FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 42
TOO MANY CROOKS - SPANISH FLY
OK an old CD but it satisfies my quest to review all the Do The Dog releases and is a fuckin' marvellous 11 track journey to be amazed at and not overlooked of which I was very much guilty. Through the perforations of my teabag of tuneage the odd gem slips away in the swirling melodic maelstrom and leaves my cup of cacophony lacking in the odd flavour. I can't drink each and every beverage that is out there or else I would be sonically intoxicated and in no fit state to review anything. However, I do gorge deep and get through more than my fair share and am once more prepared to piss from the bladder of praise upon a worthy collection of songs.
From the opening mouthed offerings one suspects we are in for a delightful piece of upbeat scientology and I take smug pride in being so fuckin' right (makes a change don't it). 'Drama Queen' is a fuckin' choice expulsion that instantaneously gets the dick of dance stirring and ready to ejaculate rewarding remarks with relish. No sooner has the gob welcomed than an explosive burst of all components in rushed staccato frenzy is introduced and the mix is magical. The percussion is pumping and adheres all components with the energy in general most memorable. The skanked up sequence that commences the musical interlude is delicious and has me salivating with sonic hunger - more, more, more. The song is over way to quickly but perfectly timed nonetheless - better to be left wanting more rather than overfed - always a golden rule music makers!
'Spanish Fly' is enchanting and of a tone from distant shores. The attitude borders on a serenade with touches of the matador thrown in. The song will no doubt stiffen the privates of all who like a fair tune and who are always willing to try something different. So soon on the CD this unexpected turn exposes a band willing to take a chance and capable of pulling off many a trick. I like this once more albeit not as good as the first epic effort. An aphrodisiac that takes its time to work but when it does expect to grind all night! 'Headline' is cheeky chappie wordage against a backdrop of confidently buzzed skank that deals with the tabloid/rag insignificancies with a sitcom style to savour. Almost Blur meets Cockney Rejects meets The Specials - you know what I mean I am sure and yes, even though I think Blur are wank I still adore this song. The brass shines sure and is the most vital ingredient in adding the finishing touch to a comfortably effective ditty.
I very rarely make comparisons although sometimes it has just gotta be done. Apologies for doing a few on the turn so far but hey this next song is surely going to be compared to an Ian Dury and the Blockheads effort! No/Yes - you decide but it is a slow cruise with words said rather than sung against a somewhat off the cuff improvised backdrop of sound. The change of tempo is appreciated and the articulate vocals also taken with thanks. It is always satisfying to see a band test themselves and however subtly they do it I think it should be admired. If the band pull off the attempted tricks then applause must be given and I am clapping away with child-like glee. The next two songs that follow are a colourful paradise and are a brace of beauties to play over and over again. 'Boom, Boom' is a jitter-bugging jumpfest that can't find comfort in its own acoustic underpants no matter how much the song fidgets. A good scratch of the strings and such is needed but this hyper-offering has its arse on fire and I, with complete attention, am happy to watch the buttocks melt. Listen to this and do not move a muscle - the request is similar in fact to asking one to watch Paul Daniels fiddle with his magic wand and not think - 'twat'! Yes impossible I'd say! Lock up the sty next and get your wee little piggies tucked safely away as this next song will literally 'Blow The House Down'. Volume up, trousers down, fuck the neighbours and jig man jig! The slight trepidation of the verses is cute and although still gets one hopping it holds enough in reserve for the chorus where we can let it all hang out and let the rhythmic genitalia fly free. One listen and your hooked - simple as and testimony to a veritable high. The bass lines build in stature and virtually twang free from the artiste’s fingers as the song builds in passion. Big fanfare brassology bites hard and this is just irresistible.
Just over the halfway mark and 'Fame And Fortune' seems borne of the bouffant eighties where capitalism and success where high on peoples priority list. I can imagine a crowd of fluffy headed, shoulder padded wankers dancing to this which literally makes me want to cringe. The song is a squashy skankoid piece with smoothed male vocals that really do have me harkening back to the anal era. Maybe I am totally unfounded in my thoughts but I just can't shake them off. Not a bad song but I do prefer the following 'Life's A Bitch'. The tale is riddled with paranoia and jealousy and is a skipping little piece that never really lets itself go but seems happy with the steady rhythm adopted. The bass bounds along and the drums tumble with keen enthusiasm all helping the song to achieve. 'Touch Too Much' isn't a cover of the AC/DC classic but is a retro piece of smoky street tone that breathes sinister sonica and casual specialised affectation. If this was released during the black and white heyday when the Walt Jabsco logo was everywhere and the chequered fringe adorned many a jacket and label then one would not bat an eyelid. A real step back in time and even though one awaits ushered words from the gob of Hall and co one doesn't go away disappointed with what actually pours forth. Now where's me pork pie titfer?
'Get Up, Get Out' has hollow drums that are soon filled with a minced melody liable to make us leave the sofa and shift our arses into the gear known as 'Go'. 'Campaign not Complain' is the message and one I can't argue with. We all moan a little too much and moments like this have even miserable bastards like me rethinking my griping ways. A fluttery unsettled effort and one that finishes with a thump. The finale of this CD is an acoustic jaunt gushing with feel good cheesiness and that 'all is well in the world of love mate' that can get right on yer thrupenny bits if you are not in the mood for this potentially annoying upbeat positivity. This effort has a spot on delivery and brings the last curtain down with a difference.
A grand CD this with the first 6 numbers contributing to a memorable listening experience. My eagle eye has spotted that Do The Dog has a few other releases by these guys which, when I am financially better off and ready to review some more for the crew in question, I will very much seek out. An accomplished band making my reviewing role a pleasure - cheers dudes!
MONGREL - FEAR, LIES AND PROPAGANDA
Cultured rock here that dips its dirty toes in the already festering punk pool but in the main rocks, and rocks hard. An initial EP by these guys was reviewed and enjoyed by my Fungal self and I was very much looking forward to tackling this extended outpouring. I have been aurally perusing this one for a fair few weeks and hopefully the review well reflect my usual attention to the acoustics.
'I Refuse' is coolly played and despite a punky non-cooperation remains sonically detached from that spiked circle so as to create its own identity and transcend boundaries. Not overly rushed the guitar twists and turns occasionally breaking into subtle showmanship whereas the drums and bass provide a consistency the six-stringed beast gets to feed on. The vocals have a strong inflection bordering on a full on fury but remaining restrained so as to be coherent. The guy sings instead of shouts and although I have no preference provided it is done well I do like the style offered at this early stage. A real comfortable start and one to be praised with the equally capable 'Who Would Jesus Destroy' being a unyielding follow up. It is more than obvious that Mongrel are not going to submit to the 'fuck this, fuck that' lyrical mentality and are showing some articulation worthy of note. Moralistic without being preachy it is good to see a band think rather than throw up for the hell of it. The main drive of this one is sub-hardcore that just will not give in to the full-on tumult so savoured by the thrashing brigade. Mongrel are right to adopt their style and keep it as their own with several notable moments already clocked up. I like the break during this song where a regular riffage grinds forth escorted by a stated monologue in keeping with the theme set. The vehicle of war is always driven in the name of God by people who don't have a holy bone in their damned bodies - apply the brakes, think and stop using 'country, religion and colour' as a deadly tool. A good point made - nice one lads!
The unsettled flame burns brightly next with a swift piece charged with disillusionment and power chords that chop and weave beneath a layer of general frustration. 'Shut Your Mouth' is a straight ahead effort with a no frills, no nonsense approach. It is a small spice positioned to highlight other flavours and that it does just ideally. As a stand alone it is just OK but whilst located at this position completes the task set. 'The Worlds A Tragedy' is the best song so far and has a malicious intent that strides forth and won't be impeded in any way. Seemingly an unstoppable force with the band in full control of this stalking predator one is more than delighted with this subtle turn of tuneage. Grinding riffs adorned with a malicious grin are what make this one with the cold assessment of the worlds state of play delivered with a factual viciousness that is totally apt. Real mother fuckin' noise played with a sleazy rock 'n' roll influence is what I am getting so far - wow - didn't expect what's coming next!
Ballad-esque, cultured and reflecting the quality of the scene out there 'Bound To Crash' dabbles on the fringe of an output more associated with early eighties rock/pop outfits prone to moments of pompous pondering and affected brainwaves of culture. The fact that Mongrel really don't need to do this and yet still have a go and pull it off with aplomb gets my vote but I could still take or leave this kind of stuff. The gentle vocals tussle with the noise at the back that is busy and strong but can be initially overlooked. Definitely a cute touch and exposing the bands scope but obviously more appealing to the long-haired brigade. Do not dismiss this one lightly though and efforts such as this will get the band noticed.
At this point the hard rock slant is leaving me floundering as I am strictly a punk rock nut and can't help my leanings towards the spiked circuit. A pause in the proceedings of this review is had so as to be fair with each track rather than be tainted by my lack tolerance of too much of this sub-generic noise.
A few weeks later...
Back in the pit and what strikes me most about 'West Memphis Hell' is the cold, calculating vocals that begin soon after a blue light siren and some orthodox headbanging output have been had. Revenge seems very much on the mind of this disturbed young man and on this evidence you wouldn't want to be on the receiving end. A firm song and a decent reintroduction to my review of this 15 tracker. 'Houdini Act' chops away with an unrelenting deliberate thrust that is a signature sound very much used in various modes. Again the lyrics hark at intolerance and of 'having had enough', Mongrel are ready to bite back and spread the rabid infection to anyone who gets so close. I know many a metal head that will feed on this furied filth and am just wondering if the punk crowds will react the same. I suspect a division will occur with the majority enjoying the racket - time will only tell. 'Immolation' cuts the puppeteers strings and walks away from the restraining threaded shackles all wound up and ready to refuse. What Mongrel do is capture a restlessness that many rebels will relate to and this will undoubtedly serve the outfit well with gigs hopefully packed with the unsettled 'erberts we know and love so well.
Regret, fear and an apparent helplessness are all conveyed via 'Attribution/Retribution', one of the lengthiest pieces on the CD that stretches the sound a little too far for the Fungal ear-holes but perhaps not far enough for avid rock aficionados. Once again all parts are seething and working in unison with some good riffage discharged via the acoustic arsehole. Not my bag this one so a subtle absence of wordage is selected. See better than being a critical cunt who is disrespectful of a band obviously producing the goods by the sack load. Darkness pervades the suicidal insanity that is the mangled mayhem entitled 'Watching Myself Die'. A bleak urban despondency that has reached the end of the line becomes perverse via a mentally crippled chorus which is cacophonous and on the cusp of a hardcore shutdown. The most disjointed piece and the most crazed curio - make of it what you will! If played backwards could the message be any darker?
'Without Mercy' takes on a straight forward drive and is a highly likeable piece. A plainer musical countenance is adopted yet the defiance remains thus making for a winning mix. The track doesn't leap out from the CD but maintains the decent level achieved thus far. 'No Gods, No Masters' is straight in with the first line almost predictable at this stage 'I don't need your rules'. A totally punk intro and the short running time is much more in keeping with my favoured tipple and so this one gets a bit more attention from me. Personally I would suggest Mongrel adopt this terse, sharp approach as they do it very fuckin' well but as a reviewer I have to take into account it ain't all about me (difficult I know but true ha, ha). A solid song so late in the day is much needed and as we almost segue into 'Dyslexic Alchemist (F. I. A. A) I am hopeful of more of the same. The slow funereal opening is soon shed to reveal an inner skin of usual Mongrelised mush and as expected the band follow the same path cut and if at this stage you have been aroused then your sonic stiffy will be maintained.
We finish with 'Coma America' a nasty cover that is given some good treatment and accentuates the full stop at the end of this 15 word statement from a band who have no compromise and know their audience. You know the crack by now!
Overall a strong CD but not always within my personal favoured parameters. In the main though a good do and one that should put the band in a good light with almost everyone who hears this. After reviewing a 5 track outburst from the band I must admit that is more my distance but there are many acoustic athletes out there and some prefer the longer course. Either way - go for it and sample some of this crew’s chaos and see what you think for yourself.
THE AMPHETAMEANIES - SAY SOMETHING SPECIAL
With so many CD's to keep check on and keep up to date with occasionally one slips beneath the 'To Do' pile and suddenly rings out 'overdue, overdue'. Here is such a CD and apologies to the band for my oversight - what a puddin'. In defence it did come with a batch of ten whilst I was already 17 behind so I was hardly cruising was I?
We start with the spiteful snake in the grass that takes a right pop at the 'moronic' side of the skinhead fashion where fists and patriotic boots are a real factor. I don't know whether there are personal issues here or just a song based on general observations but I am sure anyone with half a brain knows the angle this crew are coming from. No gripes this end as skin, punk, skank, rock whatever all come under the Fungal spotlight and a I like a bit of it all to be honest and a bit of Oi never goes amiss. Everyone is entitled to their say and so if you don't like the thread of this tell the band or just get on with it. Musically it has a sinister edge of a funfair riddled with a killer clown mentality before becoming sedated by a more orthodox skank approach. A stated kind of delivery with a mean streak that is fluffed up with the odd brass attack it is a fair opener and in fact a solid introduction to a band I know sweet FA about. '24/7' is delicious creamy dreamy skank with apple juice vocals that ponder teenage love and the nebulous sensations found therein. Having said I don't mind a bit of skinbo clout I also appreciate and adore skank when it is played with a silkiness and clarity as found here. A very 'young' sounding tune and to this old haggard fucker it seems like this is a song of times gone by. Just a feeling many may get but a darn saccharine soaked beauty this song still turns out to be. '30 Lines' seems to blend tones from the previous two efforts with the brass slightly underhand and serpentine but again the vocals comforting, languid and lucid and creating a slow swirling eddy into which one just wants to float. Just go with the flow and enjoy - I am!
'Ghost Bus' starts with a more punked vibe and is a 'Live' number that shuffles with tradition and exudes an old-school flavour emboldened by some mix and match male/female gob work between episodes of chilled reggae and almost improvisational disorder. It does get entangled in its own web and I reckon if several strands were unwound then 3 or 4 good songs could be borne. A busy bee to ponder through a magnifying jar and if the buzz appeals then so be it and if it doesn't then that is understandable. Either way release the bee and don't get too close to be stung and just take a distant viewpoint with relaxed enjoyment at the fore of your thinking. It is ok but it won't be the most popular track.
So a new band for me to assess and one which I reckon aren't half bad. The middle two songs are wonderful, the opener solid and the latter hit and miss. That's a fair assumption and if The Amphetameanies are ever in my path I will be sure to check em' out and come away pleased I reckon. Calling all skankers - please have a peek now!
THE CEMETERY GIRLS - SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN
I got this CD and thought it an interesting cover with the haunting imagery usual with the horror-pop brigade. The sounds exuded are bordering on garage but never quite park up and so a strange end result is had that mixes the occasional noxious fumes of the gothic genre with the simplicity of the bubblegum pool. The pace is mid-tempo and not as rushing as expected so all pre-concieved ideas are thrown into a certain bin of befuddlement before any digit presses that first and most important key.
CHINA SHOP BULL - SANDBLASTER
2 'live' viewings of this unit have mesmerised me with the application and intensity and the highly listenable blap and slap punk rock electro dubbed bastard that is the bands own unique sound. It is a marvellous mix that intoxicates and one that can easily blow up in the face of the players. So far so good though and this decent 3 tracker reinforces my initial thoughts.
THE PAIN - SONGS FROM THE SOIL
Some bands compose songs and adorn them with ornate refinery and high productive gloss and still come out reeking of nasty rotted nettles (I do like nettles though but understand many rate them as a lowly plant and so use the comparison accordingly). Other bands use the punk methodology combined with that instinctive feeling so hard to ensnare and throw together many wayward and unaccountable sensations and come up smelling of roses (I do not like roses as they are all show and no substance (now why does that ring a bell) but again use the comparison in keeping with others misdirected opinions). What The Pain have sent me here is an album that has a couple of flaws (for me personally), some outstanding moments of punk rock genius and one that oozes natural talent and passion. My impression from first to last is of a very good band that produce erudite punk outbursts that have been left in a melting pot with several other sub-genres and carefully stirred so as to make a real end treat. There is a self-made streak throughout without pompous affectation and some neat punk rock writing to boot so as to enhance the listening experience. If you are punk you'll get it if not then explanation may be impossible. Read on...
'Guns In The Gobi' is a massive, massive number to open and a very bold step to take. A reggae/rap bastard is kicked around the acoustic ring and the end result quite inspiring. From the opening crystallised guitar burst and the great riffing rhythm through the John Cooper Clarke-esque skanky reggae rap to the worn and ragged wind-down chant this is a minor masterpiece. The scorched soundscape is ablaze with precise musicianship that turns heel at the right moments and alternates rhythmic pace and attitude with mesmerising brilliance. I utterly love this number and can taste the textures as I type. 'Planet Payback' has a drive driven on strong bass, forthright drums, smudged guitars and snotty belligerent vocals that still retain the gritted edge so favoured by gutterpunk enthusiasts. The lyrical content concerns us with the raping and pillaging of this beautiful planet of ours by the blinkered minions who always find a way to justify their actions. Textually tight and composed with an artistic clarity this is subject matter close to my heart and finds my favour smiling. Combine the words with a good tune and for me it is two beauties on the trot. The hat-trick is found by the comically ironic 'Suicide Bomber' that is still politically adept and a bloody good tune. Combing love and a mass-murdering maniac is indeed amusing but the way The Pain retain the serious aspect and message of the situation shows sagacious chaps and not some air-heads knocking out basic shit in a crude, uneducated way. Mind you I do love the bog brush basic approach that is borne of the everyday 'erbert so please bear that in mind as I lay praise here. 'Suicide Bomber' is a good tune too which only outlines the inner brilliance.
The spit and sawdust approach is mighty fine on this CD and although the grime is real we are never too soiled to be given an upbeat effort liable to regenerate our reality soaked souls. 'Being You' ticks all the punk rock boxes and encourages you to have inner belief and never, ever give up. I see many who have given up yet still try and talk a talk that masquerades as rebellious and active. Fuck off ya cunts and leave the scene to the few who mean it. The Pain come across as having faith and knowing the crack - that does it for me and if ever that flame falters remember what you said here ya fuckers! Love it and more words to concur with. 'Thank God' is bitter, boisterous and nasty but makes the point it so obviously wants to make. A bold effective noise with a tirade many will nod along to. Verbally I disagree as the blame for all the worlds’ wrongs must be at the people’s door and as long as they continue to have ego, selfish desires and a brick-thick disrespect for others and their environment there will be no change. Hey punk rock is about opinions though and I ain't gonna fault The Pain on their output - this is why they are in it right? One of the best onslaughts on the CD this and should be a right old crowd pleaser especially with the crusty crew.
Time for an ale or two as we pay respect to the bleary eyed buggers who adorn each and every town with their ruddy swollen noses and faraway eyes that stare upon long lost lands or never to be reached Utopias. Pissheads you may know em' as but they are people after all and the affectionate melody entitled 'Town Drunx And Ragged Old Punx' finds The Pain exposing a soft spot for these harmless inebriates. It is a welcome ease up of the pace and one to sing along to, quite ironically, after a few sherbets. 'Don't Wanna' is orthodox punk refusal and why shouldn't it be? The immediate build up has a dramatic intent and brings us to the first sub-chorus with glory. The vicious angle is added and a questioning tirade is wonderfully included and adds further glue and studs to the rebellious mix. The Pain is indeed literally a pleasure so far and it is yet another grand band to be proud of. Time for a bit of a piss about with a Wurzel-esque jaunt entitled 'Up The Clump'. Idiocy incarnate but done with such rosy-cheeked likeability you gotta just love it. There is a relished delivery here borne from obvious cheekily grinning 'erberts who have already sunk a few scoops. A rock and roll flavour gives the song a dancing edge and the crew try something different and come out smelling of lush sonic dung. Great!
'Press Back Up To Return' revolts against the remote control age where loads of lard arses sit idly in front of the idiot box and have their souls and spirit taken away. Too idle to rebel, too idle to avoid the CCTV age the masses suffer and this short outburst makes no bones about it. The yell of 'fuckin' cunt' is delivered with toxic fury and I love it. You know just before I get to the last few tracks it has slipped me by that there isn't a fuckin' dud on this effort so far and I am listening to one of the best and most interesting CD's of the year so far. Yippee! 'No Mans Land' does little to change this thinking and is an intense number bowled towards us with pure passion and focus. At this point it is as though The Pain need to remind us they ain't finished just yet. Cavernous guitar twists, torn tonsils, stabilising drums and adhesive bass make this a very sinewy track with a hefty backbone that catches attention and attains longevity. 2 to go and 'Michael' is a sea-faring sing-a-long that begins with a disturbing biblical-style monologue before breaking into the main drift of the song. Here is what Wikipedia says about the original 'Michael, Row the Boat Ashore' (or 'Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore') is an African-American spiritual. It was first noted during the American Civil War at St. Helena Island, one of the Sea Islands of South Carolina. It was sung by former slaves whose owners had abandoned the island before the Union navy would arrive to enforce a blockade.' What the band do with this is make it an attractive plus 5 minute effort that is design to rally the pissheads in the crowd as well as the more sober onlookers and get some real interaction going. It is a solid piece of fun and a nice way to round off a quite marvellous CD. However this lot add a final effort named 'Michael Part 2' which is a piss about and ruined by a real fucked duck. It starts well but the final arsing detracts from all that has gone before and for me is an utter error. Rather than harp on I will leave it there and not play again but concentrate on the magnificence that has gone before. As in the words of Keith Harris' Cuddles the Monkey - 'Oooh I hate that duck'.
A fantastic CD this to play over and over and if one can obliterate track 12 then so much the better but if you miss out on the other 11 your punk soul will itch and itch with no respite. 'Guns of the Gobi' is a work of punk art and I am happy no end with this one. Now when I get booking gigs again The Pain may just get a call and we can book em a gig or two. he one stipulation I will make though is that they better not bring Orville The Duck or I will pull the whole bloody show ha, ha.
LAST ROUGH CAUSE - AGGROPHOBIA
Last Rough Cause are a darn good band who have been left abandoned by many lugholes in this scene that are more than a little guilty of overlooking subtle quality. In defence of a few though there is a hell of a lot to catch up with in this generic punk pond so forgiveness to those few spiky fish who make the effort to listen to as much as possible and thank the bands for their output accordingly. The big sharks get more than their fair share of praise from the nostalgic newts and sycophantic shellfish so now is time for all the underdog minnows to flap those fins and make some ripples for bands who may be deemed smaller but can in fact swim with the best of them.
Splashing around first is the wriggling delight that goes by the name of 'Moving With The Mob'. Football fans will love this and a 'runnin' down the backstreet' essence is irradiated from all over this polished song. Of course LRC pay attention to the delicate details such as maintaining melody and clarity of individuals but the true winning aspect of this band is the fact they keep things clean and tidy but cobble-stoned beneath. The streets where these songs are played are real, working class and unaffected. There is substance that people of this ilk will be able to relate to and like it or not that is the way the band play it. Stomping in, sharply dressed gear of pleasing tones and with several outbursts that will attract the sing-a-long crowd its 1-0 to LRC United so far.
The day of realisation comes at different times in our lives but it happens to each and every one of us. We all have our safe little environments when we can see beyond our limiting parameters. Something, unexpected and sometimes seemingly insignificant can change all this and it is a moment to be celebrated yet tinged with sadness. A certain naiveté is lost yet a great adventure begins where many unknowns lie. Last Rough Cause deal with this theme in 'Leavin' Here On My own' when suffocating boundaries and restricting rules need breaking away from. The song has a dreamy edge and a yearning for bigger and better things with wary eyes watching. The band portray the feelings well and although I hate to admit it it’s a 2 goal deficit I have to concede. A progressive build, a slurring screech and all I wanna know is 'What's Happening'. The wordage involved with this song is aimed at bringing about a time for change and to start asking questions of our leaders and the bastard bureaucrats who are happy to shuffle both papers and feet. Momentary bursts where the passion can be restrained no longer and spark this song into high activity and the whipping up military chant of '1, 2, 3, 4' adds further encouragement. The guitars seem to be filled to the max with rowdy riffs and the drums splash and smash with effective enthusiasm. All throughout though the Last Rough Cause attention to clarity is maintained and I am reckoning that this will be one of the more favoured songs of the set.
Football Thuggery next with 'Category C' a honest and open-hearted account of the feelings of the rucking mob and what this entails. Nowt wrong with a thump-up at a match provided all participants are willing, no outsiders get hurt and its only fists that are used. This pays homage in some respects to the weekend entertainment and the consequences thereof. Last Rough Cause defy getting drawn into a typical 'Oi Oi we are the boys' kick and spit riot and play the theatrics with their own likeable style. There is a clout there that is both measured and accomplished and rather than swing wildly the sonic knuckles pick their spot and leave a good bit of damage. I love the final yell of 'Come on lets have it' ha, ha - fantastic. The tone of delivery changes from sobered to sincere and that is a sweet feat indeedy! 'What, Where, When' has a slight rejected cockney suggestion before becoming sweetly melodic and surging high on glorious uplifting waves of noise created by these swift swimming 'erberts. Hints at loss, regret, wonder and confusion wrap around each other between a full blanketed noise that leaves little room for error. The band exude experience and longevity as well as an insider’s know-how that only comes with time. A darn good tune best sums this one up as could be the case for many songs this crew throw into the punk penalty box. The game is conceded at this point by old Fungal and I know when I am beat. Luscious stuff this and there is no alteration as 'Thug Rock' heave ho's to the front of the pack with verbology that relates a violent life but with a tune that opposes with a serene charm. A fist-raising piece to ping about to that should cross the generation gap with the shaven headed 'erberts and beyond. Very few bands fire the Oi bow with an intent on accuracy and only Gimp Fist immediately spring to mind who adopt this approach. A fuckin' fine band they be and Last Rough Cause fall into a similar bracket with the expulsion found on this and other releases. The difference at this stage is that the crew are fully matured and hitting this acoustic nail well and truly on the head.
'Won't Be Told' is a tale of work, trying hard and getting nowhere. Easy answer - 'don't try'! A song with a flourishing vibrancy and somewhat stubborn inflection and drive. A good shift in gears and once again a full saturation of sound is grasped. 'Economic Cutbacks' maintains the employment strain with a tale of utter, utter desperation and disappointment as the working system turns tail and crushes a honest mans dream and slams a door in the face of the beaten. One feels as though this gritty docu-style cut is straight from the early eighties with its attack on unemployment and the feelings of disillusion found therein. A lovely slice from this favoured musical flan. The choruses breezes along with unadulterated style and is a far cleverer composition than first given credit for. Fuckin' love this band and love this album. A similar thread once again this time with a youthful slant. 'Its Not Right' raves about being abandoned at 18 and on the job scrapheap with nowhere to go. Although once again apt for the retro times this and the preceding tracks have relevance today and I reckon the youthful punks and skins should be lapping this up. This is your sound dudes so go and fuckin' grasp it. Times change in many ways but some songs still speak loudly - have it!
A beautifully executed opening way beyond the bonehead belligerence many think this sub-scene is only capable of shows everything I say about this band to be true. Intelligent, crafted, determined to carve a name their own way and with a bucketful of beltin' songs to please the most considerate listener. The final punctuation mark is melodically exact and prepares the way for a new chapter - Oi where's me glasses!
So Last Rough Cause have me pushing the boat of praise out to sea once more and as well they might. The sooner I catch up with this crew the better and anyone missing out on this effort will rue the day. Skins should lap it up, punks should be appreciative and peripheral players will also find something to tickle their fancy. A very commendable effort. Keep on rowing boys!
KINGS OF THE DELMAR - WE ARE WHAT WE ARE
One of the best bands on the block The Kings of the Delmar are reinvigorated and ready to riot and roll in a town near you. This is the first full length offering and I for one was greedily expecting a fuckin' right good do. If not then Fungal will tell you how it is - be warned!
The 3 components of this band are dedicated to the cause and happy in one another’s festering company and that should generate a real good noise. Frontman Wayne has that all important cockiness and sneers away knowing he his leading a good band, Damo the 4 string twiddler is spot on the mark and plays with regular consistency and focussed attention and the stick man Barnsey is the total rock 'n' roller who plays a darn good beat, adds certain adornments to the end mixes and isn't afraid to sink a few sherbets (all 3 really do need to perfect their sherry drinking though). So 10 tracks to Fungalise - now detected will they be infected or erected - read on my fellow punker...
Red alert, red alert - take cover dudes - the siren warns of a weighted first attack entitled 'Stand Alone' and if ya wanna mix it up in this fickle scene you better prepare to do just that. This is a well muscled number that goes straight at it - driven on a taut bass that holds the front of the assault. The clatter of the drums makes for excitement and the tightly minced guitar works adds the vibrant, hurtful edge so necessary to the final composition. The defiant statements of 'We will never change' is delicious scram to my salivating punk rock appetite and presses all the right buttons marked 'fuck you'. The sweet guitar shuffles found within the fold are well included and in all areas this song does the business. Looking at the back of the CD and listening to the next track it is apparent the songs are in the wrong order and after pulling frontman Wayne on this point he said it was a deliberate plan to mess with our minds - my response was 'bastard' which was fully justified ha, ha. As though sherry ain't addled me enough! So 'Frustrated' in several ways the next track is another steam-rolling effort that upholds the heady standard set and rolls along on utter belief and vigorous application. Again the bass ploughs a tough furrow within the sturdy sonic substrate create by this hefty outfit. Like a release of pent up emotion this track shows that KOTD won't get drawn into messy, roughed up affairs but will always stick to the melodic rules that they have set and no-one else. The players sing in pleasing harmony which is a good asset to all tracks especially this one. The 'whoa ho's' I am sure are a Bri Barnes addition and increase the songs value no end.
A breeze to review so far and as soon as the lads have their peckers back in their trousers and stop the young girl from giggling its on to track three that is a triumphant epic and yet another piece of gritty rhythmic punk. 'One Dead Swallow' grinds to its very core and switches tack from a head down verse, to a couple of brief preparatory lines to a fine chorus that may seem simple to construct but is done and dusted by so few. Years and years of punk rock know how are poured into this and if that isn't obvious you may as well go to bed and stay there. Fantastic stuff and am I listening to a contender for album of the year - maybe so! 'On A Scale Of 1 To 10' we are hitting top marks all the way so far and this next track as always been a fave but even I didn't expect such a recording as this. All-consuming, emotive and full of spirit this is how to play music dudes. Having 3 accomplished artistes in a band isn't always a recipe for success but here is where everything wins big time. Be you inside or outside of the circle you gotta love this and you are going to have to seek long and hard to find a better 3-piece. Just a point to make at this point is that this crew struggle to get gigs in the Manchester area - what the fucks going on there then? Wake up and get some quality on your gigs - these lads have played a few SAS do’s for me and that is truly my pleasure as the 'live' sets are absolute quality and enhance the whole gig no end. Book now, book now!
More whoa's as a tale of an out of control 'erbert hits us with a sobered force making this a good track that may be overshadowed by the preceding brilliance. Play on 'random' to avoid darkening this ditty and enjoy for the textured tale that it is. The pause halfway will catch you out but 'Nothings Gonna Change' and that will do for me. The effort makes its way to the end of the track with sincerity and we are soon into fidgeted hustle that is 'The Jokes On Me'. KOTD are going through the motions at this stage and knocking out these decent tracks with ease. This is one of the seemingly most rapid pieces that flurries during the chorus and flutters during the verse. An eased up segment where we are told 'The party's over, now its time to go home' is finalised by that drinking desperado Barnes and his warning that its 'Last orders at the bar you fuckin' bastards' - cheers Bri - nearly missed out there - glug, glug!
A twinge, a bass heartbeat, a haywire guitar read-out and the tumult of the drums and we get 'Hypnotized' by another steady effort that may be the one that is most mislaid in the cupboard of sensational sounds. Still a decent effort but for me the most predictable and orthodox track and so as suggested may be the kitchen dwelling outsider in the KOTD party. As always if this is what I feel more attention should be given and that is what I ask of you the listener. There are no areas where fault will be found so what's yer gripe punk? More pulse ready to be drained as the 'Vampires' swoop down and gorge with sycophantic fervour and vicarious intent. Fame and the baggage that goes with it is all empty trash unlike this song which is a fine adrenalin surge with the 'extra, extra' snippet a good inclusion that breaks the flow. 'Made In England' is a bopping gem that deals with the hammer-head brigade who wander the streets full of piss and steam looking for a shag and a scuffle. The blame for the production of these useless cunts is laid at the door of the country - a bold move but so deliciously put and in fact so fuckin' accurate. Take a look in the mirror - the band say it how it is and with a song of such gusto you'd be hard pushed to disagree. The penultimate song is always one to check for obvious padding - none found here.
The final blast and what can I say? This is a 'live' favourite and sums up the lean, mean machine that is Kings Of The Delmar. Barnes bangs hard, Wayne flexes his vocal muscles and Damo rumbles on the bass. All 3 thrive and give you a closure to remember. This is a band that are effective and on a real fuckin' roll at the mo. They tread on a few toes, upset a few attitudes and I think you just gotta love em’ for that. They are what they are and if that be 'cunts', 'punks' or 'darn fine musicians' one thing is for sure - the evidence is apparent that they are a band to be reckoned with. Personally I'd tag em' with all 3 names but what do I know ha, ha!
ROBB BLAKE - AIN'T GOT NO SOUL
This skanking 'erbert really has a quality touch and creates an output with care and deliberation. Anything less and I am sure the Do The Dog label (yes them again) wouldn't have signed the dude up. Having already analysed a piece of Mr Blakes produce I was more than happy to let my lugs and digits assess this expulsion. Let us not fart around the periphery and prod straight into the acoustic anus with wild abandon.
Strong sonica leads us a merry dance and doesn't reflect what is coming on the entirety of this CD with gruff vocals also deceiving before the main skanking drift of 'What You Do' is upon us. The voice is charged, mellow, automated in varied measure and all adds to the emotive edge Robb Blake is so adept at putting across. This is a typical tinkle from this dude and contains all the exactness and precise attention to detail one would expect from such an articulate artiste. Components clear, smoothly melodic and well produced - no complaints as of yet. 'Metal Was Metal' opens with optimistic cum retrospective rhythm and skips along with usual zest and delightful dittyness. There is a sense of contentment about Mr Blakes offerings and although the lyrics don't always match the mood one can't help but feeling a little more chipper after a good listening session. Another consistent track that strolls along under its own serene steam. A gear shift and the best song of the lot is achieved with the hopeful request of sunny days and soothing heat via the chilled 'Warm Me Bones'. Sit back and doze to this on the first sunshine spell of the year and all winter gloom will be washed away and a new sense of life given. Taken from another perspective one could be in the depths of winter and this could be a song of desperation but who on earth would want to view it that way? Keep positive people!
There ain't gonna be no change throughout this CD and perhaps in some respects that is a fault. Although ideally played and lacking any rage I feel the player is capable of stretching himself further rather than just stick to this winning formula. 'Hit The Bottle' now is more of the same and downs the simple tonic of tuneage in one easy gulp. If you are liking what you have heard so far you will supping deep also from this expected beverage but, if like me, you like change and the unexpected you may be twitching for the pause button. A good song but alas too much of the same way too soon. Oh the awkward bugger Fungal I hear you say - well I gotta be honest ain't I?
'Here I Am' plucks in with serious thought before lightening up and adopting a slow meander that I can personally take or leave. The chorus saves the day as does the widely interspersed calypsotic guitar trickles. A confidence is borne via the sugared aforementioned chorus and rescues what could have been marked down as just an average track. Further listens do increase the friendliness of the song so it could be a case of a 'matter of time' as this one grows on the listener. The signature tune of the album 'Ain't Got No Soul' starts with almost whispered desperation before uplifting the beat and building up a nice tempo with the artiste varying his vocal style and proving adept in all areas. A mischievous defiance is had and a fool’s attitude of not learning a lesson makes this a relatable effort for sots everywhere to slurp along to. Short and to the point - that's how Fungal likes it folks. 'Highways' goes down the same route in a repetitive fashion in more ways than one. What Robb Blake does he does mightily well but again I find myself wanting more variation. This is another sturdy effort that is delicately delivered and thus stays in the fluffy skank arena rather than break free and get a bit more clout and shout about it. Production wise a high compliment must be given as all is crisp, clear and perfectly blended but....I want more!
'Everybody's Leaving' shuffles the strings and skips the drums thus giving us a floating sensation that becomes slightly carnivalised and joyous with a self assured approach that builds esteem and inner belief. This one gets better and better and makes its mark quite a bit later than other tracks. The art of creating a CD with longevity is to have tracks that make instant appeal, some that grow with time and some that are 'in the mood' efforts. This is a bit of all three and will get good reviews from fans I am sure. The penultimate track 'Million Miles' is a sweet and dour affair that I am sure will divide opinion. Entirely not my bag this effort passes me by and leaves me with little to say. Little character leaves me in no doubt that this is the crippled chick in the pen of sonic poultry. All components are mixed well and the end outpouring is lucid and laid back but it just doesn't grab my noise-effected nuts.
We close with a good effort entitled 'Nothing But Rubble'. When the tempo is picked up the artiste shines brighter and such is the case at this point. It is a well delivered piece leaving the whole CD on a good note. The skanked guitar is again crisp and the chorus catchy with the expected polished applied. In keeping with what has gone before if you are enjoying the ride then this final stretch will be to your liking.
So Do The Dog have me at the keyboard yet again and although not one of the best CD's the label has released it is still worth a look by the two-tone brigade. I can take or leave this one and so the end decision is yours. Go have a listen and see if you agree or disagree with the Fungal fella and please let me know!
THE DRASTICS - TAKE CONTROL
Pulling into the garage it is with a mechanical eye and ear that I run this 4 track CD through the Fungal Repairs MOT. The odd piston may be mistimed, the exhaust slightly clogged and the general upholstery torn but this is a lovely vehicle of scrapheap punk that anyone within the scene who likes it genuine and hand-made should fuckin' well appreciate. I have seen the band only once which was their second gig I think and immediately I was taken with the road-worthy rhythm that drove down the straight line rather than veered off without necessity. The brakes needed applying a few times on that occasion but as far as I was concerned it was an interesting trip. Lets see how they have logged the journey so far shall we?
The first spanner is thrown with the spacious honesty of 'Coconut Road' giving us a chance to make initial assessments and see how gears are changed and motorised tones altered. The unaffected guitar chug is given room to operate and is the main driving point of this initial effort thus creating an intrinsically basic song that is a sweet opener. The drums go with the flow, the bass plays it simple but eases the corrosion and the vocals are straight from the exhaust being both slightly toxic and heavily fumed. A reggae rag is rub swiftly over the main chassis of the song and I personally like this. The punk production line needs not be overly technical and fancy dancey songs are all well and good but a few soiled sprockets are worth their weight in gold. 'Squat Bike' revs up and makes a racket that retains rhythm and is, in all truth, a very likeable number. The Drastics may be classed by the high and mighty know it alls as sonic spastics but I recommend they take the label and use it as a proud 'couldn't give a fuck' punch line to further outpourings. The chopping intro is broken by a four cymbal punctuation before the hard-slogged vocals are upon us and soon lead us into the delightful sub-chorus. Some people enter the garage and feel at home some just don't get it - stupid bastards.
The next vehicle is another drive and thrive effort that lacks any unnecessary trims and fluffy acoustic dice. 'Shitty Zombies' staccato blasts and then a bone rattling ride is had. More punked fuel is in the tank and more road rage behind the wheel and that in someway makes this the most striking effort although I have no favourite of the four and consider the whole set a complimentary collection to enjoy. This one is swift, noisy and effective whereas 'Above Ground' is mid-paced, mellower and cruder yet totally enjoyable. The sub-generic clutter is picked up and admired with The Drastics impressing Fungals leanings towards the more unprocessed punk rock side of things. I like the littered effect and the oily rag appeal. Totally an off-road effort with the Fungal tip to continue along these self-made routes.
Very pleased with this and really need to get off me arse and check out The Drastics once more. Another 4 track effort in a few months time would be a nice continuation and hopefully keep the wheels turning and burning.