FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 25
THE GUILTY PLEASURES - WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING FOR
Every year in the punk rock kitchen numerous punk rock sausages are thrown in the air and their destinies are left to that neutralised aloofer chance. Some sizzlers flop unceremoniously to the floor left victim to the all consuming critical rat that devours the hearts of the less stubborn players. Other prime porkers land in the bin, almost as soon as the potential to be something is upon them they are lost forever due to nothing more than sheer bad luck. Some bangers come to rest near to the hob of action where the close proximity of the flame offers hope and prolongs life but then soon scares and the edible willy shrivels and fades into an unrecognisable state. The lucky ones tumble straight into the frying pan of punk rock where a real opportunity to 'get cooking' lies and a chance to release all the potential flavours within and achieve the tasty highs of spitting brilliance. The cooking process can be long or brief dependent on the environment and the weeners wants. One thing that can be said now is that The Guilty Pleasures are definitely in the pan. The following CD is a real step up in class and has a consistent rage and deliverance so as to make one realise this lot are now set to a higher degree of heat and look ready to fry.
'Corrupt Authority' storms with vehement pace and is a peach equalled in style with the commanding epic 'Goodbye To The UK'. This is remarkable stuff and although the production may be about 10% down on a real masterpiece this is still a stunner.
A WAR AGAINST SOUND - DEMO CD 08
A genuine dividing CD this one with a plethora of sub-genres vomited forth to create a technicoloured mix some may deem as aurally aesthetic others may scent as nauseous. As a reviewer delicate scrutinisation and dissecting analysis is adopted in almost Sherlockian style before any ink is scrawled across paper.
POP FOSTERS - YOUR MUSIC IS SHIT - SORT IT OUT
With a self-effacing title and a sound from an industrial container this garage/punk leakage soils the very speakers from which it oozes with its delightful drone and dense ambience. The textures are woven deep and the sinister syndrome absorbs rather than ensnares and with careful consideration a good CD is revealed. Throughout the entire mix one feels criticism may not be far away but apart from the production (which I personally like) this is actually a hard construction in which to nail any sincere niggles. Strange but true!
'Eternally True' is an oily romance sinisterly slumbering in hair-raising style. A nice slow piece that crawls subserviently into the similarly paced 'USA'. Both laboured efforts work despite my initial concerns as to whether this band could still be effective at half speed. Lacking the cut of quicker snippets but still good enough to change the flow and add diversity.
'John Peel' squeaks and chugs along and gives me the feeling that the sorely missed music enthusiast would have dearly loved to give this disk a few spins and therefore peddle to the outside world. More Joy Division similarities are had and its then into the pessimistic drawl of 'The Band With No Fans'. A terse piece of acoustic brilliance that says so little but captures all.
The signature tune 'Your Music Is Shit' perfectly closes a gathering of songs that glow with unaffected pride and wholesome basicness. The intrinsic vein that makes music pleasurable runs deep here and more fanciful productions are equalled and some paled into insignificance as this low budget disk promotes a fantastic DIY ethic. Many will adore this retro recording and the downright simplicity and 'anyone can have a go' vibrations it emits is surely achievement enough.
URBAN SCUM - A CLOCKWORK TIME
An active offering here with plenty of mouth and controversial ravings. Droogy Boogie anti-hippy bovver boys and gals will lap this up and the working class Oi brigade will romp and stomp will glee as this quintessentially British bombardment says how it is with complete unconcern for upset and the PC thinking twats. Agree or disagree with the politics or deplore or adore the musical content - I say its real, has bollocks and certainly isn't no slack-jawed offering some of the more younger brigade turn out. There is a good mix of sounds here with one faux pas which is merely insignificant compared to the wealth of pleasing moments.
With bowler donned and boots laced 'Scooter Boys' is struck forth and is a solid opening rev that neatly introduces us to the classy turbo drive of Urban Scum. Rather than hard-edged knuckle cracking riffs the US crew rely on neat subtlety and magnetic melody for this commencing ditty and it works well. Following on is the more powerful and indeed aggressive 'Watch Your Back'. A hippy kicking tirade and one I am sure is borne of a hatred for all liberal thinking do-gooders who have blindly brought this country to its knees and opened the floodgates for the piss-taking wankers to rule the roost. Gets my vote and a fuckin' good tune too!
At this point it is worth noting that when listening to this CD it is suggested that the volume is cranked really high so as to give the whole recording a true lease of life. Some CD's get away with low volume listens and makes the reviewers task somewhat easier. This needs a real power surge and so in danger of pissing the neighbours off I listened loud so as to give a thorough assessment and overview. Just a thought to bear in mind if you buy this blasting ten tracker!
Anyway '1969' chops in with aggravated venom and keeps the standard mighty high with its loyalty ridden content and fuzzed up noise. The clarity and quality is retained and my young 10 year old daughter is a real fan of this whole outpouring much due to the two aforementioned positives. 'Hooligans' pounds the solar plexus with riffology and cutting overlays. The vocals smack of pride and the tribute to fist flying thuggery is a good un' and worthy of a place in the rucking halls of noise.
'A Clockwork Time' is a delightful oddity with chopping guitar, solid calmed vocals and a 60's psychedelia keyboard sequence dropped in here and there. The chorus has a Last Resort feel yet retains its own identifying characteristics. One of the best songs on the album and perhaps the weirdest. An excellent cut and a new aspect to the Urban Scum arsenal.
'After Rebellion' pays homage to the celebrated festival so many 'erberts enjoy and the hazards of drinking too much. Its a theme all too many are familiar with and the song does see out its intention. 'Big Mistake' is a decent song that is the one in the pack easily overlooked for favour of its more striking associates. However this song deserves a chance the note should be made of the way in which it maintains the standard set and the quaklity of the guitar work found therein.
Als good so far on the Urban Scum front and the homely homage that is 'Born And Bred' is a boastful success that ejaculates spunky pride and Yorkshire clout. A justified raising of the bar that I am afraid crashes to the ground with a clattering thud as the terrible 'Tits And Beer' rears its erect nipples only to become a flaccid flop due to the Brewers Droop lyrics that are strictly lads lad and sorely out of place here. The rhythm and melody are good stuff and are wasted on vocal wordage like this. I suppose its a good booze-up number but on such a promising album it sticks out like a blackman at a Klu Klux Klan convention. (Bernard Manning comedy - can't fault it).
So from a fungal frown to a fungal thumbs up as 'Sbronzo e fiero' wins the day and close a fine album in solid style. A skinbo anthem to savour and for me, overall, the job ain't a bad one. I'd like to see how this lot compare on a 'live' basis and going off a few You Tube videos it seems the show is a cracker. I suspect there will be a slight 'horses for courses' overtone to their career but the future could be rosy!
DED MOLE CRICKIT - DOPE BEATS
Riding along on the skanky jive express the Ded Mole Crickit crew rap and slap in cannabanoid cruise mode and present 4 dopehead ditties exuding musical experimentation and underflowing talent. The narrative orchestration of 'The Symphony' is a dreadhead infusion that varies several laid back paces and modes of operation thus becoming a showcase of underground ability and transcending rhythm. This could easily slip beneath several categorizing umbrellas of noise and as far as I am concerned it is a highly valid piece of listening matter that becomes even more pleasing after a few rolls of green and a couple of bottles of bronze. It is a good agreeable construction to mix in with the more blatant punk violence I drown my eardrums in and makes a marked contrast indeed.
AFS - DELIRIUM TREMORS
I have followed AFS from near enough day one and have been taken aback by the amount of quality product these guys hit the market with. In equal measure I am totally dumbfounded by the amount of ignorance as regards the band in general and the quality ditties they so easily dish forth. This is a tidy outfit who have a plethora of classic tracks to their name yet still struggle to maintain a foothold in this more than precarious scene. Their anti-clique stance is admirable and the fact they tow no lines puts them straight into the fungal fave list. If their first album was a pre-pubescent outburst both musically and lyrically it was still crammed with delightful short, sharp punchy tracks which I thought made it a classic. Even though many quarters overlook AFS the ones in the know thoroughly appreciate what they do and readily chomp at the bit for more. A few E.P's and splits singles plus a mini album have displayed progress with an inkling for diversity and now we have the second full length album - a choice moment for fans. This time the balls are around the ankles and covered in a forest of fuzz with other general growth in all the important areas. So here is a review from a fan who expects - lets see what I got.
The first aural fuckin' comes via the Sub-esque punkishness of 'Wouldn't Wanna Be You' . It immediately captures the attention and neatly follows on from prior recordings. It says says so much and most importantly states AFS haven't forgot what they do best. Great opening and all initial worries of a progressive slip are banished and it's straight into the bustle of 'City Will Burn Tonight', the first advanced approach of the CD. Munki Bois' snarl still bites and the exhibitionist guitar work of Carl is well delivered (flash bastard ha, ha). The bass rumbles constantly and the drums, as expected, rattle in time with aplomb.
'Trouble With Bullets' highlights how AFS add emotive ambience to both vocals and instruments and this ditty is a casual flowing joy with a light heady melody to savour. Maintaining this melody and adding anger in equal balance is no mean feat but this lot do it so fascinatingly well. As an extra note to this songs dissection and knowing Carl so well and all his grunmpy stubborn ways I actually call this (and sing along to) - The Trouble With Baldies' - works bloody well too. He is a good lad though and I wouldn't change the fucker one bit despite the fact he gets on my tits now and again. If the whole scene had his determination, drive and focus and may it be said, selfless attitude towards helping others we'd be doing a whole lot better. He's still a bugger though!
'One By One' sustains the high level with musical nourishment and the straight talking lyrical content is only to be expected and the rant of 'politics is bullshit' encapsulates a large amount of this bands ethos. 'Duped' adopts the punchy theme again and yeah, it's really easy listening material to pick up, play, pogo to and please.
'Fight For Freedom' is brilliantly executed and a nice port of call to admire this band and their ability to build songs. This song is pursued by the extremely basic 'Don't Fit' which is a song any band could produce but couldn't execute as clinically. It resides here perfectly after its predecessor and it displays an unashamedly confident approach towards the belief that songs both simple and intrinsically more complicated can be equally effective and complimentary.
'Dysfunctional' is a semi-acoustic clip that is a pure cracker. It just gets better with each listen and again emotional delivery is the key as this unsettled, questioning rant thrives with disillusioned angst. 'Nobodies' is fuckin' brilliant and one of many personal favourites. The fact that some noodle of a reviewer classified these guys as 'immature european nobodies' proves many things the two most obvious being that the reviewer in question was a cunt and AFS can take criticism, piss on it and throw it back with humour. A lovely snippet and one of those you love for life. 'No Hope' almost is a twin brother of the aforementioned track but is awash with despondency and, paradoxically, the usual Foot Soldiers melody. A choice mix and the more serious 'Code Red' is well timed with its high alert overtones and intense guitar presence. Great chorus alongside an almost over-robotic verse and again, the song works a treat. 'Only Beer Can Save Us Now' is a confusion track which I get consistently muddled with 'Dirty Beer'. One I like one I am indifferent too - this one is the favoured
On we go with 'Architecture Of Life', a classic number and perhaps one of those noteworthy moments in the bands career as this track signified an advance in general outpourings and style when it was released on a previous mini-album. The industrial machine-like opening sequence is superbly executed and the disagreeing lyrical content against this pigeon-holing life and the traditions and procedures found therein is honey to my earholes. Truly excellent!
'Dead Man Walking' is an utter masterpiece and there isn't much more to add. It's high calibre stuff and worthy of anyones attention and is a definite must for the curious punk. 'Happy People' is a misanthropes dream and drips venom and rage thus getting the people hating crews vote. In fact (if you are inclined) whenever your neighbours next have a barbecue you can crank this ditty up to full volume, strip naked and dance in your garden, flipping the V, tugging your tool and thus generally ruining their day. Just a thought!
'Young Guns' breaks age barriers and is a gem that pays homage to the youthful bands who want it. Not the pricks who are just passing time in a scene or those filling a passion fashion but the ones who are stained for life with the punk rock cause. A peach of a song and the fact that these old fuckers kick the arse (in all ways) of many a younger outfit speaks volumes. 'Dirty Beer' closes and is the track I mentioned earlier which I am always unsure about - some days it works and some it doesn't and it is my least fave track on the CD. There a criticism - I knew I'd find one ya twats. Overall though this is a fuckin' corking CD with many cute touches and classic numbers. I love it and guess what? You get 2 bonus 'live' tracks too.
The now nostalgic 'God Squad' and the remarkable 'Guns For Oil' are 2 belters from the ever-growing AFS hit list and the quality of these 'live' efforts is spot on. Inside word has it that the 3rd album may indeed be 'live' and on this evidence I can't wait. Really clear stuff and capturing the bands shows to a tee hopefully a release will be with us real soon and the way this lot churn stuff out I wouldn't be surprised if it's released tomorrow.
GANGSTAS CORNER - COMPILATION
Lo and behold another test of my reviewing patience and time with yet another compilation featuring an assortment of bands and their own unique brand of noise. The initial scan of the back cover displayed an inkling of the familiar and not so obvious thus promising another diverse mix of melodies.
Compact Pussycat's effort is more like a soft rock piece than a punky number and so doesn't inspire and the shamrock shindig 'Guns' by Mustard City Rockers is a turn-up in tunage and follows a regular Irish formula. The new school riffs of Arch Stanton with 'No Harm Done' is a snippet of that lifeless mode of so-called punk which thrived for a brief period and which thankfully fizzled into almost obscurity. It's poison to my soul although there is a market for this so enough said really - just one of those! Fletch Cadillac get things back on track with 'Broken Dreams (For A Dying Heart)' and The Stray Bullets take things a step further with the regular and likeable 'The Only One'. Toxic Terror bust through the door and horrify in many ways, dependant on your desires, with the awkward 'Make Haste'.
Hit and miss so far and Brownings 'In Remembereing' is a definite Tony Hart Gallery (remember this guy - jolly nice fellow he seemed) bastardisation that drifts in a more moribund style and will appeal to fans of the dreary - but not to me. Goober Patrol groovily rock with 'Mind The Gap', a bluesy stutter that is colourfully delivered and has no warning of the superb maniac thunderclap of the pursuing 'Stamp Out Self Doubt' by the Volunteers. Kaotixx keep the energy levels high with the yell fest of 'I Can't Take It' and still the uncertainty of this CD has me confounded. It really is a high/low affair so far but this in itself shows a high diversity and offbeat arrangement of sounds that certain extremes will undoubtedly find something to savour which is one of the prime objectives of a compilation.
TYRANNOSAURUS ALAN - SLAP BANG
The second time I have had the pleasure of reviewing an offering from these skanking reprobates and the marked improvement is immediately noticeable and displays that this dinosaur crew are on a steep learning and talent curve. The main thing to remember when improving your sound is to maintain your own identity and I feel Tyrannosaurus Alan still do this although this 6 track effort is quite unsimilar to the previous release.
THE SENTON BOMBS - TURN HEEL
Swaggering punk cum rock here with a melodic mix of adrenalin rush guitar, thumping drums and turbo bass that is thoroughly infected with snarl 'n' sneer vocals of the effective kind. There's a whole watershed of influences and styles thrown into the mix reflecting the bands appearance and holistic delivery. I consider this an educated and cultured concoction with careful insight taken into each and every ingredient before it is thrown into the melting pot. Each song has its own character with many idiosyncracies and punky pustules all adding to the final tingle and thus highlighting a band that have a whole lot more in the locker than they are given credit for. Not all work for me but most do so and that folks is opinions for you. With concrete foundations and a talent for composition this assortment of aural energisers has taken many a listen and with trepidation I attempt the review.
'Justice Lost' displays just why this CD has taken such a lengthy time to review as there is a lot to absorb and evaluate and also a fair amount of these songs are not instantaneous brain ticklers thus needing acute consideration before the nib rapes the paper and assessing words are scrawled. This track comes across with an essence of forethought and confident posturing although it does have less in yer face bursts than other grenades. 'Charlotte Ann' has a cocky edge as it eases in with casual drums and funked up guitar. A ready rumble is had but a very cock rock inflection is given that defies punk and slices it right open, tattooing the inner flesh with grooving rock rhythm. It is a rare sound in a scene that is as diverse as they come but I can't knock it. Individuality is a prize characteristic and hats off to a band who are unashamed to be different when so many critical pirahanas are waiting to feed. The spiteful resonance helps this track to cross barriers and the heavier tones of 'Surf 6-66' crashes waves of metal shards and slips in nicely.
This is a solid effort but please believe me when I tell you that these guys have a real classic in their bones and are on the cusp of delivering just that. It will take time, advice and a lot of pedantic twiddling but I bet you these guys do it. In fact go check em' out first and enjoy a great outfit and see if you agree. Oh and why you are watching em' pick up a CD afterwards - you may just like this!
D' CORNER BOIS/BARSE - SPLIT ALBUM
Scraping the inner depths of my punk encrusted mind I am drawn into a mental grapple as to what is the best split CD I have heard. Over and over again I ponder this poser and I openly admit that the silver disc I am about to review must surely be one of the greatest. I cannot recall when two opposing sounds embraced one another so sincerely and reciprocated an enhancing sensation of sound and punk pedigree. The new crashing noise of D'Corner Bois and the retro, undercooked innocence of Barse both work in unison and compliment in equal measure each others talent and sub generic stance. This is one to relish and I feel so privileged to review such a mighty piece of music. Strong, stirring words but this is a cracking mix and the compilers, through either luck or a keen ear, have served up a classic.
'97 Betrayal' pours out more political unrest this time at the idiocy and total inadequacy of Tony Blairs 10 year reign at number 10. The Thatcher clone disguised under a different banner is given hell here with a blistering tirade that goes down a storm. Boisterous bursts like this are consistent and 'Red Light Shame' is another drilling crescendo of persistent aural terror.
This opening hat-trick are sublimely superb and are followed by a piece of music that I feel is one of those unsurpassable moments when all components blend with gratifying unity and create a song that lasts a lifetime. This dramatic epic named 'Bag Of Purple Hearts' is a retro piece of passionate punk that transcends time and as a validity to match the finest tunes around. Some tunes are just to hard to dissect and analyse as to what actually makes them so successful. Here we have such a tune and you will go a long, long way to find it's equal. 'My Chelsea Flat' has that 70's sneer factor and misguided urgency that again wins the day and 'What I Wanna Do' is as basic as one can imagine but stands lofty with a fuzzology that certain punks (the ones in the know) will just fuckin' relish. That invisible bond that held, and still does so to a lesser degree, the punk community together is utterly ubiquitous throughout this CD and anyone who likes something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue then get a load of this.
'Tear It All Apart' is controlled incitement despite the easily misconstrued name. It tickles along with cymbals clanking and drums rolling and again its a beauty. Don't get bored with this CD review as the repetitive praise is only consistent due to the fact I have unearthed a total legend. 'We Got No Values' has a majestic marching overtone and despite slipping into the odd bit of unnecessary crudity I fuckin' like it as I do 'At The Pictures' which is similar to it's predecessor with crude lyrics and formal melody but for some inane reason this lot get away with it. The fact that Barse don't overdose on too much filth is highly relevant and doesn't make a farce of what is a talented bunch.
'Who Cares If The Girl Comes' is double entendre supreme but the popping energy sucks you in and believe me this all absorbant vibe never lets go. Young punks, old punks I suggest you get this and enjoy some 100% punkology - it really is that good. 'You Better Be Ready' could be classed as outdated noise but let me tell you that any pompous cunt that dismisses this invigorating outpouring is in no way anything to with our scene. If you miss the point of this then you have missed the point full stop. The track is a peach and is equalled in stature by the crafted-defiant edge of 'Safety Net'. Incredible to say the least.
At this point note must be made that Barse have a certain danger that seems about to explode into total confusion and cacophonic rubbish at any moment and this fact alone may be the element that makes this so highly fuckin' listenable.
'Don't Wanna Know You' is a toxic twisted spite fright that blisters with acidic spittle and furious chords. Love it or loathe it this is the bread and butter of the genre and I honestly can't get enough. 'Waste Your Time' takes me back to my days of seething hatred against uniformed conformity and petty procedure, a blaze that still burns bright inside this old punk fucker and so making this cut of awkward lunacy a prize pip for me. Yeah 'Piss Yer Pants' ya bastards!
'Spunk In Her Tea' is revenge absolute and although the title lacks subtlety the conviction shown previously is enough to help one to understand where Barse are coming from (pardon the pun). Great stuff and the finale of 'Breaking Up Is Easy To Do' bursts with a Sex Pistols guitar sequence that continues throughout and backs-up some searing vocalisation of the highest order. What an exclamation mark to a sincerely brilliant CD and the promise it has is mouth-wateringly tempting as well as fuckin' annoying.
You see when punks this good you needn't look elsewhere for that sonic buzz and this is real top notch stuff. Barse are long gone and it's up to D'Corner Bois to move forward but after this I don't envy them the task.
For the connoiseur then there is plenty on offer here and the collector needs to catch up with some Barse stuff just to know that the collection isn't lacking. Mine are ordered - are yours.