FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 47
CONTEMPT/RAM-MAN - DECAY/DEATH TECHNOLOGY
2 bands here almost seemingly as one but both with an honest, street wise outpouring that should tickle the aural taste buds of any self-respecting punker. It always amazes me how some great bands just slip by the overall net of praise and these two outfits are long overdue a real surge in prestige and appreciation. Well here's how I view the two bands and their latest offerings – so there!
Contempt spill their guts out first and bring us a healthy crop of noise laden efforts moulded with punk rock insight and general spiked articulation. The roughhouse grime is obvious in this collection of shithouse sonica and we start with a comfortable piece entitled 'This Town'. Bass rolls around, a guitar bursts and drums stampede with deliberate intent before the gravelled gob joins in with a twisting drive. The dark clouds roll over the bricks and mortar and Contempt’s message of all that is recessed and depressed is sobered and to the point. Classy touches via sub-solo's and unified chorus shouts help incorporate the listener’s attention even further and the major joy is that Contempt keep it real and don't get too carried away and become over technical which undoubtedly would have been a massive flaw. Slightly tense guitar operates the opening of 'Dance On Maggie’s Grave' before a vicious assault on our polluted ex-prime minister is given. The iron whore that taught us the true meaning of greed, capitalism and how to be a do-it yourself selfish bastard is given a real roasting and I suspect Christmas cards will not be exchanged between the band and the bitch ha, ha. No quarter is given and the full tilt assault is full of venom and spite and played with soiled melodica you just gotta like.
Over my punk rock journey so far I have heard many a song that sounds similar to the next effort 'Greed'. Many will say it’s all been done before but I really couldn't give a darn toss. This is a wonderful song and inspires my pinned and punctured leanings no end and reminds me why the fuck I love this joyous generic fifth so bloody much. Straight from the noggin into the recording room this bog basic piece rocks hard and has a great chorus we can all lose ourselves in. I can imagine many venues where this would go down a treat and yet have many new-schoolers at the back so self-righteously saying 'its just punk by numbers'. Let Fungal tell ya cunts - this is a cracker and the pub rock, dirty sock, hard knock inflection is solid with the irritation towards today’s state of affairs a booming bonus. Fuckin' love it! 'We Come In Peace' twists with bassed up hips and gyrates quicker when the strummed guitar goes all structured. The floodgates open and all hell is let loose before things are tempered and a song that has many speeds is had. I have listened to this many times and from first to last am totally undecided. It is far from poor but something just doesn't sit right for me and the many power packed moments are tainted by the odd hesitancy. Not terrible but pushed into the background by bigger and better efforts. 'Fuck All Governments' is a reggae-esque treat with mean disfigured vocals that come forth with androgynous ambiguity. The build up in tension and the accompanying beefier gob work is marvellous and makes for a genuinely solid switch in mode and one I just gotta congratulate on. There is a vicious intent and forceful spite here that you just wouldn't want to get in the way of. Contempt are a reliable band and thus show why!
'Estate' berates the cunts at the council who create concrete chaos and leave it to turn to shit. The people that live on these anarchic areas contribute to the end mess need to fuckin' wake up too and without all and sundry pulling together and having a bit of self-respect then the progress made will only be downward. A nice rush of a song with an orthodox strategy used to get the point across - now that's punk. 'Fuck Off Punk' is neatly timed and adopts the same style however is wonderfully delivered, has strong riffage and combines the bands finest attributes and makes for a winner. Girl/guy gobs intertwine (yucky) via the chorus and come out soaked in salivating success. The delivery of the versage is fuckin' spot on and the liquidity of the whole song is what gains greatest credit. One of my favourites of the lot is the next song entitled 'Thieves And Liars'. Hard impact, tempered by soft oral she work during the chorus this is a hefty belt that retains the melodic and catchy aspect so as to just fuckin' thrive. Drums belt out a prominent pulse and bass judders with cementing security. After Contempt’s last release I was wondering how the level may be maintained - the answer is here. 'Betrayal' upholds the strength exposed so far and is one for the skins if you ask me with its Oi-esque forthrightness and deliberate grind liable to mince yer mind. Similar to a heavyweight boxer who bullies his opponent rather than dances around him. It is one long beating rather than a flash in the pan knockout and I am happy to take the bruising.
Contempt close their fine account with 'The Dog Song' and any effort that begins with the words 'You're a dog and life’s a bitch, you're a lapdog for the idle rich' is surely gonna please my ‘fuck it all’ punk rock spirit. Rather than crawl away quietly Contempt jump on to yer lap, bite yer balls and piss right down yer legs. A massive buzz culminating in a pinnacle of brilliant bassism and riotous riffage that must be played very fuckin' load. A finale to fuck you up and it truly is the only way to end such a choice collection.
RAM-MAN - I pity you. Doing a split with a band producing such wonderful noiseage as Contempt is a real gamble and I just hope you have enough trump cards up your sleeves to compete. RAM-MAN exude class and have been around the block for a few years now. I have only seen them once and would like 'more please' and after hearing this effort further urgency to my request has been added.
'Nazi Scum' is the first bucket of noise to be upturned and the glorious multi-coloured tones that spill forth are all a delight to behold. This first effort is abrasively political, delicately corroded and free flowing. The guitar is textured, the drums rigid, the bass resonant and the vocals scratched - the result - an easy introductory piece to the RM riot about to follow. 'All You Need To Know' gives grim warning of the underhand editing and censoring processes that go on out there before the factual remnants are dealt forth to the public. This is direct blood letting from this accomplished band with the stamping drums a recognisable component along with a somewhat computerised crustiness adorned with mohawk mayhem and 'something to say' spirit. One detects the band are gradually slipping through the gears here and at some point are going to crack our minds apart. Anti animal cruelty and laboratory testing are given the sonic scrutiny next with 'Test On Yourself' the best racket yet and perhaps the most livid. After the sub 'California Uber Alles' look-a-like has passed by 6 strings are tweaked and have more going on than first listens give credit for and so various strata is uncovered and deeper appreciation attained. If the whore of new school accepted a double whammy of sonic spunk from the humping loins of Ronald Retro and Simeon Streetpunk then the writhing whelp that would spill forth would undoubtedly make a noise like this. I'm liking it and I reckon a lot of you cunts will too - arguments anyone?
Rattled bass is splashed over with instrumental annoyance and suddenly 'Hell In Peace' is let loose. Great wordage found within the mix, wonderfully high tempered chorus and a song to crank up the volume with. Provocative, punked to the max and barbed enough to cut many a casual passer, the arc of upheaval is still swinging the right way and anytime soon we are through the fuckin' roof. Slightly haunted wires become manipulated and again more crash and splash is added as way of intro. I was awaiting a genuine pinnacle and the signature tune is it. 'Death Technology' aspires, achieves and departs in glory. It's one that will stick in your noggin folks and is surprisingly the longest piece at 4 minutes 39 seconds. This is beyond my usual listening limits but I am loving this one and have no complaints whatsoever. In truth we have a simple construction with no real outrageous moments but the subtle undulations and general smoothness all combine to win nothing less than admiration. 'Indifferent' is perhaps the weakest flavour in the recipe but is still noticeable. Just roll this one around your aural tongues a little more and give it time for the true essence to come through and you won't be disappointed. Every album has one that may get overlooked but these usually turn into the better tracks in the long term. Enough said and the test of time will tell.
'J. R. Hartley Is A Killer' is one for the veggies and anti-fishing fiends that have their ways and stick to em'. Nowt wrong with that and the brutal one-sided delivery is punked, worthy of comment and very vicious. A funny subject for me as I adore the wild side but eat fish! Hypocrite - well so you would have me believe and perhaps to a certain degree 'yes' but then again who isn't? A fair old racket but many will write (and switch) off as preachy due to the content. Hey its punk and a free for all - left/right/shite - have your say, take your consequences and always be up for being proved wrong - idealistic of course but I try and convey the real message of this spiked pit. Anyway too much digression can cause depression so back to the song - yeah fine by me! 'Selfish Means' is strong, determined to keep the level high and deliberate RAM-MAN excreta. It is as per, and although having no stand out section besides the instrumental it gets the job done and leads us into the final song (a cover) 'Zero Again' with relish. The closure is a full stop that is stamped home with tersity, accuracy and finality. Run of the mill punkage with the bands signature sound running throughout - is there anything else you need?
So a tussle of two heavily armed outfits who make for an interesting listen and combine well as a double header. On this evidence both bands should continue to gig like fuck together and concentrate on getting the word out there - but alas that is easier said than done. There is no way I wouldn't recommend this one so what are you waiting for. Myspace, Facebook, E-mails all make initial contact easy and so chasing up the bands, acquiring a copy is just a matter of course. Well go on then!
BORN TO DESTRUCT - NOW THATS WHAT I CALL DESTRUCTION 3
I have followed the Born To Destruct crew’s progress for quite a while now and given them a couple of gigs along the way. I like the people and I like the attitude and that in most part is enough for me. The noise they make is their own and combines rusted punk and frisky femininity with varied levels of success. Some people just don't get it, some just don't like it and some embrace the din with open arms, but hey, music is designed to split opinion. Personally I like the band but always find a mislaid morsel here and there to criticise and thus give due criticism. Equally I uncover some choice moments and as per usual spill the mushie praise too so please don't think me biased in anyway whatsoever. This 22 track effort will get the usual judgemental and objective treatment and credit and kicks up the arses will be given where one fee ls necessary. Here we go then...
'We're Back' is a confident opener and announced via a B-movie statement that is almost believable ha, ha. The guitar that follows reeks of the BTD signature sound and with Kat's vocals almost immediately in the mix one is instantaneously relaxed as a familiar recognisable racket is given. A sweet swinging song with the chorus a definite highlight that mixes he/she gob work quite deliciously. Bass and drum work are noteworthy and escort one another with a smooth sanguinity and so increase the maturity to the overall Destruction sound. A comfortable opener with 'Nothing' almost more of the same with an oh so slightly different melody. Pronounced 6 string work proclaims the songs arrival before the bassism takes over along with lightly splashed drums and gentle vocalisation. One wonders if the tempo will ever pick up and whether or not the song will drift on into the realms of unadulterated ennui and disinterest. A screech and the song is salvaged with extra assistance given by a terse running time. Talk about pulling a rabbit out of the hat - well played ye lucky devils.
As if in need of a breather after the fortunate escape the song 'Destruction Crew' takes its time and relies on catching the listeners attention with careful guile rather than flamboyant aggression as one would suggest the title implies. I would have liked to see the band rattle this one off and go at the noise full fuckin' tilt. I await the day when all hell is let loose in the BTD camp and so get a little frustrated sitting through this one. It is an easy song to take to and accordingly digest but hey, I want a speedburst and I want it now! The song may well be a good dancing number but what about a good slam dunk pogo session - questions asked - will future answers be given? '24 Hours' is loaded with progressive belief and shows what the band are truly capable of when getting it completely right. It is entirely transparent pop punk played with uncomplicated beauty and charming disaffect. In fact the simplicity and general non-techno composition are the major contributing factors that will win acclaim here and so one mustn't grumble.
'Crate' has a comfortable build up in intensity and winds itself up like a dog with an elastic pecker. The verse is average but the highlight comes via an efficiently executed chorus that is enhanced by blended she-gob and adding a shadowed second layer as way of acoustic adornment. This rear echo is sublime and it is subtle touches like this that the band are so adept at achieving. The staccato break works well and both bass and guitar stutter nicely. Not bad with 'Watching Me' the next song to mull over and one that has me caught in two minds. The sub-atmospheric start promises a switch in style but what we get is regulated BTD noise. This is all well and dandy and the horse that is flogged may well not be dead but as a swine for squeezing bands I feel more could have been done here. Nevertheless what the crew offer is a sweet stroll with an unsettling overtone that adds a new facet to this gently angled CD. Kat holds a fair note and is once more standing alone in contrasts to a stark punked background. It's done well and both opposites do indeed attract. 'Faith' questions, be it via the cold ice maiden’s pleas or the caged demon of fury at the back. An anti-religious stance is strong for a band such as this who tend to veer away from too much confrontation and political agenda and so many eyebrows will be raised at this punked provocateur. From the pulpit these preachers poke and prod and even though the steeple stays standing and Babel remains buried the wrecking machine create a few cracks.
'Rotten Day' progresses with slow steps and begins with a wary application rather than throwing itself into the fray. It is just as well because at 5 minutes 35 seconds I doubt the band would have lasted at full tilt for a running time I feel is overly long. If not in the mood this one can really get on yer tits and the 'skip' button may be sought. Again the background utterances bring out more colour to the front gob be they borne from the he/she orifice but for me this is a definite mangled mushie rather than a thriving fruit body. ‘Wasted' nervously whispers with cymbalic twitchiness before tested guitar operates extensively. With sharpness adopted a more mature sound is given and again promise is piled high and one awaits something special. A standard verse isn't enough for greedy pig dog Fungal but the razored intercuts of the aforementioned guitar work save matters somewhat and buffs up a semi-precious sonic stone that could have been a little brighter.
Not bad so far with a few dull moments to turn away from but with many highs to glorify. What I seek is a gamblers stance where the band put the arses on the line and take big risks. The musical chess pieces are moved with a defensive mentality and so one square at a time is crept into rather than the occasional piece going for it and hurtling across the board with wild abandon. A big loss or win can be had and sometimes that risk needs taking.
'Roadtrip' is re-shaken, re-poured and reverberated around the dusty Fungal vaults with pricked ears carefully attentive. Individual melodies are polished and shine a little brighter, certain idiosyncrasies are enhanced with productive know-how and further embellishment is included. The song has grown hair down below and so a medal of 'improvement' is pinned on the sweating underbelly. 'Sudden Death' has visited the same sonic plastic surgeon and wins the same adornment and it is nice to see a band not hell-bent on punk raucousness and relying on a style that is most definitely unique. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't - more of the latter later.
'Punk Sing-Along' has a honey drop verse that is delicious to hear and captures Kat's careful approach most adequately. The corned sub-chorus delivery to the masses of nostalgia ain't my thing but as a party piece it works most splendidly. The switch between regular femme-croons and these segments of insane retrospection do operate effectively and when faced with a final verdict one can only be positive. 'Underdog' starts with a bite, hesitates somewhat and never real rips the jugular out. The promotion of all things 'Underdog' is based on fury, disgruntlement and livid restlessness and in truth this doesn't encapsulate that sensation. The fact though remains that BTD have done a song peddling the cause, done it their own way and actually believe in what they do. Of course I would have preferred more bollocks and more 'up yer arse lazy cunt' spite but applause is rich and well meant from this crumpled cur - the fight goes on!
Weighting in a 6 minutes 41 seconds comes soaring forth the multi-faceted 'Guardians' with my hand immediately reaching for the 'abort' button. From the first diluted verse I am lost although the bi-texturisation of the chorus does have me hesitating before the ultimate 'press'. Too much with too little variation and with nipples and nerves grated I move, with relief, swiftly on. I never thought the word 'awful' would be used whilst assessing a BTD song but in parts during this marathon ditty this description seems most apt. Totally and utterly not my thing - boo hiss. However, when the man beast is left to vent spleen the song is a different creature and this is a real high of not only this song but the whole darn CD - fascinating and fuckin' well delivered - and you know what - when the lady joins the upsurge things do sound a little better - not much but just a little. 'Lynchburg' is a smooth flow and easy enough to digest and will have the BTD crew shouting for more. No bad effort but put in its place by the slightly more emotive 'Beer'. This one almost becomes too lightly brewed for its own good and almost floats away trapped within a world of punchless pottering. Definitely no clout but there isn't need for any and if caught between two blistering brews the taste of this one would surely have been more thought provoking.
'Extraordinary Life' now begins the tail end of the CD and it is here that the band really should be winding up the whole discordance and aiming to end with a flourish. This is an advanced noise with, yet again, various tweaks and twangs adding to the character. There are no moments that stand tall and the song flat-lines somewhat and becomes regular BTD vomit that many, at this stage, may be 'sick' of. I am struggling and so am aiming to be not overly pollutant and take each song in its own right. Even though I like this crew and Woodstock ranks high in my all time list of 'darn good geezers' I ain't gonna short change em' with lies and 'pat on the back' falsehoods I see only too often in this 'easily impressed' and 'can I be your friend' kiss arse scene. 'On My Sleeve' and 'People Like You' raise the levels a little and show there is no resting on one's laurels for the band and they are willing to keep dabbling outside the 'safety zone'. The latter song of this pair is my fave with the former, once more, not maximising its potential and pushing the players to the max. Come on trespass further you swines!
Action is forced as the band tackle a cover song and 'Rescue Me' comes across as a fuller song that has the band stretching themselves. When abandoned Kat's vocals survive and the build up to the chorus, although busy, is neatly applied so as to bring out the best of all areas. Not my favourite song but a job well done. 'Bollocks' is a good effort indeed and although a revamped oldie the extra sauce works a treat and the song steams with comfort and casual application. There is a viciousness, a sing-a-long destruction beauty and a general zest that has been found wanting on a few previous outpourings. This is the band at their likeable best and I am more than happy to welcome back this familiar friend. 'Rotten Reprise' is a rough cut and shows there is still fight in the old dog and that the 'never give in' attitude is there for all to see and hear. This acoustic gem is a grand way to finish a CD I have deemed hit and miss and just reminds me why I am a BTD fan. Ta!
So a well packaged product, a right old mix of melodies and a difficult one for Fungal to really sum up. If you've stuck out the textual tinkering so far then you’ll know where I am coming from but for the value and the genuine spirit of this outfit then surely a hand in yer pocket to pick up a copy wouldn't be too difficult would it? Well would it?
MISPELT 2.0 - NATIONAL INSECURITY EP
I sit at the reviewing table and await the next course to be dished my way. The butler whispers in my ear to 'be prepared' but I ignore the fucker and kick him up his arse on the way out. The maid tiptoes forth with hesitant steps and places before me a steaming bowl of sonic nosh I have no choice but to partake of. As far as punk grub goes I am a glutton so after flicking the delivering dame a firm V sign my attention turns to the melodic morsels that are about to be devoured. Will I spit back or swallow hard is the question and all eyes and ears are keen as they await another mycological verdict (and if they ain't they fuckin' well should be you set of cosy cunts).
The first taste is sweetened by fluffy she-gob work that has plenty of spite and yet appears quite glad when the incoming players add pepper to the lonely flavour. Bouncing around the assessing arena 'Something For The Weekend' is spiced, diced and in no mood to be fucked about and certainly makes a strong impression. The chorus is hammered home and the tantrum/temper builds as the lass in the lead escalates into almost an epileptic seizure liable to self destruct. Glazed guitar tickles deeper and dumpling drums rattle beneath the tongue with harsh intent. Bassist gravy blends the mix and combines all ingredients and thus a nod of utter appreciation is given. A thrill subdued by a swill and a touch of 'Special Brew And Methadone' is partaken of. The mix reads as highly intoxicating and such is the result. The build up is prepared well and in no rush to scorch with various subtleties coming to the fore as more than one mouthful is taken. Once more the 4 trick intertwining is complimentary with a darn good treat most certainly had. The more heat applied the richer the reaction and the simplicity of the midway instrumental piece is thoroughly rewarding for both brewers and slurpers. My stomach grumbles for more and every fat pig punk shit in the land should really get stuffed with this pleasing menu of swill and fill melody.
'Armed Response' is a drink to be sipped at first so as not to shock the palate. All is well and initial brewed aromas are significant to take bigger glugs from the foaming vessel of noise. The Mispelt 2.0 once more have that vital addictive additive that makes you just sip and sup again. Like a honest bottle of the bronze beauty this just screams out to be drunk to the dregs and enjoy the hammered headiness of all that follows. Who am I to disagree and so it is with a flourish that I partake over and over again just to show a certain degree of decency and thoroughly respect the free flowing racket (well that's my excuse). Each component adds extra intoxication and you really are getting something almost close to 100% punk rock proof. I stagger away and go for a reviewers leak - or 'piss' to the more coarse of mind. Back to the table and the I seek out a desert with salivating enthusiasm. It is the title track, 'National Insecurity; and rounds off a fully applaudable slosh and nosh session with complimentary subtleness. The crisp outside is executed par excellence and the inner cream is supplied by a 'moreish' inflection you just gotta gorge upon. Crumbs are scarce to find and after the subdued bass the whole creation hits the hot spots and maintains a very punk sing-a-long quality to adore. I like the Mispelt and what they bring from the cacophonic kitchen is well worth the money and time.
I am bloated and drunk with the passionate treat I have just indulged in but alas I am never satiated and so end on a note adequately Dickensian. Great stuff and one up the doubters but 'Please sir - can I have some more'.
THE KINGCROWS - MAGDELENE
Showy corvid squawkings from across the Pennines is a rare commodity and so when these guys first flew past my vision I was more than a little intrigued. What I witnessed was very good indeed but to date the band have just got better and better. This 3 tracker is somewhat of an update and really does the band justice and also keeps in line with the 'live' upsurge in quality. It makes my job easier when peddling bands if they are growing in stature, prepared to spread their wings and have a most respectable attitude - I may peck yer heads about the underdogs and this lot are one of the many reasons why!
Rattling drums, punctuating guitar and the first piece of gobbology with 4 strings included and 'Magdelene' is up on stage and flaunting her charming stuff. If you have seen The KC crew 'live' then surely this one must have stuck in your head and had you singing along on the way home. This new improved recipe with extra 'flash' is enhanced by giving each participant room to respire and so exhale bigger and more impressive gushes from their chosen mode of noise. This is good playground puke to jump around to and strays away from politics, heated anger and pointless preaching. Nice and easy punk delivered by nice and easy guys who always get the Fungal vote. This year progress has been made and with efforts like this getting due 'airings' then the advance will continue. Segueing next is the neat riffage of my fave Kingcrows track 'Insult And Injury'. Superbly paced, infectious and just one of those that hits all the responsive areas in my punk saturated brain. The guitar and bass grind one down, the drums sexily splash and the vocals add the clear finish so greatly sought. An inner break power blasts and leads to the wind down (or is that 'up'). Classy stuff for sure.
Look, The Kingcrows need to keep airborne - help em' succeed but leave their bills alone (there is a joke in there). I love the band and everything they do thus far and I really can't see this changing - take my advice for once and crow along to this.
TOTAL BLOODY CHAOS - WHAT CAN'T SPEAK CAN'T LIE
From the sewers we get a grim and grimy upthrust of shit filled sonica disinfected with booze laden piss liable to scorch yer shoes if standing too close. Total Bloody Chaos are the turds that are tattooed with opinion and they really couldn't give a fuck who is offended by their honest stench. This next 6 track offering is what I expect but there is a progression within the mess and whether the band like it or not they are now on an upswing away from their raw roots and into realms where accomplishment doth dwell. Don't misunderstand me though - TBC will always be the soiled article but with the inklings of added artistry apparent here they will be a band who have the odd area that scrubs up well. Despite the textual twaddle, for this one, I am stripped to the waist and ready to be pebble-dashed in style - fart on ye rectal rhythm makers and soil the airwaves and the Fungal flesh.
THE CONCRETE GODS - WECOME TO THE EMPIRE CLUB
When I saw the Concrete Gods for the first and only time (to date) I thought 'yeah OK but nothing special'. I heard one track a few months later and was forced to rethink my opinion and once more understood that one viewing sometimes just isn't enough. This album popped through the letterbox and so I expected little but I'll tell you something me old china - what I have got on me hands is a polished pearler with street-based belief, patriotic innocence and 'bloke down the pub' inflection by the bucketload. The more I spin the more this disc appeals and over the last few weeks it has become a particular fave. If the Gods ever come nearby then I will certainly be shifting my arse and hoping to come away duly delighted - tha never knows but the prospect of another 'live' feast does excite me.
The orchestra prepares, people get tuned in, the overseer calls for order and 'Skit 1' is done. Something honest this way comes and 'Welcome To The Empire Club' is barrel chested, meaty and almost tabloid in effect. From the heart, etched with a fondness for home and yearning for a character much maligned and beaten. Mr England has taken a thrashing at the hands of the corporate and worldwide enemy and many things we look upon with fondness are forever dead in this age of so called 'progression' and more to the point 'depression'. The essence is in truth smeared with nostalgia and even though looking back solves fuck all it is done with utter sincerity here and so cultivates outside questions. The tune itself is spot on and very approachable. It is a sound start and the following effort upholds the standard set. 'Just Like Churchill' is a joyous song that has mid-punk innocence borne of times when we were actually worse off but paradoxically better off dependant on your standpoint and degree of distortion. The whole song is crystal clear and has a mid-section break oozing knowledgeable sound craft and adding a complimentary tangent to an already sharp angled song. Many, many comparisons and influences are all obvious here but really cannot be exactly pinpointed and so The Concrete Gods get their ultimate prize - an identifiably self-made sound.
'Skit 2' is a social club warm up before a smash and grab delivers us into 'Boring British Town'. Again a comparative stance is had as regards 'now' and 'then' with the latter once more seemingly triumphant. The band are unsettled with the modern day disarray and the song is better viewed from a Gestalt perspective rather than adopting a reductionist outlook and trying to read too much into the inner workings and thus break down the end result into fragmented building blocks. The CG crew are what they are and nothing too deep needs be asked. That my friend adds appeal and makes this 3 good listens on the bounce. 'Skit 3' keeps the whole CD knitted together and grasps onto the monochrome retrospective beauty and leads us neatly into 'Oxbridge Boys'. Those towel flicking, groomed gits who like nothing better than to man-handle odd shaped balls and have toasted crumpets (or so the tale goes) get a seeing to here in a song that I can't decide is a dig or a tribute. It has a great feel to it though and a nifty bass line that really provides strong adhesive to the entire recording. Lovely song!
'Common People' is a cover of the Pulp classic and is really given an incredible make-over and exceeds the original by a million miles. Joyously tumbling in, a reality soaked inflection follows with a tale-telling narrative against the skeletal remains of sparse sonica that both work in unison with magnificence. The chorus pushes in with ease and throughout, the 'fly on the wall' aspect is whipped into a gushing froth of excellence and should be appreciated by all - well I think so. Is that Citizen Smith and his followers chanting next? Unsure, but what I am sure of is that 'Power To The People' hits the right 'rally call' spots and is an articulate snippet of wordage that snipes at the nobs at the top and tries to niggle the workers at the bottom. Highlighting the divides in society the whole rant is played out against some more enjoyable musicianship and general melody making yet one still ponders whether the nail is hit on the head or several sub-texts are at work and I am most embarrassingly missing something? Busker do then busker don't as the tube rattles by. A sub 'Jam' acoustic offering is given next with a charming downbeat defeatism entitled 'London's Dead'. The capital city and all that cockney reality is yearned for and will leave the outsider at a loss but the geographically few impressed. From an external stance it has no effect on me whatsoever and another concrete crap hole is just like the next (a green fingered and green minded fucker tha' knows) but I can see the emotive and passionate aspect and so must give a vote of confidence. It is a sweet tune too so please give it time.
'Britpop Collector' is preceded by spivology but soon wins attention with its neat assemblage of solid rhythms, easily picked up melodies and absolutely joyous chorus deliveries. Two strum guitar is quelled, bass line meanders, the attention grabbed by falling away unifying blasts and then we are in. The verses are delivered tidily before breaking up to a punctuated style and then that juicy chorus is upon us. Brilliant to be honest and, may I add, quite uplifting. 'Half Day Closing' is open, sincere and has a theme that is thoroughly recognisable from yesterday. The frontmans gob lets rip and the inner sequence of girly 'La la's' is absolutely bang on the button. Turned up top whack with the head phones on it really does inspire a bop! More skittology and then the musical conversation cum quote that is 'My Old Man' is delivered with insight into the fondness the old folk have for days that were harder yet somehow more real. One can almost see the watery eyed sitting in their high rise armchairs pondering the past and all things more rough and tangible instead of processed and numb. I love the inner sadness and thoughtful scribbling - good work lads!
Another skit, this time with Quadro leanings and the sanguinity of 'When Will You Stop Dancing' comes at us and poses punk questions particularly aimed at those who are literally finished. Look around, admire the shit and make sure you don't fit in or else your dancing days will be over forever too. A strong song and one not to ignore at this late stage. Still sticking with the same channel the strength of output is increased with 'Unhappy, The Land That Needs Heroes'. This one hits as hard as anything that has gone before and the white fuzz and mono-drone that follows tells us that the end of transmission may have come but we ended on a hefty note to ponder.
I love this album and have played it like buggery and am still doing so with relish. The Concrete Gods have their own style and output and make no apologies for it. It is localised, it is retrospective but there is more to it than just that whether the band see it, you see it or anybody sees it (or not). Oi fans is the main area where I expect this to do well but I will hold my head in dismay if it doesn't get solid recognition well beyond these limiting fences. Here’s hoping for a continuation on the upward slope for this lot! Steptoe and Son sonica for sure!
APB - KAROSHI (WORK YOURSELF TO DEATH)
Sharp edged reggae rhythm here soaked in a dubbed brew of the most inebriating kind. APB keep it mellow but defy authority and systematic tomfoolery and thus create a unique flavour many will take to. This one is a review of an old CD but it helps towards a target I have set that I am not going to repeat again. If you are up to speed with my sonic scribblings you'll know that this being on the Do The Dog label no other explanation is needed.
We commence with the undulating brass of 'CCTV' which is soon joined by bubbling keyboard work and the rest of this cacophonic crew. A very bouncy jaunt is had despite dealing with the 'I’m watching you' theme we are all so familiar with. A spring in the step, a delightful defiance and a tune to ping about to this is a decent opening burst and bodes well for the next 6 tracks. Segueing in to 'Yami' things become more electronic and somewhat creeping. The skank guitar and squelched, keys nudge interest along and a few space age fly passes create an aspect of not knowing what to expect. One awaits the gob work to suddenly break in but what we are left with is a futuristic 2 tone instrumental that drops straight into the magnificent 'Sign Of the Times' without a pause for thought. Busy back noise blends into a swirling soup of noise with various sized bubbles rising to the surface and popping without any predictability whatsoever. Shadowed, layered and with a smoked and doped overtone this one does the business and hits the bullseye it was so obviously destined for.
A regular drum rhythm begins 'Advertising Is Vandalism' before the guitar is twanged then strummed. The first verse hops along and has a good feel to it and is immediately followed by a retro chorus that has a gangster undercurrent I just can't place. Digitised, direct and rebellious APB have captured a sweet sound and pass it forth with experience and artistic belief. Knobs are swivelled, dials redirected but the end print-out is pleasing and pertinent - job done!
'Don't Change It' is a mixture of melody coming down from multi-coloured heavens in sporadic showers. The rainbow grows and the intensity increases and dark clouds loom yet never quite create that overcast appearance but, nevertheless, always threaten. The atmosphere is seething but not oppressive and so the song gets by just by hanging on to a little freshness and keeping the song oxygenated. The 'Storm' it seems is here as track 6 suggests. Sublime strings are scratched, black and white is tapped, initial rumbles hold promise. The breeze comes forth and a swirling myriad of sonic leaves busily dance. An ominous slow down and an unexpected sub-silence breaks up all proceedings and the main zest is lost. Never mind - it ain't too bad of an effort after all and even though one didn't get a full on soaking the light rain was refreshing enough. The final track is a long drawn out instrumental that I can take or leave. 'Jam#2' plods along in dreamy content and it will depend upon your mood whether you get sucked into the slumber or not!
So a 7 tracker I have had to mull over several times before being actually sure as to whether the flavour appealed or not. In the main then 'yes' it will do for me but I suspect over a longer stretch I would start to fall behind. Neatly produced this is a reggae skankers choice which will undoubtedly fall short of the mark for many punk rock rioters. You can't please everyone!
SUICIDE BY COP - DEAD LINES
Sometimes, just sometimes, a CD comes my way and stands out as a creative piece of talented tuneage seeped in sharp dressed sonica and attired with magnificent lyrical adornments. Beneath the obvious melodic dress are several more layers to remove at ones own leisure so as to bare all the wonderful intrinsic workings of a thriving musical beast. Suicide By Cop are such an animal and this CD is a cloak of cool, accomplished wonder to make one sit up, admire and dutifully applaud. This crew have played a SAS gig for me and whilst impressed I expected nothing of this sort on a silver disc. Ballad-esque, tinted with punk, emotional, thought-provoking and very listenable the main aspect of the 4 tracks on offer that wins appreciation is the fact that every facet contributes and compliments in equal measure and no participant is found wanting. In fact lead lass Kaz excels and inspires the band to stretch themselves even further. This isn't just good, this is very good and whatever your sub-generic listening pool I insist you have a dabble here.
TOTAL CONFUSION - CHAOS 2000AD
From 79 to 84 Total Confusion blasted out a noise amid the Thatcherite swirling shite and made their own difference. A split, a passage of time and circumstance has the band re-fuelled and ready to go. Having listened to this 6 tracker several times I am fuckin' glad they are!
We open with he scorched title track 'Chaos 2000AD', a noise that burns deep into the mind and sears that punk passion. Full on alert grabs our attention and we wonder if we need dive for cover. Shards of guitar fly through the air and the sonic smoke is as dense as you could wish for. Choke on the racket you fucks! The verse is etched with intensity and nowhere is left to catch breath and take respite. A whole lotta noise is going on but all is held in check by a adamantium rhythm that drives its fist through all. The instrumental segment shrieks in pain and the horror is condensed and very tangible. A massive start and backed up by the strong thumping riot that is 'At Dawn'. An industrial din clears the streets from the mess caused by the preceding all out attack and blood, guts and bollocks are all bared here for thy peephole pleasure. Again the verseage is all present and correct with a solid opener to build upon. Shadowed at first but stepping forth into a more prominent position the song demands attention and I am more than happy to give it. The chorus is melodically appetising and a big bite needs be taken so as to stomach the full on flavour Total Confusion offer - chomp, chomp.
More disorganised is the feeling of the initial burst of 'Anger Management'. The band are nearly off the rails and the flying fury needs to be let loose or else the crew may self destruct. Peeling away its own skin the flesh of the song is wonderfully reckless, joyously noisy and admirably hefty. The guitar break is squeezed into the most minute of sonic spaces and does well to come out of the other end. Things reach fever pitch and volume needs to go up, up, up. Get on your steel capped boots and go let rip - smash the venue, beat up the priest, burn the mosque, eat your neighbour - and most importantly - let your brain turn to soup. I have a punk spirit that occasionally goes off like a grenade - all it needs is a racket to dislodge the pin - stay clear the bomb is brewing. 'For What' has a rebellious questioning streak and is the most 'join in, shout and pogo' piece of the lot. Loving this one and once more the very density of sound carries the effort to greater heights than many other bands could have taken it to. I am intrigued by this group of din-creators and for me it is a cacophonous quartet to absorb over and over. This fourth piece is happy to build up in its own time but when we are into the thick of the riot we are really dragged along with no choice whatsoever.
'Blinded' hesitates and creates its own crack and wonders whether or not to come stomping forth. You can almost hear the thought of 'fuck it' before the aural door is ripped off and the TC army come to cause havoc. Yet more brimming belligerence that froths over the edge of the cacophonic cup and runneth down the sides and stains the grasping attentive hand of the listener. There is an impending doom about these offerings and more than just a scalded mitt will the purchaser receive. Nasty, visceral and very incessant - I'm hooked - and I reckon you will be too. I love the sub-Oi bang ensnared within this one and reckon some beefy buggers will be bopping to this! 'Just Another Tuesday' is retrospective output that seems borne of many a year gone by. More cultivated and handled with a bit more care - the end bruising is there but not as painful. Again the vocals are poisoned, the strings chugging and drums hammering - it's been good this far - why the fuck should there be any change. The door is shut, knock all ya want but you won't get in - just kick the fucker off the hinges and take the noise.
Cheers to Pat from the X-Rippers for pointing me towards this band and sending a CD. I hope I can get em' on board a SAS gig and help spread the filth punk racket - you'd be a fool to miss out but alas there are indeed many fools in this scene - are you one then or what?
DISTORTION UK - VERBAL WEAPONS
I have pondered this CD over and over again and the words best to describe the 10 track outpouring are slick, quick and nifty. There is an essence of hardcore, there is a smattering of technical twanging and there is a hefty salting of cold talent and that does make for a pretty decent listen. I remain unsettled with my final summing up as I feel there is something I just can't pinpoint. Is it me or is this band soaked in talent and just being a little modest about it. Read on, go have a listen and let me know!
5 shotgun blasts and a strong pronouncement is made before a rushed bout of verbology paves the way for cut and thrust guitar explosion. More gob work, guitars thrash it out and then comes more madness before the tumbling wind down. The opening assault entitled 'Verbal Weapons' is mayhem, full of unpredictability and definite edge of the seat stuff. The shining class just beneath the slightly scratched upper layer of noise is easily exposed and this is a power riddled start to enjoy. 'Shit Head' is equally stuffed with upset and toxic tangents. Pace is maintained, punk noxiousness further pumped out and high energy thrown forth. Its what we punks ask for and although this and several other songs take a little adjusting to it is surely worth the effort. The crisp guitars are encouraged to drive with bustling drums and a cool, insistent vocal style that I find refreshing for this kind of din. Once more the sound I am receiving seems to have that identifiable edge that will secure fans once won over. Nice work of that there is no doubt!
Clattering around and creating havoc is mightily fine by me but to have a more direct approach thrown in the mix is surely worth a shot. 'Evicted' is nothing short of excellence and must surely be the song by which the band initially push themselves and this album. All bands need a song that will generate interest within the passing listener and this is an ideal specimen to be just that. Hollowed out drums seem borne of the rehearsal room as does the initial 4-count but produced guitars banish these thoughts and after the tantalising first stated verse the magnificent chorus washes over us and indeed encourages us to 'break down the doors'. A tribal essence sends up plumes of odorous aural noise that we cannot help but be drugged by and any turned on punk rock connoisseur is surely gonna get high on this fumeage tuneage. The bass twists itself inside out, the drums cascade and roll and the guitar adds the urgency and inner meat - a cracker and one to consider for Song of the Month. 'Changes' rumbles, coughs up fiery sonic phlegm and spits it forth with the now smooth flamboyant spite one can expect. More guitar eruptions burst from the epicentre of discordance, the switch and twitch inflection is mastered and we have perhaps the most disjointed piece of the jigging jigsaw but it still neatly fits into place and so contributes to the end picture.
'Bloody Slums' begins with more 4 string grooviness that leads into a superb session of noise to savour. More deliberate verse work and a chorus that is nothing short of complete disintegration and a repeat bout is had. Words of warning, metalised teeth are bared, a final flourish and crash, it’s over, the silence is ominous - we are left alone to deliberate. 'Rich Man's Game' bang, bangs with demand - a brief thrust, cool switch back and then - fuckin' get yer guts turned inside out. The tumultuous insanity that follows is a dream and is just everything this style of sick fuck sonica should be. Totally punked up with simplistic 'fuck you' lyrics it need be nothing more but in fact is! Some swift stops and starts are executed with artistry and makes this one helluva listen. A crash, another 4 count - fuck - here we go again. Anti-war, anti-system, anti-religion, anti-control - this effort won't sit down and flows with amphetamine energy from A through to Z. Perspired, fired and delivered with passion – the band unleash so many acoustic animals yet keep them in control - fascinating!
The very American essence that has been so neatly immersed finally makes its presence felt via a verse of surging sincerity. 'Anti-Social' however goes back to UK chantoid mode via the chorus and so we have a mix to satisfy all punkers on each side of the pond. A punctuated sound that hammer guns into the skull and the slopping grey mush below thus getting a reaction - result! 'Toxic Teens' blasts again and contains a chopped up guitar strum that is talent incarnate and shows a cute approach that is happy to roll rhythmic dice. I love that moment and the repeat is savoured! This is mighty music and from a band with high stature and levels of skill. The closure is timed well and 10 tracks just gives enough and leaves one wanting more. It is more of the same - you know what I mean - paced, passionate, pure and prickly - just as is desired - full stop.
Where on earth do these fuckin' great punk bands keep springing from. Never in punk’s entirety has there been so much quality on show and all we get in return is piss arse turn-outs, people glancing backwards and a big band mentality that is surely the shame of the scene. I can't get enough of the CD's out there to be honest hence my the busy reviewing rate, and, if it continues like this I will not be letting up. Another stunner - wallets and purses open sesame (sez me) and may coinage be passed forth.