FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 20
TV SMITH - MISINFORMATION OVERLOAD
A red hot CD here with TV Smith going back to band style and spewing forth an inspiring avalanche of protesting gusto and desire. Intelligent and acute this offering from punks master wordsmith is an aural delight. Each and every song is contolled anger backed by a solid, ground shaking rhythm that vibrates the very soul. As a fan of TV this is obviously compared to other releases and in all honesty it is as good as anything. There are obvious potential classics here with 'Not In My Name', 'Ark Of Suburbia' and 'Bring the Bull Down' but this ageless rebellious offering is dripping in musical excellence. It burns bright and scorches the senses with its rebellious rants and melodious cadences. A truly choice morsel to savour and perhaps the album of 2006. Go buy and savour the flavour.
SCREAMING TARTS - COMPILATION VOL 4
As with the previous 3 CD compilations from Screaming Tarts emphasis yet again is on high class production and the bringing together of a varied mix of sounds most of which seem to be on the cusp of rebellion but have a preference for playing it safe. Very conservative and smacking of 'air guitar' ambience this piece will do little to satiate the aural desires of the snarling streetpunk. Clean metal/polished rock is the pigeon-hole here with daily washed perms and designer ripped jeans the name of the game. Any mohawks pogoing to this will be fashion victims styled by a mincing guru. Having said that, the CD is still worth a shot for one or two appealing moments and pretty decent tunes.
The first stopping point is at Club Le Shark with their urgent 'Happy Hour', a track bouyant on pace and cutting synth. From the opening guitar melody, through the electro soundscape and vitalised verses, along with the celebratory choruses and to the final wind down the song works well.
With an assiduous approach I seek out the next high point and eventually locate Voodoo Vegas and their punchy number 'High And Dry'. A spirited climate is achieved here with some powerhouse guitars adding fuel to the fire.
Crystal Kicks follows up in similar mode with the loud and brash 'Misery' then Disarm and the very strong 'By Any Means Necessary' kicks in with bad intention and survives the course with frothing energy and razor sharp riffs. She Makes War with 'Pull You Down' is an adequate change of pace and not a bad song at all, albeit cliched and formulated.
That's about it for me personally but I am sure everyone will have something to rate and slate. Too many moments of crippling blandness and the snippets of musical erotica failed to ring my bell and left me wondering where do Screaming Tarts go from here. The quality is outstanding but the market to which they appeal isn't punk and certainly not hard-edged rock. Maybe a re-focus of direction and a new name to fly under but at 4 compilations I feel the horse has been well and truly flogged out of this effort.
BDK - DEMO
Some Polish punk for you all here with 4 tracks displaying good musical know how and plenty of balls that is both unflowered and instantly enjoyable. As soon as the CD kicks in a mental note is made to make sure that this band is checked out, on a live basis, whenever and wherever possible.
For a demo this is of a very adequate standard and the opening 'Saints Or Sinners' is a catchy flowing piece that merges controlled aggression, fine choruses and verse and pun-like chants ideal for pissed-up punters to join in with. Real top notch stuff and 'Jak Robot' is a crackin' follow on that rapidly skips along in fine style with the only decipherable word from the Polish ravings being 'Arsehole'. Nuff said!
'Power Of Rock 'n' Roll' is a great song. Passionate, well-organised and a crowd winning fist raiser! Definitely a twelve-hole boot, door splintering triumph celebrating the strength of the chord.
Finally this taster closes with 'Reality Punk', a raging incursion that explodes with the punk saturated statement 'So What, We Don't Care'. A very strong song and reliant on belligerent focus and boot stomping rhythm that rounds off a solid demo.
BDK promise much and are already booked aboard the Split Bits SAS compilation series and I can honestly say I am proud to have em' as this is a band that represents their countries punk scene just perfectly.
STAND OUT RIOT - vs THE OXBRIDGE MAFIA
A superbly packaged and delivered CD here mixed by local engineering maestro Tim G, a name more than familiar to makers of music in Manchester. The opening cascade of 'The Oxbridge Mafia' kicks off in bouyant style before slinkily merging with a ska saturated outpouring oozing that much sought after classy edge. The overflow of sound and diversity of styles are blended well and the multi-coloured mix holds up excellently rather than becoming a messy montage of competing players.
It is a very promising gateway to an all round excellent CD but no way could I prepare for the awesome second track, namely, 'Beach Week'. Truly a golden nugget in Ska's treasure chest and a song capable of rousing the most deceased of pirates with its invigorating feel good factor and victorious melodies. One thing about having numerous band members is that the chance of using more influences becomes oh so easier and here Stand Out Riot take advantage of this situation exceptionally well. A fantasic song!
The trio of tunes closes with the more sobered entrance of 'Ambush Paddington'. It is a brief moment before the usual high quality ska cum reggae hybrid is whipped into action and the whole song cruises with casual efficiency. Slightly straying into different melodic waters the track still operates adequately and is swimmingly enjoyable.
It's gotta be an A+ here as this class of ragga-skank heads pass the fungal exam with glowing honours and accolades. A sincere well done!
PARTNERS IN CRIME – MDM/IMPACT
2 great bands on one 11 track CD – what more could one ask for?
MDM, for me, just get better with the passage of time. From the first time I saw them 17 years ago when they butchered a set that was a true episode of ‘shite’ to the present day high quality, fun and very impressive band I feel this lot deserve more respect for their all-round doggedness and application. The 6 tracks here have the Mere Dead Men signature sound running throughout and the melodic rock and roll aspect is nicely seasoned with punk herbage, and in truth an essence of gothic, to make for some decent listening matter.
‘Drinking All Night With The Crew’ is an obvious boozing song that seems ideal for a live outing rather than a recorded piece but this is still a great opening gambit albeit simplistic in construction and delivery. ‘Savage Garden’ has a lot more depth and frontlady Mandy’s gob is stretched further (not now please) with a darker deliverance dealt with and thrashed forth with excellent ease. The guitar backdrop is oppressively machine-like and works well with the almost pleading vocals thus creating a master and servant conflict that does the trick to a tee.
'Superiority Complex’ is more rapid in approach and has a love turned sour theme that helps Mandy exhibit her snarling vicious side. This vocal mode is even more apparent in the fuckin’ excellent ‘Don’t Trust You’ where venom drips and one almost fears a flesh shredding assault from the livid lass with newly sharpened talons. The male/female switch of delivery is a choice option and I feel make this another to add to the MDM hit list.
‘It’s Your Life’ and ‘Saturday’ close the MDM door with the former a true punk message encouraging activity rather than idle indifference and the latter being another song for the lads with this time the football theme tapped into.
A good sextet from a good band and this sets a nice standard for Impact to rise to and their opening song ‘Animals’ does just that. The production levels affect initial listening but a quick boost on the volume button and normal service is resumed.
Whereas MDM rely on melody Impact go for the jugular and place emphasis on hard-edged tunes fuelled on venom and ‘don’t fuck’ lyrics. A live viewing of these guys on one of my Bradford gigs left me mightily impressed and this eye-opening stance is maintained here with 5 rattling good numbers. ‘Animals’ is a great start but ‘It’s A Con’ is the best of the lot with its anti-greed blasting vocals that are throat-rippingly effective and douse the ears with passionate lyrical petrol ready for an aural burning of the highest order. Defiance is a true punk ingredient and Impact use this weapon of individuality to its utmost here with a powerhouse discordance.
‘Here To Stay’ contuinues the stubborn and unruly noise with again another top notch in-yer-face rant about staying put and defying the odds. More than obvious is the live appeal of this song and as mentioned earlier Impact are a mighty live outfit to be reckoned with and a band I look forward to seeing again over and over.
‘Seed Of Hate’ is forthright enough with its yelling frontman holding fort amidst raging, focussed guitar work and rolling drums trampling the weak of stomach underfoot in a bombardment of steel-capped sound. Lovely!
The closure comes in the form of ‘No Future UK’ a title in which the bands unsettled nature with todays crappy homeland is encapsulated. Fifth good song in a row and with a sprinkling of Pistols verses thrown in for the old school farts its a winner.
Overall a great combination of two real punky crews and a nice way to aid each other in showcasing their talent. More types of CD's like this are welcome in the punk market rather than loaded compilations where 1 track is never enough to truly assess a band.
THE MURDERBURGERS – BITCHES, BLUNTS AND POP PUNK
I fuckin’ love this CD! Unaffected, highly accelerated pop punk played just perfectly by a 3-piece who climb to the top of my ‘bands to see’ list with ease. Everything pop punk should be is rattled out here – short, melodic and most importantly fun. Another great accolade for label ‘Don’t Give Up The Day Job Records’ with this exceptional band producing a 21 hit classic.
‘We Are The Murderburgers’ opens in fine style, makes the titled statement and prepares the listener for the superb ‘I’ve Got A Plan (To Kill You)’. A truly great song ripping in with the 1-8 count and breezing along on crisp melody and enjoyable vibes. ‘Pounding In My Head’ has me pondering similar songs but placing a name to them in my tumultuous grey matter is another thing indeed. ‘Brians Got An ASBO’ is a brilliant basic burst and effervesces with tongue tying lyrics before booming into the delightful full-on chorus. ‘Don’t Piss Me Off Tonight’ tends towards the more sonic flowing side of things with the excellent ‘Everything’s Alright’ another Prozac piece in a bottleful of promising pills.
At this point the impression made is mighty but the next 4 songs are for me, choice epics and ones that will put this band in good stead for the rest of their musical careers. ‘Phantom Maggot’, ‘If I’m An Arsehole (So Are You)’, ‘Braindead (From Hanging Around With You)’ and ‘Outta My Mind’ are where every facet of this bands talent combines to create a quartet of purely outstanding tunes that compliment one another ideally and are of such an individual stature they are worthy of a position on any compilation alongside any other great tunes. ‘Phantom Maggot’ will surely be one of the best songs I hear this year even though it is a cover originally hammered out by The Lillingtons (a band I have yet to grace my hears with). Classic stuff!
Moving on from the momentous CD high we wind down with still another 11 tracks of crackin’ standard. In fact this 21 track CD is so good all the way through even this is not enough and I craved yet more infectious tunage to bombard my pop and pogo brain with.
The highs of the turn for home are many and I honestly can’t find a lull in the quality but the truly awesome moments are the brilliantly delivered ‘Retarded Girl’, the comic book ‘X-Ray Specs’ (another Lillingtons cover – must check these buggers out), the typical yet effective punk nastiness of ‘Fuck You’, the crazed ear-bashing of ‘Lazy Piece Of Shit’ and the boozing bop of ‘Drink To Get Drunk’. It’s a great close down but the exceptional ‘My Baby’s Too far Gone’ is a monstrous finale and again the question needs to be asked of how many better songs will I hear this year? Despite being another Behemoth ditty it also, I feel, gives an insight into The Murderburgers ability to write songs with a deeper texture amid an ambience with more emotive vocals and cultured guitar. A classic end note and I hope a taster of what is to come on future recordings.
There is such a downpour of brilliant musical offerings on the market today and I am lucky to be given the chance to review a small segment of this talent soaked scene but even I on occasions like this am truly grateful and privileged to come across and praise something so special. This is a music fans dream moment as all the watching and listening to bands finally results in the discovery of something so wonderfully enjoyable.
As my initial thoughts stated, and with each and every listen become more and more accurate ‘I Fuckin’ Love This CD’!
SKANKT – PERFECT TIMING
Having viewed these skankers at a Manchester Ska Bar gig I was quite taken aback by the technical skill and tidy song composure as well as the lack of timidity displayed when it came to making/creating various melodic statements, be it unaffected or with the use of the old distortion pedal. On the back of this quality showing I purchased 2 CD’s the first of which is the one under review here.
‘Night Out’ begins with an almost immediate onslaught of high quality sounds blending nicely in a perfect ocean of ale in which the impressive lyrically output can ideally freestyle with accurate undulations and optimistic undercurrents. It is a beltin’ opener and immediately throws down the gauntlet for the crown of Albums Champion. Nicely severed with a melodic slice of pop-skank the 4.23 minute running time is a masterstroke of execution.
‘Spinning’ ensues and comes across as an emotive piece with a melancholic escort before the 2 cymbal strike lays way for a powerful chorus that about faces and again looks down the barrel of another segment of moribund sax. ‘Lost’ is another of the albums lofty moments with a confident briskness and snazzy vocal, upstroke tempo. A select song gushing with professionalism and clarity of component. The reggae follow-on ‘Spineless’ slows the pace and drifts along on sunshine guitar and breezy melody which is a nice touch and rounds off 4 high standard songs that already prove Skankt’s credibility and talent.
The funky bass of ‘Imprisoned’ commences a song that only just scrapes by with the chorus and is deflated by the sultry coffee-lounge insipidity that comes across as just too smooth to be trustworthy. A definite low point that misses the mark Skankt hit so well. ‘The Spaniard’ however dismisses this unexpected dip and cruises with delicious gusto and blatantly manipulated guitar. A solid instrumental and perfectly positioned within the CD itself although this would have been a real stunner to open with and is worth a thought for live outings.
‘Full Control’ has a latent Beatle-esque feel reminiscent of the Fab Fours quirky period. A fair compliment and the strange song under scrutiny is a cacophony of carnival-like haunting sonics bordering on an unhinged reality that is interwoven with a more sober Samba rhythm and beguiling chorus. A curio that works whereas ‘Beltane Song’ is the albums dip into the bath tub of bilge water and may well suit the so-called clean cut music appreciators but in no way scrubs my back. It is an empty effort and the xylophone/glockenspiel moment is horror to my lugholes. I feel it says nothing and does nothing and doesn’t do this cultured band justice. I’m sure some smooth shagger is more than happy to use it as a greased-up tap up tune but definitely not my style.
‘090’ is a more fractious affair and although mellow in parts has more bite than its predecessor with a slightly disjointed approach that isn’t bad at all but fails to stand as proud as the opening praiseworthy tracks. Still good but not quite there.
‘Immortal ‘Til I Die’ is a weak finish and feels like a Manhattan Transfer effort slightly leaning towards something played in the background of that classic BBC 2 Play for Today ‘Abigails Party’.
Overall this album is one that should be checked out by anyone with an interest in ska/reggae hybrids. For me personally there are a few duds but enough classics making it worthy of purchase. As always I have played this over and over again before review and I would recommend a viewing before committing to buying a CD but I don’t think you would be too disappointed with this. Judging by the upbeat stuff on here it is safe to say that this outfit are capable of a real exciting piece of skank. Great anticipation surrounds me!
DIRTY REVOLUTION – FREE SAMPLER CD
I saw this lot perform at a recent Manchester Ska Bar (common theme methinks) and the subtle politics and darn fine melodies awash with crystal clear vocals and tinkling flow left me somewhat impressed and feeling in a jolly good mood. This CD was a freebie but due to the quality of the two tracks is definitely worth my time and effort in reviewing. In fact track one is a sneak preview of a forthcoming EP and judging by this effort of sharp reggae cum ska I think I may be quite justified in expecting a little crackerjack of an offering.
‘I Love Reggae’ opens and is an absolute stunning number and a million miles from the headbanging mania of what rocks my boat but hey, there is no doubt about it that here I have discovered a minor classic. Lyrically cute, mightily effective and delivered by a soothing voice that may lack a touch of sanguinity (which adds to the appeal) this is a dream song with which to open ones account and Dirty Revolution have well and truly hit the nail on the head here. A point is made and a political stance taken but rather than scream and shout a moment in time is coolly questioned and the results are left for you to decipher. OK the answers are obvious but the way in which the initial poser is dealt is very attractive and the fact that it is relayed by a truly harmonious song really makes one sit up with admiration.
Track two is incredibly a live recording! I say ‘incredibly’ because the production of ‘East and West’ is so fuckin’ good I would never have assumed it was a live piece until I heard the closing applause and congratulatory shouts. Another resolute song which is less buoyant than the first track but is more orthodox in its approach and is a spliffed-up trumpet assisted stroll that really hit’s the chill-out factor and gets one wound down and ready to snooze. Proper calming magic and another feather in the Dirty Revolution cap.
FULIBULBUS - B-TRIPLE O-M
Dub reggae, skanky rap, punky experimental, mix and match madness ad infinitum. Call it what you will but Fulibulbus are creating magic mushrooms from musical mycelium and spreading their stylish spores everywhere.
‘B-Triple O-M’ opens with an ominous rumble before the rapping lyrical vomit spills colourfully forth and coats the eardrums with a stinking mix of contagious wordplay and sharp melodic banter. The brass comfort is eventually overwhelmed by a dreamy inclusion both drugged and dreamy before the incessant verbal waterfall continues – times two.
A more aggressive tirade comes which is soon exclaimed by a subtle whir of guitar and then the autumnal burst of fungal noise before the climactic wind down is upon us and then over. A choice concoction of sounds that employs the surprise tactic well with each and every corner promising the unexpected. A wonderful opener that is pursued by the deep serious bass of ‘Another Dirty Horse On Parade’. The sensual vibe is increased by the addition of smooth gangster brass that exudes menacing charisma liable to induce, seduce and slaughter. The slow build up is almost murderously sexual with dark overtones dripping from every note. Personally I can’t fault this mammoth instrumental and the obvious is made intricate by nothing more than talent alone. Startling!
‘Bad Assassassassin’ samples its way in with an ambiguous start that could explode in many a direction and thus leaves the listener with a feeling of great anticipation. Even the glimpse of skanky melody doesn’t betray the true intention of this song and the rough, gruff explosion of mouth is a mighty surprise that may turn heads or stomachs dependant on your stance. A large noise indeed and an all-consuming mass of frenzied discordance follows with more rapology included which may impress, depress or stress.
A crazed closure to a hat-trick of hard edged punk dub that not only succeeds but does so with ease and unintentional professionalism. For something different in your punk rock listening box try this.
THE NIGHT OF THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MUTANTS – COMPILATION
Seeped in sexualised gothika this whole composite package of terror and tattooed temptation thrives on bloodied bass rhythms and skeletal acoustics. The sable suggestions of psychobilly never lose their sense of fun and, in the best traditions of horror, balance the two opposing themes quite precariously.
The Boneyard Creepers raise the dead with the gravely eerie instrumental ‘Boneyard Disgrace’ and it is a nice touch as musical starters go as it sets the scene for an avalanche of gory tunes. The dead sinewy bass of ‘RIP’ is both sliced and diced by Zombie Ghost Train in carnival style. A solid second song that wears the cowl of accursed melody well and behind the sinister overtones a damn fine tune is had.
The traditional guitar of the toe-tapping ‘Long Blond Hair’ by The Go Katz is a good effort and relies more on rock and rhythm rather than psychotic mania. One of the albums many zeniths and followed by the drastically different but equally effective ‘Blood Room’ by The Monster Klub. A more grisly sound and unhinged vocal output but a grand song nonetheless.
An unsettling strum opens ‘Blood On Your Hands’ by Spellbound before the fine rattle of this horror express cruises along, full speed and headlong into the downright yet comically infectious profanity ‘Cherries And Chocolate’ by the Alley Dukes. Don’t be fooled by the sickly sincere opening croon as no sooner is the song introduced than the first line is upon the listener rogering the old lugholes ragged! And what a first line it is! How many songs are proud to have the opening gambit of – ‘Shit, Fuck, Cunt, Booby, Penis, Ass, Cock-Sucking’ – pure poetical porn of of the most diseased kind but still a jolly splendid song. Next cums – ooops – comes – ‘Sick Fuck Comic Book’ by one of my faves The Hangmen. A nice snarling attack this and adding a new wound in the gruesome mix and even though only 7 tracks into the CD a psychobilly standard has been set that fails to be equalled by the rest of the album. It’s still a fair do but these 7 offerings work so well together and individually the level is just way too high. Some complaint eh!
There are still plenty of gristly tunes to get your cannibalistic choppers into with country bumpkin bastard 'Two Timing Man' by The Tremors, the futuristic B52-esque judder of 'Black Lava' and the lunatic ramblings of Bloodshot Bill with 'Ring My Bell the pick.
Psychobilly, Rockabilly and your average Rock 'n' Roll dudes will love this whereas other punkers like myself will find plenty to entertain with the odd few tracks unappealing. Speedfreaks Ball attendants should lap this up and jive to stay alive.