FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 15
SUSPICIOUS STAINS - SOILED DEMO
4 tracks from Rochdale's deviant quartet offers great promise of things to come. 'Fun Night Out' for me is the best of the bunch with the beer swilling lyrics and a jack hammer drum beat this track epitomises what Suspicious Stains are all about - FUN! It's nice to see a band not take things too seriously but to have enough nouse to appreciate the finer points of punk. Even though the other 3 tracks are of a more serious tone the unassuming character comes across without any hindrance from twiddling pretension. 'Rapist' caps a fine first effort with a screaming chorus that ensnares female fronted punk in all its pre-menstrual, hormone saturated glory. In the panties of punk - long may the Stains be Suspicious.
PRAIRIE DUGZ - AFF THE LEASH
A top class outpouring from North of the Border by what seems to me to be one of the countries finest bands. The Prairie Dugz obviously lay emphasis on tune rather than noise and the attractable sound issued forth here certainly does a great band justice. From the initial hearing this failed to hit any negative points and each and every song works well and contributes to a real high class recording. As soon as you hear this CD you will want to see the band live - I certainly do and that can only be a positive factor.
This patriotic piece of work not only has pride in production but displays a deep-rooted understanding of what makes a good punk vibe.
First up and its '7 Minutes To Freedom' which quite wonderfully radiates a fine composite of vibrant guitar and textured vocals besides incorporating a fresh, professional feel to the whole song. The clarity of voice and perfectly fuzzed guitar work are two partners in a relationship that works - and works very well indeed. Before the initial impression is over we kick into 'Final Youth' which again is a perfect blend of all sounds and timbres and re-inforces the conviction that this is an outstanding outfit.
The rattling bass line precedes the staccato vocals of 'Get Outta My Way' and again another stunning song goes racing by with various reminiscent sounds making cameo appearances throughout but which all add to a very unique noise.
The next two songs are the pick for me with 'Land Of The Free' a Scottish anthem that bleeds with patriotism and flag-waving defiance. If the English take pride in 'England Belongs To Me' then this is a tartanised equal and to me an overall better song - blasphemous or what? Quickly following on is the best track of the lot with 'Lockdown' - a real fuckin' masterpiece set to stand proud in punk rocks hallowed gallery. Just a fuckin' stunning song perfectly assembled and excellently delivered with a head down, take no prisoners approach that bursts into one of the best choruses I have heard in a long time. Simple but mightily effective and the elusive winning formula has certainly been well and truly caught here.
Finally the CD closes with 'No-where's Safe' another first rate track that pulsates into action before the stunning female vocals take centre stage and put the finishing touches to a well organised ditty that puts a glorious full stop on one purely pleasurable listen.
Fuckin' fantastic this CD and if you ain't got a copy then go get it as soon as. One of the years best listens for me and a full length album is a frightening prospect that I am only too willing to endure.
THE RED EYES - UP TO OUR EYES IN IT
And yet another CD from The Red Eyes which I recieved with a pre-warning from lead vocalist and rhythm guitar maestro Alan Bishop that 'the production isn't as good as the other two'. Fuckin' hell talk about high standards! This album would put most CD's I recieve to shame and these are ones I still deem enjoyable. This is a real adequate job and I personally enjoy this album and rate it very highly. It is instantaneously recognisable and offers a good variety of tempo and style.
Opening up is the beer swilling ditty called 'Alco-Fuelled'. A real good starter and from here the standard never dips. The CD is an unwavering piece of work throughout and one upbeat song after another is majestically played by 4 artistes on top form. This is an established band in terms of musical outpourings and the songs break away from the sub 2-minute punk rock formula (in fact there is only one below the 2 minute period) and show a more learned and thoughtful approach.
Many a fine tune here with a different one coming to the fore with every listen. Personal faves of mine are the signature tune 'Red Eyes' - a great chorus, 'Tabloid Sleaze' which is punky in lyric and again just a stonking tune and the real classy 'It's Criminal' which brings in combinations of ska and reggae and mixes them oh so subtly to produce a somewhat 'Ruts-esque' sound that exudes a different dimension to a great band.
3 out of 3 for The Red Eyes and I find it hard to determine where on earth I am going to find fault with this lot. That's how good it is and if I was going to find any fault at all then maybe they may be a bit too cultured for some punk crowds. Clutching at straws there but if you check out any songs by this lot I would be interested in what complaints you would have - coz I ain't got none.
AFTER THE MASSACRE - DEMO
Unrelenting scouse hardcore here as the screaming bitches from Hades spew forth their hormone riddled angst asunder into a montage of musical mayhem. Live this lot are value viewing with the 2 hollering front ladies a confident cover for the hammer happy males in the background who happily provide the discordant racket the sirens can go wild at. Despite a dramatic urgency and blatant brutality this is a very enjoyable and competent CD and really reflects ATM's gasoline fuelled gusto. All tracks are of a similar slashed vein with great anarchic melodies in between the pussy ridden yell fest. Like a powerful drug this is definitely recommended in small doses. One for hardcore addicts everywhere. The rest can make their own mind up.
RIP OFF UK - THINK
A DIY outing for the lunatic fringe here as Rip Off UK rattle off 7 tracks in their spirited punk rock style. No fucking about here as this is a definitive no-frills demo with each song bringing a 77 style punk that now seems long lost. The title track 'Think' opens up proceedings and bounces into 'Fox Sake' with a nice consistent edge. The CD's best track of 'I Don't Wanna' is a sing-a-long peach and is surely an anthem for all the lazy, fat, beer swilling bastards out there. 'D.U.' and 'Computerland' add a nice political touch to proceedings exhibiting another aspect of the band and with the quick pursuit of 'What's the Point' a nice contrast is achieved with a typically punk entitled track complimenting the preceding duo well. Finally 'Shh' closes proceedings and is in fact an old Negatives classic namely 'Bradford'. For those in the know we have a couple of ex-Negs here and this old fave caps a good debut CD and in fact goes one better than their old band. Overall and going back to 'Computerland' I think the chorus in this really stands out and I can't help wondering that with a bit more time and better production this could be a real classic as could the whole 7 ditty's. But as in the words of frontman Mark 'Nice one luv'.
PENITRAITORS - OPERATION RAPE
Just off centre in regards production this is a serving similar to the early 80's political crust that briefly upset the punk rock apple cart and added a new welcome bunch of rotten fruit to the scene. There are some classy touches here with the obvious Crassite/Subhumans/Citizen Fish influences thrown in for good measure.
'Lets Start A War' opens the CD and is an intentional hard driven song full of passion that ends with an old snippet of advice via a now laughable Public Information Film regarding a nuclear attack. The menacing guitar of 'Lack Of Role Model' promises much and quickly breaks up into a half decent tirade that again fractures into a well delivered rapping dialogue.
'Operation Rape' continues the good standard with 'Birth Control' following on and being one of the albums zeniths. 'What We Gonna Sing About' is a nice song that skips along although the murky production again clouds the end result. 'Lift The Lid' has some real smooth riffs that intermingle with raving vocals thus creating a well worked piece with a ska solo that maybe too short but is long overdue on an album crying out for more of the same.
In need of more skanky moments before the CD expires the last two songs fail to deliver but are decent enough anyway. The hidden musical blast is a real piss-about but is very well done with it's 'Run To The Hills' opening and a nice metal finish for all the long haired brigade - what is that fuckin' tune?
The final assessment is of a good band who know how to crack out a good tune but who have fell foul to some below par production that stops a good effort from being an absolute belter. If I were a millionaire then a recording studio would be bought and these guys would be top of the list to have in and knock out something more worthy of their obvious talent. Even so this CD is still worth getting hold of and this is an outfit I suspect really rock when playing a live gig.
BACCHUS - ROCKIN' ROLLIN' PUNKS
An odd little six tracker this that has a very individual sound which intermingles snippets of Oi, Irish-style shindiggery (even though they hail from Shetland), harsh guitars and some boozing style riiffs. 'We Are Bacchus' is a solid enough opener and one can almost envision the foaming tankards and bleary eyes as a piss-pots anthem is rattled out by a very promising outfit. 'You're Crazy' is a meatier affair with the vocals containing an almost indifferent sneering inflection and the chorus being another catchy piece. So far the jobs a good un' and 'Brotherly Hate' and 'Stand Up And Be Counted' are 2 more good numbers with the former having a great, almost monotone vocal rant and sinister bass riff.
'Slaghag' is a venomous foul-mouthed affair that trespasses on the comedic but thankfully has far too many worthy credentials to be cast as such. It skips and stutters well and adds a new facet to the Bacchus CV.
The best is saved until last with the reeling 'Fuck Off' a true delight that is uplifting, merry and undoubtedly a piss-heads party preference. A great way to end a fine CD from a band worth further investigation.
The ability shown here will be tested on the next release and with care and trepidation should the recording studio be approached. This is a quality offering to start with so I would advise a quick mooch on the internet and check out this solid band.
D' CORNER BOIS - BE NICE OR FUCK OFF
Straight into the mix here with the disgruntled and frustrated ‘Happy Ever After’ that is a real good punk rock opener to a CD that is a raw edged crackerjack worthy of praise. ‘All Guilty’ is a fabulous follow on with a splendid chorus and a smart unprofessional, DIY inflection which persists for the entire 8 tracks.
If trapped on a desert island with a tribe of unconverted wannabe punks then a CD of this ilk would serve the purpose of converting the clan. ‘Scrounging Class’ is equally unrestrained as its predecessor and ‘Parasite’ is a fuckin’ class offering that has a chorus that is loose, seemingly unrehearsed but works a fuckin’ treat. This is my kind of punk – raw, nasty, unpretentious and to the necessary point. In fact the chorus here is a real fist raising gig speciality and fills ones head with a pogoing crowd just stopping in mid-bounce, punching the air and screaming in passionate unison ‘Just a parasite to a shit society’. Class indeed.
‘On Pills’, ‘State Hypocrisy’ and the 4 Past Midnight cover ‘Party Politics’ are all barnstorming numbers delivered in great punk rock style and it is at this point why I wonder why this band is not far better known and gigging more often? What a crazy scene!
‘Trendy Punk’ is a proper snipe at the fakes who fail to support the underdog – a theme close to my heart in case you haven’t noticed so it’s a glowing report as far as I’m concerned.
‘Hopeless Cunt’ is the somewhat comedic of the lot but still works and ‘Culture Of Submission’ rounds off a real good do that is played in the fashion that punk should be played in.
A pleasure to review and more of the same please.
THE DISTRAKTED - DEMO
SKA-ream is the name of the game here with the unrestrained approach instantaneous as 'Heroes And Idols' bursts in at a frenzied 1000mph and immediately makes the CD's presence felt. The much needed closing choruses come in just in time to complete a fine opening effort and save a song from self-implosion.
Track 2 out of the 4 on offer goes by the name of 'Beaten Down And Broken' and is more of the same albeit less skanky. Urgency and heavy pace make this a fair song but it must be noted that the formula we have here is only fine over the short term and I doubt whether or not it could last an albums length. Maybe or maybe not this so far is good enough and track 3 'Mule And Fuel' bursts in almost immediately then breaks into a nice, welcome ska-attack before hurtling on in an already typical fashion etc.
The final track sounds too similar to the previous 3 and drifts on a little too long and thus commits musical suicide.
The final feeling is of a band with talent hitting upon a transient winning formula that works well over the sprint distance and will turn a few hardcore heads. For future efforts I feel it would be wise to shake things up a little with variations in tempo and general song construction. The production could be improved also but I have no fear that this will be rectified.
Definitely worth checking out and the CD does indeed work and as an initial effort it gets my vote.
TYRANNOSAURUS ALAN - DEMO
A 3 track demo here that offers a chance to hear some smooth, slinky-dink ska that is played in a laid back fashion but contains enough 'ooomph' to get the toes-a-tapping.
'Mango Number 5' is a sliding effort with a precocious edge that meanders its casual way along and makes way for the more orthodox 'Futures' which is a solid blend of undulating brass, strum and ska guitar and almost rapping vocals. It snakes forward quite admirably and is the pick of the trio for me.
'Boom' brings the CD to a close and is more hesitant and jerky in its approach but is still a decent enough effort that, along with the 2 other songs, must assist in gaining Tyrannosaurus Alan more gigs.
Done in true do-it-yourself mode and with a pretty good production this is a promising opening gambit. Nice band name too.