FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 43
THE SEPTIC PSYCHOS - ROTTEN AND RANCID
With vague links to Riot Squad and with a similar longevity this was a highly anticipated offering that I predicted could get stranded like a jellyfish or swim strong like a shark. It is a great punk rock ocean out there and minnows are barely tolerated (more fool the punks) even though they have many colours and many relevant bubbles to make. The critical seaweed strangles many hopes and all we can do if we really believe is hack away at the ubiquitous tendrils and free as many punkers as possible provided they are relevant and as punk as fuck. It is always a pleasure to liberate a few fins and watch the survivor swim far – I hope this is such an episode.
We splash in with the turbulent waters that are 'Psycho Vigilante'. A disturbed title with an equally disturbed racket. The intro is orthodox punk ending in tumultuous noise before the real riot starts when all systems are indeed go and a sure-snapping shark creates hell amid the rhythmic fish. At 2 minutes five one hasn't time to settle as aural flesh is torn from the bone with little regard for pleasantries. A well oiled opener that is masterfully outdone by the balls and cock out 'Buy Some Shit'. This whale of a song leaps high and comes down with mighty force drenching the sonic soundscape with a delightful 'fuck you' foam. The content deals with the consumer idiocy that takes over even the most poverty stricken soul thus resulting in purchase after purchase of unnecessary crap. The Septic Psychos tell us how it is with agreeable fury and blaze with disbelief and despair at the buy, buy bonehead mentality. My favourite song of the lot and tickles me barnacles no end. The beak from the octopus shoots forth next with nasty grimness and propels, pauses and scars with furied efficiency. 'Glassed' is a violent burst that deals with that dirty deed so unnecessary. The production has to be spot on and so it is with the band showing an understanding of how to make a noxious punk noise. Of course there are similarities with the Riot Squad outpouring I thoroughly adored when frontman Chiz was at the helm but the SP motorboat cuts its own path and leaves a frothy trail to please. No sooner has this song started then its done and the chugging guitars and gravel bed vocals introduce us to 'Still Haunting Me'. A song that is off the leash and chomping at the aural bathers toes with pirrhanic fervour. Like a thousand carnivores in a feeding frenzy of sound this frightening explosion almost feeds on its own flesh but somehow retains focus and comes out bloated with victorious blood. Ragged and torn one needs respite but will not find it as the crazed 'We Don't Want, We Don't Need' snarls and threatens with alarming menace. Fast, brutal, with no prisoners taken - this fucked up crocodile takes you into a death roll and turns you inside fuckin' out - have it you feeble fucks!
You may imagine I am very excited about this CD so far and as well you might. I love full throttle energy riddled punk and when played this well can only gush with praise. This kind of sonic violence makes me wanna smash my neighbour right in the face even though she's a 60 odd year old dear ha, ha. Love it and onwards we go.
'Worship My Way' slices through your resistance with raw, overpowering punk rock zeal delivered with a wild, wild refusal to get sucked into religion and the sinister threats found therein. Frontman Chiz won't budge and is more than a little tetchy with the subject matter. A good song followed by unrestrained insanity that just has one intention - to cause pain. 'Death Race' scorches the ear drums, lacerates the listener’s sonic skin and whips ones punk chemicals up into a highly volatile concoction. Stand back please this punk fucker is liable to go off at any minute. The 3 quarter way switch of pace is class and takes one into the final blaze with aplomb. As if the situation isn't wonderfully critical these crazy cunts enhance the danger by yelling loudly for 'More Beer'. The formula is simple - thumping drums, surging strings and 'I refuse' vocals demand we all drink more deeply and a racket such of this can hardly be turned down. The stops and starts amid this turbulent tune outline the inner beauty and I am all eyes, ears and supping gob.
'Armchair Activist' ha, ha - we all know one don't we (especially when it comes to being active with punk). Another marbled song as hard as you like with no holds barred. The band are steaming along now and I reckon the tone is set for the rest of the CD. Press the 'Ejector Seat' button now or sit tight and enjoyed this unforgiving journey. I love the opening guitar twists and the rat-a-tat burst that shoots us into submission. Deep bass grumbles and once more we are amidst a seaside brawl. Kicked to fuck, punched drunk with volume and vigour, ripped apart with riffs - this is an uneven beating but pummels in its own style. It thrives when rolling, falters a little when indecisive but fuckin' hell it's only a minor blip. 'Noize Ain't Dead' - do ya need proof - listen to this - review done - end off - full fuckin' stop.
We close with 'I'm Psycho' which is almost confessional. The pocket of pills is emptied and with a mouthful of barbs one should let the head whirr and blur with this closing piece. I say 'closing piece' but fuck that! Just flick the switch and play again....and again....and again. The whole cacophony nearly comes apart at the seams and spills guts all over the swirling floor. Massive moods of malevolent fury throughout - this is how punk should be played.
So after many, many spins I have held myself in check and been somewhat terse to a certain extent but I hope got the point across I am trying to make. This CD is full on, bollock bruising punk rock played by 'erberts who just fuckin' love it. I am currently in the process of trying to get these on a SAS gig which proves my passion for what I have heard on this fine CD. A 100% recommendation and if this ain't for you well we will agree to disagree and I'll stick with the facts!
FOUR WAYS OF THINKING - DUCT TAPE RECORDS
From the laboratory of Duct Tape Records are unleashed four foul monsters with many things on their festering minds. Potions have been mixed, limbs have been severed and rearranged to come up with this offering liable to hit or miss the mark. This is a veritable 'stitch-up' job and I know many may just not get it. That I feel is a crime and with several spins the true essence of these creations come to life. I liked it after the first rotation but I suspect the mass majority may take longer. We shall see and all I can say is 'I am Ductula, I bid thee welcome'.
Staggering in with Frankensteinian awkwardness are The Stumps whose 4 efforts are a patchwork of sound ideal for the lovers of the obscure. A diseased opening rumble is riddled with bursting boils of bassism and a rotten, ragged production straight from the waste basket. It is a lovely patchwork job bleeding naiveté and punk rock basics. 'Stupid With You' is sandpapered to perfection with enough unevenness left for us to run our aural hands over with the simplicity of the end construction only increasing character. 'Buddy Holly' judders and hesitates before a definite swing is found with a slightly unhinged amateurish style making this yet more dustbin punk to relish. Without the lunatic fringe indulging themselves in the punk circle the whole scene would not be complete and the garage grime is very much appreciated (and respected) by this Mushie man. The chorus is youthful and awkward and seems a pimpled teenage effort bursting with musical hormones - get in there! 'Ten A Day' is either referring to fags or wanks or disappointingly toilet breaks at work. In fact all three can easily combined so my deviant thoughts are desired no end. Fast, to the point with a style liable to attract the bombed barb droppers or the terrifyingly frustrated. One is never too old I feel to jump around the bedroom and let off some steam - here is a tune to do it to! The Stumps close with more of the same with the obnoxious honesty that is '(I'm Not A) Nice Guy'. Again the crew are going straight at the song with an intent already found and melody just added as a bonus. The vocalist is frighteningly 'in the groove' and almost ends up with a melted mind. The noise at the back is gloriously unhygienic and if this crew play near you then go have a look. Amputated, articulate and unaffected - whoop!
The best song of the entire CD comes next with the triumphant melodic delicacy that is 'This Guy I Know'. The artistes responsible for this pop gem are The Cellophanes and it is a most magnificent moment that really should happen more often but doesn't. The sonics are trembled and soothed with subtle vibrations. The vocals are youthful, troubled and tuneful - ingredients to make any pie taste sweet. The crust is baked to perfection and as one bites into this effort over and over again different textures and flavours drip forth in a garaged punk gravy one just loves to spill. From the initial cymbals that quietly introduce, through the dreamy meat of the song to the final mouthful this is a fundamental epic - I exaggerate not! '(I Hope You) Flatline' is a longish song with a subdued flavour that persuasively draws in your attention rather than demands. The general expulsion is fuzzed with the vocals just rising above with succeeding harmony thus making the song more likeable and wider appealing. The Cellophanes grasp on to the under-produced sensation with grim determination and continue the rewarding style with 'Don't Hold Your Breath'. More highly trembled tuneage with an archaic overlay bandaged with a saccharine poppiness liable to please pop puke authoritarians. A youthful vulnerability is spunked and I am liking this the more I listen. The last effort by this synthetic army is the more emboldened and regular pop puke 'Why Don't Like Me Me'. The paranoia, unsettled emotion and outsider’s stance are typical ingredients and played with a kind of resentful snottiness that works a treat. Why this style of punk isn't more triumphant is a real conundrum and despite several cock-arsed conformist crews making the A grade many with equal DIY talent are left in the shadows. The Cellophanes please step forth and take a bow.
Dip Dap are up against the ropes when it comes to making an impression on this 16 tracker but rather than try to play it safe they do their own tumultuous and seemingly carefree thing and just get on with the job. If a musical memory is to be had then 'What Should I Expect' is what not to expect. Gruff male tangles with insistent girly female as far as the vocal front goes against a backdrop that veers around amid a field of mismatched noise. Why the song works is beyond me and will get hardly any explanation. Scratched, dusty and in need of repair this old banger bungles by and escapes criticism by the merest inch. From the swamp this creature trudges and offers no answers so it is on to the 'Yellow And Red Steps' which promises to explode but lumbers on via a loose heeled verse and a determined chorus that fumbles, bumbles and again just flees prosecution. I suspect these lurching fiends metamorph into more imposing beings in the 'live' arena and so my favour doth waiver and the critical boot is held back. Its polluted and punk and has a sub-melody worthy of investigation and once more I come away with little evidence of a musical misdemeanour. 'If I Could' is the bands best bit bared so far and the innocence of the girls gobs in contrast to the deviancy of the general noise is a smart opposing facet that I thoroughly enjoy. Experience tells me yet again many will criticise but they may do so at their peril. A song to ponder over several listens to expose the various lean layers. Yes lean perhaps but layered nonetheless and adding to the intrigue of the track no end. A speedburst at this juncture is unexpected but that is precisely what Dip Dap give us and I am more than happy to embrace it. 'Don't Mess With My Head' glows brightly once again as the lasses in the lead and the grind blitz at the back offer a combination that operates satisfactorily. All components are rusted but still operating and doing the job they were built for. The angle where Dip Dap come from further enhances this enlightening CD and one which is an excellent showcase for all involved.
The churchyard comes alive with zombies of the night and a frosted chime that makes way for the first song is poisoned with foul fungal growths and lichenised lunacy. The initial mincing buzz of 'Greys' breaks open to reveal an inner core of abstract disease delivered via paraplegic minds tortured beyond belief. Electric haywire is mixed with tranquil moments of Vallium subdued hysteria. Always on the cusp of a mental fracture this comes across as a curio and whets the appetite for what is about to follow. 'All I've Had' rumbles in with a Texas roadway juggernaut tone before being slapped with a drawling vocal style that one needs to be in the mood for. Like a bluesy flower flinging folk hotchpotch impregnated with careless sweated sleaze this is another oddball and so Arkham remain a mysterious entity. The pace quickens, the intent meaner and 'Female Male' cock and rolls and snatches at the attention with banshee beckoning persuasiveness. Arkhams best offering thus far and coincidentally the most free-flowing piece. I suggest this is the style the crew need to adopt because the contrast in the final impression between this and the slower songs is quite startling. I am very fond of this and it has a good loose, relaxed feeling making it easy for the listener to get involved with. The finale of the four is aptly entitled 'Death' and brings quite adequately this whole CD to its final breath. A cluttered opening and then the graveyard vocals are cold and seemingly pleading. Arkham sure as hell do like to keep one on the back foot and bring a compendium of horrific noises to a close. Silence ensues as the Grim Reaper shuffles amongst parch leaves on the lookout for unsuspecting victims, a brief repeat chorus and a collapse is had before the final, fatal beat of the heart is taken.
Well one thing I can say is that if you are fascinated by the bizarre, enchanted by punks more obscure moments and keen to find new listening matter then this is a 5 star must. What Duct Tape have done is taken risks with 4 irregular bands who keep it real, compliment one another perfectly and in the main come out with colours flying triumphant. The shades are of course varying greys but this is a true punk’s treat and I can't wait for the next effort. Same style, same packaging and same reviewer if you please!
BAD TASTE BARBIES - BAD TASTE IN MY MOUTH
Androgyny soaked tomfoolery that hints at a bastardised B52's sound but stays more tongue-in-cheek and has a ‘dress up and don't give a fuck’ attitude with emphasis on a good 'live' show that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Two viewings to date and I have thoroughly enjoyed them both and this CD was given for my Fungal lugs to praise, punish or penetrate (dependant on my mood and deviant leanings). For me it is always nice to have a band one can just enjoy and get into the groove of rather than contemplate inner workings and the over-complicated nether regions of noise. This has proved an easy listen and that will do for me and anyone who has thumbs to twiddle and nowt to do I reckon should have a peek at these and just go with the flow. The music scene can be too serious at times so more bands of this ilk are welcome and can provide a solid switch of style on any bill.
'Bad Taste Barbie' is an annoying whore that gets stuck in the aural pubes and just won't let go. Over a period of a few weeks I found this tune going over and over in my mind which occasionally had me singing away unbeknownst to myself. Success in itself, proof in the pudding and full marks to the band for this Velcro-like victory. The disco-dance opener is soon plodding along with hypnotic deliberateness and seems somewhat robotic in essence. The chorus is the adhesive and joins all parts of the construction together and comes not from the dirtied loins of the punk rock bitch but from the flatulent fanny of the electro jig circuit. More suited to a pissed up hellhole rather than a spiky topped shithouse this can still smear the walls of various niches and is a welcome racket on many a gig. Don't expect big riffs and political noxiousness - no - just a fair tune to nod your head along too and if the fancy takes you then have a dance too. 'Sleaze Monkey' screws in and has a deep groove to twist and turn with. The primate swings from the trees with tuneful glee and a bop and drop sub-party piss about is had with a direct, unflustered ditty that hints at underlying depravity and all-round lunacy. Not bad.
One of my 'live' faves next with that media cunt and belittler of pea-brained 'Look at me, I'm on TV' farts, Jeremy Kyle, under the spotlight. A rough grind follows a snippet from the show that highlights the intellect involved and from there the song just gets on with things. Far from a Hollywood production this is mean and unclean but the popsicle tastes fine albeit of flimsy flavours and without any extra sauce. The scum is washed away via a good tune and after hearing this I still do prefer the 'in the flesh' outpouring. 'Cindy' is a parody and makes Donovan/Minogue seem almost sane. This is a full-on piss-take that crawls along in cheesed up cornball incestuousness and slops and slides into its own derelict vagina. The ruptured rectum in this entertaining bag of bowel movements but still worth the odd sniff though. Yet another 'in the arena' moment that is far more enjoyable than it hints at here.
'Love Sick' is schlocky choccy grind that hits the right erogenous zones in regards early NY backstreet sleaze titillation. A nasty vibe is buzzed along to by the bitch and butch (well almost) front duo and thus makes for a decent listen. Vomit pours through many sensations and shoes and sonic pick-ups are all soiled. An innocent charm is had despite the toxicity of the song and this is an aspect that can certainly be built upon to gain further credit.
The closure comes with 'Party In Hell'. A preacher-like statement, fuzz-box mayhem and a slow screw is drilled in time with the odd groan thrown in before the most effective and progressive chorus of the CD pours forth. Lovely female cries tussle with throaty male insistence and the outcome ain't too bad at all. It all adds to the end obscurity of this CD and still has me searching for an adequate filing tray.
So the verdict is that as a 'live' band BTB do the business and on CD they show promise with more in the tank and with plenty of experience to draw upon. I have em' booked already so I guess that hints on which side of my favour this crew lies and I hope many more promoters and peddlers follow suit so that more gigs will be blessed with the Barbie flavours.
GLOBAL PARASITE - MEMENTO MORI
Not so long ago when Global Parasite were a twinkling in punk’s septic anal eye I came, I saw, I admired, received a CD to review and gently criticised. My closing words were as thus:- 'There are cracking moments here but the lack of clarity suffocates them all too easily. This is worth a listen but next time (especially knowing the drummer and his top punk rock knowledge, one Dudley Dave Cox) I expect a good deal more. For a first effort though not bad at all'. At the time many may have questioned my judgement but alas after the receiving the CD under review I can sit smugly and state this is everything I pricked and prodded for and I am more than happy to be blown away by a piece of punk rock worthy of this obviously fine outfit. From my first viewing I was excited and the criticisms were taken in the right way. Anyone listening to this and making comparisons with the crews initial outpourings will, I hope, understand were my verbology was coming from. Either way it is now irrelevant as Global Parasite are a completely different beast and roar with the best of them yet still retain a somewhat unhygienic, DIY sound that is approachable and honest. I for one hope it stays that way.
The first bite 'Ad Nauseum' is suggestive of an ensuing skank attack and belies the fact that our melodic midriff is going to be pummelled by an unyielding attack. Forget the hints at two-tone retro - the only shades we need be interested in are black and blue. The political agenda is laid on the table with no holding back. The drums rattle with unerring accuracy, the guitars thrash it out with gutsy zeal and the gob at the front is torn apart. A brief respite is a token gesture and this full on outburst is full of questioning, mean intent. A lovely start outdone by the excellently revamped class of 'Smash The New World Order'. This rehash of a former fave shows the bands progression and willingness not to get bogged down by the shackles of expected DIY unprofessionalism. All wires are plugged in and fizz with electric passion and unsettled fervour. The fundamental gist is that money rules and dominates ones morality and outlook. Totally true and affecting things more closer to home than you think and many should listen, assess and take stock. The fury is warranted and shows what a good focussed fire in the belly can achieve.
Back to a basic approach next with a straight ahead rant that unfolds into a rock-hard song that has a great centrally stated sub-verse that joins both ends of the tirade together. 'Sick' is terse, ill-tempered and totally effective thus giving us another example of why size and length doesn't matter. We segue into palpitating drums and a flighty bass that gets escorted by taut string work and an injection of pace before a spaciousness is had and vocals give vent to more violent ravings. 'Priceless Advice' is a literate piece of surging excellence that decries the folly of materialism and the shitty pointless status found therein. This takes a little getting used to but ends up another appreciated masterpiece. 'Operation: Blue Peter' isn't about John Noakes having the snip but about warmonger Abu Qatada and the conspiracies and paranoia that surround. Some mighty riffs, great delivery of wordology, a general powerful ambience that pervades every aural nook and cranny and numerous cute touches make this typical ‘Class A’ Global Parasite punk puke and one the frenzied flies within this scene will gorge upon without pausing for breath.
'Lost In Translation' pokes a finger at the sheep in the scene and beyond where individuality seems lost and many are happy to follow the unmentioned dress code. Like it or not punk has fallen victim to a predictable routine and although a defining character is needed sometimes the self pigeon-holing is laughable. Black/white patchwork/mohawk/dreadhead/baggy arsed chain dangling skater/bovver boy shaved/greaseball billy/dark eyed goth - seek and ye shall find (without difficulty). The song rolls along and gets to the point without dilly-dallying around peripheral points. 'Seven/Seven' is the 7th track (shit what's happening here then) and begins with a muso-monologue that briefly ends with a livid full stop before commencing with a more irate edge. This is a beautifully orchestrated track that many may agree with or dismiss as wayward thinking warped by paranoia. You gotta be careful - the government ain't what it seems and that's for sure and no matter what you think these fuckers will go to any lengths to keep you on a leash. Now whether those lengths include planting bombs to maintain mind control and keep the terrorist threat a distracting focal point is up to you decide but it is a worthwhile question posed by a band happy to take a chance and stick their necks out. If punk rock can't voice opinions such as this in this so called 'land of the liberated' then we are fucked. A Dick Lucas rant is mixed in superbly and polishes off a thoroughly enjoyable political piece of anarcho-crustoid viciousness that doesn't degenerate into a thrash and smash nonsense - full marks lads. Who the fucks Dick Lucas though ha, ha!
At this point I am already thinking album of the year as I have done with several others so far in the first 5 months and after reviewing 50 CD's that is no mean feat.
'The Wolf And Hammer' is more meat in the Parasite pie with a torrid effort criss-crossing vocals with spleens vented and instruments wielded. The song chops itself apart at varied junctures between well-aerated vocal assaults and tumultuous seizures thus giving further intrigue and character. The message basically is to be 'on yer toes' and don't give any fucker an inch or the system will have ya. Priceless advice! 'Cunt' is wild vitriol against....well have a guess then! Despite being partly comedic it does have ample venom and is a good psychotic listens and leads perfectly into the religiously disillusioned 'Worship'. People will always create a religion from something and if all forms of belief were banned tomorrow you'd have a million more cults and swindling societies in practice within a week. The song is a rock solid listen and whether in agreement or disagreement with the verbage one should still give this plenty of air-time. The dream-like trance that opens is unhinged and monastically terrifying - hands off yer todge and get your records burnt - where have I heard that before! The riffage that bursts forth from the pants of sin is damning and filled with defiant explosives. A very inflammable song liable to ‘go off’ into a mess of misery at any moment - does it/doesn't it - ambiguity is thine!
'Swarm' stings like an acidic vocal liquid poured into a sensitive open wound and has many exciting moments to salivate over. When the main drive is attained the throttle is pushed and the song booms and bangs with authority and lets you have it without regret or pussy footing around. Drums are smacked and strings assaulted to give you, the listener, a top notch tune. 'Realised' gets a bit more technical amidst the usual mayhem and asks all and sundry to do one little thing - 'Think For Yourself'. The mix is consistent with all that has gone before and you'll get no complaints from this reviewer. It is just so rewarding to see a band progress and compete with the best of their chosen duck pond. Why chase old bands all the time when exceedingly good shit such as this is out there for you. Still the fury remains as does the restless disapproval of all things routine and the unremitting musicianship that is, for want of a better word, amazing.
A pause, a chance to prepare and then.......oh and then you lucky bastards. 'Fight/Resist is a good solid Global Parasite song - full stop, end of, there you have it! Or so I thought! This version is of epic proportions and just leaves you wanting more and more of a triumphant racket. Textured, livid, punk to the core, melodic, embracing and true to the bands ethos this is a song to play full blast and lose yourself within. Everything I adore about the GP brigade is encapsulated in this one song – please, please, please - go and do yourself a favour - check it out and then get the fuckin' album.
Well GP I told you that you were good and I told you Mr Cox that you had far more in the tank - thank you for going for it and giving us punks a top notch classic. Global Parasite - I salute you!
THE MIGHTY MIDGETS - RAISING RUINS FOR THE FUTURE
I'd never heard of the Mighty Midgets and had no idea what the SAS sponsors and top notch guys at Deadlamb Records were throwing my way, and so I popped the disc in the player with a baggage free approach. Initial assessments were of a good production of new-school technical punk that stayed away from becoming too self-indulgent and exhibitionist and thus retained favour from Fungal. More spins and the feelings were the same so the review unfolded as follows (simple intro hey).
'Thoughts On Article 19' takes a hasty breath and opens up with every aggressive facet and blinds you with technical intricacy interwoven with fully taut and ill-tempered gobbology. It is an exact start with much ado about something and the flag of favour is lofted high for all to see and accept as to which way the wind will blow throughout this CD. Chopping guitar strokes then tumble with varied vocals going at it full tilt. The mix is absolutely spot on and where so many bands fail at the final productive hurdle these impressive imps succeed big time. With every listen a new sub-route is followed and further interest stoked, poked and provoked. Guitars duel in one short spurt and the end is insisted upon us and all after only 1 minute 26 seconds. A perfectly timed opener and the follow on is more incessancy of the same standard and informs us 'You Are Not Alone (the World Is Full Of Assholes)'. Mmmm - very reassuring ha, ha! 6 seconds longer than its predecessor the thrust is immediate and is a right pummelling penetration of the aural jacksie leaving the listener shell-shocked and prolapsed. Neat outlandish touches are kept to a minimum thus creating a greater effect and not hindering the song too much. The band handle their instruments with almost sexual expertise and each and every component ejaculates a valid contribution to the end pool of sonic semen. The outsider feeling of not being understood or even noticed is disaffected punk incarnate and delivered with erudite sharpness that I am happy to be sliced up by.
The learned approach continues with a stunning tirade against weapons, the system and the surrounding flab. The best song of the lot is a pure stunner with intelligent lyrics glowing amid a furious fire of sincere intensity. Ominous strums accompany a sober statement before drums tumble us into a screwed guitar riff that makes way for the glorious initial verse. A mesmerising feast is enjoyed before a slight alteration of tone causes one to ponder before a chorus of gigantic magnitude is poured over our acceptant heads. Memorable and some of the best shit I have heard from a sub-generic pool I am not usually at home in. Delicious - splash away dudes! The Ernest Hemmingway quote at the end of the lyrical content is a sweet touch and once again shows we are dealing with no thickhead pricks. More sobered strums and we are done before a drone draws us in to the straight ahead routine of 'Our Perfect Lies'. Very, very American this one in all areas with a sound so familiar yet regurgitated and made as though something new. I particularly like the buzzing bee bass that accompanies the versage as well as the clarity of the entire offering. One I could walk away from if any lesser band had concocted this number but again the end arrangement is spot on and so keeps me intrigued.
Being brave as a reviewer and trying to predict the impending music is always a precarious path to take and I am oh so glad I held back my judgement at this point. Why? Because I would have been completely wrong that's why! The ethos behind 'Freezing Factory Floors' is admirable and is a kind of rally call for all labourers enslaved to have their day and for one small moment to be considered. Rampaging hardcore that stomps and romps with a couple of great riffage attacks to savour this one is another bulls-eye and another major highpoint. 'Time Well Wasted' tumbles along and includes a James Dean quote as well as encouraging us to not waste the minutes and get out there and live your life. Fair enough - advice taken - review over!
(Ominous time passes and one wonders if the reviewer will return - please add own tense organ music and irritating heartbeat)
Ok I'm back (boo hiss) and on with the overview. The false start is borne of a man possessed but the song soon gets exorcised and we have a short sprint filled with energy albeit somewhat staccato in effect. The double M's are certainly not hanging around and we move into the textually hippy tirade 'Plea For Peace' with barely time to scratch ones arse. The vocals are still on fire and the mix still immaculate although this one is the duff doughnut from a case of cracking confectionery. A bit to busy for me and never really gains any momentum. If dissected there are some good muso-moments but as a full song it comes across as rather fractured. The finale is joyous, perfectly delivered and somewhat saves the day. 'Greed Energy' is an environmental gem and I clap with agreement of the lyrics found within this tempestuous whirlwind. Wild fury, deep resonant guitar slices and splashing drums mix with direct approaches that make this a busy number ending with a great final plea for us not to 'Fuck It Up'.
'Too Punk To Funk - Part Deux' is one which will enchant the new-school lovers and has yet more great words to savour as difference is requested to be put to one side and equality and respect given a chance. Within religion or rock many must take heed and be a little more tolerant of all that isn't the 'accepted' norm (fuck extremists and frauds though). Arnie welcomes us but what the hell does he know? Not a bad track with the sub-chorus terse and tuneful. 'The Final Anthropogenic Extinction Event' builds with bass, cuts deep with guitar and then bowls along with expected passion. 3 or 4 similar flavours are combined cutely to bring a fair song that varies pace and retains attention at this advanced stage. In case you are drifting off then ' As Seen On TV' will get you back on the ball as the 24 second ear-bashing is boisterous, outstanding and well-positioned.
The last card is dealt and given a true punk title, namely 'Fuck The System etc'. Unlike the orthodox punk basic belligerence one expects we are given a technical lesson that screws around with its own rhythmic privates and in some respects showcases all the best aspects of this band. A bit too long and a bit too involved to be honest and I would have preferred the Midgets to sign off with a short, sharp attack that simply says – ‘that's it so have it'. But then that's only a Fungal opinion!
So for a CD of this ilk I must say I am more than a little impressed. The band can play, mix it up and are obviously in tune as to what to get out of a production room. There is plenty of passion and the first half of the CD is to be savoured over and over again. Young and old and the twats in between should surely find something to tickle the sonic shaft here so I guess all I can say is 'examine further please'.
LEATHER ZOO - FLEUR DE LIS
Cultured, thoughtful, melodic and with a professional edge that really should propel them further Leather Zoo have all the exciting trimmings of a band who are accomplished and are just in need of that elusive 'lucky break'. My first encounter with the band was via the track 'Fleur De Lis' via a Still Dying Compilation which really took me aback and encouraged me to investigate this crew further. Eventually the band were seen in the flesh at a STP show where they really produced the goods and left me contemplating how to help the band further. What Leather Zoo have is a sound that isn't blatant punk and isn't full on rock. The crevice between is where this output has nestled and it only needs a few crafty crowbars to raise the profile to dizzying heights and out from the music scenes abundant shadowy crannies. Fingers, toes and knackers crossed and as a promoter and peddler of punk it is nice to step across nebulous boundaries and hopefully give a small helping hand to any band who are worthy of the effort. The 5 track CD under scrutiny here further backs up my belief of a band of artistes with qualified capabilities to admire and worth checking out if you get the chance.
The opening track is a breeze to review as it is the aforementioned gem 'Fleur De Lis'. Shards of guitar glass cut the silence and glisten with promise before the main riff is caught and the textured emotive vocals drown us in a silken sheet of comforting hope. The backdrop of sonica is gently applied but mightily effective leaving front lass Mel to thrive and expose her sanguine singing ability to the full. The first verse is beautifully persuasive and passionate and breaks into a joyous heart-lifting chorus that is a choice musical moment that etches deep into the vault of memorable vibrations. Interspersed guitar sequences are perfectly positioned and played and the only blemish this number leaves is in the fact that it is over way too soon. A delicious piece of noise and obviously competing for song of the year as far as I am concerned.
The 'Fairy Punk Princess' tip-toes through sun-kissed wooded glades with thoughtful serenity the initial sensation and a feeling that all is well yet a regret and defiance is never far away. A brief string and drum kick in and again a cast iron song is had that may be powerful but not overwhelming thus showing forethought and a belief in ones ability to produced an effect without blasting the listener into submission. The guitar works away in complimentary style with drums and bass ever reliable and providing a sturdy scaffolding for the song to be built upon. A definite hip-swinging piece of rock chick noise that has a darn good rhythm throughout and one to recommend the crew as a creative entity.
'Stranger' is in no hurry to be introduced but when the main thrust of the character exposes its inner idiosyncrasies one is left surprised and at first, puzzled. Where this song came from is beyond me and throws any preconceived ideas of which melodic route this band are liable to take. The lady in the lead tackles the stuttering noise with an alternative vocal style that gives immediate comparisons to that accomplished electro singer Roxy Epoxie. No bad thing and this sub-cultured throwback to early experimentation gets by with quirked/hard worked insight. In the circus sideshow of curios this is a worthy member to be aurally ogled at over and over again. One has got to appreciate the bands refusal to be predictable and although the main countenance doesn't appear overtly punkish, the thoughts beneath reflect the spiked spirit. The sirens hail, the blitz comes, 'Release Me' is an utter joy that has a real upbeat tone and all round pleasing melody. I love the positivity given via the vibe and once again Leather Zoo turn things on their head and come out victorious in all areas. Tap ya feet, bop til ya drop and love this crackin' piece of musicianship.
A rough guitar solo opens the final song and 'Belliss Coldwine' is ours with a tune that is based on a tale and a bloody good listen too. Gentle yet persuasively powerful, literate, simple yet intricate and with many facets to ponder. What this crew do is keep one wondering as to what will come next and this song more than contributes to that thinking trend. A trip down to 'Perdido St Station' is needed I reckon and then to go and pick up 'The Scar' and re-listen to this all over again. I am a curious punker and thus am pricked and shall pursue the textual matter and re-assess this sweet song again. I expect to be still totally convinced as I am by Leather Zoo's other output – they are a darn fine band tha’ knows!
So I thought I had uncovered a crackin' band and a 'live' performance added scaffolding to this belief. This CD reveals further aspects to this multi-faceted/talented band and I am reckoning at this point these are Fungal's find of the year. Let's see what pans out shall we but in the meantime you get your asses chasing this silver circle and once again - broaden the horizons. The potential is unlimited and we should all help bands along who have so much to offer - get running!
THE JUNK - NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM
Ska-core to the fore with The Junky spunky crew lushing up the rhythmic greenery with three budding songs of springy effervescence and bubbly Brighton drive. I have seen this lot twice in the flesh and have come away both times fairly delighted with proceedings. In fact the second showing was a headline slot on one of my SAS shows - point made I feel. I expected a busy mix here and that is just what I was given to assess - off we go then!
A tumbling mayhem hints at an uncomfortable listen as suggestion is taken of a mind never to be made up. A brass flourish strides forth and directs with authority and so the initial versage is upon us. Cacophony tries to intrude but a tinkling butterfly segment causes distraction and we carry on in fine, effective style. We are interrupted by a sub radio announcement and the madness seems to have no end. So many tangents in one cushy pocket and somehow The Junk are pulling this one off. The lepidopteron busy affectation is back with us and things take a flight path of confidence before nectar is sipped from a reggae skank flower and all is serene. A dangerous yet perfect time to chill and only a mastery of ska-core would allow such a risk. With my reviewing net I struggle to capture the melodic mini-beast but am enjoying the chase. Huffing and puffing is all well and good but this switched off mo is appreciated. A lovely closure and 'Scream Your Dreams' gets the thumbs up!
'Monkey See Monkey Do' surges from the start and when the glistening brass joins in one realises The Junk are right in the zone. A sudden cut to a skank attack and the chorus that follows weaves and chops in a certain equilibrium of sonica. The said chorus is all consuming and leaves a veritable noise blister with the searing sound it pours forth via rays of rockin' rhythm. The song nearly collapses via a moment of seemingly forgetful application but ball is soon picked up all we have is just another false warning folks and the final push for the finish line is intense and totally applaudable.
'Far From Here' is the last effort and makes a powerful entrance before drums tumble away and the main meat of the melody is thrown onto the cutting slab. More power is pursued by a beautiful unifying ska attack that craves a drop-out accompaniment and a skip and flip influx from each and every listener. Perhaps my pick of the trio but each song on this mini-release has moments to mull over and reviewing challenges aplenty. The obvious aspect shown by this chilled out gang is that there is plenty of mileage left on the clock and a bounty of inspiring acoustics to call upon and tinker with. 3 songs 3 good efforts and no negative vibes from this end.
I am keen to check out The Junk once more and see where the upward curve is going. No doubt if and when I catch up with them then my digits will be tapping and a review will follow. Watch this space and in the meantime check the band out!
THE BULLET KINGS - RAISE YOUR GLASS FOR ENGLAND
And so the World Cup approaches where money, fame, misdirected loyalty and celebrity kiss-arse idolatry will be everywhere as insignificant piss-ants kick around a spherical object in the name of sport. Hero status is had if fate plays the cards kindly or you could come home a total twat if bad luck wins the day. Personally I like football but can't be arsed with all the hoo-ha and claptrap that goes along with it. The fact that these fuckers get paid for playing for the country shows an aspect that I find sour. Anyway I have another football song to review and as far as content goes then it gets the obvious Fungal rating of 'wank'. Taking it as a piece of music - well that's a different matter!
THE FRACTIONS - RELEASE
Ok ya bastards hardly gushing am I and if ya want lies then stop reading and go read a cock-piss review by someone who ain't listened or just wants favour. I'm giving my personal thoughts and so far it's 2-1 to 'Not Quite' United. Equalising though is what we have next as 'live' favourite 'Repeater' does the business and has me a little more intrigued. The solution is saturated with many solid contributions and when the band pull together they thrive. I guess the danger of being so busy is that it can divide the audience but you can't help support bands like this for having a go and not giving in. The beginning calls the crowd to sing along with and then we go forth into a very enjoyable piece of scuffling skankitis. The vocals let themselves go and succeed further rather than trying to be over emotive. The passion is more natural rather than affected and it bangs the sonic ball right into the top corner. 'We Were Kings' is the best song of the lot (and coincidentally the shortest - make of that what you will) and so a 3-2 lead to 'Fungal Favour' City is had. The song just works and appeals to my frazzled nugget and I really don't think I need add more than that. Build ups are bold, again the unit comes together and sounds impressive and in general the tune is highly likeable. A good one to groove to me old two-tone twats!
4 to go and are we looking at extra time or will the CD smell of diseased dicks or cultural cocks - oooh decisions! 'Birch Hill Born' pulsates with a documentary analysis of home turf and is cold, distant and yet has some nice touches. The opening guitar slink is effective and sets the song off with a bouncing attitude that somehow flat foots now and again and so hinders the step. Good and bad to Fungal like a cake filled with cream and cack - a little bit of this – yummy, a little bit of that - yuck. A light drum roll and 'Sirens' sprints along with the odd spasmodic attack that annoys as does the disjointed singing that comes in fits and starts. Oozing good shuffled guitars and a solid verse the chorus is a bit astray and needed further attention to make the end outpouring more complimentary. Sorry but I am struggling here and despite many moments to enjoy there are an equal amount that impede the full listening experience.
'Working' Woman' is a swift swinging piece interspersed with the usual street-edge lingo. A woman’s life is a hard life within this weave with work and raising a family a daunting task. A shout for rebellion against the twat at the top is had and although not tattooed with unity it ain't a bad rally cry. A lot going on so don't expect a quick fix. 4 all in the musical match I reckon and all falls to 'Streets Of Ancoats' to split the sides. The finale is again jig-sawed and has many pieces that fit and a few that don't. It is played well and although I expected a rip-roaring finish I reckon the final result should be put on hold. A final play of the last track and a great start is had and appreciated with production holding up throughout. The rest I can take or leave but I am leaning to the favourable side so the win is finally had.
The overview by me is of an album that has been long overdue and not met with Fungal's needs. The preceding textual matter says it all and it will be interesting to know what others think. Just not my bag but I am still a Fractions fan and that is what matters. My favourite all time band (UK Subs) have a few dodgy releases and one cannot enjoy everything. That's how it is and many will disagree with this review with my answer being 'write one yourself then'. Honesty is never easy but other options are not considered.
REVENGE OF THE PSYCHOTRONIC MAN - PARTY IN THE VAN
A bloody good effort here from a band who certainly put the work in. After the first CD 'Shitty Zombies' (which I didn't like) this really shows that perspiration and enthusiasm indeed do pay off. The up-tempo 'Awful, Awful Business' opens in flamboyant style and the belief and conviction of delivery is almost tangible and a pure delight for fans of this fine band. 'Magic Monkey Juice' is the most incessant track on the CD and these 4 young punkers deal with it well and stay focused and direct throughout. The variations in speed are classically timed and show a disconcerting maturity for ones so young.
'Who's Tom Donaldson' will please the the lovers of Irish sounding music with definite Dropkicks overtones here. Next the three pearlers with 'No Sleep Till Guildford' a drinking cum gigging passionate piece of punk done in the most carefree way possible but played by guys who obviously want it, mean it and love it. 'Fuckers England' is loud, brash and has a fuckin' great chorus that really gets the pogoing juices flowing but for me, the finale 'Becky Want And The Daytime TV Blues' embraces everything the band is about and indicates that the bands future lies in the writing of songs of this ilk, songs with spot on production, an abundance of aggression yet staying controlled in all departments yet saturating the song with a plethora of seething guitar chords. The wall of sound is admirable and a track of this standard could find its way onto any compilation and hold its own from offerings of any band on this planet. Overall I love this CD but do you know what - these guys have more to offer - frightening or what? I hope they can deliver the goods but if they don't it won't be through want of trying. You ain't got a copy of this - then why the hell not?