FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 17
THE DIEHARDS/THE GREBS - WORK TOGETHER
Youthful hardcore and grating riffage make this 2 band 10 track very interesting indeed. Initial impressions are of a bunch of slamming and screaming pisspots immersing themselves from spinning head to stinking feet in a shouting slagfest of sincere self enjoyment.
The first 5 tracks come courtesy of The Diehards, a 5-piece outfit overflowing with urgency.
All outpourings come at you with a no-holds barred approach and despite having obvious similarities they are in fact good energetic pieces that hard-edge fans will enjoy.
'Inner Demons' slams in and charges along relentlessly trying to shake off the aforementioned internal phantoms before bomb-blasting into the domestic violence protest of 'Left For Dead'. Strong subject matter and viciously dealt with in natural hardcore style. 'Hit The Road' is the championing of youth and 'Shut Up' spews hatred against fashion conscious self-centred suffocating bores.
The Diehards do just as the name suggests and expire from this offering with the superb 'On The Run'. Dealing with the nuances of everyday its a fitting closure to a quintet of excellent knife edge madness.
Enter The Grebs.
Straight in with the bold anti-nazi 'We Don't Want A Fascist UK' which tears it up in fine style and leads into the concrete 'Work Together' that is a speed driven skank with the excellent moral message regarding keeping the scene unified. 'Aithprotgp' fucks the system, 'Suburban Man' rages disgruntlement with office arseholes and 'Emo Kid' is a two-finger salute to the 'EMO'tionally dour and lifeless music punks find so irritating.
All in all this is good piece of produce and shows two hardcore bands helping each other and doing their welcome bit for the scene. Well packaged reflecting attention to detail and pride which bodes well for the future. I like it and must check them out as soon as possible and I suggest you the reader does too.
SENSE OF URGENCY - THE PRIVATE PAIN OF DAVE MUSTAINE
The dishevelled CD dropped through my letterbox and if first impressions last then this effort is fucked right from the start ha, ha. Basically this is a taster CD of 4 tracks that will be appearing on a 9 track offering of the same name and hopefully final presentation will be complete by then.
Anyway to the music under review and with this flavoursome four tracker there is indeed a 'Sense of Urgency and it does encapsulate 'What the band are about'.
The mellow brass and delicate guitar combo that opens this CD with 'King Campbell' is morose yet charming and soon breaks into the more hard steered skank this lot are renowned for. The spittle filled vocals soon erupt forth and are only held in check by the lass with the brass and the cruising upstroke backdrop.
It's a great start and for fear of being picky I would only say that the vocal style may be a little too tempestuous for some and perhaps a longer instrumental section in the midst of the outpourings would work. Just a thought but it is still a quality piece all the same.
'The Eradication Of The Emotional Menace' is another high-fuelled cracker that follows in the same thread so maintains the fungal thumbs up stance.
'Wanna Dance Fucko' is my personal fave and I guess is a more orthodox piece that caresses the cultured ska chemicals all skankers have stored in abundance in the old grey matter. It's a brilliant offering that has a swimming sensation as it smoothly drifts along, bouyant on its own upbeat wave.
'Men Without Jobs' closes this tantalising taster and is again a peach. It's back to the quick, slick style and again it works well. It is great to hear punk/ska produced this well and played so clearly with that immediate incessence so many bands need injecting with and I feel this is a solid quartet that makes reviewing an occasional easy pleasure. Watch out for the finalised 9 track ep/mini-album and snap up a copy sharpish.
THE MISPELT - THE MISPELT MUST DIE
A different approach here with a pleasing personalised coming together of various odds and ends that contribute to a brief audio-biography of some of The Mispelts musical offerings so far.
'Say Goodbye' says hello and is an impressive cut from a John Peel broadcast in 2001. Talk about a bold statement!
'My Therapist Sez' is a nice track that intertwines hard riff and melodic chorus quite tidily. 'Same Shit, Different Day' is a great song that is ideal for a cacophonic carousal.
The Mike Davies Radio 1 interview with Dunk is a nice inclusion and again adds character to the CD. It's a kind of storybook feeling that works well and the ensuing 'Dead Man Walking' could have merged better with the interview but detracts from this slight niggle by being a darn fine track.
The production thus far ain't the best and it is more of the same to come but 'hey ho' it's demos and more so it's what it says on the package.
Being the proud owner of the bands CD 'Drive It Like You You Stole It' (reviewed on this site) I know this lot are capable of better but this rough edge offering, in a crazy way has its own natural feel which gives the whole package great character.
The tracks that follow are indicative of a band with good musical dexterity and contain a particularity to make The Mispelt easily recognisable. 'Cider Girl' and the two live tracks, namely 'Parasite' and 'Better Off Dead' all add spice to a punky pie the most curious will love.
It's raw, undercooked, natural and tells a tale of a very decent band. Take time and look past its minor flaws and enjoy the CD for exactly what it is - honest and oozing promise.
FOOTNOTE: The album is an internet release only via Head Records. CD's are available directly from the band.
BILLYCLUB - NO JUSTICE
For me Billyclub are one of the most underrated, overlooked outfits on the scene who seem destined not to fulfil their potential through no fault of their own. Hopefully this stunning debut album will rectify the failings of the punk community and assist them in taking note of a mighty force worthy of recognition. Each and every time I witness Billyclub I am left shellshocked and suitably impressed yet the respect by the masses seems hard to attract. Support slots are hard to come by as he so-called bigger bands shy away from the threat Billyclub pose. This 14 track classic is tribute to the bands talent and one of the highs of 2007.
'Pushing' is a concrete opener and crushes any theory that this CD will be anything other than a vociferous onslaught of rumbustious riot. 'Smash It Up' is a fuckin' sweat spraying, stress-busting relief of the highest order and wonderfully incites unabandoned wrecklessness and raging aggression. 'Hollow' thumps out a sickening body blow in glorious fashion and is a mean mother fuckin' tirade against lifes unavoidable sensations of dread.
'Changing Times' is a full-on blast and the best of the lot. Keeping it very real and an obstreperous outcry against today's punk fakes I adore this crazed explosion with its follow on track 'Fuckin' Hate You' seeming to add a perfectly positioned full stop to both bomb blasts.
The incessant barrage continues and the startling consistency, high class production and determined deliverance is truly awesome. 'Not Alone' has a bounce and trounce feel to it with the superb guitar textures once and for all highlighting the vocal brilliance of frontman Mok and the passion and exertive inflections he reaches with 100% perspiration.
'Liar' briefly offers a glimpse of a more laboured affair but no such mode is encountered as the track hammers along with strident focus.
The album closes with anti-nerd anthem 'Surf', the brutally unruly 'F.U.V.M' - 'Fuck You Very Much' and the top class finale of 'One Way' leaving the listener breathless and inspired.
You want punk - you got it! You want a riot - You got it! You want to hear 4 musicians perfectly gelling together to produce one hell of a cock sure, mans-man album of unhinged aggression - you fuckin' got it!
Like it or not this is one of the best and punks should take note - Billyclub are the real deal and are here to upset the complacent. If you are planning on checking this lot out then prepare to have your arse kicked and your ears roasted, and have a fuck you very much aimed your way. Absolute class!
THE KIRKS - RATS EP
Still staccato-esque in parts The Kirks have come up with their best offering to date albeit with one personal no no.
'Rats' opens and is a sanguine song fit to bursting with intoxicating melody, stop-start slam dunk guitar and a cracking propagandist chorus of 'Seize The Power'. A real trailblazing beginning and for me highlighting everything that is good about The Kirks.
'Brain Dead' is more splintered in its approach and displays how this outfit walk the tight line between organised quality and untidy mess. This track falls on the former side and has a nice finish which prepares adequately for the excellent 'Born To Serve'. Another superb piece that comes and goes with an assortment of flavours that merge well into one another thus creating a final song of adept ambition. Plenty of power on show here a characteristic The Kirks thrive on.
The final track 'Decapitation Policy' is once again on the precipice and holds on bravely before fracturing into madness and thus ending up as a ditty with no direction and little appeal.
A poor ending to what is a good CD. The first and third tracks are what this band do best with high octane energy fuelling the whole discordance. Live this lot get better and better and on CD it seems they are doing the same even if it is a little more slowly. A fungal nod for dogged determination and overall bravery for composing songs of a technically demanding style - a style that they pull off more often than not and deliver with credible flamboyance.
PIRATES OF HEROES - EVACUATE THE PLANET DEMO
Despite an obvious low budget production this 3 track appetizer works well due to comprising of a trio of nicely put together songs that impress with tinkling melody rather than bursting with big boy riffs.
There is a charming candour and optimism ingrained in these tracks and nowhere is this more prevalent than the opening number, 'Long Shot'. The simplicity is paradoxically intricate inasmuch that this kind of obvious song is really hard to get right.
With each listen the remarkable fact that such unaffected riffs and vocals can be so effective is marvellously appealing and the honest and natural ensnaring melody all add to a most enjoyable experience. The feel good factor continues into track 2 which goes by the name of 'Little Miss One Night Stand' another superb stunning skank that has both verse and chorus perfectly complimentary to one another with some excellent textured vocals adding cream to a tastily layered cake.
'The Burnouts Of Harbour City' is a more sprightly and pacier offering but the jaunty bass, nimble guitar and skipping drums all combine to give a singular sound which is most pleasant and thus caps a demo of subtle skill.
The status of demo that this CD is paraded as shouldn't detract from a well executed, perfectly pitched trio of sublime ska/punk. This is one of the best demo's I have heard due to its unfussy, unhandled ambience and for me, the question the band needs to ask of itself is 'Do we process and produce a little more and risk marring the sincere and frank feeling captured here'. Its a real tough one but personally I deem this as a true beaut! If you are quick you might just get one in yer Christmas stocking!
JUST PANIC - STAND UP STRAIGHT IN THE LINE OF FIRE
I saw Just Panic a few months ago and in my review wrote of my indecision regarding liking them or not. With the theoretical gauntlet thrown down the response was the mailing of this CD to myself for review and re-evaluation. Well, as is the norm, after numerous spins and much debating I suggest these buggers get a Large T-shirt ready to mail out as they have just won over a new fan.
The six tracks on show here are of a stunning standard and production and really do justice to a very good band indeed.
'Take Cover' commences the sextet and is a winning piece with its mellow stringed opening sequence that builds with ease into a choice eruption of musical excellence. The songs main attributes are clarity, consistency and construction, a theme that runs deeply throughout the whole product and one that makes this well packaged effort very noteworthy.
'If The Sea Rolls In' is an admirable offering with lyrics and vocals gently simmered in emotion and occasionally brought to the boil in a controlled method. The instrumental break with plucking strings and ocean-esque backfall is sublime and hints strongly of a professional edge.
'We Apologise For Any Inconvenience' blurs the boundary between focused drive and floating skank and thus comes out smelling of selected roses. It is a great track that lyrically comes in from a nice angle.
'The Ballad Of', 'Crime' and 'So Long Forever' turn for home in the same standard as the outward journey and all in all one is left with a quality CD from a band one feels are truly destined for better things albeit away from the Spit and Sawdust scene where I slink about. It isn't bog standard punk but so what? It's passionate, very well executed, elegantly produced and worth anyones time and brass. Just returning to the SAS remark - if however the band want to muck in and play on a Spit and Sawdust slot then the offers there. Worth a try at least and gives you some insight into my judgement of this band!
VISUAL OFFENCE – ASSAULT
A very exciting CD that burns bright with incandescent fury from start to finish and must only be played at maximum volume to truly relish the vicious vibrancy and unassuming intensity. This fine example of hardcore insanity kickstarts with ‘Back A Step’ before haemorrhaging t 2 tracks of the album, namely F.D.N.P and the simply entitled ‘1, 2, 3, 4’.
‘F.D.N.P’ is a massive moment and the upsurging repetitious chorus is a headslamming snippet of ‘in the zone’ fervour. ‘‘1, 2, 3, 4’ revels in its no-bullshit approach and blisters the brain with headlong rush into oblivion.
‘Oi Song’, is more basic, ‘Shit And Lies’ is a furious fast blast cracker, ‘Gun Raid’ blends a triumphant hardcore chorus with nail gun drumming and ‘Ultimatum’ is a wild cacophony of blazing angst.
The incessancy so far is what gives the CD its appeal and for the final four tracks there is not let up whatsoever. It’s all good stuff and the pick would have to be ‘Meaty Bits’ for its slightly unfussy output.
A bold offering this and one that can cross over from the hardcore arena into the more orthodox punk scene. What Visual Offence do best is capture all the violence and musical destruction of hardcore and put it through their own personal blender and spit it out with added catchiness and melody. It is a nice touch but retaining this level of quality will be a challenge.
One of the best hardcore albums I have heard? I think so!
LEPPARD PROMOTIONS - TEN YEARS FOR PUNK PASSION
Lancaster promoter Stef Leppard celebrates ten years of personally pushing the punk cause with this DIY 27 track offering of songs from numerous bands who have appeared on his impressive gig CV. It's a great blend of familiar acts that play the regular punk circuit for sheer love and passion. No band better encapsulates this than the opening outfit Eastfield who dish out their usual train-orientated ramblings, this time with the deviant name of 'Fare Dodging'. It's a solid opener and is pursued by one great track after another with emphasis throughout on the more tuneful and catchy side of punk.
Other highs include Apocalypse Babies with 'I Don't Wanna Be A Nazi', 4 Past Midnight with the barnstorming 'I Never Needed You', Dog On A Rope with 'Giro Day', Flat Back Four and the superb 'Psalm 23' and Suspicious Stains with the cheeky 'ASBO'.
Several listens to this compilation and the favoured tracks vary which is always a good sign when constructiong a CD of this type.
For £3 you will be hard pushed to produce a relevant complaint as it's DIY, it's pure streetpunk and an excellent tribute to the compiler. Great value!
THE JESTERS - NOT AN ANGEL
Belgium rockers come out fighting here with a 3 track concoction of decent quality starting with 'Not An Angel', a song that swaggers along with pub chanting lyrics and Oi orientated inflection. Not disimilar in fact to Belgium neighbours The Agitators in overall ambience which ain't no bad thing. A great start and followed by another solid tune in 'Hangover' which is a beer soaked tirade that picks up the pace and is really well produced and definitely one for the rueful pisspot.
The best is saved until last here with 'A Jokers Gift' no joke at all and is a real stomping tune with emphasis on melody throughout and is one of those concrete tracks that epitomizes every positive aspect of a very good band indeed.
The main criticism of this effort is that 3 tracks just isn't enough and hopefully there will be more to come from one of Europes finest. If you get the chance to see this outfit live then don't miss out as it is a real punking pleasure.