FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 44
AFS - NO WONDER/TV MINDS SPLIT SINGLE
On red vinyl the Carl Arnfield fetish for VD (vinyl disks you nobs) continues. The whole spectrum awaits the raping sonic todge of Mr A and his coat of many tunes, and so one wonders when the striped one will appear (it's just gotta happen). This latest offering is from his most excellent band, namely AFS, an outfit I have grown with and have always adored. The band are maturing all the time with different textures and layers added as time goes by. This is their latest effort and a little taster from their forthcoming album 'Trash Vegas' - ooh I can't wait!
The initial safety net that is offered in the first few bars of 'No Wonder' has one thinking if AFS are going all retro on us. No sooner are things assumed then the net is whipped away and a sub-skank sound is tinkled out that has one on the back foot. Neatly played and against Munki Boi’s gruff and rough sub-stated utterances the mix is quite a contrast. Between the first two skankoid verses is typical AFS chorus puke with a likeable melody that sticks. Add a bit of showman guitar and back around we go. A very, very nice effort and although the singing and guitar are a fraction short of complete harmony one can't help but applaud the new move in the AFS routine. No genuine gripes and a formula to stick at and hone at leisure. A bit of brass is surely an option worth considering too and as long as the band are reaching out the better they will be.
ANIMAL TRAIN - CHICKEN BURN EP
Ideally what I seek within the punk world wide weave is a noise that is raw, unaffected and yet still grasps onto a primeval melody that intoxicates the inner primitive rhythm. Any band what can pull off this tricky concoction get my backing all the way albeit a very rare occasion when they do. The first few listens to Animal Train had me eager to assess adn the initial balanced grime added to my interest and general enjoyment. More spins came and the question you should be asking is did I feel the same when putting finger to keyboard? Read the fuckin' review than and find out - not rocket science is it!
The first chug that leads the tuneful train is entitled 'Summertime' a song that immediately has me thinking of Born To Destruct (check both bands and make the comparison and see what you think). This song begins with a frosted corrosion and is soon escorted by a cold siren who is easy to listen to despite lack of more orthodox girly vocals. The song is a celebration of the sun and all the lazy days and easy times it brings. It is a brief glow (a bit like the British summers) but provides enough initial warmth to immediately connect with the band. Totally garage-esque and without unnecessary melodic bunting this one is crude punk played with the spirit flowing and is a total DIY ditty. It is my style and is done so simply that I like it. Many may disagree but alas what can I do?
Slowly rising with machine like threat (rise of the robots) this next song is deliberate, seemingly distant and very incessant. No sooner has the song crept in, the repetitive business is dealt with and we gradually fade away. Anarchic in some respects and with a stated characteristic these are sobering songs and seekers of happly clappy crap that deals with transient issues will not find solace here. Very nice and 'Tell It Like It Is ' offers no change. Be truthful, up-front and accept the failings - feed us shit and expect shit back, foul our thoughts and we will pollute your propaganda. The mincing strings are enhanced by busy drum work and the overall sound is utterly non-conformist.
The closure comes with 'Can't Take That Away' and begins with a foul rendition of that repulsive 'Star Spangled Banner' gushing that is on a par with our own obnoxious 'God Save The Queen' nonsense. What ensues is now typical AT output and if by this point you have found nothing to tickle yer testes of tone then zip up and fuck off now. If like me your genital ears are juiced then listen on. Again - unflustered, primitive and honest!
So hailing from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, United States (not far from the Suburban Losers methinks) this band have a bog standard EP on their hands that pulls no punches, doesn't try to create a musical philosophy and is as straight as the day is long. Get off yer high horses and drop out, tone it down and listen to what punk is like by regular dudes given the chance to have a go. Punk is for everyone - embrace it fuckers. I like this and I can't see why you shouldn't too - get real, stay real and eat it real.
HANDSOME CRAB - HIGHLAND PUNK COMPILATION
The pretty crustacean doth offer thee some highland spikiness to consume in large drafts via a jug of objectivity. The mix is modernised and yet lacks the faded froth of yesteryear. The sensation given is chilled and alas not to everyone’s liking but the brand has its own identity and serves its purpose as well as the taste of many punters. The end solution needs more melodic liquids and a trifle more stirring but one can't really criticise anyone for getting up and having a go! Here's how Fungal found the tipple and how much actually was spilled and never reached the ever-hungry assessing buds.
The first sip is the deepest and most impressive with the awesome Murderburgers throwing a bubbling mouthful of popsicle ice right down our acceptant throats. '(She Said Please) Stop Staring At Me' is a light, intoxicating melody easily drunk and definitely 'more-ish'. The general gush bounces over the aural tongue and one can't help but swallow when the chorus consumes the consumer. Guitars thrive within the cascading flow and addiction to the blast is never far away. It is always great to kick off a sonic sup-a-thon with a mighty tipple but to chase this with a second snippet of splendour is choice work indeed. The Hostiles tickle our tuneful tonsils with one of their very best efforts entitled 'Where Are You'. Instantaneously at you, this skanking surge is a clear cut winner with excellent production and a blending of various vibes. Contemplative moments are exact and give time for one to toss the general potion around ones acoustic gob and assess the full body of the noise. No reason to spit here and a sure fire double whammy is taken in ones stride and thoroughly adored.
First Step To Failure start strong and tumble off the lip of the glass with excitable effervescence. 'Goths Assemble' soon cools into a new school offering and lacks the initial impact of its two predecessors. If one is hasty the song could be overlooked and a rush for the next jugful of sound may be had so as to remove any immediate noxiousness. Ponder and re-pour this one several times and view in many different lights before jumping to an opinion. The effort has depth and the whole mixture needs slurping to the dregs to totally understand. The end judgement of Fungal is of a decent piece, played accurately but one that will be mostly quaffed by new-schoolers. Joey Terrifying next and a band who have recently expired and left many a fan dry at the bar with a thirst unquenched. This song sums up the band and is a busy concoction that simmers with numerous noises none of which seize the day and grab the guzzling attention. Again a song played with admirable articulation and attention but sadly a snippet from a band who had better shit in their basins of melody. The build at the end is smart work but the ‘Getaway Driver’ is too long and a little too convoluted for this partaker of punkology.
In need of respite a tuneful snifter is needed with a bit of kick and that is just what The Hijacks serve up. As stated in other reviews this is a band who have me confused as to whether I love or loathe them. This one is a solid song though and is direct, highly charged and incessant. 'Love Your Nation' thrives on its own gloried guts and becomes almost cannibalistically carried away with all inner workings bared and obviously fully functioning. The production and style compliment the band and maybe that is the root of my indecisive inklings. Loving this one though so happy to be in the 'yes' camp at the mo ha, ha. I love the name of the next band Plastic Authority - oooh very good! The song is deep and resonant and shouts in fits and starts and again takes a little adapting too. Personally I would have liked to have seen a bit more treble added to the end expulsion but hey everyone’s ears are tuned differently and maybe sometimes the old sonic nobs need re-adjusting. Stepping back and playing over and over this is not too bad but I suspect with a better finishing gloss the band could make a better impression. The pace is varied with a few breathers taken and the lyrical content politically raged - yeah not that bad at all and I guess 'The Banks Do Owe Us All'. The Lie Detectors tease us with 'Insomnia' and produce a fuckin' gorgeous piece of pop piss to shower under over and over again. Who cares about nappy rash - I'm happy to get a few urinated based sores at the expense of being flooded over by this delight ditty. I find pop punk refreshing and liable to disinfect the disease left by the usual punk pandemics I encounter. After blacking out I find myself outside the main gaff and am in the gutter supping deep on the beautiful bleach - and oh yes I am enjoying it. One drop spilled and you are stained forever.
Psycho Attractive cruise forth with sub-skank backroom smokeoid stereo angst that borders on bastard reggae and disjointed crust. 'Back Of The Line Boy' is a schizophrenic and troublesome affair one may want to dabble with or stay well clear of. In my usual honest way I find this boozing buddy hard work for sure and although an occasional gargle may be had it is a real struggle to build up any fondness. As an introduction to a band then the curiosity is niggled so all is not lost. The Plimptons are back in pop punk territory with a swift triple poured via the lengthy name of 'Japan/Rock 'n' Roll Part 3/I Wish I'd Never Joined The Nazi Army'. Phew what a mix and all blended brilliantly and a sure case of win, win, win. Early 80's stupid, stupid sonicology drips with a radioised jingle style inflection via the initial segment and is a throwaway pip. Segueing into the second slice is added sweet sugar and no sooner has the greasy gripper grabbed then we are let loose into the squishy superfluity of sticky bubblegum innocence that is the finale. It is all over too quickly and the three positions tested in this brief upright fuck are all liable to raise the sonic spunk levels aplenty. Juicy man juicy!
A strange spell now takes over with polished produce of the modern age that is a right old hygienic mix I sometimes feel out of place with. Give me dirty dishwater any day! Landon keep things sterilised with the tame 'Boys To Men'. It isn't my choice of toxin but is still a number to appreciate and regard as one to play now and again between more sewer-based sonics. Any more of this would have me daubing negativity over the reviewing walls but the odd brick of current cleanliness hits a sweet spot and so gets a nod in the right direction and thus deflects my scrawl. A Lost Generation seem borne from the same rectal twat that the previous band were squeezed from but tinker with several teabags of tuneage and stir up a brew to take in small sips. 'The Revolution Is Not A Spectator Sport' is a nudge to get yer arses in gear but musically is an overly busy affair that remains fractured and a bloody hard listen. Split, make three songs from one and see what you have - it may be better than this I reckon. Next, and we are back on the doorstep of pop punk mansion and The Cellophanes knock forth a dreamy number entitled 'Your Girlfriend Sucks'. I am taken with this band at the moment and have recently given them the song of the month on my site with a crackin' effort entitled 'This Guy I Know'. A massive song but hey this one ain't too bad either. Simple, whittling away with repetitive routine and very amiable in sound this is typical of the band and yes, a sweet listen.
'Yeah Detroit' offer 'Everything Always' and is the kind of watery pus that really irritates my punk arse. The band ooze talent and that isn't my gripe. The main complaint is too much goes on, it is far too polished and is just a sub-generic pool that I care not to dip in to too often. I can't criticise on the mix, musicianship and such but to give a thumbs up would be fraudulent on my part and something I am not willing to be. If you like this mode then go seek it out - I'll wait until it comes to me and see what I think - in this case - not a lot. Hiroshima Blackout yet again piss about on the precipice of the noise I deem noxious but just get my attention via a decent chorus and some good riffage. 'Japan' is ok I suppose and with each listen does improve. The band build in intensity but slightly stray from reaching the end eruption but do attract my ear so I guess the main job is done. More needed to truly assess I suppose. Burnout 27 have more pace and come across as slightly unhinged. The flow is gratifying and so 'Summertime' is basked in and thoughts run ragged. The song zips along and is a pleasurable racket that has my nose twitching with curiosity. Lots to admire here with chopping guitars, warped vocals and a somewhat old/new crossover din. I hate the slow split and would have liked to see the song surge from start to finish but it is another personal prickle and nothing momentous to detract from a good piece.
3 left with The Terrors taking us by the hand and leading us home. Tina Terror at the front is as detached and iced as per usual backed by the fizzing backdrop of sound the band are renowned for. Not bad but not a fair representation of a band who 'rock like fuck' in the ‘live’ cesspool. I can take or leave this but seeing it is a band who I think are pretty good I'll take it thank you very much. The Alchonauts offer a sparsity of splendid retro new wave via 'Alcohol'. A fluffy cushion joy that prances about on gentle tiptoes and breaks the general thread of this CD quite deliciously. A universe away from the furied punk flames where my buttocks are normally scorched this is a charming aspect of the whole scene and a very worthy inclusion. We close with a rousing riot by Shatterhand christened 'Face The Mirror'. A meaty-filled number with hurtling desire and bully beef clout. A closing phrase to an eighteen page document etched with emboldened ink and leaving the full stop prominent. Busy but adhesive in all parts and complimentary to the end explosion - not bad.
So Handsome Crab give much for Fungal to ponder and although some titbits miss, a whole lot more hit, and I am always up for promoting the cause of compilations. Anyone who tries their hand at gathering a collection of mix and match sounds gets my vote and it still remains the ultimate way to discover new shit. I bob around here, there and everywhere and yet have still come up with a few curios on this release to check further - fuckin' result.
TNS RECORDS - MAINSTREAM MUSIC IS SHIT
Cor blimey, a 37 track compilation to get through courtesy of those selfish bastards at TNS ha, ha. I refuse to rush and push the CD reviews and stuff like this really keeps me on the back foot and amidst a back log I am forever trying to master - bah - piss and moan Fungal ya bastard - ya love it really. True enough I do and compilations may be a twat to get through if one is conscientious but nonetheless thoroughly rewarding if the quality is good. Unfortunately here the quality is so utterly dreadful I feel as though every band on it should buy me a bottle of QC as way of an apology (come on you gotta give me credit for trying). Right pressing on - a belch, a fart, a scratch of the scrotum and...
The Shadowcops are/were a mighty outfit and to open a CD with a band of this stature is stating mean business. The clouds build before big riffing raindrops fall onto the battlefield of melodic warfare. The tone screws and we wonder when the conflict will begin. Never fear as the rush soon comes devastating all within the bands path. Loud, loud guitars mow down all and sundry and the incessant battle cry is harsh and enthralling. A murderous cruise continues before a sinister respite is taken and one is concerned that the final attack will never come. It does, it is all too brief and one is left with a small doubt that may well niggle well into this lengthy compendium of punk, rock, skank and the like! 'The Sleeper Awakes' but it would have been nice to rough him up a bit with one last lengthy onslaught. Sounds of Swami are a band I adore in the 'live' arena but can take or leave on CD. I know this, they know this, but, I'd like to think the mutual respect is there. This crew are amazingly adept at what they do and in the flesh rock rafters with a watertight set rammed with big rhythm and slug-squashing sonica (oi I like slugs)! 'Band Wagon Hi-Jack' is one of the bands best CD moments and displays the crew’s hard-rocking diversity and downright applaudable ability. I love it and love the band and hopefully when I get my gigging shoes back on they would like to hop on for a few rides! Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man have a name longer than their songs running times at the moment which is just as well as I am suffering RSI as a result of reviewing this crew. Over the years I have done a few bits and bobs with this band and seen them develop from a melodic five piece unto a mental trio and thus take a thorough about turn in thinking and musical output. Brave deeds result in big boobs occasionally but ROPM are doing OK at the mo and this is evidence of that. Swift and to the point this song entitled 'Blackpool ROCK' is well delivered and has a solid fuckin' opening guitar sequence that swings as well as a couple of steroid enhanced knockers. The murky seaside town may well be able to provide the said pendulous paps to sway to this humdinging track and I am sure it would make for a great spectacle but let those weighty breasts not deflect from a stunning effort - avert thy eyes and focus thy ears oh perverted one.
Rising Strike are a newish band on the block and have played a few SAS shows leaving a fine aftertaste. Very unorthodox and difficult to pigeon-hole this is the kind of noise that sets me a challenge. Ska-core fans will love this (shit is that a pigeon-hole - sorry dudes) but there is more to it than that. Many textures create a vivid landscape and this song gets better with every airing. Strong in parts, nasty in parts, pulsating in parts - many things to ponder and what a good bunch of lads too. D'Corner Bois produce the goods (as expected) with a marvellous snippet from their magnificent album split with Barse. 'Everything’s A Mess' screws in with neat rhythm before crackin' on with upright belligerence and disgruntlement. Raw vocals, powerful tune and great sing-a-long outpourings, this is a great song and one of the best on the CD. The Kirks next and of course what we get is a bag of nervous energy, a mixed array of sonica and a swift, swift piece of typical punk vomit that this lot do so well. The crew have been on the block for some time now and the last time I saw them was one of the best. This is good, terse music and you can't help but love it. It is called ‘Brain Dead ‘ by the way and isn’t about frontman Max – surprising hey?
The Emos have come, done and gone in the twinkling of an eye. Just as brief are the bands outpourings. I saw them once and reviewed an album and had no disappointments to mention. 'Jason Bourne Ready' is pure Emo-excreta and they do curl them down with a fair intent to make a splash. Scorched, high octane and to the point - av it! The Dangerfields know the punk rock circuit inside out and we maintain the speed set as the band say 'Gimme Gimme Rock 'n' Roll'. Another fine example of a good bands expulsions and The Dangerfields rock loud and hard with an accuracy to savour. If one is doing a lengthy CD then keep it varied and have a few fast tracks in the mix. When the songs are of this stature then enough said.
At 8 songs in I am impressed by the energy shown so far and despite the contrast in styles evident on the two disks offered I find myself with no yearning for anything different as of yet. The Dead Reckoning are a band I am unfamiliar with (one of three on this CD) and come at me with a groovy number giving me the 'Heads Up' in several ways (none of which are anything to do with my anus by the way). This one has plenty of bounce and balls and perhaps a little too long I am still intrigued and must make note to check the band further (bet I forget bah). I like it and the switch in pace works well. The Hyperjax are class, of that there is no doubt. So why would you put a really shit song on a compilation CD. No idea because thy haven't and 'Talkin' New York City' is a superb piece of rock and roll reality seeped in sneers and bollocks. From the first 4 count the song twists and turns with wild abandon but remains direct and absolutely effective. A good band I should have seen more of over the years but as I say 'I can't be everywhere'. Some bands are worthy of support after a one track listen - if you ain't heard these before I bet you'll be seeking out more.
The Great St Louis saturate the soundscape with an intense colour scheme one is happy to be blinded by. The whole concoction of 'Safe' is compact, well played and of a desert highway punk inflection seeped in riffage and sonic splashes. The Nova Fives give us a tumbling, rumbling rowdy riot called 'Love letters' and is a spacious number that complements the previous jam-packed jollity quite nicely. Hailing from Wolverhampton the band myspace themselves as pop punk but I'd insist there are many other sub-generic turds floating in the bopping bog and thus encouraging further scatty sniffs. Acid Drop pursue and need no further introduction or description. The band are quality, this song 'Pied Piper', is of the same standard and is a sweet listen with a solid construction had and all supporting rhythmic rafters sturdy. The melody is spot on and precedes the harder edged mess by Just Add Monsters with confidence. 'Discontent' is a riotous mix that is well received by ye Fungal reviewer and the inclusion of aerated skank guitar only enhances the pulverising power surges and gives a fulfilling introduction to a band I am more than a little unfamiliar with. A good song for sure followed by one I really just can't stand. The Fair Do's are technically sound and know their acquired bag inside and out. For me though this over-technical noise is a piss-patch on my acoustic undies and the sooner it is bleached away the better. 'When It All Goes Wrong' is aptly titled and rather than pedantically criticise via my own weapon of personal opinion I'd sooner move on without further ado and let the ones who like this get on with it.
The Dangerous Aces are usually an under-prepared shambles that one can't help but enjoy. Like being flogged with a thousand rolled-up copies of 'Cunts Internationale' one feels the pain but can't help having a secret pleasurable moment. 'Lock In' is noisy, nasty and up yer jacksie and is 100% idiot punk. An unsure start soon collapses into lovely mayhem and like I say you'll either love The Aces for their 'have a go and fuck it efforts' or you may just think 'what the fuck'. Either way this crew always get the Fungal vote - its punk innit! The Terrors are an exciting 'live' crew and have a tidy racket going on that should carry them further. As I write the band I have heard have done and dusted and things have moved on. A real shame and without knowing what's gone on I can comment no further. This song, 'Disasters Only Get Worse' combines the terrifying characteristics with chainsaw guitar, cold 'from the grave' vocals and a general frosted rhythm that creates a unique identity. Hope things get sorted dudes! Another good 'live' band are The Smack Rats and this is a usual outpouring via a band that should achieve more. Sometimes the 'in the flesh' viewing can detract from what a band is actually knocking forth and that is a shame. A fair song this with some good hammer and nails inflection - move it on faster boys. The closure of disk one comes via the wonderful two-piece that is 2 Sick Monkeys. The reason this duo have had so many gigs out of my myco-self is obvious and stated quite clearly via this tune. 'Why' throbs with hot-temper, unsettled lunacy and a zestful zeal that is insatiable. Again I have to remind you that this is only a 2 piece (drums and bass) and if you ain't familiar with the band then you may be surprised by the bedlam they create here - great!
So 1 disk down and a bloody good job too. A wide showcase of sound and all for very little of your hard earned cash - you fortunate fuckers.
A quick shuftie at disk 2 and I am expecting more of the same standard with a slight shift in styles. What better way to open up than with one of the best songs to come out of Manchester of late entitled 'Portland Street' via the entertaining skanky gobs of Harijan. Sadly this band are no more and you can't help but feel the loss especially when listening to a classic such as this. The song has been praised aplenty by all and sundry and fully justified it is - you don't need further commentary from me - just press play and enjoy! I have reviewed a CD by Cartoon Violence and was terribly taken aback. What a darn good band! 'Kite' does indeed fly within the melodic stratosphere and displays an inner accomplishment that comes from a band at the height of their ability. Carnival-esque in inflection with the winning winds blowing strong and true. The frontmans expulsions are lucid and delivered with assured and measured attention and the backing skankitis is infectious and thoroughly pleasurable. A few convoluted upheavals are had and sanity is barely retained - (face contorted) blah!
Stand Out Riot have a great reputation, especially around the Manchester area and throw out some great mix and match melee's filled with brass, percussion and strings liable to befuddle, muddle and eventually win favour. 'Spacesuit' is typical and is all-encompassing with many rhythmic boils to assess. Somehow the band always pull off the mad concoction and although an 'in the mood' band for me I can't help but admire the talent. Frontman Francis is a key component and holds fort with aplomb. The John Player Specials are a special outfit who I feel should have made a whole lot more progress than they have already. This is no disrespectful talk and their reputation is as concrete as they come. It is that I expected so much of this band and believed they would be snapped up and whisked off to more fruitful lands as soon as the word was out there. 'The Wilsonator' has all the charm and skill associated by this sweet outfit and with the vocals having added grime this one is a subtle switch in style. A lovely song as ever and I hope JPS retain the innocence and general laid-back mode of skank they are so adept at. I still think this band deserves more but hey I am forever the dreamer and have many on that list of potential winners. Jimmy The Squirrel keep up the skank beat with the tranquillity of 'Seat Up High'. Another band I have reviewed and another band I have thoroughly enjoyed thus far. The path they take is weaved within verdant sun-kissed pastures and is 100% coffee table ska. Easy listening with no thorns in the hedgerows this is a simple stroll and does what it sets out to do.
A severe lack of riot is had thus far and the pre-planned idea behind this CD is obviously to split the styles. Forever a 'shove it in and see what happens' dude I would have preferred a hotch potch arrangement but the many, I know, prefer things partitioned. Bastards!
The Hostiles are a fair band but leave me bewildered sometimes as to whether I enjoy a song or not. Some efforts rock hard and true whilst others have me nibbling at the biscuit of indecisiveness. The crumbs tumble at this point as I ponder a toxin or a tonic. 'Bad Day For Shorts' is played well, produced clearly and has many acoustic undulations to mull over. In parts the effort flows but then it pauses and flaps about and so causes the Fungal conundrum. Perhaps one to come back too - you have a listen and let me know. The Hijacks offer the same problem as the preceding band and 'Greed And Fear' leaves me with a similar neutrality. A bit more clout and shout but failing to make that immediate impact. How many times must a man listen to a song to get to assessing grips with. This does grow although the tendrils are slow to ensnare. For fear of becoming repetitive I find myself on the third back foot in a row with The Fractions not finding my immediate favour with 'Down And Out'. A band I like but who do have me separating their output in very definite 'Hit' and 'Miss' buckets. I ponder if the recently acquired 'Unsure' receptacle is about to be used a third time when I opt for the 'Miss' bucket with a slight hesitancy in my thrown! Sorry dudes and sorry to the previous two bands too as, after further thought, their two efforts get hurled the same way.
Sense Of Urgency are intricate and busy but in a likeable way that hits all the Fungal criteria for a good racket. 'Lowbrow' is sound ska-core and played with sincere joy and effortless ease. Sweat is poured via each ditty and the band always seem to get my nod of approval. The added attitude is great and I hope SOU can move up through the gears and achieve greater critical acclaim from this mucky music scene. A War Against Sound fall into the 'Fair Do's bracket on disk 1. Great ability, songs that twist inside and out and a decent end production but which do sweet sod all for me. Many like and few find unpalatable and once more I move on with respect and keep the picky pen tucked away. 'Premature' perhaps but no 'Chokehold' on the bands ability is had!
Kickback UK gives us a plus 4 minute ska session with 'Reality Attack' sounding very TNS and typical of the label and surrounding sonic spectrum. That ain't no bad thing my dear old chum but if you are generally not into the whole TNS shebang then you are fucked here. Snarly in parts with the brass poking its nose in here and there with unified shouts reminiscent of a Stand Our Riot offering. A fair noise but I do prefer the following two-tone riot by Faintest Idea which begins with textured guitar before bopping along into a retro beat infected with nasty pasty punk vocals. The chorus of ‘Why Don’t Rich Kids Go To War’ is effective and undulating and if you like to skank hard and true then this is a good tune to do it to. A great band Faintest Idea and the last album was a pip that is worth chasing down - have a peek dudes!
The Autonomads come from the monochrome encrusted landscape and offer a groovy move via a 'Supermarket Sweep'. The she/he switch and general jigging approach works well with the lyrics defecating on the consumer rip-off that goes on and which we all fall foul to. Supply and demand methinks! The brass that appears is charmed and liable to raise a few anarchic asps - slither on! Rasta4Eyes indicate quality and how I have still not seen these 'live' is beyond me. Some bands I really want to see remain elusive and a note must be made to catch up with these as soon as. A marvellous track this with a steady rhythm and passionate intent exuding an approach more expected of a band who have been on the chequerboard for a lot longer than this crew. Great song - get on down and enjoy maaan! Just Panic slow the pace with an idling intro for 'Killer Fairytales'. You know the pace is going to pick up and so it does with a jerked inflection not meeting my expectant lugs. A bit too much tumble in the jungle with the main melody over-ridden by a nebulous end mix that stops each individual component from standing out. A better band than this which is evident on a previous release I have reviewed and a few 'in the flesh' viewings I have had. Los Salvadores were predicted by myself as to be one of the best bands the Manchester Ska Bar would have on during their lengthy promotional campaign. They came, conquered and proved to be everything I stated - a fuckin' quality crew. 'Empty Boxes' sums up what they do and seeps an inner class many strive to attain. The resultant sound from the many stirred tones is unique and effective. These cunts from Kent produce a sweet folked up noise that can dip in and out of various sub-generic shit bowls and still remain unsoiled with reputation very much in tact. Accomplished is one word to best sum up this lot! Talking of getting soiled - well if the shit is too deep then get Bootscraper to assist like they do here with 'There Will Be Blood' . A gypsy-esque throw-around that is what it is! Seemingly erupting from the same orifice as those over-rated reelers Gogo Bordello this is a particular haemorrhoid a few may like to sit upon but which may have a few wriggling with discomfort to. I can take it or leave it and am happy to piss on the bag of rhythmic lavender and put a peg on the nipples of the players. One thing though is that there is plenty going on within the weave so the stench given off is still fragrant and may attract my favour via a different bloom.
And lastly the polluted putrescence that slips from the nostril of the Medicine Bow nose and causes many an onlooker to turn away in disgust. 'This Side Of Town' masturbates the cacophonous cow horns with defiant glee and no matter how many times the band are told to tidy things up the end outpouring remains twisted, vulgar and typical. Hey - the band do things their way and that is a punk aspect very much forgotten. Applause aplenty and although my mood need be favourable to sit through this chaotic cow-pat I still think the stench is worthy of thought and consideration.
So 37 tracks and my fuckin' digits are drained. Not all to my liking but as always respect for the effort that has gone into this and the variety of bands on show that can surely meet the needs of the many. TNS plod on and keep on trying and that is success in itself. Where they will end up is anyone's guess but the fact is we are getting some good tunes our way and should be grateful. Take time out and have a spin of this one!
JONNY MAVERIQ - MUSINGS AND MUMBLINGS
So 13 snippets of spoken word from AFS frontman and general nice bloke Jonny Maveriq aka Munki Boi aka twat aka ..........! Apparently he is doing quite well for himself with this side shoot from the main AFS tree and so here is my take on these verdant leaves of loquacious verbology.
Rather than deal with each track individually the review will be a general overview as the lack of anything other than the speaker’s gob leaves little room for comment. Best way methinks otherwise I'll be dissecting each line with a Fungal craft knife and cutting up each statement with pedantic idiocy thus detracting from the main thrust of the CD.
So 13 tracks with Jonny's very listenable gob which is in itself a strict cut of criteria to uphold so as to get your ravings heard. John has his detractors when he sings for AFS and splits the views right down the middle. Personally I think he is a good frontman with a strong, identifiable oral expulsion but, opinions will differ. Here he growls along with temper just held in check thus giving each tirade emotion and clout. Clarity of each word/phrase is good and all wordage is audibly pleasing. Words are woven and in some parts are cutely played around each other so as to copulate and produce deliberate ambiguous offspring that raises a brow in surprise and appreciation. Now and again one can predict what spoken text will come next and that is the greatest flaw any rhyme in time wordmonger has to overcome. I mention this so as to encourage Jonny to scratch deeper and get more from his own mental thesaurus and push his talent to the extreme so please don't label me a didactic dick.
The content of the songs is varied and isn't overly-political shite that is liable to get monotonous and depressing. Anti-police, a celebration of punk, being a punk rock dad, war, violence and growing old are a few themes mingled into this non-musical mix and shows Jonny has a few tangents in his pocket from which to come at us from.
The main feelings I am getting for the CD are good but my suggestions for future releases would be to break up the general delivery with a few songs from AFS and his acoustic sidekicks Carl Arnfield and co (yes that twat again). A few effects added into the mix would be most welcome too with the odd gunshot, raised statement, smashed window, eruption, cheering crowd etc. worth pondering. A couple of one instrument back vibes would work well and I guess I am just trying to prod a longevity of sound and an increase in texture. There is a lot to work with and I would like to see this shit maximised to its full effect. Try anything and add a female accompaniment too and just see what comes out as a result - that is Fungal's main advice.
Favourite bits? Well I like em' all to be truthful but if I must pick 3 then 'Sons and Daughters' is a good recount of punk history, 'Punk Rock Dad' is proud, sweet and nicely done and 'Just A Number' a very relatable yarn.
Jonny baby you get my vote and to all you punkers out there - well if you don't listen you'll never know and if you want a bit of a change on your gigs then get this fucker on and smash the general flow. Look forward to a split release next with the aforementioned artistes - go on John - do it!
LITTERBUG - IT'S PUNK ROCK JIM
I have only cast eyes upon Litterbug once to date and was entertained by the sub-pop soda sprayed from the bands personal rhythmic bottle. Fizzed, fuzzed and unfazed the output was sanguine and flavoursome and so the previous CD I was asked to review was much anticipated. It weren't half bad and although a few tracks have been carried forth onto this further release the progress is apparent and a reawakening of my appetite for another 'glut' of 'in the flesh' Litterbug has been had and I am all raring to go. Admittedly it doesn’t take much to get my punkoid juices flowing but when it comes to reviewing I can be a picky old twat. Here is my take on the latest LB spillage and all that it entails:-
'She's A Paradox' is one of several from the album I had previously reviewed and rather than hark back to my prior scribblings I will review on current mode and sensations achieved. This is a better number than what I thought although it was a likeable piece anyway if I remember rightly. Here the end production is more suitable and with the sinister nascent wind-in the initial guitar is complimented and so gives a greater impression. With the first step a good un' it is up to the band to thrive from here on in and they do just that. An urgency is apparent and an inner belief that swaggers somewhat with a groovy dig is created. The song is screwed in many ways with the cute u-turns very much belonging to the same melodic map. Things are pushed to the brink with a quasi-computerised haemorrhage that takes the guise of a solo. The final Black Sabbath bastardisation is sweet and nicely played and is an ideal shut down to track 1 - success is a story to be told - how long it lasts is anyone’s guess!
‘I Listen To Bands’ creeps forth with something similar to a 50's sci-fi soundtrack. Caverns are explored and a tentative stalked eye is cast before the starring musical monsters burst upon us with teeth well and truly bared. The versage is strident and wild, the chorus a gorgeous stick and pick moment and the interspersed loping moments gangling, awkward and confusing. The mix is wonderful although mish-mashed from many components. Less vacuous than I recall and that helps! 'Crowded Room' is a simple effort with a bit of belt. It grinds out and grasps on to the underlying melody with grim determination and so keeps the tuneful trousers above todge level. In fact can I just add to my ramblings so far that I am enjoying this CD and am wondering if I was this appreciative first time around. I am always more than happy to change my mind or be proved wrong or for that matter, re-impressed, so either way no gripes. Great stuff and onwards we plough!
'Lizard Man' adopts a drum beat we all know but can't resist. More galactic guitar is soon escorted by snotted sneerio gob work that comes in two tones. The slurred and skidded chorus is delightfully put across as the deep etchings of 'fuck off and keep your grubby hands off me' make a deep impact. A groovy kind of guitar solo becomes automated and a thought is had as to where the song will end. Abruptly is the answer!
'Demoralised' is slagged sleaze cross bred with garage grime and so the resultant oddity is quite a spectacle. Diseased to the bone and hard to inoculate against this one isn't the most virulent but does infect so as to make a difference. Litterbug seem to delight in the minced obscurity of aural outputs and not taking the orthodox route. I can't fault that style and although some efforts don't quite make every personal grade they are worthy of attention. 'Garbage Man' is a fractured explosion of unprofessional discordance. The pace is easy with many individual explosions giving sudden palpitations to keep the listener attentive. Lasting only 2 minutes and 14 seconds the song has so much crammed into such a short space of time with no sonic colour seemingly out of place. 'Conspiracy Theory' has a simple stringed intro that will have you scratching your head whilst wondering where you have heard it before. The song is a regular drive and more regular then what one expects from the LB boys and, if I be honest, it is a fair track. Star Trek cum 50's sinister 'whoo hoos' are thrown in amid a general punk mix that has a good rockin' edge. It is more than obvious the band have a feel for the fun side of things but keep it in check so as not to detract from some solid song construction. Not half bad and with 8 tracks to go I envision no problems with this one.
'TV Mind' is warped twattology with twisted metal that has an unhinged urgency inflection tinned up with frozen guitar work. The break is industrial and borne of a Metropolis trance that promises much. The eruption towards the end is very much Litterbug lunacy and this band are growing on me by the listen. 'Oooof' is a cracked instrumental that seems all over the shop but in fact is a grinding listen to get into the rut with. Once again things are machine-like and functioning in and out of sync. An oddity from a backstreet curiosity shop where the retailer is naked and depraved and all items on sale are tortuous. Know what I mean? 'One Track Mind' is the most deliberate track and seems to know where it is headed. Again there is much to admire and much to take in with all sonica taut and hysterical. If one said that all members of this band were on the brink of a breakdown and loaded up on Prozac and poppers I wouldn't bat an eyelid. What the secret is here is that the songs touch a nerve and stand back then suddenly touch another, then another ad infinatum. Each listen a new sensation is discovered nay a new aural orgasm achieved and the buzz gradually escalates with each rotation. Totally off the rails but highly capable each track bites and leaves its own individual scar. 'O.C.D' is distorted and stutters along with voices uttered from many hidden corners creating an unsure atmosphere where one needs to keep things in check before havoc is reached. Into the cerebral area of doubt the Litterbug louts reach and unsettle with ease. Some gorgeous pop piss is poured and swinging shite smeared and all is well with Fungal as regards this 15 track tonic.
'Something Sad' is a good number that starts with 'easy come easy go' fluidity
I like this band and have yet to book em' on a SAS show due to being over run with many requests and trying to keep pace with my own mania. What Litterbug bring is something unusual and I am always up for that. Any usual punk show would benefit from a bit of Litterbugging and any compilation CD would do well to include a bit of this independent punk produce. The mental note is made to catch up with these again and I hope I see a few of you there enjoying the noise and picking up a CD.
THE GREAT ST LOUIS - IN YOUR OWN TIME
What GSL bring to the table is hard-drinking noise soaked in condensed, fermented riffage that is liable to scorch the aural gullet if one doesn't sip carefully. The whole concoction is intense and a long session at the melodic bar may be a little too much for some sonic soaked sots. There are no half measures and each delivered glass is brimming with an intense rhythmic racket that occasionally needs a little water so as to enhance. My feelings of the band and this package are as follows.
Personally I feel the first three songs on this CD are the best but then one has to ask that if the songs were in a different order whether or not this would still be the case. 'Mooresy' would surely achieve a positive response and is a frightfully good opening gambit that maximises the 'make an impression' potential. A quick slap of the drums and the song is twisting forth into ones receptors with diligent attention to a full-on sound. The guitars are bold and hold the centre stage with bass and drums upholding the major frontal attack. Vocally the passion and drive is impressive and with a slight corrosion the clarity is maintained and we have an excellent piece to initially chew upon. The chorus in this one is all consuming too which is just icing on the cake, bubbles in the bath or extra fanny in the twat mag. Take yer pick but you know what I mean!
'Red Eye' commences with suggestions of grandiosity and with strums hinting at the laying down of a red carpet. Can the Great St Louis provide a royal offering worthy of walking this thread? Will the opening fanfare fall flat and a limp-wristed wanker of a song crawl forth and leave one disappointed? Answer - a simple 'No'. The following surge is tight, sinewed and worthy of the build up. Again all components are blasting in unison and the meat on the bone is well-cooked, dripping with a professional blood and very appetising. Loud brash guitar strokes are tempered by inner tweaks with the general pace that is both consistent and unrelenting. The slip from verse to chorus is lubricated and easy and only a band with experience can pull off such accomplished motions within a mix. One thing about the racket so far is that there is a very US tone searing through the production and I can't help but feel there are many fans to be had across yon polluted pond. 'Safe' is another example to back up my yank wank musings and has rock and rugged intricacies liable to be found on a Bruce Springsteen desert island disc hit list. I have made this comparison before and apologise for the repetition but it is more than a trifle apt and not meant as insulting despite Springsteen quite able to bore my fuckin'; arse off. Open roads are travelled and this song has the foot down and completes an opening 3 track burst to relish.
'Don't Ask' is more of the same and has me thinking of a band called Sugar and the highly condensed cacophonies they used to dish out on a regular basis. Now that is a compliment and the only gripe I can really have at this juncture is that a similarity is building which may overdose the whole CD and thus cause an end toxic appraisal. A good song but just fades into the background of its previous brethren who stand taller and have more rhythm and general amiability. 'Remain' is as predicted and is the usual spillage but is a fuckin' corking track that hits all the right sonic hotspots for players and listener alike. With no room to respire the song needs several listens to fully inhale and is in fact the shortest piece on the CD which does help one come up for air sooner rather than later. Each side-step, each shuffle of the toes is in time and at one with the end output and so the effort grows in stature with each spin. Assisted by volume this one is another stand-out moment and vies with the initial trio for song of the CD.
'Coming Home' has rustic greetings seemingly played out from a monochrome bothy tucked away in a wintry landscape. One expects a dirge but the explosion of the sonic spectrum blows away all predictions and a full-on outpouring is given. The vocals struggle to remain buoyant above the ocean of instrumental waves but other than this minor niggle the effort oozes confidence. I feel as though the band could have done more with this one though rather than prolong the heightened intensity and perhaps a few fractures along the bone of melody would have worked a treat, then again...perhaps not! 'Closest Enemies' is a raucous piece with the thrashing guitars at full power and not willing to let up. I don't know what to add to this one other than what I have typed in before. Bulky, soaked and focused - no let up and if you started off with doubts then you'll be disappointed thus far but if you started on a positive note then I am sure you'll still be waving your GSL flag. You get the drift I am sure!
The final 3 carry on in the same mode and in truth is too much of a good thing for me. It sounds like a paradox but referring to my initial thoughts of a potential overdose then consider the Fungal fucker poisoned. To avoid finishing a solid CD on what could be deemed a duff note I will adopt a degree of brevity and keep to the point. Each song is riddled with power and is in keeping with the entire package. The intensity is maintained and nowhere is this more than apparent than with a 'live' viewing. 'Strawman' is my least favourite of the threesome and, of the entire CD - just don't do anything at all for me so sorry folks although I do like the chopping guitar work at the midway point. 'Head Down' tumbles in over an electric fly and soon follows the sonic suit with fast rush and full of gusto vibes that lead into the closing 'Croal' which has equal pace, a fine attractive rhythm and a noise with no room to escape from.
There you have it - GSL summed up by ye old Fungal twat. A good band doing their thing which personally in parts I can take or leave but which I know only too well that many will not be able to resist. Production wise this is a good do and although the vocals do struggle to reach for air at times I really can't fault the energy exhibited. Nice one and hopefully the band build on this and start chancing their arms with a few sub-generic outbursts. Have a go – one never knows what may happen!
THE COSMIC FINGERS - SINGLE
Idiocy incarnate or hideousness unfolded - take your pick but one thing is for sure - this is tasteless tripe to turn many a punkers bowels inside out. It is what it is and be under no illusions as to whether or not the artistes in question believe this to be state of the fart cutting edge commentary with profound messages of political importance and psychological intrigue. These two buggers have no shame in giving us unapologetic postcard punk in all its bawdy forthright glory. A cocks a cock and a fanny is a fanny (or cunt, twat, minge etc.) in the CF world so take it or kindly fuck right off. I have been asked to review it and I take your envy and pity in my stride! Here we go then...
'One Foot In The Grave (Clean Version)' is a tale of growing weary and the ageing process of which we will all fall foul to (if we are lucky). There is a morbid humour delivered via a cold, sobered and acceptant voice that seems at a loss as to what to do. It's all down hill folks and this effort only reemphasises the point - blah! The song is crisply tickled along with a scuttled guitar and only lasts just over 2 minutes - adequate enough I think! 'Burstin' Out' deals with the male problem of having a full bladder in a town centre with no place to leak. We all have old piss stains from having failed to find the function room where the bladder can be relieved and we can all groan with pleasure in a non-masturbatory way (unless of course you are that way inclined). The tune is a rip-off I am sure but where the main rhythm is from I have no idea. It seems so obvious but eludes me so with crossed legs and confounded mind on I go. Not too bad of a song and simple enough with one style found and played along with until the final drop doth fall into the empty basin. It is typical of the duo so you should know by now what to expect.
The moribund drone of track three is funereal and incessant and harks on about the 'Bastards Broadcasting Crap'. The best song of the lot and incidentally the cleanest, most punk and the most thoughtful. A swift rave against the BBC and the shit they spill out into the wider lavatorial arena is very much enjoyed and being the shortest song of the lot is also worth mentioning. Terse, tempered and thoughtful is where the Galactic Digits need go and if they put plenty of punk petrol in their chosen rockets a fuckin' good lift-off will be had. 'Frank Fucked Up' is back to the rectal drawing board where the anus is an inkwell and the ink is shite. The tale of a deviant who tampered with his todge is fine but the crew have more to offer and I want it. Come on lads - move forward and leave the genital japes in the sac of yesterday and let’s splash some spiked sperm over the breasts of tomorrow. What the fuck am I saying - pills please pills! These songs aren't bad it is just too much of a similar thing and although I love the brilliance of Benny Hill, Carry On Cuntstable and the like, I always find the punk comedy trail taken by people who very much sell themselves short and don't tap their talent until it’s empty. The task is set chaps - next release lets see what ya got (careful now careful)!
We close with 'One Foot In The Grave (Explicit Version)' and it is as is said earlier but with a withered cock on show - grab and rub or slap and run - the choice is yours.
There you have it - Fungal's exposure of the CF privates. Am I right, wrong, fair or fucked - one thing for sure - if they are on any 'live' gig I attend I will support and give them all the pointers and advice I can. That's what punk is about and if we can't share opinions and take and leave in good heart at our leisure then we are fucked.
DRAGSTER - HERE COME THE MEAT ROBOTS
I roam the bastard streets with peeled eyes in search of two spherical objects yearning for the safety of the sac. With testicle-detector humming hard, and my genital area lacking I seek in the hope that I shall find and thus reconnect my clashing planets. I didn't want to have my knackers blown away and in truth didn't expect it but such are the hazards of taking the risk of watching new, fresh and lively punk rock bands. The viewing of Dragster was impressive with the intensity building by the minute. It was all getting too much but my spirit remained insatiable. My head whirled and I was well into the rhythmic groove when my cacophony loving conkers could take no more. Down each trouser leg they were blown and a hasty exit they did make. Such is the force that I witnessed that night and such was the noise that nobbled my nuts! Will the CD offer more of the same? With one hand on the pecker and one on the keyboard I feebly tap the following review and hope my dick shall not depart the same way as my dumplings. It’s a hard life assessing CD's.
Motivational monster mayhem begins this package with a ditty named after Jack Arnold’s 1954 classic movie 'The Creature From The Black Lagoon'. Stumbling fingers of noise commence and become entangled in sub-melodic weeds before breaking free and swimming effortlessly through a self-created sonic sea of rockin' pleasure. A love for the bad guy is obvious and once the full song has got going the mean, lean delivery is swaggering, sanguine and smooth. Guitars are compressed and saturated, drums cascade in rhythmic regularity and the vocal vixen at the front impresses most during the excellent chorus. The immediate view is of a strong production meeting all the cacophonous criteria requested so as to milk every last drop of musical milk from the blackened Dragster pap. A bold opener and the statement is made and taken heed of. After a sharp guitar opening 'Slasher Movie' grooves along with unflustered accomplishment via the first clear and effective verse. The chorus that follows is full of maximised intent and swaps boy/bitch gob work with superb skill. A very exciting moment that slams the song into the acceptant mental mouth and makes sure that like a hungry whore we are gagging for more. The sweetness winds down and we are back into the next segment. Again the chorus is devoured before a high-wired solo scorches the aural throat. Throughout is a coldness and a haunting inflection which at some point must creep forth from behind the cloak of discordant delightfulness. What comes next is straight out of the 'How To Play Punk For Dummies' handbook contributed by many a spiky topped noodle over a many a year. No criticism intended and if you appreciate straight ahead punk rock energy played without fuss or fancy then this one will bounce your bollocks inside out (if you have any that is). The fact it promotes boozing only enhances the racket and a full Fungal thumb is risen in appreciation of a spit and sawdust punk rock splat.
'Kill Voodoo Kill' peaks and sets a new high with all components bang at it and in a totally unrelenting mood. Beware the opening bass line - this is a false message and the whole song ain't going to be this subdued. The first few bars bear the child of repetition before the twat of tuneage is ruptured and the prolapsed inner meat of the melody is bared for all to retch at. Again Dragster capture a chorus to jump and pump along too with the entire stature of the song fed with rock and roll nutrients and sonic steroids via their own twisted aural umbilical cord. Musical muscles ripple and the strain continues with all energy used well and truly rewarded. The front lass commands attention and hypnotises with an all-consuming snippet of singing – good stuff indeedy. 'Weekend Punk' only gets a cheap 7 out of 10 from me and is the weakest wank in this parade of sturdy jerk-offs. 7 means that the song is merely good and not of the heady standard set thus far. Fuckin' hell some fault ain't it ha, ha. The songs gets better the further it progresses with the general drive less pacey but full of groove and move persuasion. Listen in and see what ya think!
A faltered episode of brief drums and a Killing Joke-esque riff that is deliberate and grinding leads us into the brooding malevolence of 'Silent Violence'. A nasty number for those with sable thoughts to bathe within. The style is sculptured from many textures and so we have many facets and many angles to view. All compliment and neatly fit into the end sonic statue and we have a classic midway meltdown that adheres both sides of this CD together and so maintains the interest and applause. 'Johnny Massacre' is a mammoth heaving piece of idolising noise with the intensity in parts becoming almost religious. As Siouxsie had moments of pornographic preaching from a seemingly raised altar of authority so we have a similar stance adopted here. The versage comes as sneered with the chorus thoroughly emboldened and taking the whole effort by the scruff of the neck and thrusting it forth into your awaiting lap. Once again a moment to admire and truly appreciate. The outfit are reaching to almost unattainable heights and coming out burning with incandescent triumph - amazing. Settling back the title track slowly teases before once more raising the blood pressure levels with an episode of awesome acoustic accomplishment. The military mode is banished and defiance of procedure, acceptance and tradition is poured forth with machine gun drums, all-engulfing string work and sincerely powerful mouth work. Gargantuan explosions like this are a rare commodity but we are being treated to an exhibition of masterful artistry that needs to be viewed over and over again with astonished eyes, ears and whatever else takes your fancy.
'Speed, Whiskey, Sex And Rock And Roll' is always going to generate interest with its given name. Many partake and will have appetites for more with this penultimate power play that is essentially punk and roll hip gyrating inebriation of a most palatable design. It is intrinsically a fundamental composition that has a rhythm that drills hard and is best savoured after a few bottles of the said golden alcho-fuel. We close with the shifty B-movie blast that is 'Teenage Motorcycle Killer Gangs From Japan'. As solid as ever and a comfortable way to cap a cracking collection of enjoyable tunes. This one exhibits the confidence, the bold production, the artistry of the players and of course the admirable song construction that one already expects from a band who are on their way to making deep scars in the flesh of the raped corpse that is punk rock.
A totally impressive debut delivery with the crew now on their toes to follow this up with some exceptional giggage and further releases. The standard is set and many punters will find themselves a new band to follow and so we must ponder how far they can go in this unpredictable scene. Does it really matter anyway as long as the band are pouring forth quality such as this? A visage of triumph is had and rather than rely on the praise of others the band can still smile and take pride in knowing that the first step taken here is a fuckin' superb one.
ONE MAN STAND - ONE MAN STAND
I have only seen One Man Stand approximately 32 times (OCD alert) so my judgement may be a little off as regards this CD (yeah I am taking the piss). I have seen the band grow from a regular tidy outfit into a polished trio of stubborn players whose greatest achievement has been to stick around and deny the local critiques the pleasure of seeing them fall. Forget their excursions to Japan, the fact that OMS have dug deep and cracked on is the main success and a vital ingredient in keeping it real. Criticism will always come whether it be justified or not and one has to learn to take it on the chin and assess, undress and do with what one will. You'll never please everybody so why fuckin' try?
This is the bands second full length release and following on from a mighty debut that remained raw and got on with the job in hand. OMS have moved on here as is required and we now get extra tweaks and twangs and a cleaner all round recording. Does it work as well and does Fungal like it and more importantly - does it really matter (see, reality dudes - fuckin' reality). Well here goes the review - honest, punk and with good will always intended.
'Break Down The Walls' is a stunning opener and sets out a stall of unfinished business with all those doubters out there immediately confronted and told how it is. The bass line is spot on and so it should be (Chris the bass is the man ye know). A weaving 4 string delight and the drums punctuate before the guitar strums forth and the song gets a flowing. Ant's vocals at the at the front are almost desperately emotive and at ease with the surrounding sonic heat. It is a regular song so beautifully done with tight musicianship, punk inflection and gentle musical additions to savour. The build up in intensity that closes the inner instrumental piece is persuasive and this effort follows on from the previous album quite deliciously. '78' deals with that virginal experience of having a fuck with punk for the very first time. The soundtrack of many of our lives is paid homage to and on that fact alone will win the favour of many punk rock dudes. The essence of those first impressions is captured with articulate attention and winning melody and so there ain't much to knock (if anything at all). Added utterances are included but what did Mr Strummer know anyway ha, ha (the cusp of controversy has always gotta be played ya know)! 2 down and two dumplings on this polished plate and as I move onwards I wonder if any cold gravy will be poured my way. 'Just Like Me' is a new route for the band with reggae rhythms adopted and played with excellent adeptness. I'm always up for bands chancing their arm with new flavours and when they do and succeed such as this then you can't help feeling justified in your ravings. The song deals with ageing, loss and giving in to the tests of life. Fuck that - grow old with fury and punk spirit dudes - don't listen to this message. A great song to be fair that begins on the edge of a regimented offering, blends into jah rhythm and is severed with several surging episodes. The whole point of being in a band is to push and prod yourself and achieve new standards - the job is coolly done at this point and One Man Stand have a three card trick to savour over many spins. Many textures are tackled and barriers bounced off and recovered from - as solid a start as I could have expected.
Jumping into a TARDIS and dropping back several years the ears come across track four entitled 'Take Your Chances'. No chances are taken with this one as it is typical old school One Man Stand shit that has been regurgitated, fannied about with and presented as a modern day creation. This seems like scathing criticism but it ain't - it is my view and how I hear it and I reckon many will agree (or they could choose to be wrong). Having said all this the song stands on solid ground and is a simple enough effort one can't help but enjoy. Good lyrics that show defiance and with a new fool proof production I recommend you play this loud to squeeze out its entire potential. Go one twist the volume button! A glassed strum, a somewhat hesitant opening of the door and in walks 'Keep On Running'. The song is methodical and unfussy and the main winning aspect is the attitude. Never give in and don't get ground down is a grand theory and one to take heed of. Easier said than done when so many wankers revel in the depravity of schadenfreude. The song just 'gets on with it' like the message implies and the chorus crashes with catchiness and tumbling instruments. The break in the song is strong and well executed and in all fairness that is five good bananas in a hefty bunch of fruity tunes (Tangent) - never say that Fungal ain't happy to appeal to the primates too - orang-utan rock man - oooh oooh. The bass that opens is played with beautiful punk rock authority and it is this 4 string weapon that dictates the entire flow of 'Surface To Air'. Front cunt Ant (sorry man it just sounds so good ha, ha) sings with sanguinity while drummer man bummer Jan (ooh that sounds good too) plays with the tight tension that makes him better than most give him credit for. The speed is rushing and I'm happy to admit defeat again. 'Little Red Riding Could' (or so the band tell us) has me expecting a slip up (law of averages ya know) and I frown and ponder and come out ready to tap out some niggled wordage. A space age guitar revolves and sends us reeling into the high temperament of the song with a verse delivered with intent before reeling away into a brief respite of instrumental carnage. Repeat and then we are hacked to pieces via a chorus that chops it up and succeeds in a blood bath. Back into the main thrust and we are truly being thrown about with this one. The song flashes by and as the pressure rises the inner heart bursts and all is over. A lifeline is had - it is called the 'repeat' button.
Seeing that the CD I am reviewing is a Japanese release 'Kanpai' is an obvious effort. A football celebratory piece that says 'cheers' it iswhat one would expect. Get out the beer and get all soppy and sing together in social harmony. Bollocks to that - my least favourite song due to the cornball cuteness and predicable nature but played perfectly and delivering what I expect people want - bastards. The Leif Ericsson song 'Fetch The Noose' is given the OMS treatment and comes out as the song to take time over and play several times so as to assess the genuine taste. Perhaps the one that will get labelled as the roughest cut and the one with the sub standard production (as opposed to the rest). Those two reasons give it my vote even though it just doesn't quite fulfil its own sonic desires. The fact is though it is a different toxin on a very good album and at the end of the day it is all about creating an aural picture with as many complimentary colours as possible. The portrait is complete and a few stray brushstrokes add individuality and character. The final idiosyncratic sweep of the melodic brush is unexpected, off the cuff and fully rewarding and is an acoustic version of the bands classic 'Black Hole'. Terse, emotive and sobering and signing off as a last nail in a coffin of undead meat nay a full stop oozing yet more hope at the end of a gloried chapter. The option is yours - it is marvellous and shows more about the band and in particular frontman (shit missed the cunt out) Ant than you may just realise.
Look fuckers I have said it before and I'll say it again - One Man Stand are a very good band let down by a cock piss scene this side of the pond. My promptings and pokings have been taken rightly and wrongly by all concerned over the years but one thing I have never done with this band (and any other for that matter) is took the piss and told em' they are going great guns when they ain't. They have always had my honesty and will always get it (like it or not) and on this occasion it is more qualifying proof that we have a crew who are class and at last pushing themselves to greater heights (and about fuckin' time too). A fool would miss out on this but I suppose there are many out there - avoid the tag dudes!