FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 8
ONE DAY LONGER - SAMPLER
Having just done a CD review of this dudes produce I promised I would tackle another of his DIY 'get off yer arse and have a go' efforts and so, here I am. The man in the spotlight is keen, has a chomping enthusiasm and is up and at it without thought for success or failure - I like that. Give me a bit of enthusiasm, passion, honesty and a wart's n all approach and I am happy to do my bit. So let us see what this Chicago based dabbler has come up with here shall we, it is all about doing one's bit - here's mine (done with a lack of brevity but an abundance of waywardness, care and of course, necessary honesty).
The opening bunch of 5 begins with 'I Need A Beer', a clouded low budget belt out that somewhat mars the obvious pop tones and sugar fluff melody, an aspect I need to constantly overlook so as to blackline what the fuck is actually transpiring here. So, production values apart, what we get is a bountiful number awash with slushed emotions all blending together to create a heart injured cadence that meets the set desires of the creator. Given the right mix in the studio we have here a song that could be catapulted on to great things and I sincerely hope to hear a rock solid revamp of this one at some point in my listening journey. The same can be said of the equally effective 'Disappearing Act', a ditty fighting for greater mixing desk liberation and again having capabilities far beyond what is exposed here. The opening sanguinity opens a pathway for a steady effervescence that is kept on a controlled simmer and given delicate attention by the cushioned and comfort zoned vocal donations that somehow melt into the melody and give a completely absorbed inflection to all proceedings. Again we need more crystallisation, a greater lucidity between components but one can't help but notice the potential so on that score alone the song wins through. Maybe a trifle extra zip in the tempo is required, maybe a tad more definition of the chordage but hey, the guys on a shoestring here, let us not get brutal for the hell of it. Track 3 'Feelin Dead', is a weak one I feel and is really an underfoot offering that is totally choked by the sound levels and murky overlay. I scratch deeper and draw blood, break out in aural perspiration and find something worth working at, a streak of sonic delight that maybe salvaged with the correct care and cash input (fuckin' money hey, always the bastard and not something I'd advise anyone chasing). It is a long shot but you can see what the player is aiming for so as a result I give this one a thumbs down in its present attire but, if spruced up it can expect a hug of appreciation from this tattered turnip of tones. 'Popular' is on the cusp of accuracy, is a lilt that begins with tentative droplets of sound before sinking its feet more firmly into the sands of the set task. Our artiste radiates a certain belief here, exudes a concrete reliance on what he wants to achieve and throws off any punk rock expectations, which for me, is punk in itself. The song won't be everyone's cup of cha (what is) with the spikier set of soniceers more than likely switching off (silly twats) but for me there are facets to explore and for the player to tinker with a little more. One to ponder methinks. This first fistful of fruitiness closes with 'Forget The You', a construct with pronunciations, minor switches and a stop/start aspect that if given an unequivocal decisiveness and more slammed stature, with that cool switched off moment totally flushed out, then we would have another minor pearl in the pack. Nonetheless there is much going on here with lots to admire and I think, after several spins, the creator comes out rose-scented rather than turnip tainted - how's that?
Moving into the next batch and the most fascinating donation comes next, a fine and highly adequate number that combines some sincere skill, insight and care and creates a real convincing bout of brass assisted meandering skankiness. 'You Don't Mind' is a squelchy kind of feeling, an enchanting undulation that relaxes the soul and seduces the outer framework that gets battered and tattered by everyday life. This is a garden fresh moment awash with youthful fumbling and drunken dabbling that may, or may not, lead to a sticky situation (in many ways - nasty). It is a great song nonetheless and one many a couple can enjoy in their self-created snuggle zone. 'Full Time Dummie' is partially related to its predecessor with a certain fragility in the tones and tenderness in the oral tricklings but here we have a slightly more direct track that has typical nuances and characteristics expected of a specific sub generic pit. The drums are perhaps the most activating presence with the other instruments seemingly deriving their energy from these tympanic ticklers that roll with good flow and animated nervousness. An ideal brace made it seems and these two tracks are surely worth extra contemplation and injections of vigour. Next and 'Morning Wood', a song that counterpunches the previous two affairs and another to work upon and give an extra push with the accelerator and to emblazon the chorus all over with gushings of brass liquid. A bouncy recipe this and if those sonic footsteps could be given an extra spring in the step we would surely have another high achier. The hat-trick is complete though and these 3 songs, as a unit, help promote what talent is on show here.
A long haul this one, I think for all our sakes we need plunge into a flourish of the textual examinations and bang out a good sextet of rapid-fire overviews. First up and 'Trying (2nd Edition)' is a song that staggers at first before running with a DIY baton and is all well and good but just needs a firmer, crisper strike of the strings and less of a bassed feel. Saying that, the rushing approach and well whipped vigour is much appreciated and is just what the Doctor of Discordance ordered at this stage. 'Ballad Of Silver Linings' is an alleged stab at some cock rock (a hairy cock at that) and is what is known as a sure-fire, first rate flop of concerning standards. A flaccid dripping number crawling on cheesed knees with no hope of arousing the listener - a grim mistake and should be dropped quicker than a whores panties (hint, hint). Onwards and the more determined upchuck of 'Striking Out', a song that seems unfinished to me, an effort that appears to still be in the 'dabbling' stage with a stop/start/stutter style and wandering intent that never really finds a true furrow in which to run. I have a distinct feeling that if this song were stripped bare, knocked about in many ways you could end up with 2 or 3 songs from one - worth thinking about I reckon. So after two potential scrapheap diversions we get back on route with the more exact and structured 'Bummer'. a strung out and solid shift with a warped alternative naturalness that seems to throw off any care and just let the music shoot out from the well gyrated hip. Untamed, unwashed and unaffected this smidgen of sound found within the 21 track melee has many angles and prospects to consider and provided the sound and manoeuvres are cultivated with care we could have a superior offering that could open up many new avenues to gently throw in the overall mix now and again. 'Thanks You' and 'I Couldn't Find You' are the next 2 contributions and are songs that have a good consistency and tenderised edge amidst subtly altering flurries and meanders that keep the dinned discharge oozing. Nothing outrageous, nothing too insipid, just 2 regular instances of tidy tunefulness that hold tight reins, move with assuredness and keep a certain consistency within range. These are your staple diet donations and if offered on a regular basis would undoubtedly make one sick but if delivered amongst many other styles then would work a treat - not a bad couple of morsels.
Onwards and 'So Much More', 'Broke' and 'Fake I.D' continue the thrifty thread of home-made dinnage built on the most basic building block of all - desire! A desire to get something out there and relieve those creative demons and musical niggles that just need due attention. The first of the latest 3 has a garaged rumble within the tapestry of poppoid threads with our lead artiste seeming to relish the job at hand which of course, draws the aural dabbler inwards. The second track is a dirtier and meaner affair with a focus and drive in unison and creating a spillage that has potential to take the CD into slightly different territory than ventured before. A rather un-flamboyant number, a somewhat insipid effort but with a few cute spices thrown in it could be a whole new beast with much greater force. The cement is mixed, and the building materials positioned, all we need is a few ornamental bricks added and a better construct will be had (just my personal thoughts as per). The third in the three and 'Fake I. D.' is a punchy song that thrives best when the lead chap lets down his hair and runs with the flow. Due to the lack of clarity the ditty does suffer but there is much to savour here with a bubbly bass line keeping all animated levels high. The best of the trio methinks!
Heading towards the closing silence with an off kilter moment of lunatic piss-taking sniping known as 'Meat-Head'. A severe dig in the ribs of all those manly morons out there who believe they rule the roost and womankind are second rate citizens and objects of sexual gratification. This barbed attack wakes up any overly expectant senses and brings us back to the land of attention with a spitball of schizophrenic rage that is unpredictable, seething and fully gratifying in all its gory detail - a choice change in procedure if you ask me. 'Something To Me' is a slightly sizzled sausage of sound submerged in a little too much fat that clogs the acoustic arteries and doesn't let the full lifeblood flow. Beneath this settling gunk there is a crackin' song with some nice brassage, honest skip in the step joy and a refreshing hunger that appeals to the popped leanings - make sure, despite the dubious mix, you are cognizant of a good song going here. Suddenly production levels move into more rewarding realms with the sweet reggaefied relaxation of 'This World's Fucked Up', an episode of clarity that just bloody well shows what can be achieved with a bit of extra dosh in the productive tank. After a murky collide of all components we are led into verdant glades of wafted drifting that takes it easy and ponders the total idiocy of the human race. Almost like an upside down use of warped observational pleasantries done in a matter of fact, who fuckin' cares kind of way. If in any doubt at all about the care of the artiste I think the swift searing rundown to the last drift rubber stamps the irritation and angst and for me completes a decent bout of opposing vibrations with much inner frustration. Feisty stuff and taking us into the last bout of tuneage that is a lovely tinkle of tranquillity that loafs about with an air of self-assured comfort and apparent indifference to outside hassles. 'The I Hate Bees Song' may have a title I do not agree with (bees are ace) but I thoroughly concur with the rhythmic pleasure offered and soon slot into the slow and steady ambles as well as the more rushed inclusions that buzz with animation - good work sir.
So a long and steady trawl through the effluence of One Day Longer, a one man curl down of many accents that offer varied aromas to sniff at and to retch at. With patience and perversity I find much noisesome nutrition within and recommend that any of you DIY dabblers who have long since kicked off your ludicrous clogs of so called cleverness dip into this multifaceted muck fling of 'off yer arse' intent. I have and have come up with much to consider and much to enjoy - mind you, I am rather passionate about the whole noisy shebang.
THE BAD ENGRISH - NO PASSING TREND
Colorado cobble-stone cacophonists here who have been on the block for approximately 6 years and who push out their produce based on what’s in the heart rather than what's in the head. In some ways basic, in others marvellously accurate but overall of a certain ilk some will immediately turn their noses up (ooh the clever twats) and some will fully embrace and take it for what it is (and why not). So in for a penny, in for a pound, with all garments of pomposity kept in someone else’s cupboard as fuckin' per.
Grabbing a bunch of three and running with em' I take this initial trio of cacophony and peel apart the layers that make them tick and come up with a verdict of good old eggs and bacon, tea and biscuits home pride punkage done with a distinct slant to the oafish, couldn't give a fuck street noise - it has its place and is a welcome part of a multi-diverse scene you know. Opening up is the fantastic enthusiastic tumble of 'Oi Is' an effort I selected as Song of the Month and one I am still very much in tune with. The whole somersaulting life and full on 'sing-a-long' simplicity draws in my primitive instinct and assists it into psychologically and physically pinging about to what is an unassuming triumph and celebratory piece of Oi purity. Played well, zipping and vigorous, just like the chasing 'Oi's Not Dead' another scramble along in speedy and desirous style with the manual regarding 'Rhythmic Rocket Science' thrown in the dustbin and the pamphlet regarding 'Creating Get Up And Have It Noise Making' used instead - the result is something natural, without fuss and very much effective. A rapid train track flurry that will see the pit of the passionate rockin' and rolling with lunatic zest - oh aye! 'Never Stray' is more of the same and at this stage I care fuckin' not. It is most welcome with the fast chuggery, drum beat buggery and consuming appetite all creating a most ravenous stance on both sides of the fence. The lone and unified gob offs all have urgency, a complete contrasting accuracy and much muscle on the bone without being to meat-headed and moronic. Oi fails when it goes through those 'bum tit' motions and when given extra ooomph I always find it most gratifying, as is the case here.
Next 2 are 'Never Stray and 'Pogo Power' the first being a song that ascends from a conservative opening scuffle into an irresistible repeat punch encounter that is quite happy spouting off, sticking out it's chest and fighting its own corner. The band stick to the tried and tested method used thus far and at this juncture is there really any need to change? I think not! The second offering has a sharper freshness than its predecessor and initially glistens with more prominence. The switch from one man and his mouth to a group shout out is smooth and although the song isn't a full-booted ball stamping account it leaves a fair bit of scrotal bruising and mentalised reverb within the much flustered cranium. Sometimes avoiding the complexities of tune making is just what needs to be done and I applaud many a band for adopting this methodology!
And so on...
To the articulately entitled 'Bollox, Bollox' (yes I do rely on you sussing the heavy sarcasm here) and a driving force that picks up a wired up baton, turns up the appropriate heat and runs like fuckery to head on madness. A usual effort, not stretching the imagination, the bands talent and the tonal boundaries but cobbling along with disregard for over-elaboration and nailing the noise in good time. 'Miles And Miles' is a scuttling tumult with just an open honesty to the approach although the song does lack distinct definition between verse and chorus. The bass holds all rhythmic sections together but this isn't the bands best offering and at this juncture something new and enlivened was needed. 'Fish And Chips' is the bang central track and is deep fried noodleism for all the beered up and heavily sozzled twats out there who, after a good skin full, now want their bellies topping up too. You can't beat a good bag of this foodstuff and if you skip out of the search for anything profound and just want a daft old jig then this the ideal noisy nosh to indulge in.
Right, enough is enough - I am going to rattle to that finish line now, I think I have this CD sussed already. 'U Hate Me' has a scathing start that deflects from the open and clear option taken during the verses of the song. Bass is the commanding aspect again and here the vocals are more low slung but equally breathless in an alternative style which makes this the most interesting ditty of the dump and the one that offers most potential for the future. 'True Breed' rams home a distinct inner belief and pile-driving combo of the usual structure. Again, as a stand alone the song is a treat but as part of this overly worked system it loses some of its glean. Good trundling intent and plenty of zoned in application - what else could I expect? 'We Still Are' leaves me little to add other than that it has a greater blue light urgency and a more convincing sting in the tail. Swift, to the point and what I am liking here is that the band catapult themselves in energetic zones not yet attained and they come back blowing hard, sweat soaked but, I feel, deserved of respect - good effort chaps.
'Harry May' is three from home and despite the whip still brandished, the usual kick in the sonic stirrups and a fair swish in the tail I am still about 20% unsure about this one due to the somewhat uneven stride in the step during the musical clop and chop moments. Like a palpitation it creates unease and for that reason alone I go to a stewards enquiry. 'Change' has a coarser edge and an initial racket and rumble which I get right into before an expected verse flow comes and has me asking why the band don't go full tilt throughout for once. This is a defiant song in many ways and even though I am on my knees with patience I can see the plus side of things (just). We close with a bonus track known as 'English Class' - fuck it, you can find out for yourselves what this one is about but I reckon a guess in advance would be very close indeed.
The Bad Engrish came, grabbed my attentive nuts and squeezed out genuine interest. The downside is that they carried on squeezing and drained my positive and patient seeds dry and left me struggling to maintain an erect interest towards the latter end, which was simply down to an overspill of a good thing. There is too much predictability here and not enough variation which is something the crew must work on to maintain longevity. Just my opinion of course but as valid and real as anything out there ya know - Oi fuckin' Oi!
MFC CHICKEN - LAKE BEARS
Lunatic fringe dribblings from the orifice of the Dirty Water Music whore who always has her knickers dropped and is up for a good fruity sonic fumble any day of the week. She has blessed many with her orgasmic output and trembled many a knee with her hump-assisted vibrology so why not try something different for a change. MFC Chicken have crossed my path before but how much more spunking madness can any reviewer take - read on and find out in the first of two deep fried 45's to go under the flickering spotlight.
The first penetration takes place and the hum that ensues is slapped with the tag of 'Lake Bears (Theme Song)', a groovy moving gyrating funk fucker that struts about like a headless cockerel on modish rock and roll hip pills. The stripped bare 50's polka dot pumping with almost vulgar brass invasions and the thoroughly soaked through application of the textured tonsil work are all there for your delectation and this, after much musing (and perhaps some self-abusing) provides an escapist moment to achieve great jigging rapture with. The mental state of the players is questionable and I am sure many sonic strait jackets await but, whilst they are still allowed to make this brand of whacko half-baked melody, you may as well just drop in line and enjoy - I know I do!
The flipside fuck about is slagged as 'Theme From Lakebears', a King Kong snippet of Skull Island tribalism under bending boughs and Pterodactyl laden skies below which the uniformed pack of primitives sway in unison to their many Gods. A psychotic serpentine weave is opted for with much sexual suggestion from the jungles of sonica terror were we are given a musical menagerie of scenarios to cultivate further. In the mix is a Peter Gunn wire wanking moment that stirs up the melting pot a little more and keeps us reeling around on our ever-unsteady heels. The fact that the crew radiate utter dedication to their tuneage only helps the cause and I find myself totally in agreement with the vibes thrown my way.
Look MFC Chicken are mentally unstable, they have subjected themselves to a pit of cretinism and there seems no medication available to halt the irrational spillage but I suggest you just haul yourself over that fact and just move along with the foolish flow - ping!
EXTERNAL MENACE/THE DROOGETTES - SPLIT CD
A strange coupling here with the UK long term punkers External Menace joining up forces the US Clockwork orangers known as The Droogettes. The former band are raw, unhygienic and have been on the block since 1979 whereas the latter band are clean cut, neatly composed and have only been around for nigh on 3 years. It makes no difference to me, prejudice or bias ain't my bag and I go in to this one judging on what I hear not what I am told to hear - in fact, do you really hear me!
I shall do the 2 songs of each band in an alternative design - it leans to things more balanced that way and hopefully will accentuate the contrast on show.
First away and External Menace bristle with culture, know how and fuckin' fine application during a stunning arrangement known as 'Playin' God'. A superb gritty affair of splendid tonality and musical interaction that sees the band merge the strains of reggae, skank and punkage into one fascinating excerpt of acoustic achievement. A pulsation thrives throughout, saliva soaked oral donations relish the chance given, the string and skin work is unified, profoundly textured and awash with numerous living aspects that make this erudite punkage not for the addle headed. Troughed tones give weight, classy peaks are plentiful and this whole concoction is in prime condition and acoustically, athletically moving with grace. Those initial vibrations unravel a multitude of strapping sensations and a real synergy of all contributors is highlighted - a quite puissant and, may it be said, gastronomically succulent moment to savour!
The Droogettes opening 'Girls At The Milk Bar' is a squeakier song that is crisp and careful with a femme pride interwoven in the midst of a melody that is strolling and enthused by a happy bumbled bass line and an ever enthusing front lass. The reliable tympanic ticker work, the clarity of component and the exposé of the bass wandering are all positive aspects to a song that is not made to ruffle your feathers but is their instead to preen along with and then duly strut with sanguinity. A sweetly stated construct that pedals along without too much of a care in the world but with its own brand of potency - watch out dear gentlemen!
Back to External Menace and the glistening acuteness of 'Right Now'. This one glints with frosted care before leaping in with effective scratches and scrapes that cut to the bone of indifference and force one to sit up and take fuckin' note. The salivated spurt of lyrical snapping is ideal for this scurfy shit fling of unsettled acoustica with yet more skankiness almost hidden away in the visceral guts of the groove. Dig that chomping attitude, that whole unsettled stance from aging sonic swashbucklers who should (but happily don't) know better. A comfortably concrete offering and if their first blow out wasn't so darn magnificent I may get even more aroused by this one (pass me the bromide please).
The Droogettes close the CD with the delightfully entitled 'Antifa Roller Skating'. Pronounced strums commence proceedings, strong determined and lucid she gobbage and a reliance on throwing off the shackles of aggressive politico spewing is taken to cerate a simplistic cute song that has a message but also has enough about it to promote the need to have some fun. The lyrics are easily picked up, the pace is relaxed, the output crisp and tasty with a good lasting flavour that may just have you belching up a sing-a-long utterance or two when you least expect it. Sweet enough I'd say.
So, at first I had reservations, now I have none. Initially my brow was furrowed with doubt, now it is furrowed with a wide eyed delight at a nice 4 tracker to appeal to many tune addicts. I like groups to work together, I am all for split singles as it assists in getting vibes further afield - I hope this mini-cracker is a case I can use as an example in future.
THE WEBB - COVERS COLLECTION
The best place for covers is usually on a bed, or thrown over a crowd of fashionable scenesters, preferably with a sprinkling of petrol. Musically covers are OK in small doses, 1 per set or CD that do the business in most instances of setting many sozzled or switched off souls alight. The question I have here is why a band of such quality and sharp sonic value put 6 covers on one release and, more bewilderingly, why the fuck am I interested? The Webb are good, they have something rich and ornate running through their veins and that perhaps answers the latter poser but I still go in with a doubt in my mucked up mind and I hope I am proven to be unreasonably sceptical but, if I am not, then you shall all know about it - nudge, nudge!
'Dead Cities' begins the lesson in audacity and is of course the song we are all familiar with penned by The Exploited, a band who are well versed in knocking out bare basic fodder built on slamming aggression rather than musical technicality. The original is shit-arsed pile-driving and lacks any real depth whereas the make-over given here is a wired up wonder that finds a beat line and thoroughly adheres to it throughout. The fact that a duo can take such an under-processed product after all these years and give it a completely new lease of life is all credit to the creating couplet and shows that we should never rest on our laurels. The original is a good zip along, this is an equally good zap and fizzes with much auto-created life. 'Holiday In Cambodia' is perhaps the greatest brazen mimicry attempted but done so with no thought of being a downright mirror image but instead, like the previous track, is a thorough re-working cum re-wiring of an all time classique. There is a distinct abrasive cruelty woven into the tapestry of this tune and our lead lass spits up a great amount of angled and barbed malevolence over the seizured discontent of the keyed corruption. Madness always lurks in the rear and now and again steps to the fore blurring the lines of decency between what is acceptable and what is not. I like the danger this adds to the proffered slice of scathing electrocution and although a million miles away from the original the piercing intent is still there and I reckon this is a wonderful rearrangement that will please some and irritate others - how gratifying!
'Halloween' is the next rhythmic raping to take place with the Banshee construct undergoing a facelift in no uncertain terms. This delivery has a very upright and sanguine stance with a frostiness that will make even the most rigid spine bend. The under pulse and vocal aloofness operate in uncomfortable concurrence with the whole escapade a minimalistic sub-horror waltz arranged so as to torture and titillate in one perverse bundle. It be a strange package, one to confound the moods and keep one befuddled as to an end decision. The Webb mystify by doing so little at times and yet I always come away with a sensation of something achieved, something done so exactly right and in keeping with many modes of melody. I am a fan, I refuse to let that status impede my judgement and so stick to my guns and state clearly that here, the band have me bent double - ooh sexy! Action Pact's 'People' is molested next and is a song I haven't heard for many a year and is, in truth, a nugget tucked away at the back of the bonse and one I almost forgot about. To refresh things I fished out the track and caught up with the bitched onslaught and got reacquainted with the beautiful resonance’s and under-scrubbed sensations that had so much naturalness. What The Webb do is turn a bitched angst into a nightmared terror borne from a psychiatric chair were the inner soul is bared as well as the ass of emotion. The manoeuvring key manipulations, the riding oral work, the snappy lilt and the switch from industriously tuneful to the frosted repeater screw-driving all create a crooked creation to swing ya backside to - go get em'.
2 left and the Gary Numan 'Love, Hurt, Bleeds' is offered up as the sacrificial song for the slaughter and in truth is a mimic of an original that I am not familiar with - cue time out to listen. Tick, tock, tick, tock - ooh what an awful bloody song and that dreary swine Numan does little to lift it from the doldrums! I feel as though the band here have their hands full in regards raising anything sniffable from a sure-fire shit heap - hey ho, I poke about nonetheless and find some semblance of success. The cavernous almost religious march, the spectral searching and the semi-perverse delight taken in the bleeding entirety maximises the effect the original should have embraced and for me, this effort totally outweighs the previous slab of crappy wallowing. I strain to find culpable fault and come out feebly clutching at straws. As stated, the task set was nigh on impossible, the result is quite astounding and this, if anything, emphasises the quality within the band. Numan's attempt was squalid, flatulent and lacking true absorption by the player, these two tunesters are right in the groove and should be applauded for their mastery.
The closure ‘Insects’ is a real sultry affair that deals with corpse consuming arthropods and the final devouring we all shall face if choosing to avoid the flame. This Mr Kitty revamp is a celebration of all the fascinating facets of this band with our front lass exuding predatory sexuality and sensual oral thermals whilst the keyed up warrior produces a quite 'living' array of mesmerism via his wired up box of tricks and ever-dabbling digits. I feel as though I don't need to say much here, let the music do the talking and just lay down and let the electro beat and luscious throat lilt saturate you - it is indeed a fine sensation.
The Webb dangled a carrot here, a carrot liable to attract my critical attention (in the nicest way) but the two clever shits have beat me and somehow managed to tickle my nicer side and have got, what I feel, is a positive reaction. Those darn buggers, what a joy they are and I'll tell you this, if you like variety, like decent people to work with and are keen to add a different flavour to your gigs - get them booked and chase down their noise - it is, ah what is the word, oh that's it - wonderful!
ZEITGEIST 77 - SIX BILLION STORIES
I like this bands short Facebook description 'No Covers - No Compromise' - now that is what I like to hear! The band are old school, non-too-rough, ready and raring to rock. Testes are bared, upfront discordance is the name of the game and the fact they are old enough to know better, and don't, is what turns me on. Despite these winning elements the produce will be assessed in the usual unbiased manner and I hope the band can take whatever comes their way (it is all done with the most well meant spirit and the best possible taste)! In then we go...(ooh forget to mention, I love the old BBC globe on the cover of this CD - I am almost expectant of a trip down to the Jackanory studio and the like)!
ONE MAN HOWLIN' DOG BLUES BAND - THE UNDERDOG
The one man at the helm here is a long term warrior striving for air in an oceanic arena of imbalance and sinking ships. The world is based on unfairness and this disparity is heightened even more in a musical world where people are warped by status, big name and z-class celebrity. Thank goodness for the pure DIY unaffected dogs out there. So given a hand of hope, a stubborn streak, a need to banish demons and release some tuneage here we have an 18 track expulsion in bluesy, unwashed naturalness without any thought for mollycoddling your senses. Here we go then, an attempt at balance, an attempt at being fair, an attempt at being honest - a fuckin' darn near impossible task (as always).
We casually wander in, assisted by the cooling vibes of the love lilt 'Wash Over Me', a very fragile gossamer of tonality fluttered in a steady self-made zephyr of rich, carefully embroidered tonality. There is a perspicuous slant at creating visual images of cerulean stained desire that remains cleanly washed throughout rather than being dazzlingly vulgar. The whole approach to the song under the spotlight is one of comforting thermality that radiates a feathery caress of a quite confident level. I am reminded of foreign sun-kissed islands where the whispering ambience and purist shadings all blend into a pastelised offering of appealing charm - for me a very gratifying introduction to our artiste. 'A Girl' is a dreamy doppelganger but with a little extra pep in the consignment of melody that embraces the listener a little more firmly and a little more assuredly. We move from a powdering panorama to a more definite sonic sketching with both aspects containing an applaudable amount of attention to detail. Rest assured, our artiste will not be bustled along by any insidious pressure and here we find him ambling along in his most relaxed way and generously gifting us with another fine trinket of tuneage to bless our over tattered souls with. The girl he has found has no need for the materialistic wealth - I like that!
Two down and more than above the level of satisfactory I reckon, now what comes this way next I do ask? In fact it be 'Generations Hate' a construct that starts in a most mundane and creeping way that finds little favour with my expectant soul. Hold my impatience and intolerance please, a pause is taken and things picked up with a scuffled string essence creating many sonic suds and a decent level of spirited froth without splashing outside the chosen zones. Dual flavours are involved with the crawling and the skipping counterbalancing the weight of the offering and helping keep one wary and involved. It slips along with tepid success and moves into the more liquidised and planed out ease of 'Ghost Towns', a matter of fact number that radiates a feeling of acceptance and yet sorrow at the situation many once bustling areas now find themselves in. The greedy get fatter, the poorer pay the price and those once prosperous hives of activity are now grey shadows awash with finished fantasies of yesteryear. I find this one of my favourite tracks with a constant battle going on between that which is defeated and sad and that which somehow won't lie down and die. The assistance of semi-submerged guitar glistens all helps the case of course and I play this many times over before moving on - indulgence is sometimes most necessary! One point to make though is the end fades out too abruptly (take note sir, take care). Swinging in next is the 'Gypsy Woman', an echoed structure that rewinds itself around the same central spine of rhythm and creates a lazy, sun soaked repeat beat of love struck release that has the victim utterly bowled over and happy to stay prostate and bask in the rays of an absorbing emotion. This is a homage to a woman desired, a spouting off from a heart struck by the bow of Cupid and for that reason alone I request that you just hop into the groove and just let it go man, let it go. The most bluesed sounding track of the lot and pursued by the washboard, dishpan shimmy of 'Puppet On A String'. Despite my soaring hopes this is not a cover of the Sandie Shaw classic but a homemade brew of twanging resistance and westernised drawling bawling. A tin pan alley cat of a song shaking its tail with encouraged chorus segments and slinking about with a certain streetwise grace. Time to don the 10 gallon Stetson and spurs and kick up some dust in the most controlled manner methinks. Not a full on barn reel but a crooned ditty to have a minor jig to - yeah haaa pard'ner!
Uncertainty, nervousness and a longing next with 'Home Sweet Home' a dawdling number that drags its heels in a ponderous and almost self-pitying way and thus, brings the listener down into the doldrums with no hope of salvation. It is a moment of quiet reflection that perhaps, in some ways, involves the player more than the eavesdropper and so negates any potential harmony between the two. It is neatly applied and sticks to the strumming gents style but for me lacks a little decisiveness, zest and embracing accent - just one of those and no matter how hard I squeeze my tolerant testicles I can't enjoy every fuckin' song I happen to trip across. Next and a more atmospheric affair with a scenario of monochrome melancholy and druggie escapism via the aptly entitled 'Junkie Love'. A touching song borne from souls entwined by chemical dependence and a detachment from the impending oblivion. The deep rooted understanding, the copulation of empathy and sympathy and of course the tender and attentive nature of the player is all enchanting and highly magnetic output with the pained mutterings of the doomed lass a most exquisitely stirring and poignant addition. What a genuinely compassionate and well-versed song!
A quartet of quick snips with 'Life's A Bitch' coming in at a jaunty angle and with a cowboy trot that shoots from a gently curving hip before riding off into the sunset with determination and a mind well and truly made up. A delightful hop-a-long that twitches the ticker whereas 'On the Rocks' is a shadowy 60's-esque shimmer that unfolds its initial dew kissed petals into a swaying bloom that attracted this sniffer of all things natural. The emitted sonic pollen that invades the sensors has a subtle fragrance that cultivates a series of appreciative nods due to the flickering delicacy, restrained wave lengths and the 'tucked up in bed against the elements' feeling that gives us all some profound moments of reflection to get mentally abducted by. 'No Hope Town' pops in next and has a most woodpecker-like motif that repeat pecks at the trunk of toneage and so is one of those songs that immediately sticks in the over-buggered noggin of noise. It has a decent cadence and a somewhat uplifting hope, a hope many of us have despite the constant drawbacks of life - we've all been there, and that is what makes this one so digestible. 'Perfect Rhymes' lifts my senses, talks me round into a stance of positivity and I don't know why. It is a funny old ditty that tinkles along on dulcet tones and very sobered tonal tendons with a definite leaning towards the doldrums of sound but there is something in the weave that keeps me thinking I am making a wrong decision here - and that is something I like to feel. 'Romance Ain't Dead' has a cavernous underflow of something Wank Marvinised as well as the usual Deano ditty titty touches. It is a comfortable blend that is slowly simmered in a melting pot controlled by capable hands. This one has me thinking, like most of the songs do, is how the dude in charge would come out with a 100% super duper make-over. It is worth pondering and a point that will signify that this artiste has more talent than the silted sound system lets us believe - all one needs is a passion to make the effort. Not bad at all this one as is the trundling chaser 'Salvation Train'. A travelling titbit with a Lonnie Donegan vein as well as an undressed rock and roll primitive bass wobble that all compete for acoustic oxygen in a tightly wrapped blanket of snuggle-inducing rhythm. This one provokes the feeling of being on a said chugger, with head against the window and the lullaby rattle of the train forcing ones peepers to become increasingly lidded - what do ya reckon? It ain't no bad sensation is it and many fine memories come to the fore as a result - zzzz!
'She' is a song from The Poor Geezers with that sweet trilling lass Rachel joining in the delivery. Those initial strums have pure Banshees reminiscences before a quite saccharined accent pours forth from golden oral goblets that only the purest acoustic ambrosia can grace. All we, as listeners, have to do is drink the contents and dwell on the life affirming splendour found within the liquid flow. I love this one and like an old friend it appears and warms the cockles of one's heart! 3 to go and 'Sun Don't Shine', keeps ones feet firmly planted in the streets of reality with that rose-tinted outlook adopted by so many detached noodles washed away with thermal persuasion. Usual fare from the fluffy pillow fellow with a need to spread some tuneage without mad aggression at the helm. Take it for what it is but remember one thing, we are 16 tracks in and I am still intrigued - that takes some doing in these saturating days of rhythmic rain. ' Trash' is a faux pas I feel due the combination of it being the penultimate track, running over 5 minutes and not having enough zip and zing at such a late juncture. The theme is in keeping with what has transpired and the consistency levels are true but for me, I think that a short sharp jolt of upbeat jollity would have been a perfect choice. Nonetheless the song is more than adequate but not what this discordant diner ordered for dessert. We shut down with 'Once', another construct with a longing for peregrination away from the desolate and inhumane to lands where solar solace will be found and a friendly atmosphere in which to thrive (well that's how I read it). The heart longs for escape, the soul is almost lost in an arena of abandonment and defeat. There is a hobo insistence to plod away here and it is far from a bad way to finish - have the full stop and hope.
Yes that is the word, 'hope', a word that seems to be very apt throughout this unpretentious, earthy and DIY offering from a ‘busker do’ who indeed won't give in. I think, when soaring high and looking down on the delights offered here one can really appreciate the tenderness, the perspiration poured in and, most crucially, the naturalness. A decent disc to throw into your collection, one to play in between your more blatant blasts, one to add the always necessary...contrast!
TIO RICO - DEMO
A Manc Land band featuring members from an assortment of units (Echo Freddy/Big Ed and the Stink/Glue Ear etc. - by heck when was the last time I saw that Echo Freddy lot) and one who are tentatively reaching out into rhythmic areas beyond where they have fully trodden before. I have had them on two of my Fungalised gigs so far with one viewing and one beer-induced miss. The initial thoughts were of a hit and miss nature and I really should have paid more attention second time around to see which way the truncheon of decision would swing - hey my heads a fuckin' overloaded mess and sometimes I just gotta do what I do. Initial spins of the CD chuck up verdicts of average to something to ponder further and so, as is needed, several more rotations were taken. This, my dear reader, is where my thoughts ended up. Cue transport slant, for no other reason than to keep me, and hopefully you, intrigued by the continuous downpour of reviews.
'Somewhere Between' is more like-it and strikes me as a wound-up paper aeroplane that rises on adequate thermals and has enough tautness in the elastic to make the journey homeward in settled style. The bass and vocal escapes are almost there and create a clean gliding moment to place further thought on whereas the guitar inclusions are just a little shy of the textured feel needed. To add also that the opening lilt has abundant promise and an almost westernised roast to its accent that opens many further opportunities. We are still at the embryonic stage here though so let us not jump the gun and blow our own expectant balls off. Next and a recharged and re-spruced clapped out slag wagon that is given new life with an attempt at cultured tones and careful positioning of the main driving forces (the general notes and chords etc). The rusted carriage of 'Mr Big Shot' initially appears from a shimmering horizon with a steady regulation pulsing the framework that still has corrosion but also has shine aplenty. As we get a gentle push on the accelerator the whole internal cacophonic combustion system hits, what is, the most comfortable operative levels thus far and the song, despite a few sub-staggers that sees certain parts not fully match up, we get a decent offering to travel along with.
A Hot Air Balloon moment next, a wind-rocked number that finds some complimentary thermals as well as a few contrasting zephyrs that make the drift slightly edgy. The pilots at the helm appear to be not fully in control and seem happy to go with the flow which now and again appears not fully unified. The end destination is believed in, the tune in the main floats with crafted attention but now and again we feel the whole cacophonic compartment uncomfortably sub-jolt which furrows the brow with unexpected consternation. 'Lay Me Down' has many favourable aspects though with the general coolness of the cut, the many textures enveloped and the UK/US essences all putting them in good stead in this highly fractured sonic circle - yeah much to offer here.
We close with the jerkiest jalopy of the lot 'Exhausted Disappointment' (I know that feeling) but one, despite the tag given can very much hold it’s own on the five-track freeway created here. Occasionally we get the odd worrying moment where the sonic big-end threatens to blow, now and again the song switches to a cruise mode that makes me wonder if any semblance to smooth running will ever be had but the drivers hold firm and avoid many disasters through nothing more than a mixture of talent and idiot doggedness. Another mid-paced effort with rubber well-worn and external horizons pondered - it has me scratching the bonse for sure.
Tio Rico have many spare parts on their mitts, a loose hotchpotch of melodic machinery to build an end creation to burn up the roadways with but which ends up as a structure that never quite leaves the garage. The avoidance of spiked and skanked regulation is appealing though, the many cute and classy adornments that parade themselves with sanguinity duly magnetise and the unrushed and unruffled input is exact but, yes that fuckin 'but' word again, a little more oil is needed and a little more fuel added to that end productive mix to help the overall liquidity of the tracks and gain greater positivity from the listener. Then, and only then can safety helmets be worn and the band can whoosh with the best of em' along the motorway of melodic madness. Here's hoping!
MFC CHICKEN - (GET OUTTA THE ) DJ BOOTH
Another single from a crew I have recently invested my textual time into on another 2 track offering that challenged the orderly way of thinking. I have also done a review of an album by this crew and so far my sanity is in tact, my desire to hear more is still there and a good old slab of trepidation is never far away. No need to fuck around here, onwards.
'(Get Outta The) DJ Booth' is funky melodica with the raw boned garage influence shot through with a grooved line of cocaine cacophony that surges through the veins and sends the senses jiving. A real reet petite chilled dude sneaker that jitterbugs on accomplished highs of acoustic aptitude with all areas relaxed but somehow mightily taut. A virility exudes outward, a sense of Peacock strutting whilst the keyed agitation adds a certain 'out to lunch' invasion that keeps one wondering, in the most politest of ways, as to what the band are actually thinking about here. A charming tingle this creates and it gives more than just the sonic shaft a desire to get up and have a go - now you can't knock that!
'Colonel Sander's Bastard Son' is rinky dink sax driven sub-sex, alive with components of yesteryear and today. The seductive sleaze of the vocal layer is a cute addition to a song that, in most respects, is clean and refreshing and swirled with a rock and roll animation and highly productive pizzazz. The crawling bass line beetle-creeps, the brass blows its own ass out with inflated vim whilst the guitar rhythmically roams and the drums switch off and reliably make sure all components are contained. A pluck, don't give a fuck reel around made for darkened dance floors the world over and with the final jazz jizz roll out I am reaching for the replay button at once.
Suggestive of the manic, draped in the basic principles of melody and baked with accuracy and insight the MFC Chicken crew still keep me entertained and keep on producing some marvellous tuneage to slip in between the more heavy duty bombardments I get hammered with. To all and sundry - go shake yer booty!
CHEWED UP/CASUAL NAUSEA - SPLIT CD
12 tracks, 2 bands, a split between two roaring entities soaked in scabbed and infected hardcore sonic raiment’s and tattooed throughout with much discordant, disagreeing distemper that is not only contagious but stinks like fuck. A veritable germed war zone we find ourselves in, with an equal abundance of grenade and rocket fire passion thrown many ways. The bands know their target, shred their asses whilst striving for some semblance of notice, a mere chance at attention, a trifling snippet of applause. So we step forth in a realm of monochrome mayhem and make sure our lugs are on high alert and covered for damages by various dubious methods - splurge! I am avoiding the usual route, I'll dip back into a cut-up construct and slap it down with venom.
Chewed Up - Anarcho skanky crustulisation from the Steel Town with DIY in the hearts and anti-prejudice stances aplenty.
From the heavily pregnant skies of desire falls the first runt of rhythm, lightning struck with the tag of 'Advice'. Bass gripe, guitar twinge nag, a thrust of tympanic and oral engines. Heat becomes almost intolerable with skankoid urgency dousing the blinding flames. Perversely we walk into the conflagration. The tumult is a joy, a skin roasting to achieve orgasm within. Certain shoddy slants are glued together with abrading security - we are roughed up and gruffed up and, perhaps, we like it that way. 'What Does It Mean' debates, gets frustrated via a soundbite - the cunt with the question is soon blown to the rear memory banks. Urban lingo, divisive bingo - another barrier to separate, here we smash the barrier with noise, a hurtful slamdunk that ruptures its own ass with a repeating chant amid a flurry of violent scuzz. Simple, perhaps too simple and one that can only appeal to the most dated cerebral databanks - puke or play, piss or pogo - it is what it is and fails to earn a total thumbs up.
'Cycle Path' is a track I have tunefully travelled many times, scream, stop, start, be rabid and all that. I should stand atop a dais and pronounce verdict 'guilty', I don't. I hop down and slam like a turkey assed bastard drugged on discordance and make no apology...what...so...ever! Torn, ravaged, bleeding with spirit - those who know no better - indulge. Best song next - 'Don't Lost Yourself', 20 seconds of high-octane accuracy. Fistfuls of dinned darts are chucked with malice and the message that punctures your framework is apt - believe and be you, a real bout of bang on blitzing - over and out in super quick slick time. Heart wounds open, 'Love' gushes outward, another granite gonad bursting eruption of wild mayhem that throws huge disease ridden boulders onto the noggins of those who adore wretchedness, who wallow in a mire of draining misery. A thrashing conger eel of electrocuted lunacy crapping power violence essences right into the mug of the captors. Please handle with care, this is volatile dynamite liable to take yer hands and ears clean out of action. Fuck down, shut down, head down - maybe! 'Cycle Path Part 2' the parting shot from those orally mangled. The train to silent oblivion leaves, in the interim get yourself flagellated, masturbated and decimated. More skunk skank filth, wholesome racket-making, surging express trouncing that creates, in no uncertain terms, a punishing thrash of tuned in (and out) emotion. Hop aboard, dodge your fare, demolish the karsi's and jump off whenever you want but for me, the whole journey is worth sticking at.
Casual Nausea - Another volatile punk band this time from Ipswich with, yet again, another passion for keeping it in the gutter and utterly DIY.
'Benefits Benefit No-One' begins with Peter Cook’s nonsensical wanderings before spluttering into the first lungful of gravelly, screwed up, lowdown and dirty noise that rolls with much tempestuous ill nature and tortuous flaming rage. Injustices arise, the routine of the song is somewhat orthodox for a hardcore offering but it will do for starters. 'Fucking Coppers' wanders in on warped wire work and disturb dabblings before the caustic disease is let loose upon us and the leprous filth flakes away before our very perverted peepers. The clatter and clash style is encouraged by the violent unapologetic vocal edge and vice versa, which is always handy when using up so much darn energy. Again routine but running with the baton passed and on we go to the more effective ' Bored To The Bone' an account that sprints, stampedes and kicks out in commanding sections. The alteration of delivery and yet the maintenance of the consistency all highlight a band with more power to their elbows than perhaps many may give credit for. Those pounding pogo moments are a delight and surely encapsulate a scenario to witness 'live'. 'Broken' is super swift primeval screaming that releases a few demons and inner niggles. The crew power through proceedings and just about keep everything in check. What the band need to do is make a decision here and decide if they are going to polish up and go for a more pronouncing texture in the production room or hang even looser and just yell like Babel’s whores and emit many truly free fucking moments - a pertinent poser methinks and whichever way is chosen I can see the benefits. This is a fairly sturdy tune though. 'Let It Get Away' is a neat surge of fuck it factor with the grimaced and pebble-dashed both hammer-jacking the senses with a relentless impacting bout of nicely neglected DIY shite. A sun baked turd no less, with still some noisy nutritional value, a fair reek and a richer colour had as the whole output warms up. Again, a regular sonic stool somewhat despite the many chunks of arse ripping cacophonic corn but, as a deviant of dinnage, I must sniff more and maybe put my tongue closer to the outer layers. 'The Milk Is A Metaphor' is tumbling mush on many angles which for some may be too much and for some may be just right. Either way this finishing number is the greatest indicator of what potential is on show and how many avenues the band have at their disposal to explore. This one takes some adjusting to but there are many barbs to get snagged by and to enjoy the afterbleed with - don't slip by too quickly peeps.
2 bands, working together, toeing each other’s line as well as their own and sharing the load - I like that and it is always an ethos I always spout off about. Do split singles, work with others, help each other up the ladder of the lowly and enjoy the climb. This CD has many good points and is a fine racket to jump about to – it gets my vote anyway!