FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 6
LOADED 44 - COME ON
Loaded 44 have blown my way several times over the last few years via emissions from the silver circle and once with an 'in the flesh' viewing. My thoughts were of a band remarkably efficient and blowing out some dazzling catchy songs with a front lass who has androgynous tones to inject many angles into proceedings. Due to this rating I maybe expected a little too much 'live' and came away after my lone sighting not fully convinced (maybe just one of those, who knows). Now, this band from North-East England come at me with another 11 tracks to dissect and do justice to, this time may it be said, the finely pushed STP label. I can only do what I do and do it to the best of my patient, attentive and passionate abilities, apologies in advance for any upset caused, humble acceptance had if I get somewhere close to the mark.
As if we were not already snagged enough 'Paper Heart' is the most gratifying song thus far with its commanding stance, non-porous noise spill and superb rock and roll vibrations that shudder the whole attentive framework and force one to go with the flow. Criticism seems futile at this point as this masterclass of thoroughbred musicianship must surely be impervious to negativity and thunders along its own toned track with resolute and impressive efficiency. The coming together of all quality components hits a new zenith with the loquacious lass in the lead given many undulations and tasty characterising channels to work her way around. The rise and fall, the general inner excitement and the constant nerve-thrilling life all create one helluva number to play til' the disc wears to sweet successful fuck all. 'Generation Idiot' does well to avoid an assessing thumping due to its unfortunate positioning and less spellbinding arrangement. It is a solid track, pulls out many Loaded 44 stops and travels with an assured wealth of belief and, despite following a gem, this one shines brightly and gives out a fine message against wired up morons who suffer from a dreadful detachment we should all avoid. 'Give It Up' pursues, does so on most excellent tones with the strung and sung compliments hitting a new level of profusion and utterly captivating this glugger of noise. There is a smooth lacquering of professionalism, a firm veneer that gleans with insight and within we have many inlaid embellishments that create further detail without constructing a Frankensteinian freak loaded with too much make-up and too much affect. A very real sensation courses through the veins through this and all other songs and we have another unblinking nod of appreciation as we also do with the chasing brilliance of 'Over And Out', a peppered and vinegared moment of spirited animation that yet again sets the pulses racing and the emotions roaring. The band are in a very definite groove here and are hitting hot spot after hot spot with well-measured bursts of energising music. Of course there is very little variation in tempo, theme or mode but there doesn't really have to be when such a rich vein of form is struck. Over a course of several albums the style would indeed need attention but fuck that, let us enjoy this while it lasts (I for one am expecting no cock-ups). 'Step Back In Time' is a statement I wouldn't advise, in fact I would say fuck the whole thing and keep moving forward with a zeal - oh hum. Anyway, for fear of digressing let us get to the song at hand, a real absorbing treat of semi-sugarised poppishness with plenty of joy de vivre and advancing advice. Again the tonality is splendid, the tight arrangement rewarding and the whole darn force of the song impressive. From the thumping build up, to the inescapable thread of the noise to the final flow out - lovely stuff.
I feel at this late stage that a sprint for the final breath is most advisable and I go into the last 4 with pace injected and fervour infected. As with the abdominal scrawl it continues to be 'Kick Ass Rock 'n' Roll' all the way with the repeat run-around of 'Only Ones' an easy pick up and join in effort loaded with the usual spices and sonic sanguinity that snaps at the heels before taking a big chunk of your listening arse. 'Shake It Up' delivers a meaner spite and has a more contrasting appearance between the vicious and the victorious. One side of the blade cuts deep, the other merely excites with glimpsed slices and, as per, I find praise dripping from the fingertips onto the keyboard and resulting in a critic free assessment - now then, who says I am a cunt. The penultimate track 'It's Not About You' (think on, it really fuckin' isn't) and a good old instant chant is had that will get the last standing swillers and swingers reeling with life afresh. This one is perhaps my least favoured track (by about 2%) and is slightly less liquid than all its predecessors. Saying that, it is still a concrete number to bound about to and with the bulging bass once more being given a chance to show how it strains the sonic strapping I would be a darn fool to put the boot in just for the sake of some fraudulent balance - fuck that, thumbs are still raised. We fuck off and finish with 'Love Myself To Death', a pounding close down of inner belief and resolute determination to look in the mirror with and come away satisfied. In some ways the two-play tactic could be read in the complete opposite manner with a narcissistic tune to be considered and that, certain level of ambiguity, is punkish through and through. It is a final full stop befitting of a talent drenched album that never rests on the ropes throughout the 11 round affair and throws many considerable punches along the way.
Loaded 44 have hit a new peak, they have come of a new age and have captured all their greatest elements and facets and bound them together in one neatly packaged showcase of sound. I look forward to catching up with them again and in the interim will certainly be rotating this one to utter buggery!
DEADFLOWERS - SELF-TITLED EP
Deadflowers recently played a Fungalised/Eagleised show and gave a very rewarding account of themselves with a performance that was etched with various generic shades such as garage punk, indified alternativeness and westernised rock and roll blues. I like bands that switch it up, avoid routine and ply their trade with their entire hearts absorbed, and so, as a matter of course, a CD came my way and a review was added to the ever-growing 'Things To Do' list. I shall not moan, I shall not gripe, I shall ping into the 5 track tuneage and tap out an assessment that may just border on something fairly close to the truth (as I deem it) - oh these impossible tasks!
I am aroused by Deadflowers (not literally of course, I much prefer flowers to be flourishing) and the aromatic pollen they disperse with such subtle abandon. For me, this kind of noise is worthy of a showing on any 'live' event and of consideration by anyone and everyone. I like this quite a bit ya know, I want ye to go out and partake and if you kinda get where its coming from go check em' out and give em' a show - keep the impetus moving!
SNIDE REMARKS - RESURRECTED
I cut a dash, move swiftly through the intro, time is better spent within the sinew of the sound rather than ponse on the epidermal peripheries. Snide Remarks are tunesmiths from Teesside with influences very much arising from yesteryear, the result of which means that the band will appeal greatest to the more elderly practitioners of punk, the ones with the swollen guts, perforated ears, dicky livers and sagging arses. That is not to say many a new fruit on the chopping board of cacophony won't be sliced and diced by the blade of noise brandished but I do believe the songs will slant towards the more mature eavesdropper to be fair. Anyway, there is your intro, let us delve together into the following mischief and glut our rotund frameworks with more nutritious noise.
'D. E. B.' is a crisply twinkled love ditty that travels on a texturised substrate of sound which holds much emotive craving and desirous dribblings. A sub-slushy mushy interlude with the main stimulant being the aforementioned delicacies. The execution of this alerted offering is commendable and the vocal style seems most suited to the delivery at hand and this tale of the heart gets by with a nod of agreement although I ain't sure about the abrupt closure. 'Rags To Riches' rock and rolls inwards before adopting a steady stance and going through a safe and stable routine that is hollowed, slightly rumpled and of a WMC dustbin bag style that will undoubtedly be picked up by those not interested in maintaining street cred or sonic intellectuality. Nude noise with warts and all on show but with plenty of nouse to maintain a fuckin' good standard set and to keep we, the mere mortal listeners, intrigued.
4 quick ones for ya with 'Complications' staring with a twilight twinkle before delving into a nitty gritty machine-like method that clanks and wanks away with persistent sub-garaged inflections and loads of lo-fi accents. A grubby little runt that somehow upholds a spasmodic rhythm - a veritable close call methinks. 'Golgotha' comes on initial deep cable shakes before a straight ahead direction with verse/chorus coming at you via a very orthodox routine. The band aren't pushing themselves here, they are somewhat just making a sweet ditty to make a point and keep the flow going. Nothing flamboyant, nothing flaccid and the inner brief explosion of mania shows that the band are not winding down yet. 'We've Got' is a far better song though, a bouncier affair that perks me up no end with its diatribe against systematic error, waste and basic stupidity that is ultimately ruining the future. The mix of angst and acoustic chirpiness is just what the Doctor of Discordance prescribed at this late stage and for me this track will reawaken any waning interest and stop the imps of apathy from clouding your mind (it happens tha' knows - these creeping corrupters are everywhere). The main winning aspect of this latter song, besides the trampolined tune is the appetite, vigour and generous collisions from the stated and almost celebrated - the chorus having especial effect. The last of the quick quartet is designated as 'Nonsense', a ditty that drives from an initial moodiness and soft fragility into a pulsating shimmer that unfolds into a rattle clatter rush along of quirky semi-confusion that becomes stoked with fiery guitar slashes, just on the leash vocals and a plentiful supply of whoa hoa'd encouragement - both lovely and lively - I couldn't ask for more...
but I will...
'Ugly' is put under the Fungal Radar and given a good attentive listen (several times over) with the verdict being of a capable track that twinges in before cramping up with deliberate organised grinding and a jerky sub-mechanical drift that persists more than it persuades. Touches of red light encouragement are never far away and the whole effort plods along until the last with reliable effect. 'Liberated Woman' is a more cluttered affair, has a distinct contrast between the direct and the drifting with verses routine and chorus cuts semi-collapsing and almost unpredictable. Some good old school guitar work comes in the break, the essence is distinctly of yore and again the vocal input provides identity - by this point you know what you are getting. We greet the final silence via 'See My Baby Tonight (The Guy Who Took My Baby Away)' a sing-a-long repeat jaunt that has a great viciousness and join in and pogo end of set feel that surely will full stop any 'in the flesh' performances with gratifying glory. A wisely chosen moment this to throw in a genuine appealer that will meet the fans needs and those who want something easy to digest at this late juncture - nifty.
Snide Remarks are a good band both 'live' and on CD and my appetite has been whetted by this latest silver circle and so I could very well do with another catch up in the pit. Nothing to really complain of here, just a solid CD that has no upsetting flaws and no lack of desire. For long term punk junkies this will be a decent fix and that is where the market will most probably be found!
D-LIBERATE - THE MISSING LINK
Hailing from Lancaster, that tucked away area on the River Lune that has many areas of natural interest to this old mooching swine, D-Liberate phlegm up a sonic substance built on purist tones from yesteryear and today. Very much a direct style that is gruff, under-processed and primarily blasted into your face with the fundamentals of the scene at the fore. Having recently impressed me on the 'live' stage I was keen to review their first offering and so ended up here, on the cusp of completing the required task at hand. Come on D-Liberate, back up that 'in the flesh' foray with a fine chunk of five here - is it too much to ask?
A four tap and into the earthy honesty of 'Tune Raider', a simply catchy DIY, naked bout of cobblestoned crud that we pigs of noise are more than happy to wallow in (in fact we have no choice). The guitars are superbly undercooked, the sticks are back alley slaps and the bass is a muddy underflow that undoubtedly stinks rotten with noisy detritus and acoustic effluence. The gobs are vital to completing the mix and lack such professionalism (thank goodness) and affectation (phew) that they are totally and utterly convincing to this punked twat. I hope the band maintain this vital mix and retain the natural cesspit of sound that smells so fuckin' good. This is not an easy area to master but when done with such declassed, dirty and decisive deliberateness it goes down a treat. 'Bastards Broadcasting Crap' fritzes in, re-tunes, re-wires, sticks on Channel Scuzz before chugging up with danger and then grasping a chance to crawl on barbed carpets of cacophonic filth. Ultra-gravelled and gargled vocal abrasions vomit up a slow and steady stream of anti-BBC wordage that is broken by a prowling hostility towards those pedlars of piss TV propaganda and persuasion. A solid break in pace and thrusting style and one that fits in quite perfectly to this simplistic 5 piece jigsaw (emphasis on 'jig').
'Passion Killer' ups the ante and nails a masterclass of how to wear your balls outside yer pants, bare your unclean arse, mouth off vicious tirades and still retain a certain acceptability and may it be said, decency! Those scummy opening threats are well received and the chasing discordance is swilled around the dirty glass of consideration and gratifyingly glugged. That chorus cut just does it for me, appeals to my primitive instincts and free and easy side and propels itself outwards with such fuckin' conviction that I gotta give this another mighty green lit rubber stamp of approval. Great stuff. The closure comes via the almost Oi-esque swing of 'The Missing Link', a slight alteration of mode but certainly not one that uses pointless adornments and sinister trinkets of tonality. No, this is another rough arsed 'say it how it is' delivery that indicates great insight into creating output from the heart of the matter - now that is important! Flamboyance is fucked off, substance is grasped, you can say what you want but these songs are borne from roots I have much faith in and this last song punctuates what is a bloody good bout of clonking punkage.
Sometimes the nipples of noise do not need tassels, the pubic mound of melody does not need grooming and the armpits of acoustica do not need shaving - no, the whole body of noise needs to be exposed just as it is and if that means that warts 'n' all are there for the critical eye then so be it. Take note, I always believe that this way is the best way of doing things and if a pile of shit, or a top rate hit are uncovered then so be it. Here, in my lowly opinion, we get a real treat to browse (especially if your lugs are long termed victims of a very special racket).
DISCHORD - HERE COME THE WEEDS
Dischord arrived into my worthless existence on an artistic tideline borne from fidgeted minds and delivered by careful mitts. The initial CD release and 'in the skin' showdown were both memorable moments and one, this manky, mischievous and much maligned music lover will take with him forever and beyond. More viewings were partaken of in between necessary CD revolutions that continued to raise tonal erections and send the cerebral testes all a quiver (needs must). This second spill-out from the Blackpool Bombers of mis-route was waited for with breath baited, masturbated forethought and with one hand on the bit just in case the crew failed to deliver the full orgasmic high expected. I like this band for many reasons, love their off stage manner and attitude but as per, cannot hold favours or patronise them with anything dishonest. If they want a good review I just hope they have bloody well deserved it.
Reeling forth as if struck by lightning we collide with the DIY coagulation slagged as 'Three Chords', a song built on a basic theory, given life by twisted gob styles and a unifying shout out that is zested higher with disagreeable sprinkles. A raw, swift kick in the seat of the pants of the peruser with passion aflame and intent obvious. In theory a revolution via a trio of discordant designs would be nice but it will only happen if the said chords are corrupted, crippling and non-compliant - keep stretching folks. Not my favourite track to be fair and one that could have been so much more whereas 'You And Your Disgusting Life' is a far superior jaunt with much patchwork, jigsaw jangling and nerve straining wandering. The opening telephone box sinisterism is soon blasted away by sturdy chanting and shotgun onslaughts of rapid-fire mania that blends into a more stated area that ultimately moves into a sub-chorus of simplicity. Throughout we have lyrical flare-ups frequently exploding in our faces with a severe fist fuck given up the arse of the foolish fakers, money makers and advantage takers who are totally detached and have no real substance. A fiery number of split personalities that can only be trusted for the impact it will make. The descent and ascent from the untamed to the controlled is superb and what we finish up with is an all round chunk of gratifying mental rape - yes! Next and a hippy-commune A-head bout of nihilistic, doom laden and factual negativity with a despair running deep within tired veins that pulse harder as the song eventually finds a true beat and throbs like fuck and goes from 'Words Won't Change The World' to 'Waiting For The World To End' in one wonderfully segued moment of high excellence. The second instalment is a biting gnat that raises many infected lumps and bumps which give us untold delight when scratched and abused. More unified rantings, thermal records smashed and repeated slogans slammed into your melting gunk - Dischord do this so fuckin' well.
Here doth closeth Part 1...
Fuck, fart, belch...
As the CD has unfolded thus far I have been quite startled by the diversity of dinnage and the all-consuming unpredictability of the output but, like any greedy cunt I have awaited a behemoth to bowl me over, a leviathan to utterly flatten any resistance I have...
Welcome to Part 2...
'Here Comes The Weeds' is blatant excellence that exceeds and outgrows what has passed thus far. Foot stomps demand attention, twisted wordage entwines around your soul, vines of inflamed passion come and, after a statement of the title, we get garrotted by a most delicious bout of powerful, rebellious resistance. The strings are stretched and given a full mauling whilst skins and cymbals are given a savage going over without apology. We somehow run headlong into a strummy scummy moment that raises us up into one final fling of the sonic shit that truly hammers this one into your neglected and idle brain - choke on it! 'Blackwatch' comes in 2 parts, the first of which is slagged as 'Having Fun'. A youthful suck off of discontent that takes the seeds of the system and spits them back with energised force and much restless spite. A skulking number that bursts from the trousers of tonality with venomous victory, spunking this way and that and leaving a trail of impregnated heads that will be forever doomed to Dischord Hell. This latter segment known as 'Nothing Ever Happens Anymore' is resultant thinking spat from ennui soaked victims who need an injection of sentient life and essential vitality. Critical needs are bared, a pellucid passion is there to be adored and this bi-ditty is another bolus of brilliance to gag on. 'Made Of Iron' is a trickle of disgust at design gone awry with escapism a transient sensation we are continually growing distant from. This rather settled moment is deliciously slipped into the pussy of proceedings and leaves a teased and pleased aspect that should not be overlooked.
3 left, 'Made Of Straw' is sheer philosophising of competent style with semi-cryptic scrawls indicating a need for more resistance and protest with the final worded sling promoting the power of the pen rather than the brutality of the sword (I like that). This is an unapologetic blast out that, if maintained, would create a nausea not easily suppressed, but here rifles the drawers of intrigue, tips out all contents and gets the listener all shook up, slammed and fuckin' involved. Madness dictates, the run riot stance is superb but even still the band manage to squeeze in a couple of off kilter opposing moments that trouble any sense of expectation we have created (oh such silly twats we are). A fascinating use of counterpunching, counter-balancing components as is the horror-laden 'Welcome Home', a rapido run through that is carnival terror, a fun-house fear factory set alight with malevolent melodic matches of mayhem that create a blazing disaster to masturbate over. Guitars and drums adopt a unified amphetamine rush that propel the listener into an ignited maelstrom of garish acoustic colour that will sear the retinas and liquidise the lug drums. Another example of focused power that twists inside and out and displays a beauty all of its own. The bonus song is there for extra titillation, this one is for you to assess, a veritable dropping from vultures of violence to stain your rhythmic raiment’s with - go grab it!
Something this way comes, an example of élan vital where something dormant erupts into thriving life. From the seed to the weed we are there to succeed and the bastards that try to keep us underfoot need to be constantly denied. A marvellous follow up this album to their opening classic - no mean feat and just a firm indication of how good this band are (like I have always believed). Long may this continue - now get out there and fuckin' support em'.
DIRTBOX DISCO - ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY
An intro, you mean to tell me you need a fuckin' intro to a band who have been on an upsurge since their first release and are continuing to turn on many turnips with their catchy sing-a-long whoa hoa'd heavy constructs and highly entertaining 'live shows - you must be fuckin' stupid. No, we shall get straight into the mix here and after one glowing review, one that was decent and one split down the middle I am keen to get going at this point and deal with the bands 4th output in what has been a very fruitful period indeed. So if you want an intro you better write your own or make it up as you go, I can only give you so much and have better things to do than re-belch up the same old flavours - blah!
For starters, you fetid farters, you get the mightily effective sonic splat of 'Guest List' a no-nonsense forthright stampede that runs like a tetchy stallion from the first twinge to the final gob off. Pure primitive noise making with no apologies added for the intrinsic basicness and boisterous driving that gets on with proceedings and repeatedly hammers the sonic ball right into the back of the aural net - wham. A tune to get the CD rolling, one the piss-artistes will adore when played 'live' and a sure-footed start to a much anticipated album. 'The Art Of Conversation' has more delicate shadings via a light dusting of stringwork that soon gets hardened up via a sturdy tympanic thumping and some sweetly unified holler harmonies. The melt between the verse and chorus cuts is ideal, the flow weighty and less cheesed than some of the DBD produce but still retaining a good captivating and 'jump up and join in' slant - nice!
And so forth...
To the grand blasting of 'Fat Twats And Scumbags', a song that starts under pressure, striving to rise from a mental tension that is surely going to consume the whole framework if a true hard-shitting release isn't had. Luckily it comes, a real gastric band bursting roar that is foul mouthed, aggressive and free punching with a methodology used that takes the band into differing realms other than the fluffy cushion whoa hoa sugar land in which they win most favour. Good to see that instead of appealing to the sweet toothed twats out there they kick all choppers out instead - ooomph! Next and 'Something In My Eye', and back to the usual stance, with relationship blues, cornball chorus and sickly sweet tones dripping from an abundant honey tree shimmering brightly in a self-made incessant zephyr. The band rock it up a little more, turn the thumbscrews a little tighter on the hands of the ignorant and I feel, on the whole, the band have another delightful ditty to nod along too. Nothing outrageous, nothing numbing - just solid fodder for the ones who want to bop without concern.
4 swift bits, quick shits, nifty tits - whazzam - 'I Don't Wanna Know Your Name' is a recurring bout of awfulness and despite the solid sound production the song offers absolutely nothing new and has a distinct blandness I find most ugly and insulting - a shocking inclusion. 'Crushed' gathers up the usual clichés, characteristics and nuances and travels on light feet with a sugary emotive slant that has a touch of bitterness thrown in for good measure. It is nothing more than a tuneful tale of love gone wrong and even if you are sick to the back teeth of these DBD upchucks you would be a really nasty cunt if you didn't agree that they do it so bloody well. 'Dirtbox Disco' is a fuckin' full on tear up that will melt the most dullard of minds with its overall force-feeding gusto and rump-ramming robustness. A real fiery affair that reaches for the max, pours in the acoustic amphetamine and roars along with much gutsy relish. The heads of the noise noodles are down, they know their destination and they hit that final wall in one bloody heap of necessary and rewarding triumph - a cracker.
We flit from the swift episodes of textual shit with the obnoxiously entitled 'If You Wanna Sexy Bird Join A Band' - ooh err and a moment that could force me into a rant about women selling their small minds short for some vicarious vagina exchanging existence just to raise their own profile or, indeed the men in bands who are happy to dip their bits in the orifices of any old low self esteemed bint just for the sake of emptying the bag and boasting - for once I'll keep schtum (well, nearly)! The opening sequence of this song is delicately attractive and is wonderfully delivered and done with such gratifying fragility whilst showcasing a whole new range of possibilities for the band to explore. What follows are many cream-whipped chorus cruises, more pampered acoustica and a showcase of contrast and having a feel for youthful, solitary awkwardness and fear, a good insight into those the drama and emotional problems of those formative years where heads go up arses and hormones throw many balanced moments askew. Excellent all round if you ask me!
And you know the script by now - of course, 4 swift overviews (again).
'Please Don't Wait For Me' thunders in, stops, shouts 'hey' and repeats before going through a vocal heavy verse that has fantastic appeal and is punctuated by a usual DBD chorus cut. A pause for thought with lightning struck heat exposed and through to the final rush with ease. Screaming along the highway of success next is the top gear driven delight of 'Really Fast Car', a sweet ditty for petrol-heads and teenage dreamers who want a vehicle to impress (silly cunts). This is ideal driving music to break the sound barrier with, a really weighty piece that banishes the clunk click before the drive and opts for dunk dick after it (be it with a bloke or a dogging bitch - nasty). The band are obviously into this one and deliver it with savoured desire and belief. Once more don't expect a leakage of originality, don't expect to get yer genitals burnt by the exhaust pipe but just go along with it, wind down yer mental windows, let the sonic breeze blow through yer lugs and...have it! There are many reasons why DBD appeal outside the claustrophobic punk rock box (oooh what a smelly place it is) and the following track, namely 'Day After Tomorrow', is a classic example of one of them. Pick up and throw away trash can pop that takes little thinking about and is destined to pick up the spirits of the most easy listening loon. Perfectly flown and mixed (as is the consistent case) and smoothly delivered via every functioning component this is simply cheap fodder for open gobbed masses who like to avoid danger and discordant disturbance - hey each to their own and DBD prove to be one of the best exponents of this sub-scene shizzle. 'Ladyboyz' however is not to my liking and is a penny dreadful thrill built on overly comedic needs and 70's crudity that lacks any subtlety. I don't mind the retro coarseness of course but this tune is too corned for its own good and has a middling pace and blatant infantile lyrics that don't do the band any justice at this 4th album stage. I expect more, but do the punters? I suspect I may be in the minority - fuck it!
And to close...
The final end of set cheese that is buttered up, laid on thick and drips with huggy, cuddle oiliness that many will want to get fat on or indeed just swing their asses to without pondering too deeply. 'All Day Long' is what it is and I am neither erect or flaccid at its crooning smoothness but in a state of mere semi-firmness - hey ho. I may need tablet assistance, I may be right in what I say or I may be totally wrong but whichever way I look at things I know this is a fuckin' good band signing off another decent album - what can ye say?
So DBD do their thing, have worked off their arses, have hit a winning streak and are moving along without taking too much risk. All you the listener has to do is take it for what it is, love it or loathe it or, like me, pick out the juiciest bits and admire. Long may the bands success continue and here's to many a fine gig to come. See, I may be critical but the good guys I always encourage!
THE WEBB - IN A DARK PLACE
Another treat from this electro-duo who have a distinct charm both on stage and, as equally important, off. They hail from The Wirral, a place I know only too well due to many wildlife excursions and long ago trips to a gaff called The Iron Door where many a fine punked outfit played their stuff with much success. Primarily, what we get delivered by this couple of plugged in cacophoneers is wired up gothika with injections of various sub-genres such as alternative, indie and punk thrown into the end acoustic cauldron. A darkness pervades as well as a balancing lightness and after being convinced both 'live' and on CD I look forward to this release with much saliva dripping from the jowls (nasty bugger).
First up and 'My Dying Wish' swells its carcass before computerising forth on a echofied elegance that gothically skips amongst tonal tulips of black and icy greyed grasses. The thoughtful skincrawl frost is left to kiss the monochrome growths and is borne from lungs of seeming abandon and detachment and so adds extra sinisterism to the overall unsettling repetition. The Webb somehow make quality art from very little, construct complexity from simplicity, confound the senses with the merest suggestion and that is why this opening poppet gets me fully in the groove for what is to come. 'Kill Someone' is a cold and detached number pervading the atmosphere with ghostly statements and icy corridor suggestions that float on mists of melody and slightly baroque keyed susurrations. Curtains billow inwards, bleak reflections of invisible characters caress walls and phantom fingertips unsettle the senses as they pitter patter up the spine. The foreboding gothika that pulses with almost imperceptible life is deliciously delivered and with those ideal stand-offish tonsils sidling in we have a minor minimalistic gem.
Turning a corner we are met with the automated regulation and fizzed uncertainty of 'Social Media', a real acute digging machine that questions your on-line motives and those chasing consequence that dictate and destroy and take away any sense of privacy you think you have. The twisted accuracy of the statement delivered copulates wonderfully with the increasingly unsettled backdrop of plastic electro noise and with moments that threaten a crash, snippets that suggest a viral corruption we are kept nicely provoked and intrigued - I particularly like this one and appreciate the questions posed. 'Integrity' tumble functions into futurised realms with a cruising conviction and slightly out of sync peril that does just enough to scrape by with a sketchy verdict of the positive. I think the song just lacks that little bit of zest and rather somewhat pangs for an extra boost of jerkoid, jangle juice that would pep up the whole puppet of sound and add a crucial drama to the whole effort. Not bad but not great and I move one with trepidation in my ticker.
A wired up waltz in meandering method is what comes next via the gliding and neatly spun 'Black Widow', a crystal construction that dances majestically on tepid tootsies that are under no circumstances going to be rushed. Nervous anxiety does rise toward the latter end but it doesn't detract from the grace and elegance of what has already transpired. On we go and 'Never Be The Same' is slightly cursed and the utterances that come are borne of Bedlam, sent through lobotomising laboratories and are now at rest in a graveyard of loss. The eerie sinisterism, somewhat placid discomfort, the underscore of agitation are all held on the leash by the vixens grandiose pronouncements and the key merchants overall manipulation but, no matter how one tries to evade the unease, it is always just over your shoulder.
Title Track, the best of the lot for me, a thoroughly spiced up digitised jig that still prods and pokes at areas out of bounds, still stretches those metallic and radio-controlled wings but one which has fine contrast between the driven and the dabbling. When tempo is raised again we see the band appeal more and with the continued accent of whirring dynamos and sound system searching the success levels rise. 'In A Dark Place' captures what the band are about, just settle down and let the warped rhythmic waves crash against your soul. Following is a command of 'No Instructions', an initially palpitated membrane that is scored with laser slashes and eventually misshapen by unholy mutterings. The factual words emphasise the lunatic cruelty of life, the tersity of our existence and the way we are thoroughly at the mercy of Lady Luck. If one dwelt too long on these pertinent points suicide would surely be contemplated (been there, pondered that) and one has to stand back and admire the forthright way in which the band dish out the death soaked dirge. A totally misery inducing number, one that seems an almost impossible creation by two wonderful people but there ya go, behind closed doors, inside the dark recesses of the mind...something morbidly attractive is found. Any pervert worth their is salt will be interested in this offering and like a scab that shouldn't be picked you will find yerself drawn back to it, over and over again!
The final pair and 'Plastic Child' leads the way, like a spasmed marionette jerkily escaping confinement and chasing down many a victim with evil intent this one is B-Movie revenge with an angular somewhat cubist essence seems to have a tilted and multi-jointed mentality never to be trusted - a toy box oddity that may contain parts on which you could choke. We close with the Spectrumised simplicity of 'Death Is Calling', a malfunctioning funeral march to the final silent oblivion and whether you bring about the toneless blackness with your own hand or accept it as it comes there is no denying that eventually it will consume you (as very much stated here). A grim grind to your resting place done with minimal rhythm, spartan spirit and lifeless transparency - one not to play if you are on the happy tablets. Once again, in fear of being accused unhinged, I find this an appealing curio for all the delightfully negative reasons.
The Webb have me ensnared, I have crawled a little too close for my own safety and now I feel as though I have been captured, bound up and am prepared for a long devouring process. I don't mind this, the cable tremors that are emitting my way are bringing many pleasant sensations, be they terrorising or titillating. This is a band to cultivate and provided they swap and change the tempo and style and keep throwing in awkward angles I reckon the future is looking pregnant - pregnant with the much sought after runt of critical acclaim - I certainly hope so.
FOXES FAUX - FOX TALES
Gyppo juices and folky fluids run through the veins of this erudite and highly competent band whom pour forth a sound that is far from unique but is a much welcome blast of refreshing class in an underground environment where many go to kick the bollocks into a state of arousal rather than rely on careful, considered touches that result in equalling highs. Fuelled by overspilled energy from a land of Swami this is very choice musicianship and takes me by the hand into an arena I am always happy to dawdle in. I need not prolong the intro, I have many tunes to cut open and give a verdict to and so, with the sonic scalpel at the ready and lugs agape I slice inwards and into the bowels of the noise. Oh just to add the band were formed back in 2010 around the area known as Keighley - a name that brings back memories of 1970's late night Rugby League shows - oooh errr me odd shaped balls!
First up and the snapping jaws of 'Cops And Robbers' a first class bout of feistily strung music that erupts many times over into an incandescent montage of flaming blooms that sway hard in a self made breeze of fluent acoustic enunciation. The exactitude of the composition is instantaneously rousing and effective with the punctuated invasions liable to do more than just get those tootsies tapping. The noise has a noble and breezy gusto and with an accomplished vocal option taken this opening chunk of sound will satisfy many, many hungry music gorgers. From one A-grade exhibition of exemplary sonic creation we plunge into the equally outstanding 'Fidel Rocero', a pleasant well-collected meander into fields of peerless subtlety and tranquil tonality that will quell any uncertainty you may have conjured up in your doubting noggins. The dew kissed guitar sparkle, the easy travelling drift and the serenity saturated hang loose oral offerings all ease their way between your cerebral sheets and make merry comforts and sincere sonical canoodlings. Tepid but with a tendency to slowly burn at any resistance this most mouth-watering morsel is one to chew on continuously to get that full on spicy flavour. 'Isabella' is a song I first reviewed on a compilation, which one I can't remember but I do know that it made a massive impression and brought much arousal to my noise heavy soul. A crisp and well attended bout of more brilliance with the slightly melancholic mixed with the mundane and somewhat marvellously injected with a winning strain of hope and refusal to lose. The whole trinket of sound is worn with satisfying sincerity by each and every dabbler and I sink into the warm comforting confines of this song and snooze to the rhythm with a wake up call ringing with true rewarding success. For me this thirst thriving episode of perfection fist fucks the fact that this crew are the real deal and are doused in melodic know how and attention to deal insight - believe me, I bullshit not!
'Alien' has a tentative approach via the verseage and hiccups its way forward in the most uncomfortable fashion displayed thus far. I await a cruised moment and get it delivered my way through a simplistic chorus that floats away and raises the song into higher echelons of praise. I juggle the liked and slightly disliked around my considering palate and try to make a decision. I examine the precise music, the gossamer touches within the more obvious weavings and then throw it all up in the air and make a judgement of undecided but convinced by many parts - oh bugger. 'Do I Waste My Time' seems the most pertinent question at the mo and I examine the contents with eager beaver digits and come up with a song that has, maybe, the least effect of the lot but, if taken for the curious dainty that it is, it will no doubt appeal to a large glut of listeners. A fractured affair that takes a little adjusting to and another I find myself unsure of, this time with a swing to the negative whereas the chasing 'Rioters Queue Here' stamps its passion into my head and leaves no doubt as to its quality and intent. The dramatic undulations, seasoned naturalness, earthy and passionate eruptions that continually rouse the inner rabble make this an agreeable discharge and one that re-sparks any waning vigour and wandering attention. There is a robust essence built within this tune, a thoroughbred determination and a wide shouldered stance taken that imposes itself and leaves a grand shadow over your outlook.
A batch of 3, 'Jinxed' leads the way, and does so with a pronounced crush of tones before hopping along on a see-sawed undulation of vitality that sees much fiddling, flailing and fidgeting. At times we hit more sliding whooshes and are carried into a most refreshing zephyr whereas at other points we are swung back and forth with much dynamic energy. And still the impetus is high...but, time for a cool down, a chance to walk away from the lofty animation and to sit back in a sun-kissed arena and soak up some solar sonica that eases many pains. 'One By Two By Three' is a floating caress of a number that stretches the tonsils onto plateaus new with a greater rush eventually had but with emphasis still on the casual. The only gripe I have here is with the vocal aspect and whether it is as icicle clear as it should be. It seems deliberately murked, definitely left grubbily cavernised and as a result the hit level falls. A nice alteration of acousticised orchestration but along with the vocal blip I feel that a full dramatic sensation is not fully achieved and the running time is too long thus the song drops from a rating of good to just above average. The third breakdown in this lump of three is known as 'Mountains', a dungaree'd jig around with finger jugs drained, tootsies knackered and breeches dusted. A sharp jive ass jaunt that has sunshine strings abounding and bean jump skin work in constant supply. When pace increases the gob needs to find that little extra and here it does - and still maintains a lucidity and gratifying edge. A thoroughly captivating piece this that has many admirable touches and clean cut intersections that blend and compliment in equal measure. Foxes Faux at their best here, riding on the back of their own waves with aplomb and bright, shiny sanguinity - go, go, go.
'Tether' is a more languid droplet from the bough of tonality with a smoothness and somewhat reposed ambience floating through the entire liquid donation. Construction wise the consistency is pliable and less firm as found elsewhere on the CD and there is a certain retro romanticism that will appeal to the literary leaning listeners who like nothing better than to read of windswept moors, emotive involvements and bleak backdrops that sit heavy on the heart. Hey, all I can give is the sensations that arise and hope you fall into the drift. The judgement is of a less effective song but one that has depth to the character. 'Fisticuffs With Magic Ben' is a more sturdy affair and more assured of its design with a chopping accent pounding beneath the cloud floated vocals. A counter-balancing mix that opposes throughout and staggers through parts with unorthodox routine. It shouldn't work, it is on the cusp of over-complication but, thanks to the mastery of the mode by hands heavily tattooed with talent, we get another ditty to dissect and delight in. I am not too sure about the pugilistic slant in the midst of the tune but it will almost certainly work 'live'. 'Liars' is a lesson in how to create magnificent cacophony bordering on classical status with such natural aplomb. The impetus, the mix, the gentle rise in all passions and the whole damn application come superbly together to make a masterpiece of triumphant excellence that takes this CD to a new resounding zenith. Just admire the nuances, the care taken and the fragile twists that need to be managed just right so as to avoid a song not meeting the 100% success level. A choice moment, a vessel to highlight the bands brilliance - and why not indeed?
We close with the hay bale, rumpy pumpy, arse flinging chirpiness of 'Banjoutro', a high flown instrumental that has its breeches set alight, its arse kicked and its belly filled with moonshine. No need for a great autopsy here - just kick yer feet, reel around and have fun. A rum free-for-all to close a thoughtful CD of abundant artistry - wheeee!
Foxes Faux are quality, are a band who can jump in and out of many boxes, play their stuff and leave faces smiling and ears ringing with unadulterated pleasure. I have still to catch em' 'live', they are one of those elusive eels that come so close and yet slip away just as I am about to grasp them. I have my mitts on, they grip firm tha' knows - Foxes Faux watch out!
THE LOONS - MISS CLARA REGRETS
As soon as I mention the fact that this 2 track CD is on Dirty Water Records you may, if tuned in right, have some inkling as to what will transpire - and so you should. The Loons offer up here 2 simplistic tracks that ache with 60's psychedelia borne from a well-worked garage of noise that has served the band well over many, many years. The scratches of sound from many punked exponents of those early days run deep and when blended with the aforementioned flavours we have a primitive mix to excite.
We plunge in with the A-Side, 'Miss Clara Regrets', a broken glass cut, a spilled ashtray, a shit stained slaggery - a song that comes from low-slung attitudes in dark dives where the music has no pretence. Here the guitars collide in tin can alley raucousness, the sticks have tribality as well as free form patternisation whilst the gob spits and spouts with a seeming sneer throughout. Far from fluid the song is a jittery jaunt done with sanguinity and much appetite with numerous nuances from yore etched within the grain. In part the bass is left to throb, it takes us to the final repeat of a fair track!
The B-Side and 'Alexander' is a meaner yet cooler affair with a panging to fulfil roaming desires and to keep the listener tantalised. A song that could almost be donated from a different crew with a steady chorus cruise that has a planed out feel and a slightly uncomfortable essence despite the guitar twists and decent mouth work. Never fear though, any doubts erected will soon be withered by the glorious chorus drift that sees he/she vocals unify and glorify as well as attaining exacting sub-generic highs and in-scene sensations. Bear with this one - I reckon I feel a grower here - tha' never knows.
So 2 tasters and there just to whet thy appetite. Would you like to hear more, are you willing to delve deeper? Well on this evidence I am sure it wouldn't be a loss to anyone.
PETER 118 - MAKE IT OR BREAK IT
What better way to start than with the apt biblical quote - 'For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from' - have that then. Self-proclaimed Christian punkiness here which I am sure will have many of you gnashing and some of you salivating - now that is a good thing. From the mere mention of what transpires I know controversy will be had and for me, as long as what comes is done with passion and belief, I couldn't give two hoots about the bias and sway out there. The guy under the spotlight played bass for 'Senseless' for 10 years and did a 2 year stint in the Christian rock band 'Risen From Ruins' and is now going solo and strutting his faith-filled stuff - and why not? You want free speech, you want liberation, don't choke now if something arises that you find uncomfortable - be consistent!
First up from the pile of waste is a ditty called 'Don't Listen To A Word I Say' a number that bowls me over with its thirsty radio-driven passion and wrap-around simplicity that is so easily picked up on and joined in with. The saturated mix is delightful and in some slight respect reminds me of a Sugarised Huskery Du'de moment. The impression made harvests immediate respect and I bound around with this one and take pride in the fact that some people are out there, doing their thing and showing disregard for in-built scene slanted rules and regulations. If this cracking opening burst isn't enough then 'Radio' whips up the enthusiastic foam even more with a wonderful episode of bountiful chordage that tears through resistant layers and gives an ample supply of memorable piston pumping moments. The opening crispness of the sub-acoustic zest is delightful and paves the way for a great riffed up poppoid surge of brilliant noise that billows higher due to nothing more than abundant talent, a keen knowledge of the generic outflow and an superfluity of genuine spirit. Vocally and musically exciting and exact - mesmerising stuff. To complete one of the most exciting opening hat-tricks that I have heard for a long, long time we get smacked in the face with the thoughtful 'Break Em' Out', a tune that is less surging but in no way less convincing. Again we have production levels to drool over, a blatant hunger to get across a personal message within a darn good melody and an utterly honest approach. The lyrics will have some mockers doing their thing from their high and mighty judgemental thrones but for me the music over-rides the allegedly debatable wordage although I have full respect for anyone with a faith that they use to be a better person. The song here is a really rewarding listen and is another of those songs that will trash the repeat button and keep nagging yer head when not rotating away. A trinity of tuneful triumph - get in the groove, move and appreciate what is going on here!
Forwards we go, 'United We Stand', firm, self-assured drum work, teasing twinkles from the guitar and a chant along of unifying desire. Follow this by a gob burst foaming with life, power and need and what we have is a simple formula given zest by the sheer excellent insight and application of the artist. There is an ambiguity to the lyrics so that those who have faith and those that don't can all use this as a head-clearing episode of kick back energy. Short, to the point and mightily effective - seems like the order for the day. '21 Again' captures those elements that make great skater cum pop punk that is both youthful and naive but yet, confusingly, aged and knowledgeable. A full chirp is had from a beak very much in tune and one that is producing delightful trill after delightful thrill. The overall acoustic acumen exhibited and the mastery of the melodic tasks all have me pondering when was the last time I heard such downright effective sure-fire poppism - a tough poser indeed. So the exuberance and gumption continue to billow forth from terse and incisive concoctions - can we get through the last two unscathed - fingers crossed!
'We Don't Need It' and 'Perfect King' are the closing brace, both offer many elements to enjoy with the former a folky jolt of uplifting advancement from the negative to the positive. Crisp strings, a joy filled essence and a man at the fore with a soul on fire all help matters of course. The latter song is a tight arrangement that leaves no room for error with a well-driven drill and consistent head down approach. Less melodic than the rest, more determined with emphasis on the message rather than the tune but I particularly like the ‘foot off the gas’ moment that separates the general flow and just saves this one from a good boot up the arse.
Peter 118 comes, Peter 118 teases and pleases the palette, Peter 118 goes. I know how this will be met by the rank and file and the prisoners of the pigeonholes but I also know some free thinkers who will embrace it, enjoy it and respect it for what it is. If you are in the latter category then good on ya – you won’t be disappointed here. Up the pop, up the punk, up the fact that many flavours are there to be savoured.