FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 16
THE BASTARD SON OF CHARLIE BROWN - DYNAMITE
For an old punky bastard like me it takes time to adjust to the many new flavours that go on offer under the heading of punk rock. This varied genre has so many aspects that one struggles to keep pace with the ever increasing soundscape. TBSOCB come at me from a more metalised cum intricate US angle and this CD has had me tearing my hair out on several occasions. The one live viewing I had of this band was very good and yet this CD fails to ignite the chemical chaos in my head so many simpler, more direct offerings do. It's purely a taste thing and lovers of the aforementioned styles will like this very much. The old school brigade may not be so generous as this has a very youthful feel to it.
'Lesson To Be Learned' is an adequate opener but is eclipsed by 'Liar' which is a fine track that doesn't deviate from its purpose and drive. 'Too Many Days' and the more flowing 'Light On Red' would fair well on an Epitath style compilation which I feel is compliment enough considering the awkward angle from which this review comes.
'Sly Fox' is the next high with some good points in a free-for-all of choruses, seemingly sub-choruses, verses and such. 'Dickhead' is a lovely track that aches for a live airing so as to urge the sweating crowd into sing-a-long mode.
The quality of production here is decent enough so far without being anything exceptional and this continues straight through assisting the busy song composition and good musicianship lovers of this style will lap up.
Over the final furlong the stand out moments are the slow atmospheric opening of 'Ideal Portrait' and the final track, namely, 'Despair' that casually strolls in and then explodes into what is a transient cacophony of mania. It works well and ends the album in adequate style.
The final opinion is mixed and ambiguous with a good live band producing a fair CD that I personally struggle with. At the end of the day its all about taste and I will leave it up to you to decide.
SCREAMING TARTS - COMPILATION VOL 2
A more than belated CD review but one which needed time and consideration rather than a rash, indifferent rhetoric on certain preferential deliveries and flavours. Volume 1 was a very good effort which has also been reviewed on this site and thus setting a mighty standard for this product to follow.
Teenage Casket Company are a reliable choice for the opener and 'Dial It Up' does a darn fine job. With standard set Electric Eel Shock maintain the quality with the heavier sounding 'Scream For Me'. Already during this number the metalised are tantalised with certain sounds that give hint of which way the rest of the compilation seems destined. Despite my punk rock stance I still managed to find more moments of pleasing rhythm but was of a mindset that more like-minded and awkward punkers would struggle with this. Glam rock, psychobilly, metal, indie, punk etc are all mish-mashed and the final offering gives much for the seeker of new listening material. The question is however - 'What is the target audience?'
A positive aspect or a negative one there are many points of discussion here but the CD deserves respect for its pick 'n' mix effort and high quality production. For some tracks you may need to don the flowing wig and dig out the spandex kecks but what the heck!
Other highs for me personally are the catchy 'I've Been Drinking Again' by Blunderbuss, the hard-edged 'Eat The Dirt' by Dragster and the sinister Latino-esque 'Counting On Your Suicide' by Zombina and the Skeletones.
Overall not as good as the first with the punk influence of sound very much in the minority. It's still worth a spin though but hardened punkers beware - metal glam heads enjoy!
GIMPFIST - HORRORSHOW
The highly productive outfit known as Gimpfist serve up another 3 tracks here that is a taster for what promises to be a crackin' fuckin' album. 'Fighting To Survive' is a smashing opener that blasts in from all areas and explodes in a cloud of punk glory fitting for a band of this brilliance. The distinctive Gimpfist sound is glaringly apparent which just adds to the CD's appeal - especially if you are a fan like me.
'Don't Wanna Be Like You' is a solid central track that again is just a delight with its infectious vocals and melodic rhythms. It's a well organised song that reaches its finale in vigorous style and opens the way for a song of mind-melting magnitude.
As time goes by and one gets more and more reviews under ones studded belt it seems increasingly difficult not to be over-critical and easier to be more pedantic when appraising each and evry offering. I suppose it is a natural progression as the catalogue of comparisons builds thus forcing each CD to need more ammunition to blow away its competitors and stand victorious. The 3rd track here literally shatters any critical pretensions and leaves one completely awe-struck and almost dumbfounded. It trickles in with a fingered guitar salvo similar to a warning volley before the main assault which in this instance comes in the form of a Clash-esque cum reggae beat.
This is a purely class song that outstrips anything under review lately and is everything The Clash should have been instead of drifting apart in fractured misdirection. A poetical masterpiece and one of those glowing beacons in a sea of talent but which refuses to be part of the main swell. A truly exceptional effort and definitely one of the songs of the year for me. If this isn't regarded as an all time gem in years to come then I really do despair for the whole fuckin' scene.
A fantastic moment for me personally and if you wish to seek out one special song to lift those punk rock spirits then this is it. All I can say is just keep it coming lads - just keep it fuckin' coming!
ANGRY SCENES - COMPILATION VOL 2
Starting off a compilation on the right foot is of vital necessity and this outstanding attempt does just that with the excellent 'Constable Cockney' by Disturbance. The fact that this great opener is followed by one of the albums numerous highs sets a towering standard and 'Contamination' by the always excellent Drongos For Europe is a textured masterclass of ansgt ridden music and nerve-shredding riffs.
Whilst reviewing the CD I read the sleeve notes and realised this was being produced by a guy who loves the scene and couldn't give a flying fart about how the music gets listened to as long as the CD helps towards the betterment of the scene. A superior attitude and the whole production reflects this zealous and honest way of thinking.
Struggling to pick out a duff ditty the next noteworthy inclusion is a song by The Liarbilitys which goes by the name of 'Birmingham's Bleeding'. What a great track this is with slightly cavernous vocals and a real swift turn of pace. It thunders along and straight away gets you itching to hear more from this band. This is what compilations are for - to arouse curiosity, to get bands noticed, to push the cause - all 3 main points of criteria have been grandly met here.
Refuse/All with their snarling 'Violent Times', Mouth Sewn Shut with the raging 'Get The Gun', DBD with the as expected high quality 'Submission', The Kaotixx with the wild and mega addictive 'Mr Landlord' and the quintessentially 'Don't Give A Fuck' Dogshit Sandwich with 'Name Dropper' all add to the stunning firework display on show here and what a bonanza of crackerjacks it is.
If you love your punk and truly believe in supporting the scene then get this and encourage the guy (Paul) to get to work on Vol 3. This is the bread and butter of the scene so do your bit and support the cause.
SLIT RECORDS - COMPILATION VOL 1
And still the quality compilations come forth - this time with 21 tracks courtesy of Slit Records and Promotions, a recently established peddlar of DIY punk rock.
The sonic spectrum has many colours here radiating the remarkable variations available in today's saturated scene.
DBD commence with the controlled 'Song For The Union'. Its a bold opener with an ensnaring melody and virtuous lyric. The tone is immediately altered with 'She's Gone' by Almost2much which comes across as some kind of quasi-jitterbugging punk vibe that gets under the skin and hits all the right spots in subliminal fashion. A different shade is had with the more fundamental 'Don't Lose 'Em' by Criminal Record which is still a nice inclusion and like a wart on an unwashed ass stands out proudly.
The frenzied Distrakted burst in next with 'Heroes And Idols' swiftly followed by the spasmodically disjointed Kirks and the slightly underproduced 'Agent Ape' with both tracks still good but about 20% short of their full potential.
From the young to the disgracefully aged next with the excellent Bullet Kings unknowingly summing up this whole compilation via the ditty 'Punk Not Profit'.
Its a right old mix all the way through to the finale with other chosen highs being the bouyant and near classic 'Beach Week' by Stand Out Riot, the definite choice cut 'Psalm 23' by the ever impressive Flat Back Four, the androgynous and somewhat anfractious 'You're So Pretty' by The Crux, the abrupt bluntness of AFS and their misanthropic 'Happy People' and finally the cacophonous 'Manc' brace of 'Awful, Awful Business' and 'Green Light' by The Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man and Shadowcops respectively, all adding weight to the Slit ethos and attraction.
This is a good down-to-earth, no-frills piece that exposes bands in need of more recognition. The task is achieved with recommendations of better sound balance and packaging for the next serving.
Slit have made their mark and here's to a healthy and prosperous future for all concerned.
THE BULLET KINGS - REBEL WITHOUT REASON
Belligerently bellowing with fangs bared the opening 'Terror Holiday' snarls in with razor sharp violence and splatters the eardrum inside out with brutal malevolence. 'Council Kid' is a more dignified affair but reinforces the heady standard set so early on and the aggression is retained as the blood stained doors are kicked open and the political 'Friday Night Nazi' is delivered with the virulent infection the Bullet Kings strive so hard to master (and to a greater degree achieve). No lyrics included for this one though - mistake or cute move - you decide!
'Private Death' is another notch up with a more textured sound as the guitar rolls along in smoothly changing arrogance and the matter of fact chorus sticks in the grey matter like a festering pustule.
'London Town' will be adored by the riff lovers with perhaps the more critical claiming a cornball in the mix. Nonetheless its a fine song that is another feather in the BK's twatty Russian cap (some photos explain the use of 'twatty') but with fear of extreme pedanticity I would have preferred the chant of 'London Town' to be more northerly and suggest 'Manchester' as an option.
'Not For Me' is the toffee hammer in a toolbox of skull busting armoury. It still has a bite but its up against some mighty weaponry so there you go. 'Punk Not Profit' I hated, debated then liked. Yeah its another good tune that has the best lyrical message on the CD - excellent stuff.
'Words' is a gem which is pacey, tuneful, very effective in all deparatments and is a real flag flying victory for this fine band. The nail is well and truly hit on the head.
'Waster' is like a cheap firework - you wait with baited breath for an impressive explosion but end up with a deflated drone. Why is it part of the product is beyond me? The fact that it is sandwiched between two crackerjacks only highlights its insipidity and limitations. With the aforementioned 'Words' on one side and the fuckin' excellent 'Meltdown' on the other we have what is known as a boo-boo. Incidentially it has come to my attention that many people like 'Waster' so that's opnions for you - waste of bloody time ha ha.
On to 'Meltdown' and again a right ripping riot that reeks of rabid punk rock and it is in essence nothing more. And why should it be when the standard is so high.
'Truth' is overwhelmed by its more showy comrades but is worth some effort. 'Porno Pig', 'Riot' and 'Alcohol And Speed' are a trusted triumvirate of pre-released masterstrokes with each one being a manifestation of the BK's expressive and talented mannerisms. 'Riot' is the quintessential pogo-a-gogo and operates beautifully with its lyrically succinct chorus.
Despite the superfluous opening drum roll 'Rebel Without A Reason' is a sobering shanty with some fiddle and fuck peripheral overtones that works a treat. It is a rolling yarn that has a squarrose enough feel to it to be enjoyed by the most ardent punker.
'Now And Then' stinks of plagarism but my aging mind can't grasp the roots of this conundrum so I guess there goes the legal action ha ha. I'm sure its an original idea but its just one of those songs you think you have heard a thousand times before. Some definite comparisons but this old fucker just can't scrape em' to the fore - bugger it! It is in fact a potentially discordant mess but it is just held gloriously in check and is definitely my type of tune. A deftly disruptive coot that is followed by the elegant swan 'Skrew The World' a real joyous finally.
Overall a solid sonic burst from a band only just past its first birthday. With a tireless workrate and an abundance of untapped talent the next one should be better and is already being worked upon - now that is very scarey.
Everyone should try this and it has enough variation to pose questions for all and to be enjoyed by all.
BARNYARD MASTURBATOR - BADGER ORGY FATALITY
Hard labour this CD as I feel the whole product fails to live up top my biased expectations. Maybe I do indeed expect too much but this lot have recently been putting in some excellent performances on the SAS tour and therefore the recording under review was highly anticipated.
'Barnyard Hoe Down' kicks off but doesn't make the initial impact I craved. For me it is essential that a CD immediately captures your attention - not so here! The production seems muffled and this continues into track 2 'Useless Flesh' which I have enjoyed on a live basis and previously given a good rating on another review of the bands demo.
'Ode To Oi' is a good piece and picks up the standard. Its got more melody and gumption and is followed by the best track of all, namely 'I Hate You All'. This ditty is ideal for Scarlets vocal range and the drawling, scathing style is enhanced a treat. If the rest of the album would have worked around the frontlady's voice a little more then extra bonus points would be had.
The other highs encountered on this wanking wander are the popping drum beat of 'Scum Between My Toes' yet another song where Scarlets voice is perfectly catered for and her vicious venom is nicely emphasised. 'Losers' has some nice lyrics that will have a few punkers getting paranoid, 'Plastic Surgery Nightmare' is always a joy and 'America' for its catchy nastiness and anti-American vibe that gets the punky fist flying.
I hate reviewing CD's for damn, decent people especially when I can't rant and rave about all the qualities and talents on show. The negativity perhaps picked up by this review is due to personal taste and expectation and as a reviewer the point is to criticise so as to squeeze the best out of a band. I refuse to bullshit any band especially one who has given me so much pleasure and contributed so much to SAS gigs. So in true OMD style here's the final verdict.
It ain't the best, it ain't the worst and I feel overall opinions will be split right down the middle. BYM will get more gigs from myself and others and the next recording I expect a whole lot more. Clarity of all components is a necessity and care to compliment one another a must.
There you go - as honest as ever and boy do I feel shitty.
I recommend you buy this to support a decent outfit and besides you should make up your own minds.
THE INFECTIONS - AN INFECTED DEATH
A quintet of creeping horror and uneasy utterances that deal with terrors of the twilight and beyond. Its a bold move and after a few listens one expects the stage act to reinforce this sable sacrifice.
The first cut is dealt with anguished screams as 'Wander The Night' relates tales of lifeless, limbo love and shadowed eternity. Its a great tune that retains a sinister ambience throughout and kickstarts a novel CD that vomits promise.
'Into Darkness' is a tale of insanity as darkness does indeed remain supreme and the creatures it holds do torture the soul. Again a great piece and a nice sequel to track one with the moribund moment extended.
The 'B-Movie' blast of 'My Baby Got Killed By A Lawnmower' is a more upbeat, skip-a-long track that deals with that lunatic, throw-away scare fare so prevalent in 50's minor cinematic cuts. Its a jolly old song and lifts the heavy atmosphere.
The (De) composition of 'Dead Connection' comes next and again the grim graveyard obsession takes hold and its another solid song draped in menace.
The slash and stalk riot of 'Razorblade Violation' rounds off in rampaging style and the final cut is the deepest with this more unrestrained effort infecting the inner core.
There is an abundance of imagery, lyrical matter and musical options for this band to explore and upon further investigation I discovered they are in fact a decesaed entity. Perhaps the final twist of all I should have expected to be the bitterest and I feel the underground scene as suffered a loss by the dismemberment of this outfit.
ANXIETY ATTACK - FIRST 3 MONTHS (Rough Mix)
The tonsil tearing mania bursts in with 'Screaming' which is a fine introduction to an 11 track, sub 11 minute thrash and mash raping. 'Whats With You' is quick and to the point and rapidly followed by the excellent 'In Retrospect' that explodes in and is neatly consumed by a hammering guitar riff that is in itself cannabalistically devoured by a scything solo.
'Blood Red' is a crazed assault that halts and lets the bass sinisterly throb against a steel curtain of crashing cymbals and machine-like guitars before segueing into the more restrained 'Lost Way', an unhinged discordance filled with acid spittle and venomous vomit.
'Comfort Zone' is far from that and comes and goes in the blinking of a bewildered eye with 'Respect' slamming in and smashing open the aural passageway for 'On The Rack and 'Woe Is Me' to stampede.
'Big Mac' is a sneering joy and the finale of 'DIY Now' gushes the ethos of this band in both its hardcore insanity and delightful Do-It-Yourself leanings.
Faultless thrash played with urgency and unassailable angst. Its short, loud, fast and contains enough diversity to please any HC expert. Beautiful in its brutality and I hope this rough mix isn't tampered with too much before the final release. If you can get hold of this embryonic effort then do so.
SCREAMING TARTS - COMPILATION VOL 3
The weakest of the 3 compilations I have reviewed from Screaming Tarts in so far as listening via a purely punk angle goes. Way too metalised for my aural tastes and in truth lacking the diversity of compilations one and two.
Phluid open with 'Bang, Bang' and its a decent track that instantaneously delivers the high quality production the label consistently achieves. In fact if I had to give an example of a totally first rate production then these compilations would be most apt.
Track 2, King Lizard with 'Hell Yeah' contains vocals reminiscent of a bastardised hybridisation between Axil Rose and Bon Scott. A compliment if you are that way inclined but for the seeker of raging punk then a definite no, no.
If I was an adoring fan of this kind of melodic rock then these CD's would surely be at the top of my play list as the packaging and presentation are impeccable. As it is I am glad to have purchased them anyway because even though they are not part of my essential listening kit list I can still recognise value for money and a chance to check out some new stuff.
Out of the remaining 20 tracks even this awkward twat found something to savour with the simply superb mania of The Evangalists shining bright with 'Microwave Man', the somewhat coarse and man's man 'Getaway' by Disarm and the frustrated slosh of 'Seventeen' by Robin Black.
Catfish Scar by 'Scarred' is the penultimate piece that helps to leave fond feelings of a CD one has to adhere to so as to construct a wall of appreciation. Nice inclusion this only marred by the unnecessary guitar histrionics. The textured vocals have enough clout to hold the listeners attention without the brief twanging inclusion.
For the price and quality this output is worth a shot by fans of music as there is nothing gained in listening to the same old shit. Ambiguity is indeed a curse!