FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 30
THE EMOS - QUICKER THAN KHAN
I picked up this piece of 13 track punkology at the bands album launch, a gig that was poorly attended and at which the band produced a real pleasing set. This 3 piece don't take themselves too seriously but the initial showing gave me enough evidence of a band capable of knocking out a few unpretentious tunes that are very enjoyable and have a few catchy moments that one can partake in. I attended the gig with the outlook of expecting little and came away with a feeling of receiving much. I take what The Emos do at face value and if you are looking for any profound political agenda or robust street-fighting football anthems then forget it. If on the other hand you a looking for a few knockabout ditty’s that are a darn good listen and can be picked up, thrown away and then recycled, then The Emos will fit the bill.
'I Think Nige Looks Like A Vigo From Ghostbusters2' has lyrics that I really can't keep up with but nontheless is another good wallop whereas the pace is more chugging for 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Outta Here' and the alteration of tempo is much welcome. The activity is still spasmodically high and this one ain't as clucking as some of the others but ain't a crippled turkey either. 'I Got Blue On Me' is the CD's low point and not enough clout is hammered home and although it is a fair tune with a nice haunted house twist of guitar thrown in and the odd furious snippet the vocals don't really work here and it feels as though a mid-CD refuel was very much needed.
'Release The Ninjas' is more like it and the initial oriental witterings end with a screech that surely must bring into question the sexuality of its creator. How any man can reach these ball-splitting highs is beyond me! The song is built on more tomfoodery (yes I spelt it that way on purpose) and the riffs and full on singing carry the song aloft on an ocean of heavy power chords. 'Pelt That Rabbit In Its Big White Face' is a fuckin' good piece of fury that leaves me bewildered as to what the fuckin' song is all about. The blaze burns bright and quick but is given enough petrol to cause some real damage and thrashes forward into the brief 'Miss Finlay'. A 'now you hear me now you don't ' 50 second strum sprint is what we are given here and it is in keeping with the tone set and makes no sense to me, thrives on all action musicianship and pleases the old lugs.
'Punkolution', 'I hate Punk' and Squat Punx' are wordily cute and seem to me to be all one song. The stating of a hatred of the genre despite being involved and the questioning of the fashion conscious punks despite non-fashion being a fashion is prone to a slip up but the ambiguity is simple in the sense that hating punk and the fakery therein (and boy is there plenty of that) could be in fact more punk than the procedure adopted by many. It is dangerous ground and liable to split the fanbase but so what! You gotta do what you do and stand by it - make your voice heard and reap the rewards or suffer the consequences. The 3 songs are played well, have the aforementioned worded edge and hold no pretensions which is all I am interested in. The scene The Emos will circulate within locally will be of a mixed opinion regarding this but personally when reviewing I have to state what I honestly feel. Well I like this one and it isn't the punk I desire (then again what is anymore) but I really couldn't care less about that. The tunes kick arse and are delivered with a disregard for the end appraisal so eat yer shit.
Two quid this CD costs and that is a faultless price for a product that is packaged well and nicely composed. The consistency of all tracks is good and I feel the band are well happy with it. Why not pick this up - for two nuggets you will be hard pushed to come up with a decent excuse not to.
PAUL CARTER - I'M MORE PUNK THAN YOU
I got this CD from Paul after a chinwag at a Bradford gig and thus gave him a Fungalskapunka Compilation in return. I went home and played it the day after whereupon my mind became unhinged. Immediately after the initial spin I got a battery powered ghetto blaster and headed for the local park with Pauls' CD safely in my jacket pocket. Upon entering the park I made straight for the local dog walking area and spotted several ladies walking their mutts. Placing the CD in the player I stripped off down to my underpants and pressed the 'PLAY' button. The women in question looked quite taken aback by seeing this stranger getting undressed and they stared quite surreptitiously my way in fear of catching my eye. Imagine their reaction when the Benny Hill theme tune kicked in and I started running their way, with hands outstretched and an inane grin on my face and semi-boner in me undies. Unfortunately they didn't play no part in my re-enactment of one of Mr Hills finest sketches. Fleeing in various directions the ladies shrieked and with their dogs snapping at my bared ankles all went a little awry and it became obvious the ensuing arrest, court appearance and hopefully small fine were going to be all for nothing. Such are the hazards of indulging in the hypnotic world of Paul Carter.
The review after this was rather traumatic but the least I can do is try and convey the raw talent that Mr Carter is and hopefully encourage someone else to take forth the Benny Hill appreciation stance and avoid conviction.
And so it is with the lunacy of the Benny Hill theme tune and a tone of comedic punk that we start. Simple enough and we strum manically along into the age defying 'X Factor' a song that has Paul’s usual pebble-dashed vocals and expected scuttling rhythm. According to this poison pen a big dick and hefty tits are more than helpful in getting along in the music business and in truth I have to agree. I am sure if Paul grew a pair of 38DD bristols he would get a lot more gig offers but then again I am sure they would get in the way of his upstrokes (masturbation innuendo intended by the way)! Anyway it is a good opening account and followed by the unsettling yarn of the loner we all know and loathe and who only needs glance our way to cause a trouser full of crap. Paul tackles the subject matter with his usual forthright way and lightens the mood with the aid of one of those contraptions one blows into and pulls at one end (no not a nob) thus making a strange drawn out whooping sound. What the fuck they are called is beyond me - slide whistle perhaps! Proper cobblestone one man outpourings here and Carter is pure unaffected acoustica for the bloke in the pub.
'Following The Leader' is true punk rock verbology and despises those that can't think for themselves and are happy baa-baaing with the other woolly covered Artiodactyls. In fact this could be aimed at quite a few so-called punks and if I were a gambling goon I would wager a few sovereigns on this being the case. The best song so far is chased along by the basic blast that is 'I Can't Find It'. Fuelled on frustration and a tirade against the curse of forgetfulness we all fall victim to now and again especially if dabbling in illegal substances or prone to snifter or two of the old ale. Not bad but 'Wiggy's Down The Pub' is a far better concern with a smattering of vulgarity and a chummy strummy ambience. The key though to Paul’s outpourings is that all are something you can relate to and all contribute to a wonderful kaleidoscopic montage that is Planet Carter. A scary place indeed where it is apparently compulsory to get so drunk at Damned gigs you don't actually realise you didn't see them until someone tells you next day (ring any bells Paul)!
'Don't Trust Anyone' ain't a bad philosophy to live by and years of bad experience only help to give an extra fondness of this song. I am sure Paul has suffered at the hands of the multitudes of unreliables and it does show here. Good tune that has the vocals showing a disillusionment and cultured bitterness. Nice one mate and we are next given a dedication to 'Lovely Rita', the jobs worth traffic warden who it seems likes to victimise Ford Fiesta drivers who have the initials PC ha, ha. Sounds like a dire situation but the bright side shines through with some excellent one man duel gob mixing and simple 'say it how you see it' lyrics. The fuckin' lunatic kazoo section erupts from nowhere and I am sure all the singers’ desires to play as many bits and bobs as possible have been somewhat satiated. 'The Addict' is a sneaky song that just goes unnoticed and even after several spins when it came to the final review I was still thinking - what the fuck is this one is called. Not a good sign but it isn't an omen of a dud track it is just that the velcro stickiness of other ditties just ain't there (well not for me anyhow).
We return to the smart song mode with the delightful 'Computer Age'. Brilliant song writing that doesn't beat around the bush but just gets on with painting a very vivid picture of our frustrated artiste trying to get to grips with his home PC. PC on the PC in fact - pity he wasn't a copper too who liked political correctness - then we would be cooking on gas with the corny connections! 'It's Religion' does what the crusty brigade do so repetitively and harp on about religion being evil when in fact it is people who are to blame. Anything the twisting bastard human race gets its selfish hands on can only turn to shit. The song shuffles along with the usual acoustic adrenalin and is a fair do but I feel will be overshadowed by the next song which stirs the nostalgic inklings and will win many over. Yes it is a cover of 'If The Kids Are United', this time under the guise of the title 'Kids'. 'Live' this will rev up the audience a couple more gears and although I sometimes cringe at covers I don't mind bands throwing the odd one or two in the mix especially when they are played fairly well or with enough of the bands character. This has both sets of criteria so I have no gripes.
'Live For Today' is now following the usual pattern and despite being a good song I feel this one was asking for a bit more clout and really needs that extra injection of venom. Taken as an individual song it is fine but in the mix of this fret fingering forest it becomes another expected twig of tuneage. 'Out Of My Head' is a hippy jig to crowd around on a summers day. Spark up the reefers, invite a couple lezzers around, don the sandals and put a daisy in yer hair and the song is ready to roll. Even though Paul borders on the profundity of the drug-induced you can't help feeling the fuckers taking the piss and just happy being bombed. Nowt wrong wi' that though!
And so we close with the brilliant 'Rentaghost'. Yes this is a cover of that bizarre kids TV classic that concerned anyone wanting to hire a haunting. Timothy Claypole (what a twat), Hazel McWitch (Annoying bint) and Dobbin (stupid panto horse) would all enjoy this and so do I. Paul throws this climax out with precision and childish joy and anyone who knows this guy will realise that fun and joy are an integral part of his make-up.
Overall then I feel the CD is a success and does what anyone would expect. It entertains, raises a smile and is typical Paul Carter. The guy does what he does and for me is as punk as you want it. You should just pick this up on those thoughts alone and support someone who thoroughly deserves it. Keep on strumming fellar.
LOS SALVADORES - ATTACK OF THE CLONES
Arriving at the turnstile to the Los Salvadores fairground I poise myself to be mightily impressed by a mix of multifaceted melody and considerate song construction. All the ingredients have been witnessed before both by eyes and ears and this montage of quality musicianship is anticipated with wondrous apprehension
Fee paid the carousel known has 'Leviathan' takes me on my first journey and wins the heart with its exorcising opening sequence and ensuing artistry. We are initially haunted before speed builds and we whirl and twirl with the wind in our hair against a tinkling verse and tumultuous chorus. The surreptitiously mirthful melody belies the true nature of the song and only after observant scrutiny over the lyrical matter does one understand the intention of defiance, hope and sincere optimism. A great opening gambit and no sooner have the revolutions ceased than we are thrown headlong into a tumbling madhouse of blurry, yet individually apparent high class musicianship. 'The Wish' for more of the same is granted and we are buffeted and bewildered by an exciting avalanche of talented tuneage. The melody of mandolin lightens the whole escapade with a sharpness of unit awesomely apparent. Even though the final composition has many individual characters it is all borne of the same parental pen and whereas lesser bands who wish to indulge in numerous technicalities fail, Los Salvadores delightfully succeed.
'My Coloured Town' vies for the Big Wheel award with its outstanding melody and darn fine structure. A bold intro persuades us to enter the shuffling chorus before being pounced upon by a brash and confident chorus. You have to listen to this, and other tracks, many times to grasp the entire essence and even then new facets are discovered, each one twinkling and tinkling as good as the rest.
By adopting the title folk punk one would be foolish not to expect a dreamy burst of pub singing melancholy and so we come to 'The Drinking Song'. Perfectly entitled as that is just what this song is for. A smoky pub with a swaying crowd of inebriants all joining in to this emotional effort is easily envisioned and although I abhor that bleary eyed fraudulence that is more than apparent on New Years Eve I do like this song and realise that this crew do it oh, so well.
The shaking shack that begins 'You Spoke, You Missed' is elfin in inflection with the gentle jerkiness soon building in strength via a sanguine verse that eventually erupts into a tasty chorus of powerful brilliance. It is a nice alteration of aggression and there is a whole lot of passion being poured forth here and for me that will do just nicely. The closure comes with more dwarfish cuteness before we segue into another waltzing cacophony that works a treat, namely 'Path Into The Sea'. A more direct approach is taken with the song seemingly the most orthodox on the CD but then again! For a debut album this unit have set a standard that are going to have them working very hard to equal this moment.
We enter ballad mode next with the cloudy commencement to 'Questions'. Overcast and gloom laden is the initial theme but we are swiftly served up a few brief hailstorms before slipping back into the looming mood mode. A hope is given as the song progresses and at the death we feel all is not lost. The way the song is built on foundations of fine playing and thoughtful attention is mesmerising and the mundane tone is soon banished with some optimistic 'Shoop da wop de wops' (bloody hell I make it almost sound racist ha, ha) that introduce us to 'Southern Twist'. This song is another slice of marvellous music with a stop/start first opening verse that melts away into a conundrum of many shifts the key factors being some lemon drop keyboard tinkles and lightly strummed guitar work interspersed with the odd fizzbomb explosion. The fuzzbox keyboard duel goes on throughout with a major exchange just before half way. Before we know it we have gone full circle and the closing ebony and ivory tinkles bring us to final orders with a public house wind down.
'No Heroes' seriously introduces itself with sombre tones of that Saturday night idiocy and the violence found therein. Just as I think that a dead dove is going to be plucked from the Salvadores melodic topper the song rattles forward and we have another boisterous winner. More discordant than the rest but maintaining stability with artful musicianship and a confidence in one another. It is all good stuff so far and the finale of 'Give In To The Clown' threatens to go out with all flags drooping but has a chorus that roars with the wind of victory and rolls over the listener with refreshing brilliance. Inspired and capable of ruffling the aural instincts of the most aloof listener this is a great way for a fine CD to end.
As a bonus we have a reprise of 'The Drinking Song' which is really just a bit of fun, and after such a deluge of consistent quality as this then why not indeed? Uproar is had against a great song and the tinkle of quickly drained glasses. Cheers to one and all is the sensation here and the unity is all consuming.
In a single word - class - that is what this whole CD exudes. You should adore this one and even if you don't you cannot deny the talent found within. With a sound that is far from offensive, some clever song writing and tunes that are truly delicious concoctions I am sure this crew can make headways into both the underground scene and the more fickle commercial side of things. Just do yourself a favour and check these out. If you think it is all a load of bollocks then tell the band that the Fungal Fucker is wrong.
CITIZEN KEYNE - STAND PROUD
After bursting forth into the maelstrom of punk rock recordings with the fantastic 'Ungreat Britain' I wondered how Citizen Keyne would follow up that classic cut of street punk. A 'live' viewing at one of my SAS gigs built up my confidence in the band and a few new tracks filled me with the belief that the next album would be a bit of a stormer. When asked to do the initial review well in advance of the release date I was more than a little honoured and believe me when I say after several spins of the disc I was fuckin' elated.
We have here a very solid construction built on the sturdy foundations of the bands first release. The sharp turn of tongue is still there, the anthemic sing-a-long pride and the rowdy street based lyrical content. This ain't powder puff music you can have on in the background, this is balls-out disgruntlement of the highest order and I for one fuckin' love it.
We unhinge our minds straight away with the very effective 'Mental'. We are immediately whipped into rock and roll fervour with this masterplan of rabble raising raucousness. From the opening explosion the war is all action with guitar guns blazing, cock sure vocals sniping, landmine drums exploding and the muffled bomb bass rumble wiping out the last few survivors. Real high power intro as it should be and bootstomping the attention out of all in the vicinity. 'Who Are You' questions hard and questions deep but does it in such a forthright fashion against some swinging riffs that you can't help but love it. Liars, cheats, moaners and perverts - be warned Citizen Keyne got you sussed.
Straight into dustbin lid reality next with common punk for the common people. Having come from a background were money was sparse and people were dragged up 'Way Of Life' touches many of life’s struggles I am more than familiar with. Gritty and grimy and acceptant of how it is! Combine this harshness with a darn fine tune that bounds along and you have once again another CK winner. 'Door To Door' makes me smile everytime I listen to it. The musical tone now is as expected but the lyrical content is so fuckin' down to earth and amusing you know you are dealing with a crew who are just a bunch of regular 'erberts who you can drink away with down the local boozer talking all sorts of bollocks and generally having a good time. The topic here in case you haven't already figured it out regards those pestering salesmen who just want to sell you trash, at an extortionate price so they can get their meagre bonus. 'No' is never an option with these mithering bastards hence Citizen Keyne having to resort to more blatant wordage. Loverly!
'U.S/U.K' slips in with a 'Substitute' style riff after a Rule Britannia jingle and the song is basically about the United Kingdom finally giving a two fingered salute to all that is yank wank and refusing to be the war mongering wankers whore. Real Brit grit that deals no shit! The song is the most steady offering so far and this levelling out is just as well because what follows is really an outstanding piece of punk rock music.
There comes a moment when as a reviewer and avid punk rock fan you hear a song and on that one spin alone you are uttering the word 'Classic'. I frown upon this word sometimes as it is misused by all and sundry regarding many a song that is basically throw away crap or routine rock and roll. Here we have an instance where the word should be used and used in emboldened block capitals to emphasise what the fuck it means. 'Stand Proud' is a gargantuan piece of cobblestone spirit that has weight, uplifting energy and an all consuming infection. This is why we are punks, these are the moments when every hair on the nape of ones neck stands up and bristles with the energy of defiance, self belief and fist pumping victory. Every punk in the fuckin' land should buy this CD for this one track alone and remember we are all in this together - stop the petty in-fighting, cut the bullshitting and backstabbing and most importantly be yourself and be fuckin' straight down the middle. No matter how far down the bastards beat ya it is anthemic numbers of this powerful magnitude that get us straight back up and in their faces ready for more. Occasionally we all feel beaten but we will not go away. 'Ungreat Britain' on the first album was a mighty standard to set so early in a bands career - here the standard has been raised several notches higher and got fuckin' nobs on it. CLASSIC!
Calming down we move on to 'Political Agenda', a song that has the unenviable task of following the previous behemoth. Shuffling in with a 'Lady Esquire' similarity we are thrown into a more straight forward effort here that has a saturated sound with its constantly pecking insistence and wholesome compactness. Nowt wrong with this effort and it does well to make an impression after you know what! A tribute to the bands ever increasing prowess. We suddenly turn all sinister next with a knife edge bass line held in check by a feedback monotone leash that eventually lets go after several signalling drum beats. A casual stroll that reflects the arrogance of the subject under the spotlight - a 'Serial Killer'. The simple break at 1 minute 53 seconds in is brief and mightily effective and for me should have been expanded and really let the guitar go free and most definitely have the power to cut the song clean in half. A minor gripe really of a song that works well.
A good point to make at this point is that several of the tracks here are over 3 and a half minutes, a time length I am more than quick to criticise due to my preference for short, sharp punk rock. This just highlights the grand job CK have done when even the old Fungal Fucker ain't finding fault with this more than usual niggle. Anyway moving on to 'Boyband' and the absolute bilge that the mere mention of this phrase encapsulates. This is a scathing rant against those shallow shitheads who are groomed for the masses and indulge in their own ego and pretentious ways whilst creating piss-poor music for the idle Oi Polloi. Good angry outburst this at the injustice of garbage taking precedence over quality. Strong riffs and rolling drums all help the cause and carry easily into the scuffle and bustle of 'Saturday's Heroes'. A bit of ruck and roll here regarding those football punch-ups that help please the aching fists of so many enthusiastic brawlers. A no frills song this with just a headlong ramrod approach that ends nicely with the bellow 'Fuckin' Have It' and three strum blow out.
The last two efforts are as good as anything else so far with 'Life' gritty and slightly hindered by a chorus that doesn't flow as free as it should. Only the second minor blip but worthy of a mention to keep these buggers on their toes. 'Revolution' closes the CD with one of the bands most stylish offerings to date. Really rock based stuff with the now identifiable vocals and CK all embracing sound. Nice solo burst halfway through over the top of the regular guitar riff impresses mightily and this closure may indeed be a sneak preview into the bands next offerings. If so then I better get creating some more praising wordage as I am running out at an incredible rate.
There is a secret track on here folks and it is a cover of a song that none of you could even guess at. It has the Citizen Keyne flavour running deep within and is really just a piss about and showing the fun side of the band. It is hit and miss musically as the verse seems to slightly stutter into the chorus but what the fuck anyway? As I say this is just a bit of tomfoolery and for me isn't part of the 12 track album.
So in summing up we have a crackin' band producing their second crackin' album and in many ways still struggling to gain credit for their amazing efforts. The scene needs to wake up fast to whats around them and a good way to start is getting a piece of this action. If justice runs true (although it rarely does) I expect big things for Citizen Keyne and praise aplenty to come their way after the quality they are dishing out to the punk populace. Let us wait and see shall we?
PARASITES - SOLITARY
Ye olde Fungal fuckeroono likes a bit 'o' poppo punkiness and this excellent offering from established band Parasites really tickles the tuneful taste buds with high melody and a somewhat commercialised feel. Yeah this bugger likes his punk raw and ready to fire but ain't too blinkered not to enjoy other flavours and more opposing noises. To be a punky doodle these days one has to adopt a more eclectic overview to gain appreciation of a scene that has been smeared far over its own backside. Streetpunk is my game but this kind of high energy, cornball bopology is sweet music to my lugs and a vital ingredient in keeping the scene well balanced.
'All The Time In The World' is a master class of swiftly executed bubblegum pop. It elevates the CD almost instantaneously to frothy, sugar-coated zeniths that catch ones imagination with utter ease. The delivery is sharp, the accuracy of production reflective of the bands experience and the vocals totally borne from the whooping womb of this delightful sub-genre. The 6 and 4 string work is totally united and the clattering drums maintain an acute pace and sturdy backdrop.
'Real Real Good Time' is a sunshine tune that seems reminiscent of more obvious outpourings by other well known bands and seems most perfect as a film theme tune when optimism is the key tone. The drums splash with positive tones of ocean blue, the guitars strum forth warming rays of melodic warmth and the vocals smile with clean cut boyishness and freckled innocence. 'Stuck On You' packs a bit more heave-ho which I for one welcome. It is nice to have pop punk throw a punch or two now and again just to keep the edge, and to keep the listener on their toes. Here I feel a few jabs certainly have a bit more clout. For want of a comparison at this point I would lean towards the lighter end of Bob Moulds Sugar which is indeed compliment in itself. Real entertaining stuff this and obviously a band well versed in their art. Hailing from the late 80's it is more than apparent the experience shows.
'So Wanna Kiss You' captures teenage love and the emotive desperation therein. A tale of absence making the heart grow fonder (or in this case ache) this really does ensnare the intended sensation of adoration. The whole ambience is of deep passion and the Parasites get it right with casual talent. The perkiness of the ensuing 'Say It Again' is like a blast of fresh air even though a yarn of loneliness and more exasperating love is rallied out with remarkable efficiency. It is at this juncture worth mentioning that when delivering pop power punk of this style a band needs to pay attention to keeping all components lucid and free from distracting sonic spillage. The polished finish on these tracks is exact and so another feather in the bands cap for this often overlooked detail is given.
'Breakage' staggers in with panging heart and despite an uncertainty in the opening segment the track soon locates a groove in which to move. This is more unorthodox in approach but has a chorus that follows the regular formula. It is one of those tracks that most fine albums have which keep the reviewers head reeling whilst trying to find appropriate wordage to assess the noise. It gives me something to think about but I think I am secure in saying this is a decent outburst.
The bluesy emotion of solitary boredom is dealt with as the opposing rhythms of 'Hanging Around' give little hint at the self pitying lyrical content. Another winning tune with a perfect rattling tempo one just gets dragged along with. The clarity of vocal, as is the norm' is mightily effective and we move into the second half of the CD on a fresh, flowing breeze.
More relationship rantings next with the slightly more serious of tone 'Gonna Get You Back'. A determination is had all round here with a sprinkling of 'head down and get on with it moments' that sellotape all sounds together and provide us with a track that has a meatier intention yet keeps the melting pot bubbling with the peppery pop taste. 'Maybe I Don't Know' eases back into the cruising catchiness that the Parasites have down to a tee. A torrent of true targeted tuneage here with the chorus just sparkling from the speakers with cascading colours of light, heady melodies. The whole song just fit neatly into the entire sonic jigsaw as well as having a shape all of its own thus once again being a vital inclusion in creating the albums final picture. 'Really, Really' is more of the same but strikes me as a slightly unhinged number with a general feel of being mentally on the edge. There is a sensation of almost desperation and psychotic upheaval as the wordage hints at depression, insanity and pain. The sound certainly backs up these feelings and although sonically warped it still works.
Flippin' heck only two to go - this has indeed been a swift pleasure but such is pop punk and that is why I like it.
'Say You Love Me' just milks the winning moment a trifle longer and there ain't a whole lot I can say at this stage. Another top tune, easy listening and of a positivity in line with all that has gone before. I like it a lot and the terse approach is excellently timed.
The finale comes with 'The First Day Of Summer' a title that summons emotions from deep within and an overall noise that really does the same. Reflective, nostalgic and a song to touch the heart. The opening twangs pang and the tone of regret and yet wishful thinking, and paradoxically of disbelief, all compliment in equal measure and full stop a solid CD in very pleasing style.
So pop fans go forth and check these guys out. This is an accomplished band with a bounty of experience adept at the trade in writing love songs with a punky edge. This kind of tunery should transcend age, genre and fashion barriers and win a host of new fans providing ears are open and the product is peddled - my little bit is done - now go get Parasitized.
THE KINGCROWS - CARRION REGARDLESS
As Poe had his Raven then the Kings have their Crow and in both instances there is a level of gothika and eeriness to both albeit to a greater extent via the pen of the celebrated master of menace. The Kingcrows first breathed life in 2006 and have been pottering on the scene here and there ever since - plying the sleazy trade with a three way mix of punk, glam and rock. A recent 'live' viewing by my goodself tickled Fungal interest as the set was well constructed, contained many a fine ditty and came from the three aforementioned angles which gave it a slightly obscure stance. This 7 tracker is in no way a true reflection of the band as the production just doesn't live up to their talent but discarding that niggle you can, with a little effort, grasp the attitude, envision the talent and also enjoy the nicely arranged songs.
'In For The Kill' scuffles in before breaking into a sort of classical rock track with punk overtones and a fully compact noise. I like the fact the Kingcrows combine these different elements and although the tracks aren't instantaneously infectious they do increase in strength with each careful listen. There are a lot of cute touches in this well orchestrated sound which will put the band in good stead for further productions. A drop in pace for the commencement of 'Writing On The Wall'. and yet again we have the metalised punk whore spread-eagling herself and revealing a sound to savour. I know I keep harping on about the production but this one really emphasises the points I have made and frustrates me no end as yet again a potential stunner is reduced to just a fair track and listeners who want a quick and easy fix are in danger of missing out on the subtle highs found herein. If you pick this CD up just take your time with it and let the noise seep within your noggin quite slowly. Don't judge harshly on initial listens as I am sure you will be in severe error.
'Red Mist' is the weakest track on the CD (go on yer buggers disagree) and it is a song that seems quicker than it actually is. Despite coming in with a band bellow the song is just too straightforward for a band that have already proven to be capable of more. Maybe it is me but whereas the other tracks could be explained as a jagged line with many sharp points this is a lot more level in aural appearance and has the odd hump and bump along the way. No bother though as the final track makes up for this minor lull with a sweetly smoothed tempo that has a cruising vocal verse delivery that is punctuated by several chop chop back blasts before we are dragged into the cracking chorus. The whole composite is mixed but complimentary and has a cohesiveness many other bands would make a right balls up of. The rich tapestry is borne of varying influences and again the band can only succeed further if they continue to tap into these limitless resources.
Impressed by the 'live' showing and thoroughly convinced by the bands ability to construct good songs on CD. The next one should be 100% better but I still would advise a purchase of this due to the different shades it adds to the punk spectrum and the attention to overall composition.
BURNT CROSS - CARCASS OF HUMANITY
For me the whole 10 track eruption is machine-like and has a coldness that backs up the reality based lyrics of war, animal abuse, anti-religion, and the usual verbology from the likes of bands in this sub punk genre. The frosted delivery enhances the overall product and although nothing new comes from this political arena the way the arguments are put across and the accurate musicianship only help persuade the listener to be more attentive.
'Freedom Of Speech' defies strongly and although reaches out for a social mode that is forever unattainable it has relevant clout. What one man deems acceptable another one won't and so the debate will rage on. This should not dilute the effort here that chugs on with steaming engine-like determination and refuses to be derailed by law and order. Fuelling the energy giving coals the track proposes 'My freedom is worth all the pain' before a robotic question is digitally puked forth 'IS YOURS'? The embers die the song lives on. Like Frankenstein’s monster life is re-found and the phoenix rises with more industrialised inflection. 'Arms Trade Death Trade' adopts a similar piston style movement and now and again cruises on simple guitar strokes before charging ahead with grinding precision. A stony harshness helps this track succeed and it is followed by the cultured coolness of '(S)Mother Earth'. A song close to my heart with its relevant lecture against the damage done by the selfish sick fuck wankers who love concrete more than grass and destroy this green and fertile land with its grey, rank vomit. Add to this the rage against those who do nothing to defend our natural beauty and you have potential for a great song. The vocal inflection is filled with venom and the dreamy cruising sonics compliment this perfectly. The main message here is defy the synthetic world and protect true reality and the gifts of Mother Nature - nothing wrong with that and if everyone thought along these lines instead and appreciated what is on their doorstep we would have a far more healthier world.
'Hate Of The Holy' is the best of the lot for me and whizzes along on anti-religion amphetamines with a come down solo section that is truly perfect. The clarity of the crust here is a point to be made by bands of a similar ilk and proof is in the pudding that to be effective you don't need a predictable nasty noise. 'Smash The Labs' is of a similar pace and promotes the Animal Rights angle with a no holds barred call to arms and an 'eye for an eye' uprising. A basic track that vies for weakest of the bunch musically but certainly not lyrically which in these instances is of equal importance. More of the same ALF promotions next with 'Active Response' but with a much more varied orchestration of tune and one that comes across as a tightly coiled viper that is ready to strike at anytime. The poison is virulent and is injected into the grey matter with a sharp discordance that again does the duo great credit.
'Apocalyptic Battlefield' maintains the consistency so far and at this point I am wondering just how much variation can these two 'erberts squeeze from their equipment. It will be interesting to see and for me is an obvious question when listening to these similar songs. This however is not a criticism as all tracks work as one unit and contribute to the final volcanic eruption but, if the same formula is expanded over further recordings the initial opinion could be swerved. 'Legacy Of War' is nicely positioned alongside its predecessor and both songs seem borne of one furious womb and deal in anti-war sloganeering. Plenty of frustrated angst gets both tracks flying past the finishing post with glorious colours and this is as good as anything of this style although the latter effort could do with a bit more rocket fuel to surge further into the cerebral cortex.
'Violate' is a cover by popular crustoids Cress whose impression was great within their own circles but far from effective beyond that. This song is given the Burnt Cross treatment and comes out as though the band wrote it themselves. A sign of the outfit’s skill or a similarity of the whole sub-genre - you decide. Not bad at all and before we know it we are in amongst the acid head daze that is 'Jacking Up Jesus (Toffeetronic remix). In truth I've heard all this wordage before and for me Crass over cooked their religious ravings and said all that could be said. The frauds need constant exposure I suppose but Christianity seems to take more of a beating rather than other religions - I wonder why that is? There goes my lack of faith in the human race slant again. The soundtrack though is of a bastardised techno slant and is really, really well done. It captures the rave edge and combines with punk rage and the end result leaves us with a pleasant taste in our beer drenched mouths and offers endless possibilities for the next CD.
You just can't knock the product and the way it has been created here and even if you don't agree with some of the beliefs pushed forth you gotta give respect for the attitude and DIY ethos. Go on have a dabble!
THE BULLET KINGS - BRAND NEW DISGRACE/SAINTS AND SINNERS
Being a long term UK Subs fan I was somewhat worried when I found out that The Bullet Kings were going to tackle that wonderful gem 'Saints And Sinners' from the hit and miss album 'Mad Cow Fever'. This is another one of those memorable Subs moments and the thought that the very fine Bullet Kings were bordering on a blasphemous implosion had me concerned due to the fact that I would be asked to review this double A sided snippet. But alas it is nice to be tested as a reviewer and this two track single that is to be released on green vinyl (in true UK Subs spirit) and limited to a 300 copy run certainly gave hints at a arduous assessment ahead for the Fungal pedant. Within a couple of days of receiving the disk I was already being questioned by two of the BK trio as to what I thought. Fuckin' hell talk about pressure. True to form I made the fuckers wait (one of the perks of the job) and took my time evaluating this double barrelled outburst.
So 'Brand New Disgrace', by gum I thought for a minute is was entitled 'Brand New Age'. Two Subs covers would have me reaching for the Mogodon and Holy water. The first to calm the nerves, the second to throw over these sacrilegious devils. Anyway all safe and well the track was spun over and over again and from first spin to the last I really can't find a fault. Well constructed, full of melody and all components as clear as crystal. The most amazing thing about this song is that its running time comes up at 4 minutes 49 seconds which I find totally unbelievable. I hate it when bands draw out a point that could be thrashed out in half the time but find myself in disagreement with my own opinions as this is just one long enjoyable jaunt. This factor alone signifies the strength of the song and I think the band are fully justified in this being a double header. But what happens if 'Saints And Sinners' is a pile of shite and a real insult to punks finest band? Well........
The track opens with good old Chaz uttering the telephonic statement 'It's not everyday The Bullet Kings do Saints And Sinners' which is a brilliant touch before we are led into the oh so wonderful familiar riff that I absolutely adore. Here the BK bandits stamp on their own inflection which immediately bodes well and takes away any misgivings on my part. I wonder immediately how frontman Wilfredo will cope in the main seat but you know what - the fucker pulls it off most wonderfully. The riff ploughs on and the whole track just melts into one smoothly poured pint of delicious tuneage. The backing vocals are spot on and the drums are played with a skilful zest as Big Andy (Super Subs nut extraordinaire) bangs away with what I suspect to be pure, unadulterated hard-on joy. I have followed the Subs for 30 years and thought I was fuckin' keen but this guy is fan No 1 and for such a big fellar he really has the most childlike infectious joy on his mug whenever talking about his fave outfit. A bloody big puddin' indeed but one you don't want to mess with. Carls guitar work is, as ever, exemplary (twat) and all three players should take pride in showing how a cover should be done. There are bands out there covering Subs songs and slaughtering them and, get this, being fuckin' paid for it - aagghhh! Is this the best Subs cover I have ever heard - mmmm - tough one. It is certainly the most adventurous and in truth I can't think of a better one - there is one equal to it but you had better watch this space.
So there you have it - 2 songs, 2 gems (Trivia moment: Gem - UK Subs released quite a bit on that label) and this marvellous 3-piece have my favour - well for the moment anyway. Like I said earlier this is a 300 copy run - do not miss out!
THE ADJUSTERS - CAN'T SEE
Having seen The Adjusters strut their stuff I was quite taken by their individual sound and their attempts to deliver what they felt was best to a punk crowd who are always more than ready to pounce with a criticism or two. Fast forward a few months and I noticed a free CD was going begging so I offered to review it if the lads where willing. The CD arrived and judging by the style and the stage sound which I deemed very difficult to transfer to the old silver spinner I wasn't expecting too much. From the initial listen I was totally shaken to the soles of my nobbled feet as this five tracker reminded me never to make ignorant judgements of flavours before partaking of the sonic soup. This is punk with a rock and roll swagger - spitting and sneering with hotrod octanes of arrogant assuredness. Influenced by The Hanoi Rocks and The New York Dolls this bastard hybrid moves on the wham bam glam several eons and hits us right on the nose with nothing but classy tunes and 'don't give a damn' attitude.
GUANTANAMO BABES - MENOS HIPOTECAS Y MAS DISCOTECAS
I didn't know anything whatsoever about this band and when the CD appeared with a request to be reviewed I didn't really know what to expect. That though for me is what makes reviewing an interesting role and one never can really predict what sort of sonics are going to tumble through the mail muff next. As the bands ejaculate them forth all I can do is grin, spin and write what I feel. A brief investigatory procedure revealed that the band are a four piece gathering based in Bristol with a myspace categorisation of punk/rock/showtunes. Fairly accurate I would suggest although in the wrong order of priority and I particularly like another description under the heading 'About Guantanamo Babes' that reads as such - 'Loud music for variously assembled groups of strangers, acquaintances and friends'. Ha, ha - spot on and very comical in a kind of non-comical kind of way (making sense is not a strict criterion on this site).
So we open with strum, drum, strum drum - mass of brass and the cruising melody of 'Paint It Beige' draws one in almost immediately and this excellent track does what any opening track should do and that is to make one hell of an entrance. It is joyous and intense and the strained vocalisation only enhances the latter sensation as well as giving the song instant identity. The song spasmodically somersaults to the finale before we are hosed down and are given 'One Night At The Bottlebank'. A corrosive splurge of acidity is our greeting which continues underneath some upbeat hornology before the first verse is thrown over with a distinct urgency and irresistible insistence. The voice/drum hybrid leads nicely into a staccato segment which then unfolds into a vague, hard to nail chorus. This is a slippery song indeed and follows on the excellent standard set so far. A crescendo is dangled and taken away and the song casually folds before the full stop/capital letter of 'Apes And Ladders' is imprinted on the disk. A song that oozes confusion in all areas before embracing cohesion and delivering a delicious chorus that hides blemishes and gives an overall appearance of a solid song. These are busy ditties and one needs to adopt a scrutinous aural eye so as to do each offering justice. I like it a lot so far and may have just uncovered another little gem in the undergrounds overlooked piles of wastage.
The next few songs, for me, adopt a more all around profound sound with a depth to the whole arrangements that shows the band we are dealing with to have a lot more in reserve than one first suspects. 'Smells Like Leather Jackets' is, in its entirety, bordering on excellence and has a chrorus/verse compatibility to satiate the most choosy of aural appetites. The vocals are drawled with a blanketed passion and the choice musicianship is robust and of a tone that promises and delivers. The pursuing '101 Books To Burn Before You Die' rumbles in on intent bass and the swaying tumult that follows is gloriously imposing. A quick cut back and the scenery is changed and we are left with a sparseness of sound as the vocals take the reins and leads us into a feeling of solitude before being swung in the melodic breeze once more. 'Loose Tongues Cost Lives' is a more emphatic song and therefore leaves a considerable impression on the listener after the initial spins, thus courting favour ahead of its counterparts. From the opening statement the song kicks along with vibrant gusto and oozes musical appeal and is another prize moment in such a short space of time.
We are almost ready to 'Abandon Ship' but not quite and this song prepares the way for the finale but doesn't let up in the general tempo. The initial verse misses genuine melody and seems a trifle off target but the main sentiment of the song unfolds and we are more or less back on track with one of the more unorthodox efforts. There is an uncertainty it seems from the opening crystallised guitar and so this one pales slightly against the more brazen colours painted by its predecessors. We close with a song that starts boldly, tumbles down and rebuilds into a cacophonous composition that swings and sways to a chorus that shouts 'Are You Thinking What We're Thinking'. A decent do with a good 'live' feel to proceedings and a nice way to cap off a promising CD.
So the end result is of a good knockabout CD that should transcend well onto the stage where I expect some high jinx antics and a very full on soundscape. I reckon there is a bit more gas in the tank here and am more than sure The Guantanamo Babes can outdo this little effort next time. Even so, have a crack at this as you may just be a trifle pleased with what you get.