FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 7
NO FEALTY - THEY LOVE THE SOIL WHICH MAKES THIER GRAVES
As Bandcamp scrawls it 'Copenhagen based crust/hardcore band. We care about fast, loud, abrasive and aggressive music, politics, DIY and nice people' and who am I to argue. Released on 5 Feet Under Records this is blistering power violence that will shudder even the most sturdy of frameworks and reduce many a man mountain to a quivering wreck of nervous submission. You have been warned, this black sledgehammer of sound takes no fuckin' prisoners brother and you could be next in line for a skull-cracking demise! Right I am going to be brutal too here, in a terse kind of way, and sum up the CD in a good nutritional lump.
Commencement takes place under the banner of 'Foreshadowing', an intrumentalised sludge slap of decadence that poses a virulent threat and carefully sidles forth into the range of your attentive zones. The heavy duty, crippling beauty of the initial riffage and grind grips are mouth-wateringly decadent and the truly absorbed will be delighted to known that the black glutinous ruination that will be forced to spill from their diseased genitals will be nothing short of terminal. Lay down, accept the following death beat and make sure you have nothing left to offer when this swift, pulverising CD is done. Magnificence is soon escorted by mayhem as Bedlam is torn asunder, the lunatics rum amok and acoustic rape is committed in numerous defiling ways. Wannabe hardcore merchants need only aspire to these shuddering, juddering levels to put themselves in good, dangerous stead. The searing filth of 'Abeer Qassim Hamza' is a mind melting mess of organised one-two punching with following flurries of maximum aggression. An intolerance to war, the scapegoats used, the molestation of decency are all thrown into a howling gale that tears ones cacophonic clothing to shreds and leaves a bewildered, badly beaten and bulldozed naked carcass behind. Another consistent gargantuan moment to get off to.
'Trials Of The Dead/Trials Of The Living' is meat-flinging murder committed in an asylum of debilitating frustration where eternal agonised questions are asked and yet answers never seem to come. The band play it as per - tight as fuckery, abrasive as ever and without any thought for mellowing out the flavour. This one is only 50 seconds long, the damage it does in such a short running time is more than a little noteworthy - wham! Next up and the wonderfully entitled 'Patriotism Is A Maggot In Their Head', another looming presence that kicks open the door of discordance, states its presence and then comes flying with limbs flailing and smashing everything in sight. It may just be that this is the most orthodox runt in this pile of reeking barking bastards and certainly has a superb organisation within the blurred montage of violence. A truly impressive burst and followed by the similar 'Dethroner' a song that pushes ones mental capacity and nervous tension to the utter embarrassing brink. This is once again a pounding push to get you on a precipice from which there is no escape. Guitars await to mince, sticks prepare to pummel, throat gets ready to aurally fuck you, yes you the victim, the curious eavesdropper who had no idea that such a perilous situation was waiting. Once more the band play a stunner and if this is your kind of sonic heave ho then go jump in with both feet and get hammered.
I will pile drive the last three and head to the last brick wall with plenty of pace so as to accentuate the last bloody assessing mess. 'Partition' is 20 seconds of devilry with warning lyrics and a crushing adoption of racket whereas 'Deserter' is 2 minutes 31 seconds of devilry with warning lyrics and a crushing adoption of racket - wink, wink. The first is a fist in the face, the second a fist up the jacksie - both are painful, cause much discomfort, are in no way swerving from the set theme, a theme the band take and truly bulls-eye with repeated, disarming brilliance. Even if you are outside of this box it doesn't take a connoisseur to realise this is 100% bang on the mark. Bass, guitar and sticks are the fuel for the flamed vocals to use as an urging motivator that will see the heap of charred victims rise higher and higher. We shut down with 'End Of The War' a song that blows all fuses, corrupts its own surviving decency and self abuses to such a distorted magnitude as to be almost rancid. This one pauses and postures and twinges out like a fleeing lamb from the debris of all out carnage - it hurts as per, it is, surprisingly my least favourite track and doesn't leave an aftertaste like its pulverising predecessors - hey, even the best slip up at times.
Despite the last morsel not being to my personal liking this CD is a downright stunner, providing constant blast after constant blast of granite grinding tuneage that is well and truly absorbed. Of course I won't be spinning this CD regularly (not good for the mental state of affairs), and I don't know many that will (it is an acquired taste) but when I do, I will still be appreciating what a sub-generic triumph it is - and remember 'if you are gonna do your shit do it to the best of your ability' - like the example shown here!
THE BURNT TAPES - WASTED HISTORY
Four chums from Athens and now living in London these minstrels of melody come forth and offer up 5 tracks of grungey punkiness that may not fall into everyone’s lap of listening comfort which is, undoubtedly, a major winning aspect. They have been on the go for just over a year now and it seems like a full on momentum needs to be embraced. Well, if the tracks here are half decent and I do a fair job with the key tapped appraisal then maybe, just maybe, more gigs and more interest will follow - it is all I can do. Saying that, if the whole shebang is truly cruddy then there ain't nowt I can do and I can almost hear the pull of the chain and the flush of ambition going down the pan with all the other ineffective effluence - oh the fuckin' joys! Anyway why ponder the negative, let us chomp on before pulling the plug on any hope!
To the last two and ‘Hang Your Friends’ leads the way with yet another serving of nonporous, close-grained clattering that jackhammers in part, sandpapers in others and thrives throughout. Switches between components is subtle, the stimulating animation levels are consistently high and the flurry and flow factors are unstoppable. A song again with much weight, the only minor gripe is that it doesn’t have enough variation as a standalone or as part of this tidy pack. The same can be said of the trailing closure slagged as ‘Tiny Battles’ but here more bare flesh and bollocks are exposed and the band dig deeper within the gut and push on with a resounding roar. True, the platform from which the sound radiates is on a level with all that has passed and again variation is lacking but hey, this is a five tracker and if truth be told, is a solid mix of heave ho acoustica with much to build on. The bands intention seems to be to sizzle the senses and get attention with intensity and they sincerely do that with this last track closing proceedings well.
The Burnt Tapes need giggage, need your attention and need to be encouraged - this 5 way offering may provoke some get up and go in your arse and hopefully will bring thee several minor pleasures. As long as the band are prepared to mix it up on further jaunts and maintain their skill and articulate approach I can't see why they don't rise through the strata and start getting some real notice - the ball is in their court (and in the hands of Lady Luck - what a bitch she is).
OH!GUNQUIT - EAT YUPPIES AND DANCE
Looking on the bands Facebook account prior to tapping out a careful, honest and decently detailed account of what is happening here I see the band label themselves as Rumble-Bop, Trash, Blitz and Surf. Nice! Hailing from London Oh!Gunquit interbreed many sub-flavours, create pregnancies from many raw-boned chemicals and give birth to a sound that, although not bursting with originality, has a very convincing vitality and identifying slant. I am forever wandering and weaving in and out of different sound pools and here again I find something delicious and untypical to salivate over.
Into the 'Sinkhole' we go, a low-fi accented tympanically ticking piece of sub-trashy spillage that is tossed around the bowl of sound, given a condiment splash of shadowy clashed spice, invaded with a pseudo-sci-fi inflection and vocalised over with feisty garishly coloured girliness (something to be proud of). The assistance of he hollers and crisp string quivers all accentuate the song and give it a tidy ass wiggle that appeals, although from here on in I am expecting a rise in stature - what a greedy pig I be. A shady noir-esque tremor welcomes us into the stated grandeur of 'Head Bites Tail' a strutting and sleek member of the musical montage with a feline feel that slinks in part and now and again raises its fur and shows a real acute side that will surely go for the peepers if any messing is had. Glintings, whoa hoa's, mean furrowed intentions and some absorbing directions taken, this piss and patch up delight is well admired and although not a routine pill to swallow make sure you chew on it and consider!
And on into 'Caves' we go, a ditty with a straight off the bat grab twang that itches in to a grasshopper like flicker lick and cool tongue seduction. An apparent tension is always present, a certain stress on the tonality that is on the precipice of eruptive releases but is somehow held in very serious check. Visions arise of Go Go Girls caught in a wires of a tuned web of glistening intrigue with each thread providing perfect trembles to tease - how odd? 'Bad, Bad Milk' is a groovy tune with simplicity and good old rock and roll passion juiced up with some brassage in the passage and she-bop desire that enhance the somewhat sexually active vavoom that pours from every orifice of this animated celebration of jigaroono sound. The tumbling essence is held together with trained mitts of melody and I reckon we have a nice squeaky clean routine to satisfy here.
Cracking on and 'Hope In Hell' initially duels before hollering repeated 'hey's to grab the attention. The reclined smoky delivery is adequate, the soulful sass is always present, the responsed rhythm and rolling 'take it on the chin' attitude that snaps back at the wasted chance of unity is applaudable and if some wake up, jig and dig and get off their arses in the process then its a big win situation. A sweet track galloped after by the chirpy chap known as 'Pony Boy', a song dominated by the lead lass and her liberating trill and tonal triumphs that coarse through the listeners veins with energising effect and leave one all a shakin'. The tumbledown loose wristed pseudo-skiffle in the rear stops, starts, rustles and keeps our front lady operating to full effect. A complimenting mix as ever and although not as thoroughly fluid as some may want this is articulate noise played with an acute exactness.
A final brief flourish of four with 'Into The Woods', a ditty with a trepidation filled start before bold strides are taken via a great retro rockin' roll of undulated, masturbated noise that sidles up, embraces and insists one grooves to the waves. The chorus isn't as effective and contrasting as it should be and gets lost in the blend but the production levels are spot on and so some salvation is had. 'I Need Help Now' sends out warning tympanics, strings with pronunciation high, bass plucks briefly before a scatty shindig opens up and staggers around with epileptic assistance and busy bumble activity engrained with an almost sub-merged spookiness. It is that suggestion of the fear factor and overall vim within that will give this one a good chance of having farther and wider appeal - let us hope so. The starting point will get you straight in the mood for what is to come and hopefully at the end you will need a few more dousings just to be sure that what has passed was most gratifying. 'Voodoo Meat Shake' is a pulsing nag, tenderised and terrorised with a 'crypt'ic feel that punctures the epidermal layers, causes sweet injury and pricks the dead eyed corpse into spasmodic activity and de-zombified life. A regenerating song that hints at B52 lunacy and horror rock and roll with a nicely yelled and saxified jungle jive built in. Tribally tuned, unsettled and determined this one whereas the following 'Lights Out' is similar but has a meaner drive, a more zoned in focus and may it be said a greater grasp on the shaft of the orthodox. This switch off segment is an apt closure and perhaps, just perhaps, may be the best song of the lot - now a bad way to finish hey?
That all folks, a 10 tracker to tease yer inner genitals and 10 tracks to tickle many, try a few and turn off the odd tone deaf turd. This isn't regular chuggage on my turntable but is ideal for breaking up the usual and adding a bit of joy de vivre into proceedings. Try it out, I just think you'll like, albeit in small doses or huge big mouthfuls.
THE RED EYES - YOU SOLD YOURSELF EP
It has been a long while since The Red Eyes strutted their fine rewarding stuff on a Fungalised stage and I was more than a little chuffed when I caught up with em' live at last year’s Nice and Sleazy event. They were as good as ever and rattled out many tidy classics from a long list of celebrated tunes. The band hail from Glasgow (you have my deepest sympathies chaps ha, ha), have been on the circuit since 1997 (wow) and play a melodic brand of punk that isn't rushed, overly raged or divisive. I have had much pleasure via this crew (stop that now) and have long awaited a new release to get my lugs tuned into. It's been a while, are things still sounding good or are the same old motions being ploughed through a little too much now. One way that we'll get an answer is by the review - splat!
An overspill of strung vavoom comes before the delicious familiarity of the front bods tonsils arrive and get the ditty travelling proper. The immediate desire from the gut and guitars is tantalising and at once rubber stamps the fact that The Red Eyes are determined to get the production values absolutely spot-on with this opening burst, 'You Sold Yourself'. Musically it is a gently abrasive tune that power beats and glides in equal measure whereas verbally we get a combination of tuned in viciousness that culminates in a final chant regarding not wasting ones water on your blazing carcass (a nice way to close I reckon). The song has weight, is an unrushed episode that melodically appeals without scathing the senses. You won't get bowled over by this one but you won't be finding much to gripe about either - a cultured commencement that works but is instantaneously put in its place and outstripped by the delectable dish of discordance known as 'Wasting My Time', a superb offering of acoustic awareness, emotive and atmospheric melodic manipulation and a fine example of how to create a song that isn't in a hurry to kick your privates to smithereens. The first shimmer entices, the pursuing crawl caresses, the opening verse builds on the theme set and seduces, we eventually are given the first release via a chorus that is clear, well-flown and a resounding success for many precise reasons. The versed stealth glancing effect to the opposing chorus output that is blatant, unabashed and lively make for a composite that has many facets and angles to explore and equally, enjoy. A genuine stunner!
3rd track in and crisp crumples invite us to explore the depths of 'Those Days', a song with a streak of settled cruising that helps a concoction of inoffensive questioning to keep one pondering what was and what shall be. To be honest this song leaves me little to say as it is quite a clean and pure episode of musicianship that is executed with ease and has all the familiar tones that make The Red Eyes a stand out band. Perhaps the lack of edge, the lack of discomfort does hinder the bands appeal in a genre where too many are tucked away in sub-pits of sound with blinkers fastened on securely and looking like they will never be removed. A shame if such is the case as this crew have a quiet talent working away here and one that I feel really doesn't get credit where credit is due. This track and the closing 'No More Tomorrows' are exemplary chunks of reliable rhythm making with true rock and roll credentials kept intact and the bands output ethos maintained. That medium pace, those lucid vocals, the cemented fluidity and the corrugated feel that is almost therapeutic to the aural touch are all applaudable facets and all one can possibly ask is that the punter takes time to appreciate.
I like this band, I have found nothing here to change my opinion - flawless, hygienic and easy to get into. I insist they stick at it, spread their wings outside the punk pit and hopefully take some good praise along the way. For now they will just have to do with this little slice of Fungal appreciation.
WAR WAVES - SELF TITLED
A new band for me and one that has not been on the block for that long either. The crew hail from the dark crevices of Ipswich and are borne of players from many other ventures. Anyone looking for some good old punk rock need fuck off and get a reality check as well as waking up and smelling the roses of other rhythms - are you with me? Here we have a band who claim to be influenced by artistes such as The Smiths, Frightened Rabbit, The National, The Gaslight Anthem as well as other 90's indiefied outpourings. I go into the reviews with the same stance - to be honest, fair and positively critical with a sheer lack of sway shown for any particular favour - if it's good it's good, if it's shite it's shite - but even the most foulest crud contains morsels of nutrition - think on.
The next brace consists of 'Signals' and 'Trophy Life', the opening song has a certain initial pizzazz and subtle panache that bleeds into the first verse and carries the vigour through to the chorus and beyond. The soft comfort of the strings is livened by the shuffle skip skin work and the quick pulsation of the mix is heightened by precise component placement all in unison of the same end result. This is a veritable 'tidy song', spruced up via a submerged underflow of flamboyance that refuses to be coaxed into being something vulgar and in your face. Is this a sagacious move? The latter song of the second brace is a glinting meander of rain pecked pondering, a dreary drift approaching fields of misery that roll away into the distance with repetitive reliability that provokes something of a disinterested sensation which, in itself, is a real let down after so much early promise. The lethargy, unsure structure and somewhat parched landscape trekked is all to the detriment of a positive verdict and I hold my hands up, take the honest route and commit this one as an arid, out of sync number that fails to raise much interest - sorry chaps.
We begin a quartet next with fingers, sense and time demanding an increase in the overviews. In we go with another slow stroll but one that has greater elevation of texture and emotion and one that tenderly emphasises the soul searching slant and oral panging. 'Fountains' is a 5 minute plus foray into gardens of sub-cryptic leafage that ache to ease the stresses and strains with slow fluttering rhythmic wafts and caressing thoughtfulness. 'Hockey Stick' which follows is a more hard travelled vagabond of sound with a well-worn spring in the step via verses that has a necessary upturn in tempo to keep the listener alert. This episode is over and out in 3 minutes but it seems a lot briefer than that which ultimately reflects a song that has much going for it or, just perhaps, I am way off the ball. Back to the less urgent state of affairs next and 'Teeth' approaches on stealthy tones and lazy ascending thermals that drift up the nostrils of those without too much overloading angst. Not one to play on repeat, not one to fully appreciate in the midst of this CD but a tune to rotate as a standalone offering or as an intro sequence to more deliberate bomb-blasts. The crew know their style and play it well, it is just something I would prefer not to overdose on. The last of the fast four is 'Trenchcoat', a more cutting song with is accented lilt and glassy guitar as well as the somewhat wandering tympanics and piercing vocals. The backdrop seems rather cluttered here and the gobbage doesn’t swim as well as seen elsewhere which is a shame as when the band get it right they do so with aplomb. I get the feeling here the band are looking a little too hard for variation and missing out on the most simplistic approach that would pay them bigger dividends. This is a powerful song that grazes rather than lets its full impact loose and so I end up with a deflated end opinion, which shouldn't be the case at all.
The final two and a funereal trickle cum pulse falls into a billowing curtain of sound that ruffles up all the inner threadwork and creates an intricate tapestry of tonality that many may find difficult to unravel and, indeed, fathom. A number that rumples itself up too much, seems to overlook the earlier framework of clarity and just over tumbles into multi-faceted confusion. 'Ball Games' isn't a bad offering but just needs a thorough blow out of the airwaves so that all components can be released and fly freer. The opening trepidation is soon flushed away with another well saturated feel that has all areas compressed into one very small area with no room to come up for air and consider. An anguished song in need of greater oxygenated influence but one, despite the heavy application of the tonal paintwork, remains tight throughout! We close with 'Megamouth', a song paddled along with serenity and cushioned substance that has a down trodden aspect that will appeal to those fans of such dreary deliverers like Radiohead (I remember their first album making me bloody ill with its depressing tones). I hold no favour with dirges such as this but can recognise where it will appeal and how fragile the composite actually is. I'll sign off with indecision, an 'I don't like it but you may well do' moment, an occurrence that happens far too much for my liking.
In summing up I find myself preferring the front half of the CD rather than the rear end and believe that there is just that little extra gusto in the earlier efforts and more distinct characteristics we humble eavesdroppers can get in sync with. The latter half just leaves me slightly off balance and slightly befuddled. Maybe, as happens, it is a personal thing, or maybe not but, to finish I feel it is important to state that the band have an abundance of avenues to explore and enough talent to put them in good stead, it is all about how far they are willing to stretch.
C. S. O. D. - THE FINAL INSULT
There was one, then there was two and now the hat-trick is complete - 666 the series is finalised here with another sextet of sounds from the highly capable hands of CSOD, a crew who are definitely not a Constant Source Of Disappointment and who hail from the condom strewn shores of Blackpool, a town that offers Slots of Fun, a good beating if you are unlucky, many shoplifting opportunities and an abundance of joy for those who like anything phallic or mammary orientated. The band have so far rattled out two fine 6 trackers and are looking to crack home a resounding third and potentially blow my critical, but fair, reviewing arse to bloody smithereens - oh the potential agony. So, with protective undies hitched up, the buttocks of appraisal well sealed I move on in and fart something akin to a review - rasp!
Bombs away - 'Be Ready ' falls hard, slams into the ground and immediately gets running with sinewed drive and furrowed focus borne, in part, from the rear end that is immediately aflame and singeing anyone who dares get too close. The pulverising clatters and twisting wire wanks all seizure and ultimately copulate in a gory orgy of molesting melody that crushes the senses and gives a platform for the demon-possessed vocalist to spunk his hollerings to. Alterations of pace, skin tumbles, solo jack-offs and teste quivering attention to thunderous detail make for a thoroughly overwhelming encounter with Lady Cacophony and all we can do is lay down, take the beating of a lifetime and admire the aftershocks that spill from her ever gaping, ever blasting...cunt. Totally unapologetic rhythmic rape here committed by an immovable, unswerving unit who thoroughly know their aim and well and truly go for it. A visceral bout of faultless execution that creates a mental state of convincing pessimism that is perversely gratifying - how on earth do they do it? Standard set, no fuckin' sweat, reach out and grasp, something you will not forget...Track 2, 'Out Of Control', a very nasty shit dripping arse fuck that when over and done with leaves blood, bowels, sphincter and faecal matter splattered this way and that in one exciting Pollockonian mess. There is a nefarious deliberateness to this abusive obscenity, a ploughing repeat that hurts with each and every accurate thrust, a brutality that forces agonised uttering’s with every puncturing invasion. The production values are spot on here and get the best out of the metalised and punk elements that grapple for supremacy within the ever-swirling maelstrom of black water noise. The satanic command of the lead vocal, the pummelling bass regularity, the tanned tympanic work and the seductive guitar groomings are all power to the pack who unleash a grim but fuckin' glorious explosion of pornographic discordance that shall not suffer any censorship or dumbed down opposition. What startles me the most here is the level of blitzing savagery attained by use of such a mid-paced mode - quite amazing - ooh me globes.
The barbaric bestiality continues with the third skull-cracking, ring ravaging piece slapped into your awaiting mug scratched as 'Ride The Storm' a severe stressed out lash out at the tension within and the muscle strain and drain that follows. This one is your therapeutic primeval scream that will aid you in vandalising your own rules of decency and let you fist pump, fist fuck everything in sight. A molten lava overflow that will despatch your mind into rabid realms of delirium this high action pounding is beautifully dissected by heavy clumping moments of pondering that realises it is indeed ‘happening again’. The cerebral war zone courses with cruel combat between achieving bombs of dejection and depression that obliterate the resistance of potential euphoria and peace of mind. A one way assault that needs resistance – what better way to summon up inner strength than with a fuckin’ stubborn hammer out like this. In part the speed laden zeniths threaten to bloom into something almighty, something so disembowelling that no matter how big the colostomy bag the shit will spill no matter what! Wonderful and all kept tight as a virginal vicar’s oriental eye – ouch!
To the next one we move with ‘No Place To Go’ a stomach-blazed upchuck of visceral, automatic angst slopping forth from a frantically tossed bowl of banging, brain beating frenzy. This number is a real gritted, hard shitted affair and one for those doused in the bands inflammable fuel or for aficionados of all things harmful. Again the impetus created is hypnotic, harsh and uncompromising with temper continually flaring and rear ends continually flatulating great plumes of thermal disease. Hell, within the mix we get a moment where each player steps forth and exposes his weapon (no, you don’t need to get your lipstick on) and knuckledusts his own impact into your heart – have it. 'Sexomnia' is a sweating mare, galloping around fields of frustration with a dangling wang dripping vile spunk via ballooned bollocks. A ploughing account of unadulterated turf-kicking tones that rely heavily on the whipped and heavy handed stick work and remarkably twisted stringism which is both acute and piercing. We transform into a hectic heave-ho of spiralling dimensions that takes us higher, into swirling majesty where all the havoc is considered and were we headbutt an instrumental moment before being picked up and cast into the final flourish - oh what a feeling. CSOD bang on, bang hard and impregnate the womb of your noggin with big, big seeds of success. The 'fuck off and die' fling comes through a tirade called 'Game Over', another granite chunk of pile-driving insistence that is maybe the most planed out and predictable song but one that doesn't lack any virility as a consequence. A head down creation that cuts a swathe through your resistance and incessantly grenades you with blinding aftershocks. Tempo is stoked and is in no rush to rise with the gob free rise surging and the final chant out back in the stamping certainty mode that wins so much critical favour. No gripes baby!
CSOD are rapists! They come with an intent to screw and injure and go away having done so with rhythmic ripper cruelty and conscience free brutality. The 3 CD's in the 666 series have shattered the senses and left one huge footprint upon the skull of uncertainty. This final bunch of brain crippling filth is a crescendo to admire - take my advice, get this and the other CD's now, go home, strip off and let yourself be abused - there ain't no feeling like it!
VANILLA POD - SEEING OUT THE SUNRISE
A band who have done a good 20 year stint on the crooked cacophonic block but a band I have never really been in sync with. They come from that sonic stable were vibes are semi-commercialised, semi-technical and wholly new sounding without any real pimple arsed rawness that I very much hold favour for. Nevertheless I dabble in all areas of sound and find much to my liking and, as per, am always willing to give time of day to what comes my way - tis only fair you doubting fucks! So, what do these Kings Lynn music men cough up this time and is it a case of impending conversion for this over-rhythmed eavesdropper.
First of the seven is a composite known as 'She's Dead Now' a smash, grab and run ditty reliant on impetus and those expected stop/start moments that really discombobulate my senses and somewhat nudge me into the peripheral realms of disinterest. When the flow is rattling I remain intrigued, when penetrated by almost uninvited ponderous moments I do get irked and wonder why the hell bands do this and why, they all stick to predictable sub-generic expectations. It does highlight the bands tightness and togetherness but it isn't my most favoured musical bunny to be whipped out of the many angled acoustic topper. The song has clout but, alas isn't one that will get my eavesdropping chopper overly engorged - too average, too tattooed with traditionalised slants - I crack on. Second up and 'Wishing Well' stutter skins before muffled strings break out into clearer manoeuvres. The gobbage is carefully yelled forth and when the main surge comes we are left unfulfilled I feel. What is lacking here is a certain rustiness, an acquired open wound approach that will give the song a bleeding to scabbed honesty, which of course, adds life. This, although slightly unorthodox as regards mainstream music has, quite blatantly, a commercialised thread running throughout and for me, will undoubtedly appeal to the more clean cut and well washed noise addicts out there rather than the crummy off-kilter seekers of cacophonic perversions. This is no bad thing, each to the own and God bless variety but again I am left chilled in part and only slightly warmed in others - just not my full bag I guess.
Straight into 'G. T. B' a song that slides in on typical strung tones before chopping up the expected smooth waters with foaming flurries that duly lead into a couplet of chorus chunks that have considerable bite and angst as well as a lucid arrangement many non-tourists of the tuned landscape can get to grips with. The band here combine many accents and approaches with the planed and corrugated complimenting well and the harmonised and solo scathes all in sync despite coming from different emotive angles. A busy number and for me the best thus far and, shock, horror, shake tha' cock - one I actually dig! 'Leaving The Bentinck Dock' tumbles in with good vibes before the music submits itself to the vocal overspill thus creating something of a slight imbalance. The dictator at the fore gets good assistance when his crew rev things up and holler along therefore catapulting the impact factor into far more rewarding realms. The song finishes in double quick time and after playing several times over, on different occasions and having stood back and stood over the sonic spillage I can recommend the effort as well as several exciting moments found therein - a quite appealing upchuck. Next up and into the slipstream of a song called 'A47' a cruise that pummels forth and drives at a decent pace with all unified and with a chorus to admire. It is in fact this chorus chunk that rescues a somewhat arid creation from a negative response due to its accomplished tonality and utterly uplifting lilt. It is a refined moment and when compared to the dry and bland surroundings this oasis really attracts the senses. Maybe those criticised aspects get an unfair swing of the assessing truncheon due to the quality of the gushed over piece but hey, that can happen and if it gets bands squeezing the creative butt cheeks a little harder then so be it!
'Restore Factory Settings' is casual 'as you were' trundling without anything stand out to pontificate about or simply jack off over. A distinct 'of the ilk' chunk of overload that will get the fans enthused, the outsiders split and cunts like me just detached and not really involved. Again I can applaud the technicality, appreciate the talent and hold my hands up and say 'well played' but that doesn't mean I find the record appealing to my palate - what more can I add (surely not a lie or two)? We close with 'Deaf Lugs' a song that leaves me one word and one word only to use in summing up - 'Ditto'. A complete echo of sounds made thus far, a complete doppelganger of many facets and tones used, a total reflection of what has been exposed with the only difference being the arrangement. I bow out with brevity and leave this one for you to consider further.
No, Vanilla Pod still don't have me convinced, still don't tempt me despite an abundance of talent and rock solid spillage. There is something lacking for me personally and whether that be originality, true grit, experimentation, rawness or a sprinkling of all four I know not but what I do know is that those, in the pit of new school tweakings, will find much to ping about to and that is all fine by me. It would be much easier to lie at this point and be ambiguous about my feelings on this CD but I won't, fraudulence to keep the peace is never an option.
THE OLD SOULS - ROCK 'N' ROLL CURSE
The Old Souls are a band I know nothing of and having scanned the web have found very little that helps but, sometimes this is a good thing. In this instance, it seems like a little ignorance is best as I hear this, that and some shitty other on the grapevine and for me, away from the bollocks and into the meat of the music is best. I am hearing this is a political album and not for the PC brigade, mmm, best maintain my intolerance of shite posture then.
To the first trio and 'Grim Reaper Files' opens with a solid fuzz that soon screws itself up into a steady flow that sees the band drive forth together with what can only be described as a very 'controlled' verse cut. The chorus brings into play back hollers and one man responses, a typical formulated episode that is executed with aplomb and given extra zest by the twisted wire work and downright firm handling by the players - a very considered commencement and one that gets this eavesdropper nodding in concurring rhythm. 'Old Souls Reborn' is a creeping kickback against doubters and festering shouters and is a song that is indeed a septic boil oozing much spiteful pus over those who disagree. Music is there to make a point with, a veritable platform to relieve your chest of many inner torments and it seems the crew under the spotlight seem to be doing that here. The political tension that will arise is par for the course but the musical content is very threatening and will combat any unnecessary squabblers looking to find fault. A nice accompaniment to the opening burst and slotted in quite nicely before the more gushing 'Take Me'. A very rapid flowing number that finds immediate impetus, straps itself up and goes for it. One of those songs that take no adjusting to whatsoever with a lively flurry persisting throughout and the bass doing a fine job of providing that undercurrent bubble factor that gives pulse, therefore life. The mix is exact and I feel here that The Old Souls are quite at home in their self-made comfort zone - sometimes no bad thing (emphasis on 'sometimes').
Next bunch and a song title that has me intrigued, 'Fuck Decency', a hard travelling song that kicks up much dirt and delivers much disgust as well as having a thirst for getting out there and having a good time. The fluidity, up-tempo desire, blend of verse and chorus and the overall unassuming, transparent construction make this an appealing burst for all of the most basic reasons - I apologise not! 'Under Jolly Rodger' scuzzes in, twilight flickers, electrifies itself and then minces up a vocal donation with grimacing effect. The ensuing mix is adorned with metalised touches of flamboyance, kept on a leash with commanding directness and foams at the mouth with vulgar blatancy. It is a comfortable switch in styles and throws the CD off on a slightly new pathway that of course brings opportunities new. Perhaps the smoothest track of the lot despite the trinkets of tonality that adorn many areas - I think so! The last of the second batch of three and 'Vok's Gone Insane', a desperate telephone call, a riff I have heard too many times for my own mental safety and a chasing ditty that is one of those that you know only too well and is nothing more than a pick up, play and chuck rattle out that ticks many boxes of punkage and slips into many pigeonholes that have been fucked to...fuckery! The verdict depends on the depth of the probing, the width of the examination and what on earth one is looking for within the set weave. If you are looking for profound, new searching, experimental and boundary pushing noise then forget it, if you just want some cheapskate punkage to get off to then have this - simple as!
And on we go, set three of three with the 'Pitchfork Mob' surely destined to be a bout of aggressive music slammed into yer mug with many a fist for assistance. Not so, the players deliver a safe and subdued sound that travels on a very flatline track and comes across as the weakest wank off of the lot. The guitars lack bite, the drums pitter patter rather than pebbledash with violence and the throat work is mellowed out and, may it be insultingly said, almost sub-suppressed in a weird kind of way (perhaps I am wrong). Not for me this one and on I wander into 'Lost At Sea', a shanty-ised snip that tosses about and tosses off (to a lesser degree) with accents of the East Town Pirates and many other water loving wanderers. I don't normally do comparison but in truth have done so here so as to highlight to the band what they are up against when producing such thematic produce. The ETP crew are masters at this style of noise and so The Old Souls can see their own shortcomings as regard their effort here and hopefully squeeze their arse a little harder. This is a well-worked piece but just needs that extra oomph in the sails and a more thrust taken taken by the oarsman. Hey ho! 'Born In Decadence', comes, blazes a path and leaves a nice singed feeling afterwards. A no-nonsense trough of focused sound hepped up by restlessness and much disgruntlement. The emotion and musical application are in sync, the chuggery, spirit and repeatoid beat are exact and, in truth, I get easily drawn into something that makes me feel I should know better – who cares, I am always up for a good surge.
Oops 1 left, a final lone ranger to rock your rollicking rocks off too called 'Rock And Roll Curse', a number to possess your senses no doubt. In truth this one leaves me flat and somewhat let down as I was expectant of a tearing, unerring racket with much chomp and clatter. Despite this deflation I think the song is a cute closure with new tones ventured into even though it is the very last stop of all. Take the song for what it is, a goodbye, adios, fuck off tune that is gently closing down a CD that has me far from comfortable throughout - just how it should be.
The Old Souls are dabbling it seems, are not fully into any one mode and not fully settled as to what their winning hand is. This leaves room for further roaming and a chance to explore untold excitement. Here, in part, they hit some good highs, in other areas they fail to meet the expected levels promised. I ain't deterred though and would be interested to see where these dudes end up. Take a dip, be lucky and hey, let me know what ya think!
CHARGE 69 - MUCH MORE THAN MUSIC
From Metz comes a band with 20+ years of noise making under their belts and a CD that is a collection of their best sonic shit with their own personal influences hopping up and doing the vocal duties. These French fuckers have pulled out a real surprise bag of treats for those old time punk lovers and this, no matter what, will undoubtedly go down a treat with some before even being played. When not on the old QC I am a sober cunt with an in-built realism and 'people are people' ethic that I thoroughly believe in. Names are not there to drop, impress me not one jot and so I will do my duty here as I usually do it - you know the script. I must admit though, even my curiosity is aroused by what is promised so I gotta squeeze my knackers of noise hard and not get sucked into to any 'whoo hoo sub-celebrity' lunacy. It is all about balance!
Attack one, 'Phoney Paradise' is a wonderful noxious snipe at the celebrity culture and so-called successful shithawks out there who are in reality slaves to their own distorted needs and shackled by the media commandants who have everything scripted, restricted and very much organised in advance. The whole propaganda machine is bilge and the victims are thoroughly absorbed in the all-consuming shittery involved. This articulate assault is sub-whispered alongside a pulsating underscore of sound that combines to produce a quite unsettling and impressive effect. There is a gratifying affluence of sub-tonality here with deep-rooted emotion and dissatisfaction with the whole situation spilling over and thus assuring me of a very meritous track. The second outburst is a stated not sedated affair with progressive riffage and clashing partitions that culminate in a ditty with quite segmented verse and chorus chunks. 'These Chains' is paradoxically a liberated piece with much spaciousness despite an appreciable slap of sonica thrown in from all departments. The strong and emboldened tuneage is joined in the soaring process by some clear lung hollers and, although not as intriguing as the first jaunt, this is a more than capable upchuck.
On a slightly more rocked up note we are bombarded with the luscious and bitched hunger of 'Rockstar Attitude', a song buzzing with life and given extra vigour by the sweetly rasped tones of our lead lady who is tattooed with rock 'n' roll ethics and who has recognisable tones that really do the business. The staggered 'whoa hoa'd' intercuts may be accused of disturbing the rapid flow but for me it only emphasises all components, especially the fine hallowed switch off where the torn tonsil work creates a nice juxtaposition with the almost holy ambience. A marked track with guaranteed 'oomph' against the sell-out rock jerks out there – lush! Following on is 'The 80's' a spiky bog brush bout of shit smelling traditionalism with straight ahead raw-boned punk piercing the aural receptors and leaving much wounding for blood to seep from. At the helm is an artiste we are all are familiar with and whom fronts a band who were once renowned for hit and miss performances. All that is behind them and here the gob upfront shows what he can do when in the mood. Don't look for marvellous intricacies, grandiose ornamentations to quaff and toss to, just sit back and let the razor sharp deliberateness and unassuming foaming slit you throat and feed on your leaking life - there are worse things one could be doing.
One of the classiest songs of the lot, and certainly one of the most sharp-dressed is the swaggering slant of 'Johnny Good Boy', a casual roam that begins with punctuated bass before swaying around on soft-soled feet and air blown control. From the first laid back verse and through the more posturing chorus we instinctively await a sure-fire thrust - it comes, we indulge and come out the other end completely convinced. A repeat is welcome and I reckon you can perch another feather atop the CD's titfer of success. More serious strains next with the steady anger of 'Uniforms' kicking back against the omnipresent conveyor belt of propagandist bullshit that incessantly tries to keep you in rank and file and to regularly swallow the bilge they force into your throat. This 'spit it out and resist' flashpot of tetchy disgruntlement desires that you think for yourself and refuse their ideas of how to parcel and package yourself (you should fuckin' know this by now). It is a sinewy number ravaged with defiance and athletic riffage that becomes taut to a state that is almost rupturing. Feel the tension, absorb the angst and kick fuckin' back!
Another familiar mouth next borne from pseudo-experimental galaxies of sonic seeking with atmosphere levels wandering higher whilst the cacophonic creators plough out a quite unexpected orbital path. At first one suspects a mere dysfunctional episode is set to manifest itself but what we get is a futuristic bout of tribalistic raving against various ills and injustices. 'Birth Of A Century' is a choice inclusion and real creates a 'whatever next' befuddlement for the listener - always a fine option to chuck in the fuck it bucket. I switch on the boost button and fly forward still looking for a dud in this box of fireworks. I certainly don't find it with the next track, a cracking blurt of blokey streetpunk with a far advanced edge that outdoes the basic Oi expectancies. The song states, debates and delivers with clenched arse passion before becoming wonderfully liquid via a chorus to adore. 'Time To Communicate' is punked property to take pride in, open, pertinent, mouthy and very fuckin' approachable. No fuckin' about, in fact no need to, just a muscular song getting on with the task at hand and slapping it in yer mug - need I explain further? A minor pip in a fruit bowl of high citrus sonica.
Last two (what the fuck) and the stamping incessancy of 'Authority' is torn asunder by a Thompson Gun roll and high lofted guitar stretch before salivated tonsils work away against the chugging underscore of meaty riffage and chunkily slapped skins. A strain in the guts is emitted, a gruelling short-term episode of accurate melody and I for one am still applauding everything that is going on with this CD. We fling ourselves into the last burst of discordance with anticipation at a lofty zenith and get bathed in the spillage known as 'Better Times'. A real clattering effort fronted by one of the most under-rated throat warblers on the block, a dude who has served his apprenticeship, worked his knackers off and still not gained full recognition (oh ye daft cunts). This savoury spunk up of thriving articulation pounds up as a stand out moment and its prominence is helped by the bold strumming, active tympanics and of course our lucid and chomping oral 'erbert. The whole energy of this punctuating finale rises up from depths and gives one hope for better times to come and that, as a struggler with the noggin, is all I can fuckin' hope for - a real fine blast to leave this sterling CD on a bright and breezy pinnacle.
10 tracks, 10 tip top treats and I am sure something for everyone. Hey if this shouter for the new breed and ever wallowing pig in the mire at the bottom can find this so appealing I am sure there are a fuckin' mass of you out there who'll lap it up - go un ye ravenous dogs, bite hard!
OVERDOSE - SELF-TITLED EP
Some bands come forth and know their stance and have no gripe with being unoriginal or anything dishonest. Overdose are a 4 piece, a self-appointed punk band that offer up well played music because they simply love it. Hollering from North of the border (a border that I will not acknowledge as a free thinker) this Dundee/Edinburgh based crew certainly know how to keep a tune or two tidy, trim and high on activity. There are only 5 tracks here (which many times is ideal) and in I go with a clear head and eager digit tips!
'Overdose' opens proceedings and is a precise and gratifying introduction to a band that certainly know how to make an initial greeting memorable. This is highly desirous racket making with a concrete thread of organisation and control running through the rich veins of musical application. The deluge elevates an inner euphoria, coaxes forth a fervent intrigue and gets that primitive rock and roll instinct pulsating. From the overwhelming opening sequence of oceanic guitars through the ravenous verse that is pronounced with relish to the stampeding unstoppable chorus slams this is a sure-fire whirlwind of noise that one cannot escape from. The rapido flare, the rewarding production mix and just the final thrust to the end blow-out all make this a welcoming crackerjack - I move on highly pregnant with expectation, ooh me mental vagina! 'Opportunity' is a perfect escort to the first burst due to the fact that it offers an opposing mode of operation but still holds on to the impressive power and punch elements that brought the initial impact effect. Here we have a more orchestrated piece, one that has certain positionings of tone, melodic chunks and vocal upheaval and thus comes across as a more deliberate affair, a more thoughtful piece rather than a naturalised gush out. This slight change in tact, alteration of accent makes for an appealing chunk of noise that emphasises more facets of the bands ability and willingness to tentatively explore. All areas hold up, the guitars are crisp, resonant and chugging, the drums pounding, animated and cohesive and the vocals contain good strength and foaming thirst. Let us just call it 'effective track number 2' shall we!
The central track, 'Nothin' For You', the anatomy of this is built on a well-tempered skeleton of sound that is activated into greater life by a professionalistic application many bands can only aspire to. Of course my slant is always towards the unwashed but I am a dude who appreciates many flavours especially if they cling on to an earthy essence that avoids self-indulgence and affected idiocy. Here the band do that, have a down-to-earth efficiency that wanders on the cusp of several sub-pools without fully diving in to any. This doesn't make for an individualistic sound because the dream of originality is never attainable but, it does give the band a certain edge, a chance to appeal further than to just one typical entrenched tribe of tunesters. A comfortable song this and showing some concrete pedigree. 'Cockteaser' is perhaps the coarsest track thus far, a trundled bout of ramming angst that begins with an orthodox bass route, slashing stringwork and fiery gob lines that all fall into a staggering sub-chorus of tortured design. What we have is a full on tirade somersaulting along on inner frustration and a need to make an upchuck that keeps the eavesdropper aflame - usual stuff I hear on a daily basis but it is done well and with conviction and that, at the end of the day, is all I can ask for at this stage in my reviewing maelstrom. We close the door of discordance with 'Reaction', an incandescent white light blur that rattles the senses and drags one along kicking and screaming. For me the zenith comes when the bands pound out deliberate riffage and really clear out the airwaves with marvellously accurate acoustic power punching - the final flurry is mere exhibitionism and rounds off a breathless piece of urgency.
I have no doubt Overdose are a highly capable unit, I am very exhilarated by what I am hearing here and if the band maintain this excellence, throw in a few 'outside the box' numbers I can see a decent pathway ahead.