FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 51
SMOKE LIKE A FISH - HERE'S ONE WE MADE EARLIER
The quest remains to review every Do The Dog release to date and this is the next outing in that journey which is proving to be quite delightful. I have already done one SLAF CD review thus far and enjoyed it immensely and so expected the same kind of impact here. On this one however there are a few tracks I do not find to my liking and so will get those out of the way first before assessing the better tracks that does this fine expired band more justice.
The few songs I find unpalatable are 'Ska Child', 'Exist' and 'Train'. 'Ska Child' I find a bit too misdirected and unsure of itself and tainted with being overly experimental and just a dabble that fails to raise the musical Fungalised erection I'm afraid. My nipples slightly harden at the promise of 'Exist' then wither when nothing bouncy this way comes and 'Train' has me in two minds and just coming out on the negative side as I feel the full potential of a real good song was missed. Look, once more I stress these are only personal thoughts wrote after many, many spins of a darn decent disc and if I come in for criticism for not liking every track of every CD then the scene is full of cunts and I am being punished for being honest (mind you what's new)!
So now on to the meatier stuff and the reason why I enjoy a good Smoke Like A Fish CD and why my good daughter agrees that this is a very fine and cultured band with an ear for a good ditty. We open with 'The Price' and are immediately impressed by the production, quality of general sound and upbeat jive. All musicians find their slot and go for the flow with a song full of refreshing clarity the end result. The 4 strings add texture, the drums skip along on merry toes and the mouth at the fore is delivered with professional ease. The negative exploiting ways of the power-mongers are washed way with a positive tune that really gets one hopping on the right foot. Sub-surfing drums rolls us into the persuasive idiocy of 'Do The Beard'. A tribute no less to the bands hairy trombonist who, it seems, had his own loyal army who demanded a skanking moment to move too. This is primarily an instrumental except for the ushered 'Do The Beard, Do The Beard, He's Weird, He's Weird, Didley Weird' and the odd 'Oi' and encouraging repeat rave. It is a good simplistic mix to jig around to and nicely positioned in the second spot. The rivers of rhythm continue to flow and we are taken down 'The Way' with all hopes rising. The honeymoon is over and we get a dark tale of a soured situation with family bliss baked hard like a turd in the sun. Once everything smelt so good and now...! The tones are sombre, the fabric of the song more neatly woven with a new edge to the sonic output showing SLAF can dabble from the light to the dark in one easy move. Neat work.
'Magnum Force' is a re-working of an old tune by those Irish punkers 'The Outcasts' (fuckin' hell now that is going back some years) and ain't half bad. A smooth, slinky affair with a smoking barrel approach rather than a 'bang, bang yer dead' aggressive assault. Lazed verses lead into higher fuelled chorus sections with impetus being gained along the way. Not a bad listen at all with the band definitely in their own craftily created comfort zone. Another cover next with 'Bankrobber' by The Clash giving the fishy treatment and this extract taken from Wikipedia best sums up the strain of the song I feel - 'The song haphazardly chronicles the life of the narrator's father, the bankrobber of the song's title (who 'never hurt nobody'), concentrating on the theme of the drudgery of many working class jobs'. Smoke Like A Fish play it cool here and rather than try and do something outrageous and make themselves look like a bunch of amateurish fools they stick to their own guidelines, keep things in accordance with the crews vibe and pull off a sweet copy.
'Re'Dic'U'Lie' is calypsotic in character and is just a happy little number bopping along on its own self-made sonic shoes of idiot hope and carefree attitude. I like it, you should to - wait for it - 'Shut Up and Dance'. 'Peter Davies' is a fun song too regarding the bands ex-manager who seemed a bit of a card to say the least. It isn't one to over analyse and is best taken as a pinch of salt and enjoyed for what it is. The next 3 are dealt with earlier and do what they do but moving on to track 11 is more than a delight for me. 'And The Girl' is a cover of a Too Many Crooks song (which has been reviewed on this site) and is given a nice make-over here. Not as though the song needed any repair work as it is a fine tune already finely executed by the TMC machine whom I rate very highly. Here though Smoke Like A Fish pay homage to a band they love and don't let them down in any way with a solid offering that retains the originals melody and professional feel. I think this is a sublime beauty and love the undulating rhythm and the overall polished aspect. A toe-tapper for definite!
3 to go and 'Someday' chills things down along with a slumbering serenade that refuses to perspire. The execution of the song is adequate, the keyed break fine and so small success is had. 'Rise And Rise' is a strange beast and takes a little catching. I am really not sure at all if this sub-electro, experimental creature is to my favour or not. The brass is from distant shores, the mode unsettled and the vocal inclusion shaded and nebulous. I think I'll pass at this point before the foot goes in the shit and I can't possibly get out. The closure is an eerie little piece entitled 'Die My People' which deals (as it says in the sleeve notes with 'the virtues of a selfish, desperate society with no unity'). For some reason my head thinks of all things Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark' in a state of semi-depression. It seems a million miles away from what I deem as Smoke Like A Fish territory and this could be due to it being a very early song from the bands vaults. Again I am unsure and not pleased this is the right way to end the CD. There is a hidden track but that is for ye to discover my persistent reader.
Overall this is an odd collection but still worthy of release. Fans and collectors should lap this up and I have to admit there are one or two neat moments between the less impressive cuts. My opinion of the band hasn't changed even though I feel a little let down by this effort - watch this space I have another disc still to do!
CROUCH MOG - BILLY BOY (Collectors Edition)
A re-release of 4 very early Crouch Mog tracks here due to the persistent pestering of yours truly. Each song encapsulates a moment in time for the MoggyMen and not only highlights their embryonic stages of musical awareness but compliments quite subtly where the band are at present. Like a gem from the Antiques Roadshow this is a stunning piece of forgotten quality of which even Arthur Negus would be proud. 'DFA' is a fast paced ode which has a certain teenage angst whereas 'Park Your Ass' is an instantaneously stick in your head number that has a well delivered comic touch. 'BillyBoy' and 'Ordinary Life' are sheer brilliance and really are bouncy up beat tunes that are ideal for a good old pogo. Overall this is another must buy for Moggy fans and was and still is a marked contribution towards the bands ever increasing reputation.
THE CHEAPSKATES - NOBODY'S PREFECT
Bugger, bollocks, bugger! Trying to review the entire Do The Dog collection has given me a serious mental hernia and after ordering a few CD's from the said label which were genuine releases as well as a few extras I have found myself reviewing a CD that actually isn't part of the labels catalogue. The text following was already written so I hope this explains why this effort is up on the site despite being a few years old - oooh me mind! So with a prolapsed cerebral mound I welcome thee and ask ye to have patience and enjoy the following wordage.
REBELATION - POUNDS AND PENCE
Delightfully pleasant! Mmmm – that’s how I feel about this CD although the brace of words used seem not to do true justice to a…errr…delightfully pleasant CD – dammit! Mellowed, of reggaed flavour with saccharine skank finely scattered over the final output this is music of tender tones that will lull the eclectic punker into the charming realms of favour. It is of course on a very special label that knows its notes (musical ones that is) and so any argument towards the negative end of the spectrum is well and truly banished. One day folks, one day…
‘Pounds And Pence’ is just a fabulous opening number and eases its way into your soul with sublime, subtle and snaking skill. Its running time is a drawn out 5 minutes 24 seconds and rather than accuse the band of arsing about the bush with self-indulgent flatulence I can only applaud them on perfect timing and, most importantly, a solid tune. The anti love of money and the opposition to greed is played out via a comforting drift that persuades one that some things aren’t necessarily worth getting irate about and thus producing the expected punked and spiked tirade. Rebelation have their views and pass on their feelings and opinions through approachable, unflustered passion that has a fantastic smouldering essence that consistently floats on the acceptant airwaves with a somewhat sensual style. Remarkably effective!
‘Brighter Darker Day’ is a trifle more subdued with a somewhat depressed flavour hanging on to an elusive thread of hope with attentive mitts. The interplay between male and female vocal cords is both enchanting and ear-catching and both operate comfortably within their own chosen space. A switch off moment midway could be accused of being a slight hindrance but this is only temporary and the glimpses we are given of sunnier skies are soon regained. Yet again a caressing moment is achieved and anyone but a noodle would be foolish not to lie down and accept the impending melodic massage. Shadowglass overtones tease, percussive faucets drip sexual rhythm, sultry feminine utterances lead one astray before a somewhat hazy desperation takes over. A slight build and activity becomes slightly more pronounced as brass emphasises and briefly stokes inner embers. Like velvet flesh sliding over silken sonic sheets this sub-sinister snip of noise has sublime shades of erotica but comes across has something else completely. The paradox arches around itself with glorious smoothness and an end tune to ponder and enjoy is thoroughly captured. I am left with a conundrum difficult to crack but I know that the process was filled with conviction so no complaints are given.
‘A Strut On Drummond Street’ is more souped up and more driven although do not be fooled into thinking this is something other than laid back tuneage. This lot aren’t gonna break too much sweat although the inner belief is plain for all to see and the band are truly in the zone. Not a lot I can really say about this one – a well played instrumental that doesn’t need over-analysing just enjoying – so do it please!
‘Ride Again’ begins with tripping drums before a light skank strum joins in. Elongated notes of brassite leanings takes us into the main meandering river of rhythm and let me warn you now that any slacking and you will float away with no chance of rescue. The most turned off, tuned out, dropped out number thus far and just maintaining the style set and taking us one rung lower on the ladder of speed. It feels as though the whole outpouring may cease at any moment such is the dreamed theme and one can almost picture the players dropping into slumber one by one. Not a bad chill out number at all but at this point my first and only niggle is had insomuch as this one just switches me off a little too much and I find myself not thoroughly taken. Maybe its me and I need to lay off the tranquilisers but this is pure soporific sonica that dulls this dickie birds senses to the max.
Pinching myself I perk up for the final effort entitled ‘Babylon Fall’. Purely reggaefied, kissed with attitude, posing with deliberate vocalisation and still in that ‘dozing’ mode this ain’t bad and one suspects a darker edge to the band is only just being concealed here and so bodes well for an interesting time for the listener and future purchases.
6 tracks and 5 I am liking and one I am debating. Within my noisy collection of CD’s this is a welcome inclusion and full respect to a band who do their own thing and do it so darn well. I am wondering if an album of 14 or more songs would win as much favour from me but that is a question to be answered another day. At this point I am more than happy to recommend you seek this one out, and the appropriate green, to only enhance the listening experience ha, ha!
ST TANTRUMS - DEMO
OK so I am a St Tantrums fan - sussed for sure! But, and a very firm-footed ‘but’ at that, it don't make any difference to me when reviewing a CD as the main rule I follow is to be honest. It has over the years cost me dearly as it is quite obvious in this fragile scene that if you ain't willing to play ball then you'll never get invited to another game. People one deems decent fall by the wayside in their droves as one bit of criticism is taken to heart and a snub-a-dub-dub is given. Personally if this is the way to win friends, stay popular and be liked you can well and truly fuck it. I do what I do because I don't like wasting people’s times with lies, obsequious falsity and downright kiss-arse behaviour. It's about music not fraudulence moron! So there you have it - the air is cleared and now if I offer any criticism towards this CD (and any other for that matter) then take it how you will dear reader and politely fuck off if it bothers you. I reckon the St Tantrums crew know me well enough now and after seeing them 'live' on a few occasions know only to well I am more than a little taken with them. In fact one band you should see this year are this lot - if you have any underdog worth in ya bones then go fuckin' do it.
So to the 5 track CD. We kick off with 'Signore Dildo' whom is a deviant character liable to get a decent reference from any pervert near you. Gentle guitar teases open the crack of the melodic arse before a vocal prong is dangled. One wonders, one pauses for breath, one need not worry. A sleazy grind is soon started and the aural buttocks are pounded with an eager thrusting motion that is highly likeable and somewhat decadent. The gob sneers and suggests with his boys at the back ready to uphold the cacophonic crime. Consistent, insistent and with an appealing temperament that doesn't dilly dally but jacks itself off with eagerness. The production may not be a million dollars but the bumming is believable. 'Call The Nightmare' is one of my personal faves to date and that may be down to the tune being easily picked up and joined in with. Good steady guitars commence the cruise with relaxed mouth work soon escorting all along. Drum work is applied with unfussed diligence and the song doesn't take any risks. The chorus is enhanced by a nice wind-up towards the tail end which moves comfortably into the pursuing noise. Safe and sound with an ensnaring edge I'd say - any complaints - not at all!
'Insanity Girl' has a speeded up edge and the band do seem to cope with the extra pace quite well. A slower segment is included just prior to the simple chorus and all areas gel together quite adequately. The gist is strong and yet the vocals lack aggression which is just as well as I feel the band would lose quite a wedge of their identifiable noise. The contrast of heavy and light works and I am liking this CD the more I rotate the darn bugger. 'Bad Mardi' is still in the rapid zone and coming across as perhaps the most spiked piece of the lot. The rush is headlong into the bands self-created womb of tuneful embryos where anything could be given birth to as long as it remains utterly androgynous. Strings are stretched and the time is kept to a minimum - nice combo! Another of my 'in the flesh' faves is 'Don't Feed The Animals' which is easy enough to latch on to and is in keeping with the Tantraumatic sonica. Slightly snotted yet slightly grotted this is DIY stuff that has been polished by spunk and spittle. Nothing more and nothing less and encouraging my Fungalised self to keep on down there with the sediment at the bottom. It is stuff like this that keeps me clued in to all that is overlooked and one reason why I still state that much good stuff is overlooked due to unthinking minds that are not really switched on. This is a jolly jaunt to be enjoyed and once more I suggest you get St Tantrums on your list of bands to see.
So the production is precise, the noise is as expected and yes, yes, yes - Fungal is pleased by this opening account. I now want a St Tantrums fix and I am going try my hardest to get one. This is a bread and butter band with that little something extra that needs truly tapping. Shall we do just that and help the lads along or shall we be guilty of another piece of potential pissed into the past - I am but one man and can only do a small bit - come on get stuck in.
P.S. Apologies to the band for my opening rant but sometimes the spirit boils over and that is just how I am.
THE ERUPTORS - BAD TIME TO BE HAVING A GOOD TIME
If I was holding a competition for the best packaged and presented CD's then The Eruptors would surely take some beating. If I was also holding a competition for the hardest CD's to fully grasp and review then this crew would be in the mix also. A fuckin' tough one this with no definite flavour to savour and no obvious direction to follow. The Eruptors know what they want and fuck everybody else in the process which, as it happens, is purely the way to do it. But, as a reviewer, it don't half make life difficult. Here's my take of the tunes - way off the mark or bang on the button - I can but try!
A cretin states the obvious before a pounding opening drips with dark gothika and heavily bassed rock. The vocals are cavernous, the inflection saturated with ill-intention, the general tone horrified. 'Dawn Of The Earth' comes in via a fractured noise and just gets by the first Fungal examination. 'Theme From The Eruptors' is flogged harder and the melodic beast is thrust towards the finishing line with stern focus. Tumbling around the chords are chaotic but just stay on course although before one can truly assess the form the galloping construction terminates itself without warning. A quick flick of the 'replay' button and I am none the wiser - bah!
Swiftly we move on with a quick reporting in for duty and then we are rattling along with limitless energy and a totally breathless zest via the tumultuous 'Gravelrash'. It seems this time around The Eruptors are not willing to fuck around and really go for the jugular with these pepped up efforts. You gotta be in the mood and full of zing to truly grasp the effect the band are after but when you are then just let yourself go dude. A sub-'Blockbuster' ease up gives one time for breath and then - slam dunk - the end. A tick tock and a grooved guitar burst before the most melodically approachable track is upon us. 'One Minute Decision' is totally alternative to what has gone before but having already reviewed a CD from these unpredictable 'erberts I am totally unsurprised. More orthodox with chorus and verse clearly defined this is a nice solid outpouring that shows the band have many tuneful cards up their ragged sleeves to toss out at will.
'Unleash The Dogs Of War' is a rough-house piece that is almost instrumental apart from the indecipherable utterances going on in the background. The band can certainly manipulate their instruments and this strong muso-moment shows just that. I like a good gobless tune and this ain't half bad. For those about to rock...! A speech filled with power mad propaganda and then 'Battlestar Eruptica' blue lights into the attention zone. Flash Harry guitar work and cymbal slapping drums begin before a meaner streak is uncovered. The impetus reaches breakneck speed before side-stepping the restricting barriers and becoming something just on the leash. The chase is on and there ain't no catching this band of outlaws when the mood is this hot - rockin'!
A brief space age breakdown and then the rollin' 'My Baby's Not At Home' grinds out a result. Sub-radioed vocals, heavy slash and smash chords and cracks and the inner musical marrow is torn out via a rambunctious tune. The foot off the pedal is needed and The Eruptors gently tease and please with the clitoral strings massaged and man-handled. You know you love it! A newsflash from beyond and we are informed that the 'Devil's Got Angel's Wings'. Giving in to the sin of similarity this is too much of the same at this stage but as a stand alone track I judge this as definitely one for the 'live' experience when many a pint has been poured down the acceptant gullet. Here the crashing cacophony is a trifle over-cooked but note is taken to re-listen several times more so as to not dismiss too readily. 'Skate Fast! Die Hard' is a strong racket that you could very well whizz around to and enjoy breaking your bones with. Again it is in keeping with what we have already been served but I like this one due to its terse running length, uncontrollable edge and semi-insane destructive mode.
The finale is 'Return To The Dawn Of The Dead' and has me once more thrown off balance. A chant with a haunting Ari-Krishna cadence that doesn't alter its own unhinged style and leaves one with mouth agape. I'll never grasp where these fuckers are coming from.
And so a shorter offering but one that again has me scratching my arse in contemplation of what I have just heard. Is it what I deem it or is it something else? A curious collection to say the least and not really dropping into any define niche. I like that aspect and would recommend any chancers to have a dip - you just never know, you just never fuckin' know!
PIG - SMALL MAN, BIG MOUTH
I get some CD's through the old post and am left utterly dumbfounded. This small hallucinogenic t piece of experimental titillation has had just such an effect. Purely an elusive snake in the much smoked grass this obscure effort is tricky stuff indeed for a spiked and disliked cunt to grasp. The creator, a man named Pig, comes at ya with full punk credentials in tact and the fact that he approaches the world of sound in his own style is fully admirable and spot on the rock and roll ethos. This dreaming un-scheming collection is natural, without fuss and 100% DIY and that is why it has been given my time of day. Add to this the fact that I like Pig’s attitude and genuinely friendly character and I have stuck with this over quite a few months now. Look, this is purely out of my sound range and isn't my type of toneage but there ain't nothing like a challenge, so here I go.
'In The Garden' begins with a sub-voodoo methodology before oriental cymbals break the curse. Vocally a creeping essence is added and we have a number that is chilled, unthrilled and very much one for the 'green' room. Melodic flowers sway under a breeze that is doped, verdant vocal grasses whisper, succulent strings of persuasion work under time rather than use forceful energy. The best way to take this sonic compost is in small heaps in a personal oasis where all that grows flourishes. Between spadefuls of punk energy this one can find a place if you will but try. 'Sin Is Star' hangs around in the shadows, is dragged forth via cybertronic hands and taken on a brief ghostly journey where mutterings unsettle and create confusion. The first strum of the guitar clears the air and we can move on. More snatches of singing before an electronic breakdown is had and a minor upheaval disjoints the flow. A pulse flat-lines, a few more tangents are taken and the end sidles in. Crystallisation soon follows as a frostiness invades via a continuing lack of pace with 'Brother Chaos' nicely passed forth with bubble-wrapped security. Unsure steps are taken before a delicate ditty is given with a slightly extra salting of rhythm and melody. An awareness of the past is present, a seemingly panging heart wants to rebel further and a stance against the norm seems to underlay the whole cruising carpet. I may be way off the mark but this is my favourite piece of the lot.
'The March' begins with slightly squelched guitars which are borne against a backdrop of droning and moaning before a sub-narrated/stated/sedated donation is given. This acoustic house is haunted and not one I can really get spooked by. I persist and do not resist but my nerves of noise are not prickled and yet when I run out of the doors the Crassite chant nearly has me re-entering. Perhaps not! 'Glesopolis (The Future Slums Of Glasgow' is the most fragile article revealed thus far and isn't too bad. A prediction, a pure snipe at this ever changing world from oasis to horror - the journey here is a brief one and as I twaddle around in this garden of sound I feel relaxed yet on my toes. Still undecided towards the latter end a thrown brick at the windows of the aforementioned abode is the only option and I soon piss off into the distance.
A tough one out of my usual range and I am happy to leave it at that. Full marks to Pig for abandoning all band wagons and not jumping in line with any organised troop. Is this punk, is it overly chilled, does it really matter? Hash heads seek and ye may find - others - well once more we all have choices don't we?
ETTIN - RISE YOURSELF
I hate quoting others but Do the Dog's assumption of this album isn't far wrong - 'Beautifully crafted uplifting anthems straight from the heart that will put a smile on your face & a spring in your step. A great mix up of up tempo ska & more chilled out reggae & dub that is underpinned by dreamy soulful female vocals'. I could very well leave the review there but that would be nothing less than idle so I'll try and have a go myself.
Plucky guitars that are slightly funked open up 'Allright' before a meandering lazed up sax moves on in. A slightly jived vocal approach also joins in the 'chillin' out' ambience and a slow, slightly undulating approach is captured. No perspiration appears although an inner sun shines bright and has plenty of sultry heat. A certain carefulness is gratifying and due to the band finding a style and studiously sticking to it the first opening number pleases. 'To Waste' has slightly more bounce and pleasurable energy. The vocalist has a range of timbre that is well suited to this melodic mode and the output is enhanced as a result. This is a good invigorating number and the musical massage is soothing rather than overly enthusiastic. The main muscles of the song are toned and well flexed and no strain is evident as the moderate work-out is effective without affect.
'Coma' is seriously poured out and is an iced dude moment to relish. Professional, filled with subtle touches to admire and with an extra insistence that does nothing less than magnetize ones attention to the player’s abilities this is one of the choicest moments of the CD. There is a thread within the weave one can't let go of and no matter how much one pulls the cacophonic carpet stays together and covers any critical floorboards I could, or could not, uncover. Good one! 'I Know Me' ups the tempo, or so I am led to believe. A hustling start switches into a laid back mode that is only brief and the more likeable drive is re-adopted. When the band goes for a full swing a higher success is had and one can really go with the flow. For some reason this is good 'housework' music and whilst dusting, polishing and doing the dishes this is mighty fine material. Yes I know - Fungalpunk doing the chores, what a twat - hey it's punk rock and if you are going to it then do it to some good sounds people. Ok the music here ain't punk but if it gets me getting a better shine on me cups and saucers then so be it ha, ha!
'Long Time' has calypsoed overtones and brings many a warm ray to one's agreeing pulse. Easy to digest without being sickeningly sweet and spitefully sour this output is a good escape from the usual punk fields where I graze. More skank is obvious but the main thrust is still tender and still trickles forth rather than unnecessarily gushing out its contents. The pace is oh so increased with the 'shake down' inclusion adequately positioned and all is well thought of from old Fungal here! 'Feed Me' begins with string work of an easy temperament. The mood that follows is of the same thread and something that is utterly soothing comes our way. I feel as though I am getting to grips with the whole ethos of the CD and am more than a little sure that no thrashing guitars, raised raucous voices and ravaged drums will be making an appearance soon. Normally I would feel a little unsettled by this but this music has a deep-rooted charm and although of course I am a bugger for the nastier noises out there I'd be crooked in the extreme not to appreciate this. Almost a lullaby at this point and the impending slumber will most definitely be comforting.
'Let’s Sit' is restless and has a threat that one just can't grasp. The build up in tempo is warming and played to a tight standard and with the predicted exactness. The mellowness comes with a creamy sonica that is in accordance with the entire acoustic outburst. The running time suits my levels of patience and so I fail once more to reveal a niggle. 'Get Some Rest' takes us back to dozy land before pulling back the rhythmic sheets and bouncing on the bed of sound. The vocalist retains the polished performance and adds a subtle flourish of desire within the oral weave and so encourages the song along a merry path to enjoy. Perhaps not the most instant hit but just give it a little time and play alongside something more soured to highlight the somewhat saccharined edge a little more. The last three tunes are of the same ilk so rather than labour on I'll be a trifle terse if ya don't mind. 'Try To Pretend' is soulful and has a fair bit of nifty zip in the inflection that magnetises my favour but 'Getting It Right' has a funky swing that occasionally seems to get distracted and loses itself a little. Well produced but a little wayward for me whereas the final outburst entitled 'Get Up' sneaks in with bassism before a sensual snake-ist wind is taken. A faltering, too many moments pondering, and I feel the finale isn't up to expectations but at least it doesn't last too long.
So despite the final flop this ain't bad if you like to cool on down with a band who certainly know how to keep it laid back. You know me, I like it nasty but I would highly recommend this one and so please see for yourself and make thy own decision. Everyone's music collection needs diversity and from a passionate punker to the other spiked buggers out there I suggest you reach out and partake. Sound is varied and your tastes should match too!
THE BAKESEYS - SELF TITLED
Was this the first Do The Dog release? I think it could be so and this helps me inch closer to completing the entire collection and satisfying my desire to do a small service to a fantastic label. The man who runs the label is also a member of this band and so cringing in fear of a blasting in case I over criticise, yet fully focussed on being honest, I hit the keyboard and rattle forth the following overview.
'Sex Freaks' is far from a decadent and dirty number and stays on the decent side with a retro feel that remains innocent and clean as regards the sonic output. Lyrically it is a different matter with a certain splashing of spite and unhealthy desperation. The keys come forth as a prominent factor and have a club-nite feel from days of yore. Vocally the hygienic edge is maintained and guitars and drums stay within their own zones and give all other areas necessary exposure. Several waves of ska are apparent and there is plenty of bounce in this one to insist that further tracks be examined. A decent enough opener without being vulgar and over-suggestive - what next I wonder? 'The Lick' is in fact my favourite track as these Newbury noodles slip into jig and jive mode. Slick key work, juiced up and eager vocals and equally effervescent strings and drums complete the simplistic song that this is and make it a true triumphant tune. No need at all for over-investigation - the effort is exposed from the start and is nothing too profound to ponder. 'Looking For Love' upholds the great start so far with another feisty number filled with dance-inciting notes. From the jingly opening that builds with a stick and tub roll through the aerated and crystal clear verses to the slightly moody chorus an inflection of zested belief is had and so The Bakesey's draw you in and insist on holding on. The pace is apt and injects noisy nutrients into any doubting body parts and so an applaudable end song is had with a full twitching body to boot.
'Life So Tuff' is a dude with attitude and has a swagger in the style that makes for a different journey. Almost sub-commentary with an added documentary style coldness that remains involved but somehow at a distance. It works and that's all it needs to do - make of this almost eerie cut what you will. 'Confused' funks it up with a twanged bass before a gloried ebony and ivory tinkle hits us full in the face. Certain hidden shackles are thrown off and a ping is taken with simple success. This isn't rocket science but it is effective retro ska played with a fine feel and an obvious belief that forces attention from the listener and consequently great interest. 'Open All Hours' is an odd little bugger and is sung with such an utter robotic frostiness that one is instantly on the back foot as regards the general essence poured from the speakers. The shuffle is driving, the inflection, as said, automated, the production more than helpful but...is it a winning number? Well as far as slotting in to this collection of skank goes it certainly triumphs but as a stand alone what would I think? Leave it with me will you and we shall reconsider later!
'Animated Violence' starts with a tacky joke and sets sail on slow rolling waves of rhythm. The drumming seemed diseased with narcoleptic filth and seems liable to drift off completely with no hope of rescue. The vocals are doped and the rest of the players seemed drenched in opiate idleness and yet...this is a fuckin' likeable number that stands out with the best on this cultured CD. The voyage is settled, consistent and done in a sunset of sonic colours one will find most pleasurable. Jump aboard and savour says Captain Fungal and believe me when I say lifeboats are certainly not needed. 'Days Gone By' contrasts with the aforementioned melodic mood by taking us to fresher waters where everything ripples and rocks with sun-kissed beauty. The Bakesey’s are in their most productive zone and play it for all its worth. Realistic, sobered and played with articulate artistry the band combine well here but retain the innocence that underlies everything this crew construct.
The final pair begin with the delightful 'Grass Is Greener' with yet more old time salt and pepper added to the tuneful chips this lot are happy to sizzle up. With one eye looking over to pastures new and one looking at where one stands this ditty transcends a fair time scale and is a small tasty treat before the finale of 'Life So Dub' mellows us down and creates a smoky dope up which gives me similar feelings as to what I had with ‘Life So Tuff'. Having said that I do find myself singing along to this when in the most obscure of places so I guess that is the sign of something successful at least. Again I am unsure but hey that's reviewing people.
So 10 tracks and with a gentle variation in style and with a very big attraction factor. I like this crew and what they do and of course coming via a great label via a dude who knows his skanking onions I remain intrigued. If, like me, you are quite taken with all things DTD then this is essential listening and so are many other CD's from the cacophonic kennel. Go on give it a try and igf ya don’t like it e-mail me and explain why – I take all the blame! Oh just to add ‘Open All Hours’ ain’t half bad after all!
THE BULLET KINGS - WASTELANDS EP
In this section of CD reviews this is the 500th effort I have had the pleasure of writing and it is more than appropriate that it is for the most reviewed outfit The Bullet Kings. As ye may know this is another of Mr Carl Arnfield's bands and without doubt more of this dudes material has been reviewed on this site than anybody else’s. The man sets a fast pace and that is the only way to do it - if you can't keep up or despise him for being so productive then move on faster or go suck your own genitals is the message respectively. So what can we expect from the BK boys this time around - a surprise for sure and some usual meaty noise as expected. So let's assess shall we?
With a grim reality the main order of the day the usual side dish of persistent melody is always apparent and such is the case with the hard-hitting 'Broken England'. The shit-hole we call home is given another roasting here by these burly blokes who keep it to the point and without much fuss. Short semi-epileptic strokes build into the main riff and the first verse is delivered with frontman Wilfredo as grubby, natural and angry as ever. The merge from verse to chorus is vague and that is a sign of a band running the engine with top class acoustic oil that has no need to find time to pause. A concrete song that slightly eases up during a tribal chant that gives all room for respite. The finishing drive is consistent and gasping for air we head into the equally effective 'Godforsaken Town'. The impetus is fluid and The Bullets Kings are creating liquid noise without too much effort. Subdued strings and pulsing drums pupate into a recognisable surge before your friendly neighbourhood fatman at the front barks out the lyrics. The chorus here is an essay of simplicity and does nothing out of the ordinary. The fact of the matter though is that it doesn't have to - the whole song works a treat and this convinces me why I am a BK fan. The wind up at the end flashes by and is full stopped by a screwed whine of guitar and the job is done. By the way, even though I am a fan of this band they do throw up the odd turkey turd as far as I am concerned but that's a personal opinion and hey 'what band doesn't' be honest now - I know its hard but please do try!
So 2 crackers done and now into 'live' mode. Many a band can derail themselves during this method due to sub-standard production and a lack of general talent. The Bullet Kings pull off two favourites here namely 'Terror Holiday' and 'Meltdown'. Both have warning, both seem laden with doom but both are uplifting tracks for the punk who wants to pogo. The fire in the belly is captured during both recordings and a rugged grit is achieved which I feel is a vital element of all punk rock 'live' releases. Of the two I have no favourite as the tracks are equal giants that get on with the task and blaze a trail. You really should get into this talented trio you know - solid stuff and one must wonder why the band are overlooked and not given better slots.
As if reinforcing my belief in the band what comes next is unexpected, totally risky and nothing short of superb. 'My Country' is stripped bare, given an acoustic makeover and delivered with surprising effect. Two roads run in conjunction - one smooth with tuneful tarmac and very gently applied whereas the other is a rough and dirty gravel route filled with potholes and juddering undulations and it seems, thrown down with unaffected abandon. Both roads work side by side and never drift apart which is a baffling triumph and one I cannot fathom. Totally convincing this is a Song of the Month on my site for sure. If nothing else - pick up this CD for this one track alone.
So 5 more BK bangers and all sizzling with sincerity. Come on cunts wake up and check this lot out. Your attention is long overdue.