FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 39
 
 

JOE HOVIS - DEBUT EP

Joe Hovis is a solo artist and has nothing to do with the selling of Brown Bread or chasing flat-capped men up and down cobbled streets in the hope of having a shuftie at their neatly cut crusts.  He states on the withered web waves that he is an acoustic punk and spoken word artist and that he hails from Manchester - well, 2 out of 3 positives ain't bad.  This is his debut EP, released in August 2017 - oh I am behind schedule, what a twat I be.  I go in and have 6 tracks to fiddle with, fling about and then either fuck or fondle - the usual style is adopted, hold yer breath you bastards and prepare for the dissection.  Scalpel please nurse!

I make the first cut, pull back the fleshy folds of silence and reveal the inner workings of a song called 'Never Kill Yourself', a very abrupt, scurfy and up-front escapade bleeding a pure naturalness that has a nervous energy flowing through and a strong thirst to get, what is, a very important message across.  We live in times when ill mental health is rife, where many are suffering silently due to the mocking smiles and misunderstanding melee who make things mighty uncomfortable for those who don't fit!  I like the hunger here, the scuttle and sheer feistiness as wellas  the quick flickering delivery that shows the guy has something to get off his chest.  Don't we all, the difference is, some get up and do something!  'I Won't Take The Blame'  is quick witted, executed by a mind wound up with a decision made and is happy to run with it and make a merry tune around an overspill of band-names, some of which I like, some of which I note down as shite - each to their own as ever.  The song is forced into a verbal avenue from which there is little escape with all this name dropping interplay done in what I suspect is a homage style rather than an arse-kissing creep-mode.  The player manages the move well, brings forth a frisked and brisked belt-out of breathless enthusiasm that works very well indeed.  Of course there are limitations with just a gob and 6 strung weapon at your mercy but we have a decent effort here with a cute twist.

'Rant In D Minor' is just that, a long winded blow out from a wound up mess of cerebral gunk that spills with a good believable foam.  Reminiscent of my everyday head, banging with questions this one is perhaps pointless if not played with a lyrical clarity.  We get  a brass escort, a touch of spaghetti-fied serenading and throughout the string shuffle is rapid but you need to take time to digest the word and ponder.  Nothing new gets asked here but I am sure many may disagree.  The anti-religious slant will tickle many who just swallow rather than swill, and the general punk spunk will be welcome up many arses of agreement.  For me, this is a raving moment with good balls bared, it is hard going though especially if one wants an easy tune with no mental baggage.

'I Don't Wanna Be You' is another typical rant, one we have heard many times over the years but, having said that, is in no means less important.  The player here banishes demons, frees his soul from a torment of the struggle of being oneself!  We all have doubts, we all wonder what we are and where we are going but, one or two wouldn't change places with anybody and that is a most liberating feeling.  Take your warts, take your failings and take your hang ups and embrace them, work on them and try and improve.  Hey, and play this now and again to keep thee motivated - how's that!  'Know My Name' is a scatty discombobulation of mental disorientation that sets the thought processes reeling.   Here we have a plucker with problems, playing with a persistence that is, no matter how flurried and hurried, appealing.  The lyrical laxatives used help words get shitted down the aural u-bend of your bonse that always needs a good old flush out.  Trust issues come, negativity rules and a down-putting slant on one’s own inner flame is suggested.  We leave this one as flustered and heavily blustered as the artist on a roll...downhill.  There is something one can relate to here - tis nice and scary in the same breath.

We close with a poem, a superb session of verbal vandalism that comes, gets kicked around and leaves with a sense of observant order attained. 'Hilda's Philosophy' is a quick rundown of a life flashing by with the distinct thread running through emphasising we are indeed 'nothing' but yet we are indeed 'something'.  It is all an anomaly, a mysterious mire that will never be cleared but, as long as it hangs around, then certain folk will toss the unanswerable questions out there.  I like the off-the-cuff, ad-hoc feel here, the sharp-witted overspill that seems to never end and then suddenly...does so.  Neat work if you ask me, but why on earth would you do that?

A good ruddy effort this, and done with a thrusting relish that you would be hard pushed to deny.  I see the chap lives local, I wonder if he would be up for a gig - I reckon it would be worth a punt!  Now there's a compliment!

   

PAUL CARTER - URINE ABOVE YOUR HEAD

Pluck, fuck and upchuck a tittering soul is the formula used by your eternally amusing bot known as Paul Carter.  The man is a diamond geezer, a stalwart of the scene who always brightens the most gloomy of days.  Despite working for ten years in a pickle factory, having a twelve year love-in with Gherkin master Victor Vinegar and losing 3 toes in a spaghetti wrestling contest our artist under the stained spotlight will not give in and, after a recent spell in the West End hit about nutcases and fanny flies (headjobs and Womb Ticks) Mr Carter has still found time to release another CD.  My nipples rise at the prospect, my thimble of love fails to respond but these days it’s just being awkward. Fear not though my dear roamer of the text, I am going in hopeful, all I need is for you to wish me look and concentrate - yippee!

'Friday Night At The Pictures Ruined By The Pigs' is a rousing start and gravel-grinds out an irritated blast of anti-PC passion without any serious 'Plod'.   Our performer has had a night at the flicks, he has become animated and unfortunately has had to be restrained.  The restless irritation our artiste feels towards the buggers in blue is tangible and with the man’s charming tongue-in-cheek approach I would certainly consider setting about an ACAB based riot based on the outpourings here.  A feisty start but immediately outstripped by the cute popsicle of 'Punk Rockers Fall In Love Too'.  A dainty ditty that keeps it simple and hollers for the feelings of the spiky tops and general punk rock love struck fucks.  From a scarred heart comes this semi-bitter bout of honesty that trundles on usual Carter-fied toneage that for me is utterly user-friendly, honest and played with an ageless-thirst you can't help but appreciate.  From here I get a surprise, a stunning highpoint that is deliciously delivered and, although loaded with rib-tickling humour, is a serious sidelong nudge for many ageing rebels.  'Middle Aged Riot' is an acoustic tear up that gets rankled by plans gone to waste due to an insidious creeping crippler that infuses the soul with a 'can't be arsed' procrastinating disease we all need to shake off and resist.  There is zest in this old dog yet and my comrade in corruption is fizzing too - the question is 'are you?'  A minor classic, one to inspire action in those who need to think more about punk than a party!  Go on, kick back against your lethargy, get something done ya gits!

More mid-life pondering next with 'Too Many Rules To Anarchy', a cute play on a theme many talk about and consider but can never exist as long as people are involved and the word 'punk' is bandied about.  There are many other reasons too and all in a world of on-line obsession and much division.  The myth corrupts itself via a million questions and our artistes frustration with the rules set, the ambiguity of the term and the desire to just get on and be oneself are all radiated via a crisp and sturdy construction that indicates a man on an upward swing but still sticking to his earthy themes and everyday posers.  He does this stuff so ruddy well!  'You're The Boss' is a sharp defiance bite back against the everyday thumb so many are under due to their position in life and the need to earn a crust.  The perverted players who have worked their way into places of authority have many kinks in their make-up and take pleasure from the control they have and being surrounded by brown-nosed wankers who, in the cold light of day, wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire.  Work is a game in many ways, each actor given a role to play out and suck the lemons that come with it.  Some rise because they are willing to play the game more than others, and woe betide those that won't play ball.  A lovely acute song, done in obvious punk terms and given the greatest life via an easy chorus that hits the right spot and gets us, the mere on-looking mortals, singing.  I love it!

The CD is all well and dandy up to this point but an upswing comes with the gem that is 'Self Imposed Media Blackout'.  A scrag end warning from a man the midst of the misinformation crossfire that does nothing more than brainwash each and every gullible individual and take away any freedom or characteristic edge they may have ever possessed.  Here our plucking cunt snappily passes on his sagacious warning and does so in that cigarette scorched/alco-burnt way that never fails to appeal.  'This Computer Is Fuckin' Shit' shows the frustration that arises when we submit to slavery and make ourselves robots to the on-line master.  Here Mr Carter vents his spleen no doubt fuelled by the fact he can't get access to his dosh or even have a wank in peace due to an out-of-date clonker that crashes every time the seeds of pleasure dance around the oriental eye.  This is a comical insight into a situation many cheapie-Charlie’s fall victim to and highlights the hazards of trying to avoid making that new digital purchase.  A good song this although it does bring back some quite aggravating episodes in my on-line life.

The next 2 songs are self-effacing with many ' let it all rip' moments that show that Paul Carter doesn't take himself too seriously nor indeed the punk angle that is pulled this way and that by many straw clutching peeps who really need to get over things.  'Gob On Yer Granny' and 'Anti-Social Bastard Time' are ludicrous lilts that spit, shit and shoot off like the outsiders and ill-informed expect the punk brigade to behave.  Having said this, these are great tunes to take a bite from toss around the palette and then cough out onto the lap of the ignorant.  The first stops-starts and shuffles with pace, the second gurns and grinds with feistiness and leaves it bare balls out on the table for you all to jump on - nasty.  We close with a cover, a piece of nonsense originally buoyed our way on waves of sub-Sex Pistolised stupidity and a veritable drinking song laden with vulgarity, bawdy humour and just plain old filth.  'Friggin’ In The Riggin' is a classic no matter how you look at it, a sing-a-long delight that gives me a good reason to just fuck the review off, crack open a beer and enjoy the vibes.    Hey, I may even throw one off the wrist too - providing the pilot-light hasn't gone out on the computer.

So, our man Paul C, has come (not cum), run amok with his 6 wired weapon (not his wireless weapon) and plucked (not fucked) his way into our hearts.  What can I add - the man knows how to compose a tune, is a cheeky chappy and a true connoisseur of the punk scene - I can't argue with that can I?

   

THE LOONS - BLUE ETHER

Esoterically happening this long term band have once more chucked up 2 songs for those in the know (and hopefully for those who don't) and slapped  down a brace of vibrations etched deep with tattoos of yesteryear but highlighted with colours of modern day application.  There are some very obvious and familiar resonations sneaking beneath the sonic substrate and others that are not so subtle and I take, play and investigate with a keenness not to be denied.  The result of this two-sided throw out as regards the Fungal view is described as thus:- 

'Blue Ether' begins with mystery and conventional 60's throw-back tonality before escaping the trappings set and blowing out in a liberated release of embracing quality.  The song switches from the slightly unsettling to the more comforting with lilts borne from care, exactitude and sanguinity.  This is an erudite piece of hybridised psychedelia that has a subtle preternatural quality destined to add to that most crucial longevity factor.  The vocals are clear, the musical arrangement proffered forth for our aural assessors to deal with smacks of professionalism and articulate understanding of the sub-genres blended and, as a consequence, my curiosity remains piqued and my reasons to play again and again are plentiful.  A cool effort with more layers than perhaps imagined.

I flip and reveal.  The song encountered is named 'Saturday's Son', a ditty that relies on an ascending and descending bass weave reinforced by controlled splashes and shakes of the tympanic section that surf up and add cute animation.  The guitar work is shimmering glass-light crisply manipulated so as to maximise the refracted rhythm and catch our attention.  This is a shorter song than the previous effort but contains the same charisma as its flipside neighbour and tells a tale of an outsider, a veritable black sheep who must always walk on the outside - perhaps a story many of us can relate to?  Either way this is a decent upchuck and again I play several times over to capture the essence.

Style, savvy, generic perception and talent - 4 obvious components that indicate a good band and a fine 2 track offering - go check it out fellow music nuts, my bit here is done.

   

BARONEN AND SATAN - WHY DOES THE BLOOD NEVER STICK TO YOUR TEETH

Dirty Water are hammering out the releases and, with their frequent requests for a review, I am struggling to keep pace.  Here we have an outfit from Sweden who, in their own way, tick certain boxes of criteria that the showcase label has consistently used.  The weavings are submerged, trespassing and of a consistency that flows throughout the whole silver circle of sound.  The waters swirl in muddy fashion, something baroque, testing and 'odd' is uncovered, I go for a paddle, splash around and kick up this review of a jarring 3 track EP.

'Elisa' opens on billowing folds of sanguinity with the initial blast pursued by caveman tympanics and a brief bass fiddle.  The orchestration that follows is cavernous, cacophonically capacious and of a style that in one part is hollow and grumbling, in another is more liberated and paraded with flamboyance.  The slapping skin style is hefty, reverberations are superabundant and the full intention and mode of the song is not revealed in one fleeting listen - this is a small nuance that is crucially important and I consider this a quite arresting commencement with the gumption exposed at the beginning quite fuckin' attractive.  I feel as though I have been tossed off in a psychedelic nightclub by some zoned out banshee hell-bent on the deconstruction of decency - is this a bad thing? 

'Buttermilk Sky' sees the sheets of sonica billowed with firm intention that really propagates a growing interest level within the substrate of the consciousness.  The blend of all components, be it jarring, jangling and juiced, are stirred with such animation as to give a full-on, voluminous appeal that has an oceanic strength thus rendering the listener incapable of any forceful critique.  A certain mechanisation nibbles at the neurones of observation as the song advances and veers on necessary angles before a crescendo of overlapping forcefulness is had.  The high fades and leaves us at the gaping maw of 'Teeth'.  This chomping effort bites big chunks from exposed asses and spits in from vacant catacombs of terror.  It is a bulky, bloated number, it comes on a belly busting bowl-over of usual weight and those already jigging in the rhythmic recesses and finding perverse delight will still be vibrating after this latest eruption.  A very intense white light cuts to the core here, something submerged is fighting for freedom, perhaps things are best left as they are – the inner beast may be too much to take.

I undid my trousers of curiosity, inserted my privates of stupidity into another untested orifice of sound and have got duly...humped all ways.  I am left bewildered and shagged out - this has been a hard but intriguing session and I am still uncertain as to what the fuck transpired - maybe I should reinvest some time, or perhaps...see my shrink!  I now have an album to deal with - by heck there are some spiteful bastards out there!

   

DREAM NAILS - VAGINA POLICE

A feisty bunch of buggers here who apparently identify themselves as 'punk witches'.  The band cultivate the DIY ethos, holler with intent and since starting out on the crooked block in 2015 are seemingly making good headway.  This effort is a 2 track single, there is no rush to put digit to keyboard so I indulge, ponder and indulge some more - and why the fuck not? To add - All proceeds will go to Abortion Support Network (ASN), an all-volunteer organisation providing accommodation and financial assistance to women forced to travel from Ireland to have a safe and legal abortion - this could divide opinion but opinion is all we have, and each other’s is there to be respected - get over it!

'Vagina Police' comes first, a stark and blatant shout out for the rape and pillaging that goes on and the taking of one's soul.  The answer is not so easy but if you think, respect yourself and keep the bastards at arm’s length you will go some way to defying their advances and invasions.  In this cunt-fest of selfishness everyone is on the make and looking to penetrate someone else's innocence - you fuckin' stay strong now.  The musical application here is crisp, sassy and full of direct encouragement, the peppy opening falls into a serious mode, using a warning to grab your attention.  The combination of the advisory content and the upbeat arrangement gives the song a fresh vitality and a somewhat wide-eyed simplicity - that is a very cute thing to create and not at all easy.  A good effort this - tough and tuneful and touching many a nerve I guess!

'Fascism Is Coming (Get Out Of Bed)' is next, how strange, I never thought this numbing mental state ever went away.  My bedclothes are flung back with belligerence and I duly spin the racket and get groomed by a lullaby and given a false sense of security before being stunned into animation by a necessary alarm call that really does rouse the soul.  Too many are switched off, cranially soporific and laden with self-injected apathy whilst all around the left and the right squeeze the inner guts out of us all and leave us...void of fight!  This is the better song of the two on show and contrasts two emotive flavours well and flies off the handle with irresistible gumption.  I am a sucker for liberated blast-outs and when these lasses let fly they do so with a quite infectious style.  I think these two-edged swords are an avenue they could explore more deeply - there is much success to be found I feel.

How's that, in and out, hopefully accurate and without fuss.  I like this, appreciate the ethos and the aim - I sincerely hope it does what it sets out to do in this world of eternal imbalance, swayed pressure and bullshit prejudice.  In fact to help it on its way you could have a dabble with the din yourself - I am sure the band members don't bite...then again!

   

BAMBOO VIPERS - SELF-TITLED EP

The music just keeps on pouring in, I can't complain but with so many playing and trying why are so few reviewing and putting something back.  Here I take up a four tracker, a release by a band from the south of England and an attempt to get their brand of rock and roll noise out there to a wider audience.   The songs are hammered home with a flourish and as I pick up and play, ponder and play some more, I think it is about time I let you in on the inner gunk of the grindings. 

We are initially ensnared by the slamming cycle of electric manipulation and riffage-enthused skin work via the tune known as 'Collective Amnesia'.  This number instantly grooves in on magnetic rock and roll tones that are subdued and teasing.  The skins are ruffled, an eagerness comes into play but still the band won't commit until...!   The first verse is a delicious treat, laden with a lucid snarl that bites to the bone and spits out any indifference you may ashamedly have.  The content of the rip-up rings true with so many denying and not embracing that what has gone, will always be there and is, at the end of the day, a product that got us to where we are.  Life is a learning curve, mistakes are plentiful, they may hurt, we have to deal with them.  The players here contribute to a solid end slap in the mush and that persistent snap at the ankles is wonderfully received by this restless reviewer!

'Transient' pursues the white-hot opener with a bluesy touch before force-feeding you a repeat ram gob off.  A thoughtful sequence comes, the band progress into an in-yer-face outburst before gathering impetus and moving the song proper.  A combination of the controlled and the cracked make this a melting pot of fractured elements that fit together in the most paradoxical and awkward kind of way thus making for an acoustic event that takes some time to grasp.  This outfit are more than well-versed in what they are doing, hit upon some very convincing moments but all the while leaving one...unsure.  I skip on here, convinced and unconvinced in equal proportion - ooh me old bamboo!

'Silver Boots' struts in and knows its direction.  An encouraging stomp builds and a delightful look-back over a shoulder of nostalgia comes with many moments that, in the great scheme of things, mean fuck all but which, in many ways, brins a pang of emotion of things fondly remembered.  The song is a chomping effort, again with many facets but this time with a stronger thread that keeps one more involved.  The band are fidgeting this way and that, have much to squeeze in to each and every song and we must be careful not to flit over these offerings and make a snap judgement.  I have taken my time, I raise my thumbs, will you do the same?

We close with the wound up and ready to go burst of 'Utopia'.  The title is repetitively hollered as the band prepare to let rip.  And let rip they do with a snarling puke up of gushing punkery that spits toxic spume whilst rocking and rolling with exciting vigour, all to the pleasure of this eavesdropping noise chomper.  The spirit of the defiant rebel is spunked up with cock-sure bollocks, riding a macho-moped of blinkered bullshit and looking like a ton percent cunt with no thought of his actions.  We have all been there at some point, and in some ways the humour rings a little too true and brings about a somewhat wry smile.  This is a cracking number, a great way to sign off a quite intriguing 4 tracker by a band thinking inside and outside the box.

Interesting to say the least and with several highs to consider further The Bamboo Vipers certainly have all the ingredients to make for a thrilling 'live' show and to keep one entertained on CD for the foreseeable future.  The band seem to walk a dangerous track and no doubt will cause much pleasure and pain along the way - I like that!

   

GIRLSVILLE RECORDS - OUR VOLTAGE COMPILATION

Girlsville is a dabbling DIY label that began life in 2015 in Chicago.  They like to mix and match matters which is right up my street and here we have a quite eclectic montage of tonality that showcases bands looking for a wider audience (aren't they all).  I delve in with glee, after 52 years soaked in noise the flame burns bright for all things new - oh aye!

UK Gold come first via 'Off Duty Nuns', a clanking tune that drum-bumps in, bass grinds and guitar stutters.  The vocal style is loose, and adds to an overall sensation of something impromptu happening.  The colliding alternative facets of this opening number provide the listener with an angled construct to roll around the assessing palms and duly squeeze, prod and distort.  I am highly intrigued here and like the growing threat.  A crucial start, always the thing for any compilation CD.  The Buzzards follow up with 'Tennessee', a rocking wagon of trundling tunery that has a loose and almost disjointed accent somehow only keeping on its own set track and scraping by to the end destination.  The song never really elevates itself from the routine runway and although laden with a suggestive shoddiness and garaged honesty I can't manage to actually grip the true train of the sound and wank out great praise.  It may be just me but I put this one down as an average effort.

Germ House open their dirty doorway next and offer up '7 Into 7' a psychedelic patchwork of noise that at first, appears timid, uncertain and a touch out of kilter before becoming a more relaxed and fluent mover.  The scuzzy serenade that comes is unswept and murky and has many esoteric threads that will appeal to dwellers in certain sonically squalid niches and alternative accents.  This is no bad thing and the combo of that which is hippified and that which is modernly coloured gives us a track to consider further.  The Myrmidons come next with a cover version, the old Siouxsie number called 'Christine'.  Here we see the gothic tones maintained in what is an almost mirror-image effort with no new intricacies or characteristics added.  The song is played as well as the original, it shows the band are awash with ability and can turn their hand to mimicry without much effort - I shall go and investigate some of their own material methinks!

A slow horror waltz next with Damaged Bug spreading forth the dull and dismal dirge known as 'Pilot's Pipe'.  This bent-double song is like an aging man slowly walking to his final resting place with limbs weary, head low and thoughts bleak and without hope.  This is a really testing moment for yours truly and a melancholy inducing trawl that fails to generate the faintest spark within my carcass - I crack on, uninspired.  Virvon Varvon wake me up with the clatter splatter cruelty known as 'What Do You Say'.  A healthy and robust kick out this of raw-assed reality that is always promising to fracture and fall apart at the seams.  The vocal style is filthy, the first chorus thrust beautifully crummy and raucous and the inner break-ups only add to the image of heads on the brink.  I have a soft spot for things spat out with under-rehearsed sounding accents and this kind of exciting trash gives me good vibrations...down below!  Freak Genes stutterfuck with the automated odd job called 'He's Unhappy'.  Mis-timed cyber-struggles jerkily move with popping limbs and stiff-necked affect in a movement that is ideal for those who like fragmentary experimentation done with a certain thematic thread.  This is a spanner in the works, a stone in the sonic shoe and one I find vulgarly effective.  The band have found an angle and for me, nailed it.

Beastii' come next, 'The Summer of 81' is the tune, a cover version I scrape from the memory banks.  The Violators were the original script writers of a number that had subtleties and much punk irritation - it made for a nice combination.  Here Beastii come up with an aping that maintains the basic ingredients and is mixed in much the same manner as the original although the cooking levels have been turned up and there is a little more heat in the end punked pie. I am happy to nibble and give a thumbs up verdict!

Mr and the Mrs offer up 'Do The Octopus', a beast from 50,000 fathoms of swirling filth that appears from the murk like an unsettling overwhelm of cloying horror, trying its hardest to provoke a jigging response.  It is horrified in all aspects, this may appeal to some, and so it should, but as an assessor swimming in a shithole of honesty I have got to say the appeal is marred by the overdose of sonic sediment.   The Prissteens offer 'Stupid Nothing', a languid loll of slowly fixed thoughtfulness adorned with clear sheer vocals of the most natural kind.  Nothing pretentious here, nothing over-dramatic, just a steady crawl of music that has its place and captures a certain unassuming motion.

Atomic Suplex do the expected business with the kick-arse white noise of 'Who Do You Love'.  The screwed up and unstoppable force of this song propels the CD forward and adds a much needed bout of liberated mania to get the juices flowing.  It is a messy affair in some ways, a restless fuck in many others but the fact remains the song does what it sets out to do - sets the arse on fire.  The only innocence is found during the intro - beyond that it is all rock and roll devilry man.  Bummers Eve follow on with a ditty called 'Eve', a jangling jamboree of moving music that gets invaded now and again with some submerged singing that seems almost pointless.  I would have preferred a full-on instrumental burst here with the enhancements coming via wangled wires rather than troubled tonsils.  The early promise is diluted via the crowding vocals but with a resolute determination not to get dragged too far into 'Negativeland' I state that there is trembling titivation to be had here.

The penultimate song is by Mr Airplane Man and asks you to 'Believe'.  This is a kind of lost song that seems to never find its true sonic destiny.  Each component seems uncertain, the slow-roasted westernised blues appeal doesn't have enough impact and when the band subtly change the tempo it is all too brief and, may I add, 'tepid'.  Not my favourite - as you may have guessed.  The closure is called 'Showing Symptoms', a mid-piece clank wank by a crew known as Germ House.  This is an idle-handed drift of Luke-cool drawling that trundles up an acoustic incline with a certain doggedness and determination not to be done down.  Not a finger up the arse finale one may have wanted but in keeping with the CD's theme and endearingly messy.

I am through another compilation, and through one that has brought many challenging flavours to my palette and kept me on my toes - I don't mind that at all.  All boxes are there to be stepped outside of, the rules the masses make are in many ways flawed, go on ya curious tinker - have a peek at this why don't ya and fuck all boundaries.

   

BLACK STRIKE - 1, 2, 3

Formed in 2015 these alternative metal heads offer up a 3 track CD here and I take, rotate and assess as is my wont.  The 5-piece hail from Belgium and the sound emitted brings back visions of long-haired unemployed 30 year olds, still living at home, sponging off the state and enjoying the vibes emitted whilst enjoying a roll-up after mum's home cooked tea (you know the buggers I mean).  I stride into this one wary with underpants of fairness worn, the moths of doubt have been kept at bay, will the same apply to the todger of criticism?

'Rat' gnaws in, rises on its rear paws, causes a panic that sees a run for cover.  A prowl is indulged in before a riffed up release of rabid rock is spat our way.  The guitars copulate in unison, the skins slap out encouragement, the gob that comes jumps into the slipstream of the head-banging methodology and all those reclining redundants are beckoned to abandon their backside-based situation and get up and enjoy.  There are some good thumping vibrations going on here, a hefty movement that never abandons its set thread and ploughs away with direct and unremitting intent.  The number forces focus, it drills the mind into a zoned-in stance, the rhythm rolls forth and offers no escape - for those in the circle, this will be no bad thing.

'Tiger' prowls through the undergrowth, stalks its prey (yes, you the listener) and weaves a wicked path through any lush resistance encountered.  The guitar work winds in spirals before chugging with deliberate intent.  The skin work is almost ad hoc and reacts to the strung infection whilst the gob leads the way with strained accents squeezed out with intensity.  The mix is not my thing to be honest, it smacks of an early 80's rock but thankfully with a little less pretentiousness in the mix therefore I consider further.  The band have talent, bang home their constructions with might and mix up the design of the discordance with insight - not bad and a few good solo pulsation give extra life.

'Hunt' is the finale of the three, a tribal trawl that chants away on a sparse sonic substrate before rising in impact and providing us with a creeping curveball that throws the CD sideways.  The shamanic properties of the proffered product swirl with a trance/dance intensity that perpetually moves with a seeming underhand intent.  The hypno-suggestions draw one in and despite many spiked barbs holding me back I would be a vulgar and uncouth to stick a toe-cap into this one.  The mix is ideal for the theme taken, tidy man, tidy.

A trio of tasty treats that keep me guessing and dipping into many manky sub-circles of sound, each one with its own merits and trying tonality.  For me it is all about exploring, assessing and making one’s own objective opinion with honesty at the helm.  Here I feel that the band are in their own groove, will find adequate appeal to a few pit dwellers and in-between drifters - everyone needs their fix.

   

RICKY HELL AND THE VOIDBOYS - SELF-TITLED

Formed in 2017 and hailing from Cleveland, Ricky Hell and the Voidboys are synth assisted, off the wall and laden with a darkened streak of poisonous blood that is regurgitated and splashed your way with a direct and unassuming air.  The band have a tonal quality that is rough around the edges, perhaps too threadbare for some but with a strain many underdog prowlers may adore.  I like to scratch about in the soil of many unkempt gardens of dinnage, this is just a sample of what I come up with.

'The Valium' relies on unsettling tones that are shot through with withdrawal head flashes and mind sparks that anyone with a pill-popping reliance will recognise.  The delivery is blanketed in a cotton-wool of dumbing down effect that leaves a final output of a heavy eye-lidded arrangement.  Immediately the song slips by and leaves little effect, the more one indulges the more one is caressed by an uneasy hand - a strange start and not for those who like the obvious.  'I Love It' rust splashes before worming its way forth on a mix of dimmed coruscation and snake-charming absorption.  It is a curious mix that has a delightful disharmony built on street-urchin music full of DIY effect.  The grime in the garage may be a trifle overdone and the deliberate neglect a nuisance to many aural apertures but hey, not everyone can be pleasured in this acoustic world and if you are trying to do just that then you may as well pack it in.  I am not punctured with over-zealous joy by this one but am gently perforated and given an understated thrill.

Swirling on I go, 'The Feeling Is Alright' is a mentally disturbed song with a frosted overlay that partially covers the direct and doped dabblings borne from hands of automated cyberjunks who are in no way distracted from their programmed delivery.  Adjustment to this clinical and semi sci-fi happening is hard and  the seeming lack of emotion doesn't help matters at all.  This one I can take or leave.  'Friday Eyes' is a morose mover that feebly attempts to rise from the doldrums of deadening production and kick up something akin to a musical fuss.  It fails to deliver any such impact and I find myself at the risk of losing interest in this CD at such an early stage.  I replay to make certain of my decision, there is something there worthwhile of attention but I am just not digging this one - I can't be fairer than that!

'Apartment 9' is a display of where the artistes heads are at - cloud-fuckin' Cuckoo land - a place where noodles nudge at the peripheries of decency and concoct testing tunes many may not give the time of day.  This effort brings visions of an inflatable carousel, turning on a pivot of mistrust and causing sickness to the child-like riders who dare take a spin.  The colours are rich but severely molten and blur into one repeating rotation that I find...intriguing.  For those who ponder the pain of removing ones nipples with a pair of nail-clippers - here we may have a tune to tickle!  'Amphetamine Girl's defies its title and rather than be a scatter brain whizz along of hepped up mania is a sedate serenade to a lass unknown.  The whole construct is almost too much trouble for the players to finish, the background drone is soporific in the extreme and when the final flat-line comes - it is not unexpected.

A clutch of 4 for ya with no change in the acoustic approach.  'Streets Of Fear', 'Days In Hell', 'All 6's' and 'Play Money' are all oddments with a blanketed effect and worming invasions aplenty .  The first of the four has one trick, hollers, suffers from neuralgic noise twinges and refuses to elaborate on the theme set.  The second track grinds its gears with pot-doped dreariness that fails to rouse the inner neurones and from A to B this is another dumbed down track that just needs a kick up the arse.  Thirdly we get a piece of work that is almost Kraftwerkian in many ways and somewhat terrifyingly zombified in others.  Tis a nasty piece of labour this that magnetises an inner darkness and as me pondering - is this a good or bad thing?  Lastly, from this corrupt quartet we get a ditty that grooves in its own time-space and stays clear of any distraction.  This is akin to listening to music played in a vacuum with never any threat of an uplift or disturbing nuance invading the delivery - it does make one wonder!

Into the last 3 we go, 'Killing Season On Earth' is a frosted piece that overlooks a potential mass murder with little emotion.  The acceptance of brutality indicates something of a psychopathic detachment and I spin over several times to see if I am getting this shizzle right.  Mogadon mania for sure, I expected a change at this late stage, I haven't got it, I am disgruntled.  'U Look Like A Cop' dawdles in the midst of feedback Hell before finding a thread beneath the wanked and weird twinging.  A very futuristic episode of mental ill-health that refuses to play commercial ball and is happy to wallow in its own rusted, heavily dusted shitbowl of sound.  This spillage, despite its foul and unhygienic appearance has character and a certain depth although it is all down to the listener’s patience as to whether it will get any promising feedback.  I have given indication of my thoughts - you do the rest.  We close with 'Hiroshima', the final horror in a collection of terror tones.  We go through the usual motions, we stayed molested by a sonic blight that eats away at the goodness of each and every tune and leaves me...beaten.    I am totally down on this one and sign off mighty quick.

The problem here is that the band find a theme and stick with but due to the theme found lacking any excitement and general pizzazz I find we have a very testing effort on our hands.  All through the CD we are given one smothered serenade that maybe is designed for people in a haze, in a craze or...out of phase.  One thing is for sure, this CD gets a thumbs down from me and if they release anything similar...I don't wanna know.

   
   
   
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