bar high with perhaps the most controlled but well-crafted song of the lot.  The band are punching their weight here, it is very gratifying to aurally witness.

Into the last 4, I grab as one wholesome chunk and go for the finishing line like a dog off the leash.  'Laika' flows in with lofted sanguinity and when dissected proves to have a fully functioning set of internal acoustic organs that are responsible for the healthy life of noise radiated.  Again we have nothing too garish or vulgarly imposing but just a reliable portrait painted with assured insight.  Sometimes I ask for little else.  'Favourite Funeral Suit' is a languid move, a slow creeper that, at the time of writing, hasn't choked out any great gushing emotion from this over saturated sonic assessor.  This doesn't mean the song is the duff duck on the pond of rhythmic ripples but it is one that isn't snagging my favour.  A trifle insipid, a donation that never really leaves its seat of comfort - but of course, these are personal thoughts and shouldn't detract from the bands artistry and full-on control.  The next song deals with an inner desire to get away, gives insight into the social arena that exposes those that have been allowed to slip into obscurity through no fault of their own.  Inner demons drive the desperate into crevices unknown - it is all our failing.  The scaffolding of the song is cast iron as per, the rigidity of all compartmenst not to be denied.  At this stage though I am asking for a variation in the vibe, an angle to put a fat cat amongst the rank and file pigeons - is it too much to ask?  This one slips into the pack and, like the title, may go 'Missing'.  We finish on a high, a real rock and roll wallow in the sinful sonica that the Devil uses as an hypnotic device for all to be corrupted by.  The band 'fuck it all' and expose the throbbing balls of noised up desire whilst rattling out some cock-rock lust via the magnetic shift of 'Won't Go To Heaven'.  A veritable last blast blow out, all hands to the pumps, a parade of what makes the bastards tick and how much they love it - surely you have gotta join the fray!

So all done, 10 tracks knocked out and all as solid as a fuckin' rock.  A minor irritation is that there is little variation in theme but perhaps the thread dictates this niggle and it is a case of do what is necessary at the time of writing.  I would have liked to have seen some undulations in the flow, a few tight corners turned and one or two moments of 'outside the box' meandering - maybe next time hey chaps?  Overall though this is a sinewy, hard fought CD with good thinking behind the delivery - there is much potential here, watch the BPR webwaves.

   

HOLLYWOOD SINNERS - KHOME KAKKA

Another Dirty Water Records release, this time from a 3-piece who reside in Toledo, Spain. They have put their arses in gear and done a couple of tours, played a few festivals and released a bit of sonic product along the way.  I am going in a HS virgin here and hope that my sin-rate is kept at a minimum and my todger of tonality is not injured in the process - tis a shit life reviewing!

'Me De Igual' is a lovely jangling jerk off that couldn't give a fuck and has a paradoxical controlled sloppiness that shits through the speakers and gives us a reason to get up and jack off.  The oxidised output is gloriously cheap and nasty but holds true with a certain snazziness in the swing and a pseudo-sleaze just leaking through the upper membrane of the melody.  There is plenty of chomp in the delivery, a good voracity shown for the task at hand - I judge this as not a bad start at all. 'Ultimo Cartucho' is a snappy fuck that strictly strums and growls with that bumble-fumble bass beat an adhesive factor that keeps all players in check and pulsing with fine rhythm. The song has good texture, is brandished before our lugs with bold and brazen authority.  I jump up and fidget fling to the fluctuations ferried my way - it is a frisky feeling I get, I am 52, I grasp it for all I am worth - it be a rare thing these days!

'Rama Lama Drama' is a comfortable drift of hopeful gentleness that sees the music sway and worm its way into your soul and kindle a flame of waltzing thermality.  The clash and splash adds extra spark and the blaze of interest stoked in the soul grows with each spin before we are eventually...toasted.  'Abuelo del Skate' hops onto the wheels and clinks and clanks in a chopping motion during the first acute-edged verse.  A rush of blood comes, a fleeting berm is traversed with all areas smoking, we slip by and go back into the slice and dice section that introduced us.  I travel with the tunery, I rise and fall and enjoy the enthusiastic ride.  The band switch out and have a gob off mid-song, they state their case and race to the finale with quite assured care.  'Chunk Of Steel' pulls the throttle hard, chokes out a superb runaway routine that embraces the many fine aspects of this untamed, urgent group of brandishing bandits.  This song erupts with zest, driving piquancy and a rattling conviction that drives home rivets of slamming firmness and contributes to a construction of bold, moving motions that, no matter how stable it seems to be, always has a touch of slap-dash, recklessness that appeals no end to this Fungalised fuck with a penchant for all things on the cusp.  'Asuspi' is a more chilled and more blatantly melodic tune with all friable and brittle glitter glimpses of the cables working in such a structured way as to give the reviewer an easy time of matters.  We have a more stable serenade to grasp, the band have a salient absorption in their work, this helps with all conviction levels of those merely eavesdropping and looking for new sonic thrills.  I am not complaining!

'Era Axial' is perhaps the most sub-phosphorescent song of the lot and stays as a cool glow throughout with all thermal qualities slightly kept beneath a quelling blanket of gargaged production that this time, smothers the success levels.  It is a short song and perhaps that adds salvation to the end verdict but despite this, and the potential scintillation, I am nailing this as the weakest runt in the litter.  'Lo Tuyo Lo Peor' goes back to the chopping board, goes through easy motions that sees the band avoid an over-stretch and stick to the raw basics that they do so ruddy well.  This is a safety first song I feel, one that stays within the remit of the albums aims and the bands ethos - it ain't bad and needs just that little extra time to appreciate the full goodness.  There is a sound energy here - do not miss out.  'Fiesta Nuclear' is a cleanly cut tune that skips along on a set motif during austere verse moments before swinging into a swift chorus cut.  The inner blow out that sees the band indulge themselves in some musical showcasing is taken well and is far from over done.  Again you would be hard pushed to find any chinks in the armour!

Last two 'Sacaba Beach' takes over the reins and moves in with dark intent before shit-kicking its tunery all over your mug.  A horror aspect is flung forth, an unsettling back holler to the crepuscular carry on is had and as we plunge deeper into the sable textures a storm is kicked up, a solo sent to bewitch us and a terror holler takes us to the final strum - a decent switch if you ask me.  The closure is called 'I Want You', a marvellous Beatle-ised number that trips along on honest, squeaky clean tones that I find quite irresistible.  A real throw back number, a song that pisses on the punk procedure in some ways but let us be honest, isn't that a good thing?  The band apply themselves here, appear to have been plucked from the top of the 60's pop tuned tree and play out a quite chilled and liberated song any self-respecting lover of rock and roll should be proud to gush over - I know I am!

That is that, a fine CD with one or two moments to spurt steam over.  I like this one a lot, I have played it many, many times, I am enthused.  Dirty Water Records come up trumps now and again (well, quite fuckin' often really) - this is such a moment!

   

PUSSYCAT & THE DIRTY JOHNSONS - AIN'T NO PUSSY

Seen the band, done a CD review not got and ain't going to get a T-shirt.  Why, I have too many that's why, no offense to the band - well, unless they want it that way.  The band play a grubby kind of rock and roll, they stay with certain boundaries, have a minimalistic effect operating within the mix and make sure plenty of sludge drips from the speakers along, of course, with the noise. I go in unshaken, not stirred and as cool as a cucumber rammed up a penguins chuff – this is what I come up with!

'Ain't No Pussy' growls in, picks up its tail and sinks its claws into your attentive matter.  A regular song built on she-bitch ruggedness that starts in routine style and leaves me underwhelmed but, towards the latter throes the concoction kicks in and spits out more determination.  A ramshackle delight emanates from a sublime shoddiness that only finds true life via the repeat-beat chorus.  No, at this initial juncture I remain frosted and unconvinced despite uncovering a couple of elements many may gush over - good luck to em'.  I expect a spiteful sting in the tail to put me right via the chase-up number entitled 'The Wasp'.  It doesn't come, this is a real dire moment and falls flat like an insect drunk on nectar, overdosed on too many trips to the pollen bar and thus staggering away with a sketchy kind of control.  The wings of rhythm are stuttering, the opening moments are too uncomfortable and when the song does whip up with some hymenopteran attitude I find it all a little too late and have already ran for cover - ooh I am being a git today - but a honest git at that!

'Pain' is more like it, a creation that snatches at a good hook-line, lets it dig deep within the constructors flesh and cause necessary agony from which these pluckers and fuckers can rise and deliver a song with heartfelt intent.  It drills into the consciousness, the repetition of the scathing sonica this time works and pleases the most basic of my instincts - just what I needed, ooh aye!  'Surrender My Heart' goes back to a slower more deliberate style and thoughts are had as to whether or not these sultry, slinking numbers are designed for the 'live' performance rather than a CD delivery.  This one seems ideal for the lead lass to go prowling around the crowd (as she does) and tease and tonally torment the feline-fucked onlookers.  I can see where the band are coming from and recognise this as perhaps a 'live' serenade to raise a few fanatics goose-bumps - alas I am not a fanatic and remain chilled - fuck it!

'Pretty Good For A Girl' is a cacophonic racket that is confused, wired up wrong, clattering and, at first...annoying.  It kicks up a defiant stink and waves a flag for the lasses clawing against the grain but the splatter of sound is akin to whipped up jizz-jazz and only when crawling hard through a chorus of swanking assuredness does the song bring any resonating relief to this irritable assessor.  I play over and over, I am still in the side of negativity come the end of the spinning session but I feel less barbed - maybe time is all I need  'Suneal' is a rock and roll song and blatantly rips off the lunatic fringe ravings of Little Richard.  This is no bad thing, in fact the song may not outstrip the suggested comparison but it has a good swing in its ass, is fruited up with good gumption and uses a hook-line to sink the most obdurate acoustic eavesdropper.  The accent of the song is crummy, scurfy and under-processed but with the she-hollerer at the front we have a recipe that works in the most basic kind of way - just get up and boogie man!

3 quick jabs into the mush of assessing accuracy with 'Sylvia', a grinding machine that sweats bloodied oil and churns out its own guts with increasing fervour.  The rusted cogs, brisk drum pattern and cave-woman screams all give this uncomplicated song 'life' and if you are not seeking out anything too profound or overly-technical then this may be for you.  'Usurpentine'  chugs, punctuates and moves with a robotic machine-like awkwardness that is akin to a demon-possessed marionette running on clockwork commands and aching to be free of the controlling master.  This one has a deep-rooted fascination and when a certain liberation comes the lead lass shines and adds a glossy layer on one of the best tracks of the lot.  'One Of The Boys' is heavily forced home, is a triumph of the Tomboy and kicks-back against all the girly-girl goings on and hollers for the lasses who just wanna be part of the he-pack.  The song has, appropriately enough, bollocks and punches with gusto and much notable relish.  The song also winds itself up towards one final rapture - not bad and maintaining the cruddy aspect. 

'Foreign Body' is the last but one number and  is a squalid shit heap of sound that tries hard to rise from the refuse tip of rhythm but somehow remains bogged down and ultimately stinking.  This flea-bitten number spends too much time scratching its own arse rather than kicking the debris this way and that and making for one penultimate bout of merry- Hell.  For some though, it may be just the ticket!  And to the closure, 'Midnight Motor' is a dirty sex tease that hip thrusts, head humps, wire pumps - all with a head down perspiration that has a cold squirming stomach knot finally unravelling itself into an instrumental rust fuck that banishes demons of desire and goes for the body of the song...with ardour.  We drift out as we drifted in - with promises unfulfilled, with listening loins still burning - is this the way it should be?

I bow out of this one not as thrilled as on previous occasions and still in the limbo of whether or not I actually like this band.  When I have witnessed them 'live' they always seem to hold the crowd and bring much pleasure - maybe I am just a grumpy git or perhaps too honest for the common good!  Hey ho, a verdict was requested, a verdict has been given - a below average CD for me!

   

RAINBOW RESERVOIR - CHANNEL HANNA

Rainbow Reservoir come from Oxford.

Rainbow Reservoir play fuzzed out power pop.

I chose 'City Bike/Factor of 10' for Song of the Month back in July 2016.

I like Rainbow Reservoir.

This is a review.

Encrusted, flaking corruption comes as the Queen stays dead and gets buried alive beneath the opening tones of 'Brenda'.  This anti-inequality tickle comes on welcoming tones and sees the band travel from the cloggy muckheap of royal obedience on to fresh pastures of questioning acuteness passed our way on pleasurable pop tones.  The band are immediately plying their trade with nuances and characteristics recognised and...expected.  This is an appetising opener, one I play to buggery and truly indulge in.  Title track next 'Channel Hanna' a quirky curio of oddness that wriggles through the silence, tweaks many nobs of underscoring noise and synthetically progresses with a perky essence that has something fruity and unsnapped, void of crackle but with plenty of pop.  The angle of the offering is projecting itself inward from a post-punk compartment with a distinct strain of new wave virulence that appeals to the eclectic nature I am sure we all possess - sometimes it just needs a bit of encouragement to rear its head. I like this one, for me a banner of success is easily flaunted. 

'Podium Girls' is a song touched by a certain acceptance that is both sad, distant and only slightly sugared. This is an ideal combination for a band seemingly in a very creative groove and hitting a sincere zenith in the most naive teened and just weened kind of way.  It is a dainty kind of delivery with a fresh pleasantness radiating on the softest of thermals and grooming my spiked soul into something akin to submission.  I think the perception of effortless application is what wins the day and as long as my receptive sensors are dealt such undemanding serenades I shall not complain.  'Man 'O' War' is a waltzing wonder, a summer-kissed porch lullaby that cradles our attention and really does set to work on all of our weak spots.  It is the lilt of that lead vocalist combined with the dew kissed catkins that sway in a welcome waft of quite sincere simplicity that win me over.  The diamond twinkle touches glint with the purest acoustic light and no matter how hard I try to look away...I cant. I have no need to be embarrassed or apologise - I just like decent music!

'Forest Fire' is a rumpled fuzz up of moving melody full of warm-shouldered meaning that falls under the spell of love and throws caution to the wind.  The aroused emotion loses all common sense and rather than avoid a scorching it is quite happy to be burnt to buggery - such is the poison contained in Cupid's arrow.  This is a routine song with typical rhythms’ and sectioned placements but this does not detract from the delicious treat we are served up - the rise to the final capitulation is a mere bonus.   'Rainbows Don't End' is a tender kiss on the forehead of perception and brings to the cradle of sound a new found comfort of escapism that is unblemished, virginal and crystal clear as to the intent.  No matter what the day, the year, the entire existence brings - there seems to be hope - I like that feeling!  Playing at 'pretend'  can be a beautiful thing and not just for the nippers!

'Fuzzy' is a joy, a fluffy toy of emotional bias, soft-soaped into a stance of loved-up lunacy that overspills into a wacky fruit-burst of citrus appeal that sets the senses reeling.  The juiciness of the piece comes from the fact that every facet is sugar-coated, shining with tinsel-twinkled triumph and is absorbed in its own fun-creating frolics.  This could be deemed a mistake but the crew hold it together and offer up another tasty lollipop for us to taste - yummy.  'Drunk Maria' is spunky, concerns a frisky lass who likes a bevvie or two and who disturbs many around her without giving two hoots.  The clashy sub-garaged drudginess of the machined music is lightened by the usual Miss Squeaky Clean throat donations and is, all the better for it.  I am coasting here, just enjoying the buoyancy of the songs, can you blame me?

I skip on, 'Creepy Kissing Gold Star Girl' is scarred memory musical relief that crawls on sickly knees away from a vision that has certainly left its mark.  The cranial sights summoned up are soon banished by a home-cooked mental derangement that deals with a girl who swings the unexpected way and comes across a puritanical lass placed on a pedestal.  An odd trinket this one, I stand up and plonk my arse on the sofa of uncertainty.  I stay sat in the same spot during the next song, a slow water droplet of pain slowly sliding down the window of your perception and leaving one, quite appropriately 'Blue' and slightly 'crabby'.  Yes, 'Blue Crab' is as it says on the tin and places its slow-deliberate pincers on your accepting throat and suffocates.  The strings are barely touched, the larynx hardly called upon - a pure snowflake of melting thought with a final defeat accepted.  Nah, not for me I think!

'Posh Pony Tails' is school year gossip spilling with finger-pointing, catty name-calling and the usual young and natural noise seeping our way without idiot profundity.  I am happy to glide to the finish of the CD and request nothing more than that which has already been proffered - and that is surely a sign of a musical job well done.   We finish with 'Big Bunny', a ditty that starts in miserable straits, wallows in a cushion pile of crumpling cacophony that abandons all stick work and relies on a bedrock of white fuzz minimalism that makes for a finale both limited and individually odd.  I would be a liar to say I loved this one, in fact I would be casting falsehoods if I claimed it tickled my tonal todge but, at such a late stage of this, I have no problem with bowing out and leaving my judgmental kicking boots locked away.  Fair is fair methinks!

The waters of the Reservoir run deep and catch many reflected rays of appreciation, especially from this quick dipping noise merchant.  I am always keen to step into different expanses of acoustic dabbling, this has been a most favourable use of my time.

   

ALVIN AND THE ANGRY BARRELS - SELF-TITLED

A bit of this, a bit of that and, of course, a bit of t'other, Alvin and the Angry Barrels mix up their sound, throw in their own brand of energy and come up with something to ponder.  They hail from Leominster and did an interview for yours truly 12 months prior to this review and this, my curious bugger, is their debut EP.   The band show a good energy here and have obviously taken their time with this initial offering, the big question is - do hippos have trouble with their foreskins and, will ye Fungal git have anything decent to say about this 4 track spillage - there is only one way to find out!

'Same Old' taps and chops in before finding a delicious impetus only fractured by a rapid bass wank - ooh me 4-wired helmet!  The song is rooted in the DIY depths, survives due to its pugnacious rawness and fleet-footed accent then flies forth with a certain reality within the weave.  This is a decent opening cutlet full of promise, full of earthy goodness and laden with a distinct strain of unpretentious effort.  The raving radiation against the usual routine is an old punk theme but it is always relevant and here the band had their own view on the modern day ennui with things that come round and round and test the mettle of the noggin.  A robust start this and in I go to the almost sexually entitled 'Do It To Yourself' with my tail held high.    A good streetwise shuffle along with a touch of observant focus that picks up on those everyday niggles.  The self-defeating state of disaster is accepted, played out with gusto and that 4-wired wank weapon will not be denied its place and once more flourishes itself before our aural peepers.  The scurfiness of the upper surface, the dirt-flecked effect of the mix and the uncomplicated style all bring to the fore an old-school slop without being too caught up in the past - a nice commodity!

'Pick It Up Mr' is my favourite, a chirpy sub-skank piss-about done once more with a palette that has a documentary-style tonality and a real glint in the inner oil.  A cocky cheeky chap struts along the sidewalk of sound and gobs off his thoughts without any worry of putting on a show.  A very naturalised swan along with a gist to jig to and  much animation to give a touch of extra longevity.  Under-processed, real and with a clanking charm that cuts a dash through any hidden desires I may have for more 'polished shit' - perish the thought.  A honest song and one I am happy to praise.  We fuck off with 'Late Again', a zippy number full of gumption and moving with plenty of irksome passion.  The boss/slave scenario is given an angle, the band throw it out whilst seeing both sides - the dictatorship of the pig at the helm, the need to get away from the mind-numbing boredom of the worker at the wheel.  The inner mechanisation of the piston-pumping machine is broken up by a stagger section and a wind-up of acceptance.  The band apply a good deal of lube to get by on, a breakdown is avoided and the takers of a mile when given an inch remain victorious - and why not?

A good open-wounded intro to Alvin and the Angry Barrels here - the kind of stuff I like to hear and deal with and hopefully nudge into wider realms.  4 trackers are a great way to give the masses a 'no-lose' situation and with a bit of word-spreading and curiosity can help bands move along many avenues with many options to explore.  So, as per, get off yer arse and do your bit – the message couldn’t be simpler!

   

WILD EVEL & THE TRASHBONES - DIGGING MY GRAVE

From Vienna comes a stark fuzzfuck of noise making imps striving to create a concoction of tonal molestation that you, the listener, may be wonderfully aroused by.  Essences of 50's and 60's garaged grime, a sprinkling of madness and an insistence to drive home a mithering melody are all tossed around the sonic salad bowl and oiled up with vigour so as to try and give the best possible blend of flavours.  Tis all very well these chefs of sound doing their bit but it leaves me in a tonal tizz with many vibrations coming from this way and that - here I go, nibbling here, and pecking there - don't say I never warn you.

Track 1, 'Der Bucklige', an instrumental to whet the eternal appetite, it comes on flaking resonations of grim and determined nastiness that smacks to high Heaven of focused, in-scene deliberateness.  There is a wonderful touch of class at the 48 second mark that sees the band infuse deep-rooted freedom into the strums and the fascination it kindles is, in my opinion, over way too soon.  A tantalising opening and into the marvellous horrified classic next, a title track pip, a really relished involvement in the art of cemetery shenanigans.  'Digging My Grave' slides in like a shambling death before hollering with anguish and then delivering the gruesome details of an act most disturbed.  The shovel digs deep, as do the resonations, and we, the mere victim to the pulse, are absorbed.  The vocals are bloodthirsty, the strings wired with taut tension, the skins slapped with catacombed reverberations - the whole mix is a shiver and shake speciality and as the goose-bumps chase along my flesh I re-flick the 'play' button and make sure I am well and truly...disturbed.  Next and we slip into a great 60's sub-psychedelia mode via 'Bugs On My Back', a fresh and breezy lift of swirling sound that invokes visions of beatnik back rooms where the blitzed and the bopping get carried away to melodic amalgamation of sounds that both fascinate and stimulate.  This is a waltzing wander in times of yore without losing any of the modern day relevance very much needed.  I am loving this one - and if I had any hair I would put a flower in it - you get my drift ma'an.

'The Mess I'm In' tickles the skins, strums with illuminated attraction and shifts through the gears with lovely bass assistance and a vocal lust that duly encourages invigorating gyrating of the hips and an in-zone groove not to be disturbed.  All I can say about this one is that you need to get out your dancing shoes and let the players weave their magic within your soul and vibrate your erogenous zones with vigour.  Feel that farfisa organ man, enjoy the ripple of the rhythm.  '300 Pounds' is live-wire bean-popping jitteriness that squirts is quirky jerky jauntiness over the jacksie of conservatism and gets all those reticent cells sizzling with feel-good friskiness.  A swirling montage of colliding colours comes in the most garish way possible and that underscore of haunted house frivolity is added glory to an already fascinating fuck up - lovely!  'Ain't It Hard' takes the foot off the gas and, in brutal truth, is a fuckin' sweet cutlet that gently squeezes out a radiating response from this ragged reviewer and keeps the flow of the CD moving, albeit in a more controlled way.  Blue smoke is wafted up the chargrilled arse, the organ of the mouth is blown hard and rusted through with a quite effective life.  The pulsations are deliberate and not thrown off course by the sub-chaotic splash and crash of the tympanic terror-twat.  At the finale, all chaos reigns and the band let it hang loose and blast to the final silence - I like it!

'Why Can't We Be', 'Coyote' and 'Telling Lies' are the next bunch of three I grab by the short and curlies and put under the scrutinising scope.   The first is a raucous playground of happening discordance that delights in its own music box of nerve-fizzing output, a delivery that really shakes up the inner riggots and gives one a sonic setting in which to fuckin' wallow.  The impetus increases, the zeniths reached are mouth-watering, music for wannabe madmen me thinks - prepare to be cracked.  The second track of this frisky 3  invades on slow tub taps, before glinting by a gaslight and creeping across warmed terrain on the prowl for any vulnerable music fanatics in need of a sub-instrumentalised fix.  I am one such sucker - I offer up no complaints!  The finale fling of the 3, a sizzle sausage in this frying pan of feistiness that metallically clanks in before the key supremeness flows through and invigorates the attentive corpuscles and gets them bopping in the bloodstream.  The first verse bites with hunger and has a certain sapidity one is once more, attracted by.  As the song advances we salivate with purpose and it isn't long before a 'fuck it and glut' option is taken and we devour the noise - well I do anyway - I am only human don't ya know!

The last 4 and 'Gotta Leave Town' is an exact number, gloriously gushed with a throbbing feel that pervades the sub-carousel sounds we are now more than familiar with.  The retro vibration dictates and the band go from chopping crisplets of sound through a smooth cruise that loops the loop and free-wheels whilst the gobs harmonise and states the 'need to flee' case.  Heavy drums, resounding key cuts and from here we drop into the bluesed and boozed harmonica assisted 'Fried Chicken Legs', with ease.  This is a peckish perk up that borders on the comedic, indulges in the set dish of discordance a little too much and for me at least, loses some of the validity and open-arsed liberation that has seen the band not put a foot wrong...up until this juncture that is.  Having said this, the band still pour in their all and screw out a very funky track that just isn't my choice of potential pluckery – aww schucks, I hate being a damp squib.  'I Lost My Mind' is right back in my lap of acceptance and sloshes up and sweeps along with equal balance with the verse chopping and slopping, the chorus flowing and....eternally growing.  One that needs constant attention this, and due to its back end position, one I suggest you stick with.  It is back to what the band do best and it is another nipple-firming encounter.  We crack on and fuck off with a sing-a-long bit of twaddle known as 'T-R-A-S-H-B-O-N-E-S'.  Simply spell out the song title, bounce your undercarriage to utter buggery and do it with a smile, a slurp and much spirit - you won't go far wrong.

Yes, a real beauty this and that opening number is a sure-fire way to set the skin tingling in preparation for the ensuing treat.  Over and over again the band do the business and nail home a very convincing burst of spiro-graphic colour crashes - I am grooving man, and ain't none of your negativity is gonna stop me!

   

LITTLE LOVE & THE FRIENDLY VIBES - A LOVELY LITTLE CHRISTMAS

Little Love and the Friendly Vibes formed back in 2011 which comes as a shock as I am sure it was only yesterday - darn that fuckin' aboriginal calendar!  They proclaim to be a power-pop band and blend a certain sweet and sour scuzz-fuzz with much corn on the nob (of noise).  This is my first review of 2018, tis late for Christmas just gone but mightily early for next year – get yer stockings ready lasses and tranvestites.

'Snowflakes' crisply falls our way from pillow-soft heavens of a self-pitying shade that is maudlin, slightly dawdling but, charming all the same.  A blue melancholia tints each and every falling tonal dusting and the soft crisp strokes, starlight twinkle and the tinsel touches all combine to give one of those teary-eyed creations where many a sherry soaked soft arse will sit in the dark, cast aglow by the Christmas tree lights and ponder times of yore and events of the future.  There is a place for this festive introspection, I am sure many reading this have indulged - oh ye silly sods.  The composition is perfectly done though, who am I to kick against the misery.

'Heavy Christmas' is a fuckin' sing-a-long delight and sees the presents, tree and general tinsel of tomfoolery kicked this way and that in a fit of booze-assisted belligerence that I for one am up for joining in with.  It is, when stripped down and bare of baubles, a quite simple tune but, it does draw one in and raises the cheery hackles on the back.  I rise up, slop my beer everywhere in the hysteria of the jig and indulge in the he and she fuzz-up that is laden with incessant jovialness bordering on the insane.  I like the tremblings emitted here, I replay with a smile on my face.

'Walking In The Air' is a mere piss-take and puts that alleged sexual deviant Aled Jones in his place (locked up in a cupboard with a copy of 'Buggered Breasts Internationale' no doubt).   It is crackpot stuff that seems to be run on a fuel of demon-banishing liquid, a liquid that courses through the veins with lunatic effervescence.  Personally, rather than release such a monstrosity, I would book a Travel Lodge, lure the aforementioned Welsh Warbler into a room and get my inner troubles out of my system with one good todge twanging session - each to their own as they say.  This is a mere piece of jollity, I suppose it is in keeping with the thematics - oh man, pass me another Babycham.

3 songs, 2 lovely, 1 ugly but a nice mixed bag for a time of year that really tests the patience.  This is a cute band not looking to move any political mountains or change the thought processes of any nob-rotted eggheads.  Just a bit of fun tuneage to toss around to - sometimes, just sometimes, this is all we need.

   

RED OR DEAD - TROTSKY WALTZ

Some inflamed and rather tense laden political acoustica poured forth by Welsh activists up and at it and trying to bring about a change of heart in many wayward wanderers.  The key in life is to think and to question, not many seem to do this, the head is safer in the sand and if you can't see no evil then surely there is none.  What utter nob-rottery and anyone off their arse and straining to shift a few gears is worth some time - I hope the band back up their ravings with much action.  To talk and not walk is a terrible crime against the few getting fucked over in the eternal rolling mess.  Fingers crossed hey?

We open the album with the very accomplished and smoothly posted 'I Am On Fire'.  Firm strums and slaps develop and lead us into the cool control of the initial verse.  A lucidity wins favour, a wonderful defiance coursing through veins increases in pressure and gushes forth with a quite impressive glory that looks destined to gain much credit.  There is a kick-back to the verbal currency, a friskiness in the tail of the tune and that blend of oral threat and the delicately placed musical applications is finely exact and brings out the best of a tune that has all the ingredients to rise to the top of the cacophonic cream many cats are eager to lick at.  A quite splendid opening gambit!  'No One Is Innocent' states its case in hollowed she-tones before trucking on with a very determined accent that chops away at your resistance and makes sure you listen up and take heed.  The firm handed string strokes, the sheer lusting force of the vocals all give the song an imposing and yet listenable edge that brings out a folked thoughtfulness to provoke the senses.  This cutlet of guilt exposure is a subtle stunner and I hope like buggery that it doesn't slip beneath the masses radar.  As if this moment isn't enough we are doubled duffed by the splendid 'Watch It Burn', a convincing bout of erudite music-making done with such delightful gentleness that all force invoked is due to a naturalness not to be underestimated.  The words have a searing warning, the accent is precise and copulates with the strains of the music quite fuckin' wonderfully.  From solo persuasions onto harmonised moments - watch yer back folks, this is an irresistible groomer - I am a mere victim!  I expected a lull in quality, such is the well-worn pessimist that I am, I am not granted my expectations - thank fuck! 'In America' rattles its snake tail, holds threat and whispers out many facts regarding the so-called land of the free.  This hotplate of simmering noise fascinates my soul and is everything what punk rock folk back-lashing should be about.  Inspiring, fiery and pregnant with much encouraging vitality this song lays down the letter of the warped law and shows how one big con can lead so many into a sheep-pen of limited thinking.  The foaming he-ravings that come, ravage and add extra chomp and are surely venomous raisins of rage in an already toxic cake.  

'Colin Cambridge' may be tagged as the tenderest and most laid back song of the lot (so far) and has added Val Doonican-ised whistling for thy secret pleasure - watch that rocking chair folks.  The tepid trickle of all attended tones is a gratifying change in tempo and as we are gently buoyed by the waters of thoughtful prose that questions inner defiance, as well as that idiot formula of 'expectation times tradition', we make sure our bladders are well and truly full and prepare to piss in the face of 'their' routine.  The final loud-hailer posers are drilled home with frustrated ill-temper - get in there!  'Steeltown' is another beauty, a tight tale of redundancy, hometown rape and a political scandal that all parties, over time, are ultimately guilty of.  The insight into the governmental detachment from the needs of families and the simple 'honest to good labour' they want to put in to just earn a crust is exact and intrinsic to the soul of the artistes and that alone, only adds to a very strong and capable song.  I am immersed here, as I tap out these words I play 5 times back to back, the final whisper is a stunning moment and encourages one to re-listen so as to prove the quality - it never lets me down.  'A New Day' has a positive, uplifting REM-esque flutter to the wires, it is a charming lilt and one that goes against the grain of the opening throat burst 'Why don't you just fuck off' - nice!  The song is another accomplished component of what is becoming a heady mix, with the weavers threading their individual fibres honestly, intricately and in line with the overall patternation.  The theme of the song is obvious, there is a wind of change a-coming, gird your loins, enough of this crap! In many ways it is wishful thinking, but one must believe in order to progress and if one has their arse animated because of encouraging vibes such as this then so much the better.

'Never Again' rolls in on looming clouds before a brighter day is suggested.  The move is sublime, the switch from a threat to a hug is taken into a whisper in the ear of words designed to get your soul persuaded and pondering.  Things are not what they seem, without action we go nowhere.  As victims we need to rise, summon the will to resist the masterplan.  This defiant spiked creation would be just the soundtrack to use if you are ready to shift your arse.  The  manoeuvres from that deemed mellow to that which is blatantly irritated are exact and without hitch, I am mightily impressed by what is unfolding before my battered lugs.  'All The World' is simple liquid music parading itself with such an easy gesture and waltzing through via susurrating folds of caressing tonality that sweep around our airspace and duly envelop in a blessing of permanent restlessness.  A whole manner of emotive questions arise both socially and musically, I lay back, immerse my soul and take in and somehow, without knowing truly why, feel as though many answers have been had.  It is a good feeling!

'Travel Home' and 'Strummer and Burnel' are two back end stabilisers and go through the usual steady motions and need little gushing from me.  The band are on a tidy flow, making observational points, stoking political fires and completing a comfortable listening experience whilst peppering with subtle provocation.  The second song of this brace is better, and kicks at the increasing apathy and lack of get up and go whilst harking back to times more involved (be warned of the rose-coloured spectacles though - it can be a distorting disease).  

The penultimate tickle is entitled 'Living In A Life' it hesitantly pootles in, starts with a welcome waggle in the syrup before blowing a fresh waft up the arse of the song proper.  We have the usual message, we have the usual spring in the step, you can dance and ignore the words, sit still and absorb the verbal fluency or…do both.  Take your pick, you'd be a damned fool not to choose the latter option.  Not a bad effort this.  We close with the easy casuality of 'Make A Stand', a quietly persuasive song that once more encourages the rear gears to get turning.  We face a bleak future with political screws tightening, the opening tones are careful, tentative and lead to a tepid swing of lullaby warmth.  The advance is like a rolling wave far out in the oceanic realms.  It seems distant  and without weight but as it nears and builds in impetus one can feel a certain inner apprehension.  Within the travelling liquidity a warning comes - take heed, idleness kills, get up and do things...now!  I like this one, it eases us out into the thoughtful silence with a certain aplomb - a sign of a band not letting up!

Over and out I sign, full of intrigue and wondering where the band may end up.  The potential shown here is massive and when they start tweaking and twanging outside of this regular box anything is possible.  I like this CD, it is a good early front-runner for CD of the Year, ruddy heck, tis only February!

   

THE SCANERS - SELF-TITLED

From Lyon, France we have The Scaners who swoop in via unidentified airwaves and bring to the table a Triple-X-Century sound that comes from dimensions disturbed and only traversed by the most hardy, experimental and idiotic sonic souls.  The band, I suspect, are under surreptitious investigation from authorities on high, are destined to be 'watched' via a governmental microscope that will make sure the planetary invasions are kept in check. Somehow I suspect the band have other ideas?  Here we have 12 tracks to get through, I best get me rear in gear:-

'Abduction' is an oddity, a real dubious piece of dinnage that begins on a spiralling tension before communicating its essence our way on a sharp but numbing laser beam of heavy shadings.  The intensity drills, has greatest effect when played with added volume, man it is a painful probing into the cranial realms.  I can see the electro-fusions taking place, the inner gunk popping in reaction to this cacophonic catalyst - that doesn't make it a good thing though.  I reserve judgement here, I need to delve deeper and see what develops and where this initial read-out fits into the great sonic scheme.  Second up and a quick fly-past soaring through the stratosphere and known as 'Spacecraft'.  The band find their hook, go at it without deviation from the course set and although keeping with the thematics I find this one too tame and simple for its own good and am wondering if The Scaners are going to miss a star-striking trick here - I skip on, trying to avoid asteroids of negativity.

'I Don't Want To Go' ripples in, hollers from craters of consternation and synth-shoots forth with turbo-flowing mania that sees the band still stick to a loop-to-loop routine but this time bringing greater textures into the fray and so leaving a little more work for the listener to do.  From free-flowing to judder jerks and all done within the bands own set vacuum many nosey gits will be eager to penetrate - take yer time ye acoustic explorers, let the vibes grow!   'Checkpoint Planet' is a sonic satellite that takes up a smooth orbit and moves with a gravitational pull I am utterly convinced by.  The mid-paced synthoid saturation, the snatching juiciness of the verse and the ensnaring gist of the chorus hook is perfect.  A full-on space age delivery this with all components at a compatible level and hitting the interstellar hotspots with exactitude.  For me a sci-fi escapist high - my rocket fizzes and my lower planets collide - all with joy, all with something akin to perversion.

4 quickies - 'The Dries' starts with increasing blue light urgency, the inter-galactic police are here to take away you culpable doubts and send you into hyper-drive with feelings of innocence and get-away joy at the helm.  This is a surging song, speeding with zeal, a screwdriving spiral of sound that keeps recurring and forces one to perpetually spin without affect or underhand dabbling - nifty.  'Enjoy Your Flight' is a short song, has a lovely undulation beneath the scorched wire mush of pulsar pumpings that are really now interfering with the cranial synapses and getting one all aglow.  I am becoming more absorbed here and despite this being a fleeting moment it really is a joy to aurally behold. I remove my space-helmet, take a shit in it and join The Scaners on the dance floor - fuck it!  'No Place In Space' is a stodgy number that forces its way through a cloying black hole and only just comes out the other side.  A dumb-down, acceptant sound almost feeling abandoned and without hope.  I find this one taxing on the nerves, a bit too subdued and sobered but it is a change in tack and one that adds that contrast factor I harp on about - I shall say no more.  'We Want To Talk To Your Leader' is a great sparkling hepped up gallop that goes into cruise control, makes initial contact with the eavesdropping species and sends over the soundwaves a repetitive push of zested music all given impetus by the slap happy stick work and unstoppable keyed tremulations.  Easy man, easy – I shall say no more!

The back 4 and 'Video Tape' skin jumps in, hop-frogs over the membranes before developing itself into one steady fruit-laden cruise of thrusting insistence.  There are no plasma bursts, no shockwaves and certainly no gravity defying moments but this short snippet is fresh, breathes clear acoustic oxygen and, takes little effort to enjoy.  Sometimes we all need something simple - this is such an example.  'Flying Fuck' reverbs with ping-pong head spite over and over again before cutting through the milky way of your mesmerised mind and firing stun-bolts of electro repetition right into your already shaking nerve-centre.  This is a harsh delight, a perverse pleasure that take us into a space war of shattering dimensions - I am happy to be mown down in the melee.  'Modern Fissure' is a choked number that sees the vocals lose impact and get submerged in the constant keyed and controlled mush of musical intensity.  It is a very condensed and aggravating number and it is one of my least favoured.  We finalise this futurised journey across boundaries rarely traversed on the chugging vehicle called 'Levitation Train 2077', another overcrowded number that flashes with a multitude of 'off-the-spectrum' colours and ultimately takes one into a place of rest and respite away from this magical wonderland of time-travelling madness.  The band let it all hang loose here, throw things together off the cuff and spiro-splash the soundscape with a Scaner-induced madness - is this a good thing?  At such a late juncture I am happy to leave it up to you to decide.

I remove my space-boots, shake off the moon-dust and duly consider what has transpired.  It has been an interesting journey, sometimes with the inner core energised, sometimes with a flat-line sinking that has left my guts unturned.  Having said this, the band have many avenues to explore and can only go on to blow minds, excite sci-fi soniceers and perhaps push themselves to outer-reaches even they didn't know existed.  Whatever happens, I shall be hopefullybe  in the know and passing on the gen, tis what I try and do don’t ya know!

   

ANTI-CITIZEN - PROMO

Who the fuckin' hell are Anti-Citizen?  What the hell are they all about?  Well, after an e-mail request to review their debut single I thought I may as well as try and enlighten some of you unconverted cunts in the process.  Anti-Citizen are, according to their Facebook profile 'A bunch of punks from Hackettstown and Washington ready to fuck shit up! We are branching out and keeping the scene alive, if you want to play a show with us please contact C.G. Vyle.' - sounds good hey!  The band throw off any pretensions and go back to square one and build up their sound on many bog standard basics too many fuckers have neglected, forgotten or never knew existed in the first place - I like that!  Here is my view on the brace of blitzers proffered.

'Bricks Not Ballots' bubbles in on active bass before travelling back in time to the early 80's sub-sink of festering ill temper when society had enough warts and wank spots to invigorate the minority with a conscience into getting up and making a noise and, in some instances, carrying on their disgruntlement into political activity.  The drive is incessant, the snotty, pissed-off gob work delivers a tirade of anarchistic desire that comes from a youthful heart that wants some fuckin' change.  The song is played by several urgent victims of the questioning virus and, once this disease gets hold, there is no end to be had.  A real throw back, one that kindles memories!

'I Hate' is rabble rousing disorder bent in such a way as to appeal to the furious, the unsettled and those who are fucked off to the rotten back teeth with all the shit that goes down in society and is taken as a mere talking point by many to feel holier than thou or as a tool to put others down.  The band use this fuel to fuzz-pump in, thrash out many demons and spit fury entirely your way.  The music is nicely crudded up, chug-skunks against a constant brick wall and right up until the last, this visceral piece of anger is at your throat - and why not indeed?

Look, if you are a new school punk bastard you may not get this, if you are an old school punk twat you may have moved on and will mark this down as out of date disruption but, if you are an eclectic sonic shithawk who likes to vary the blasting puke that your pour down your lugs then you may just fuckin' enjoy this.  Remember, variety is the spice that poisons the one -dimensional cardboard cut-out and anger is still a fuckin' energy!

   
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