FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 53
THE ADJUSTERS - WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME
When I think about it if I had to pick out a few bands on the current circuit of noise whom look the part, play the part and have the potential to be the part (whatever the darn ‘part is) the Adjusters would surely be in the bag of choices. I first clapped eyes and lugs on these sleazy sub-glammed dudes about 3 years back when they were out there, full of cocky confidence trying to make a few inroads in the saturated sonic shit heap. I was more than a little taken and appreciated the effort they had made both with ‘the look’ and the musical constructions they so eagerly played. The tunes were highly catchy, filled with a 60’s Stoned up essence and with a lot more forethought than many other crews out there. Things have moved on and after a few more viewings I am even more convinced that this band are the ‘real McCoy’ and do have an outsider’s chance of actually making this into a career move. The fact that the punk rock pit and all its liberated ethics has helped them get gigs and let them slip onto gigs that aren’t primarily in keeping with the crews sound is much to the scenes credit and the fact that the band have got off their arses and jumped into these dubious pools of cacophony is very much a plus for these aspiring ‘erberts.
So what have we here then? 2 songs done in traditional nay nostalgic style with an A and B side flip and in a good old picture sleeve. For me a double A-side is how I’d deem this little offering as both tracks continue to share the Adjusting flavour and show how the band are progressing and keeping the melodies infectious and of ‘their style’.
‘Wrong Place, Wrong Time’ uses a simple repeat formula and builds up to the first chorus attack before slipping into the slightly snotted, attitude laden first verse where, as I predicted and am pleased to do so, the band thrive. A swagger, a semi-insolence, a determined drive to keep the melody delightful. From the first play the song is in your head and an appreciation can be had of each individual player as they are given their own area in which to shine but are held together with a solid tightness and unity of cause. Numerous comparisons can be made so I won’t bother – this is good stuff oozing professionalism and very much a treat for a variety of musical genres – adjust thy ears and tune in dudes.
‘You Gotta Say’ suggest even more influences but again you can stick em’ and I’ll concentrate on the band thank you very fuckin’ much! Slower, keyed and confident this is my preferred bitch from these two sonic sisters and the one I take more delight in musically copulating with. A thoughtful caress of studied tuneage with a spot on production capturing melodic aromas from several eras. Subtle tinges of blue streak tinge the whole delivery and in truth, you’ll do well to remain indifferent to this. A sweet song and one to slip in between the buttocks of perilous punkage.
So what can I add – two songs from a very good band and I reckons the next two years are of the most vital importance to this lot and when big opportunities may just well appear. Get yer hands ready lads and grab, grab, grab! In the meantime punters – get this and support, support, support! It ain’t rocket science but then what is apart from er rocket science?
OIZ II MEN - DEMO
And I doth quote:- 'OiZ II Men started when a group of like-minded individuals decided to make truly unshite music, or was it cos it was more fun than drinking and not playing music? Can't remember either way' - end quote! Well if you are expecting anything more than rough house shit played with passion and full on balls bared punk spirit you'd better fuck off and look elsewhere. Unapologetic outpourings from the gutter here and nowt wrong with that. Everything about this 5 tracker says 'no' but in true underdog fashion it also barks 'yes' (in a woofish kind of way). Without further fannying about...
'Beer Street' is a pisspot shoutabout that jars the bones with a drilling opening sequence loaded with rough edged and rusted bullets. We are peppered with the sonic slam prior to the main meat of the song splitting open and taking us forth into a mouthy number. This takes one or two listens to acclimatise to but once you are in the groove the band will grab you by the balls and force you along. The wind down chant of 'We love beer' will please the more advanced swillers amongst us with the corroded mess of a noise liable to please the ardent punk rock connoisseur. A very grimy and gratifying opener with emphasis on a shitty production that just does enough. Yeah - punk as fuck for sure!
The beautifully entitled 'Ready Assaulted Wankers' plays it cool with cute westernised guitar and ramming 'ooomphs' loaded with intent. The first verse arrogantly swaggers forth with venom and obnoxious acoustic arses bared. The chorus is stated and short and the song comes across as a composite of basic bones smeared in shit and made with attention to sonic horror. I like the attitude and the general saturation of the aural ocean and so am quite happy to give a nod of acceptance. 'Job Done' rumbles heavy with bloated bass before a lunatic screwed guitar twists and turns into your brain with pressured drums and vicious vocals for company. Nasty and potent with a rally against the long haired brigade sonically sincere, the push here is hard and thoroughly attractive to my sodden lugs of racket. How will this transfer to the 'live' cesspool - I best find out hadn't I?
'Movie Song' is perhaps the most 'decent' song thus far but holds on to the rancid output with both warted hands. The only gripe with this one is there is an indistinct area between what is verse and what is chorus. Just one rally charge that is OK but just not in the same putrid pedigree as what has passed thus far. One I can take or leave to be truthful whereas the final blast of 'The Bottle Is The Message' is one I can definitely take. Reminiscent of the magnificent Asezawallas this is a fair wall of noise that doesn't let go of that important melodic streak whilst still hammering you to the floor. Guitar is fuzzed and tweaked, gobs work in glorious unison, drums splash and keep order, bass grumbles with glee - the end result is spot fuckin' on.
So 5 tracks, 4 outright successes and one dubious dick but all in all a right old punk piece of shiny shite. And to think on the first few spins I thought I'd got a turkey on me hands - just shows that ye should never judge a noise on just a few rotations. Play on, uncover and then make a judgement - get this and give me your verdict!
SKUDPUPPETZ - PATRIOTS, PIRATES AND PISSHEADS
From Glasgow comes a harsh punk rock sound that is typical of the northern noise and as way of introduction here is the biography from Facebook:- 'One day we all happened upon a giant liquid chrome sphere, stabilised by some sort of slightly volatile magnetic field. Its mystery and danger seemed so promising. We all decided to jump into the sphere at once. Indoctrinated, we were forced to pump.' Convinced? Well as regards the mental instability I am sure you are but what about the sonic output? Are these cunts for real or just a bunch of talkers - here's the Fungal low-down.
Take cover, attack, attack, attack! A build up in tension after the warning and 'Devilstick' is the first bombed to be dropped. Hard-edged, flying wayward with razored string strokes, shouted with utter abandon, dealt forth with determined lunacy. Between initial yells the drums seizure with life before a strung out strait jacket begins a rush that is more orderly. Chaos soon takes over and we are back into the headlong stampede. Exciting to say the least with some solid moments to chant with. No messing and into 'Voiceless Dropout' we go with a sub-skank punctuated noise following on from deliberate opening strum session. Something similar to a Dropkick chant is had and the song shows solid progression and punk insight. The players are well separated but in unifying cohesion, the raucous levels are kept to a winning level without becoming dividing and the production compliments what the band does exactly. 'No More Lies' is almost similar is stance with great sing-a-long moments, a neat mix and plenty of clout in the cacophony. There is a regular consistency in the riffage and although with pedal pressed hard to the floor the band never lose control and make a most rewarding end punk painting. No shit taken, no tricks swallowed - a good rebellious piece to raise yer punk hackles.
'Bawjaw Bumbeard' pulls into port with pissed up pirates everywhere shimmying along the gangplank and dropping off the end into the dark depths of boozy noise one can't help but adore. Everyone knows the opening tune, everyone wants to dance before a '1, 2, 3, 4' takes us into the main battle with cutlasses flashing and beards swinging. You got to drink heavy to this one and just let yerself go - powerful, intoxicating and keeps the CD intriguing. 'Go Forth And Multiply' doesn't hold back and is a full on tilt filled with speed merchant love and urgency. One for the thrash and smash 'erberts who like a good mincing tune to whizz along with. Even though the energy is at a high output rate the band still grasp onto coherence in some part and that makes the tune better than what one could deem it. Nice work dudes! 'Tam The Brick' is more of the same with a more drilled delivery that drips hardcore incessance, metal overtones, mad ass thrashiness. Not as melodic as previous tracks but at this stage it is exactly what is needed so as to tear up the handbook of predictability and so keep the listener on the edge. Not too bad although my least favoured dumpling in this tasty sonic stew thus far.
'Ska Song' doesn't do what it says on the tin and bursts in with almighty rage. Hold on a minute...ah now comes the skank and although strong and feisty the upstroked guitar noise is as stated and breaks up the roughed up chorus with zeal. A nice contrasting number shedding several skins of sonica and coming out as quite an admirable creature. An abundance of anger and spirit is within the mix and the final tumult of unleashed racket closes a solid offering. 'Political Dystopia' rides on skins and occasional strums before developing into the most progressive song of the entire CD. A great streaming current, a nervous energy abounds and the skatted and twatted entities combine and create an erudite punk spillage mixing deliberate thought and restrained rage. Bang on this one for sure!
'Soundtrack To My Life' is a fine old track that finds focus, gets its eyes on the finish line and just goes for it. A great opening guitar shuffle cum scuffle is accentuated with bold strokes and splashes before the main detail is added. Somewhat reminiscent of The Restarts, slightly tinted with acute temperament but overlaid with pride. The main winning element of this one is the glorifying punk rock flavour which won't be controlled, won't be told what to do and is brimming with 'fuck you' spite. A great moment on this raucous CD with speed and spittle maintained via the following racket called 'Seek, Destroy'. The noise is once more torn and tattered with the Skudpuppetz sonic sewing machine trying its best to create some sort of uniformity. What we get is a cloak of grime adorned with a patchwork of passion filled with 'anti, anti' statements and finished off with many deliberate frayed edges. The badges of violent bass attract initial attention but the main flowing rag is the key attraction and the band wear it with confidence. 'You're Bullshit' adopts a routine riff that punk rock scummers should delight in. A hesitation, a screech, a hardcore slam-along and then melting mush aggression we are all too familiar with. From the 14 tracks this is the one that doesn't sit well in my self-made musical parlour and rather than find favour next to the fireside flames this one sits in the corner and pisses itself. Saying that, I do love the skanky wanky segment and just wish the dog in question would have licked its own balls a little more with this mode in mind. A Heinz 57 mongrel that I feel unsure about - never mind. 'Hoots Mon' is familiar Scottish lunacy and is a fun jaunt to reel around to when more than a little sozzled. Impetus picks up, froth increases and down we fall with a smile on our ruddy faces.
'The Warrior' weaves its way in and pummels away with occasional blue light assistance. The 4 shouts of 'Hey' encourage inclusion and that is what the band thoroughly deserve. Hard travelling and with bluster this one nails it and rams its fist into your suet midriff without thought. With a tight execution and the larynx lasered I find this to be the Skudz at their most dangerous and tap the keys with glee whilst assessing the acoustica. The closure comes with a footy style riot named 'Scotland The Brave' and is a fine old tear up to end with. Not much to add at this stage and my message is ‘let it all hang out and pogo ya buggers’.
So the Skudpuppet dudes have come, impressed and helped me enjoy scribbling a good review which will hopefully encourage you to check em' out. Noisy bastards, full of frustration - help em' along will ya.
FUCK CORPORATE WANK COMPILATION - VOLUME 1
Read this:- 'Fuck Corporate Wank is a DIY compilation from the punk/hardcore community to promote solidarity with the people of Haiti, one of the poorest nations in the world that was further devastated by the recent earthquake. With more than 70 DIY bands from around the world taking part, we've split FCW into 3 volumes, the proceeds of which will be donated to Doctors Without Borders'. Admirable shit indeed and this is Fungal's take on the first release dudes.
We open with a slow smooth mix that has an aching heart, a drifting soulful mood, a strong resistant pride and an overall beautifully textured feel that although may not be the expected punk opening is more than appropriate, has true sentiments and is one up for the whole series in general. Tawk offer us 'I'm Haiti' and win in tremendous style with a sub-melodic monologue of the disaster that sets the scene exactly. Next we have the bizarre haunting creation entitled 'The Shared Symphony Of AWAHJD' the soundtrack for Fuck Corporate Wank. On the edge, unpredictable, sincerely strange and equally cursed this is a brave inclusion but somehow follows on from the opening track with complimentary confusion. The question is raised of 'What the fuck am I listening to?' with the answer being 'Who knows but its right'. You listen to this and take it as you will and make your own verdict!
And so into the main meat of the CD where I am more comfortable and alas more confident. 'Burnt Cross' give us the first encrusted delivery and come up triumphant in all their Crassite, spirit burning bright glory. Guided along with intent and exact focus with a grind in mind to find your retro anti soul and ignite it into action. The music is stripped bare and built up in neat layers although still kept fairly naked with the vocals added to give defiance, spite and darn fuckin' fury. Talkin' of fury...Fed Up blaze a whole trail of the said emotion and come up with a 1 minute 33 second blast that is uncontrollable, full of speed, terse punk annoyance and unwavering in its intent. The bass and whinge that opens 'Bleak Reality' falls away beneath a torrent of wild punkage and if this is your mode of mayhem then just fuckin' go for it.
'Black Skull Squadron' pile on an intense bag full of pressure via the persistent hammering that is 'Share The Shame'. Relentless, all areas stretched to the limit and with a noise best played loud this sticks to the pre-written formula, takes no real risks and as a result is just a regular cacophonous racket that has no flaws, no highs but is a one solid slam. Gallery build up their 'House Of Cards' with raw wired up energy and full on hardcore thrashiness. It is a well produced piece for this kind of punk puke but goes on way too long I feel and so loses its initial edge and leaves me with little favour at about 2 minutes in. As always my hardcore needs to be served swiftly and this isn't and so a dish that starts hot cools remarkably and the plus becomes a negative. This again is my personal preference and if the song were timed at around the said 2 minute mark my view would undoubtedly be different. 'Defekt' get all 'Politika' with a semi-metallic bass bringing in an abrasive thrust that once more stays within the straight and narrow confines of the crustoid scene. Guitars buzz, drums remain constant, the gob is slightly grimy but holds on to some clarity which is a saving grace. You know what you get with this one whereas Active Slaughter begin with a vein that may bleed something different. Alas it doesn't and the virulent expulsion that pours forth (known as 'Chernobyl' by the way) is in accordance with this collection in general. The song changes direction slightly throughout the rant and has a fair exposure of guts to attract the lovers of the passionate. This crew are straight out of a sonic stable where many similar bands chew the cud and who am I to slam the barn door. Again nothing outrageous but nothing desperately dull either.
Filthy Charity adopt a difference stance to the recent noise-makers and go for the thrash and smash dark deviancy that divides opinion everywhere it is heard. 'USA' is incoherent, bassed up, toxic and in the Disorder mould of things. For me this is OK as a one off but if the band do this full time then my curiosity is non-existent. Just rising above this ruthless discordance is 'Feel The Pain' by Antabus. The terse approach is applauded, the eagerness untamed, the end opinion from me of a polluted piss-hole in the sonic snow - well someone has to.
AUK up the stakes with the mushing, hard compressed number entitled 'Where Are Your Gods'. A good skip in the underlying vibe is taken with a slightly submersed end production this time adding character. Unwashed, unsettled but not fuckin' unsure - good un'. 'For Fucksake' tub thump forth with strong bass opening doors for a bitched up onslaught of beautifully frustrated levels. 'Seize Fate By The Throat' is a massive song that mixes uncontrollable she-angst with unified chorus shouts amidst a battlefield of sound. The lady with the temper triumphs most though and this screaming whore of hell will not be stopped and drives this song to its full potential. Crackin' effort and pursued the rapid-fire blitz entitled 'Schuld' by Audio Kollaps. Total demonic hardcore but this time hitting the right aggressive areas with granite fists flying. Unashamed full on madness and positioned ideally between the latter track and the following giant known as 'Smash The NWO' by the mighty Global Parasite. I have always been a keen fan of this crew and this is one of their songs to use as a reason why. Lots of energy, pure spleen venting, great power - the wind up to the sublimely effective finale is outrageously stunning with even the most indifferent heads liable to melt to this one. Fuck off!
Orchard Of The Living keep things well scummed over with the algal poison that is 'It's All Wrong'. Dependent on deep toneage, seemingly unsure of it's own virulence this somewhat sombre piece aches to explode and kick into action but keeps veering off course on unsteady sonic shoes and so leaves me on the wrong side of favour. Dead Subverts however give me no choice whatsoever and have me relishing every nasty blast they puke forth. Frontman Pete (a poisoned Sick Monkey) is at his most livid and questions what indeed is done 'In The Name Of Art'. A blinding piece of seething hate that tears off yer acoustic undies, shits inside em' and puts them straight on your scrambled head. This song highlights how fury should be dealt forth and explains why all angry crustulence doesn't make the grade with my lugs. When it’s this good it is marvellous and is a standard many try to attain but fall desperately short of. A great band for sure!
Deadfuck have a nasty name and a nasty noise to boot. 'Border Town' is totally under-produced and skids along on stained highways that lead to their own form of hell. In parts all control is lost and this between bouts of spoken ravings does work and just gets by as a result. Poster ITI offer 'Bombs Are Coming' and indeed they do as the song explodes in. Bass takes over, hard worked guitars and drums rush with the vocals added creating something similar to a sub-Exploited outpouring. Warehouse rock with the finished package falling apart and with the contents spilling out all over the litter-strewn floor - you get my drift don't ya. Per Capita fear being 'Erased By Authority' and enter on shadowland sounds before tearing themselves a new arse with utterly scorched vocals leading a crunching level of spillage that hurts. This loud lettuce leaf will attract the sonic slugs from beneath their crummy stones and one can almost witness the punk/gastropod party in the garden of crust.
'Down To Kill' blaze away and say there is 'No Justice'. My response is 'what's new' and thoroughly apt it is. Run of the mill thrust or bust offal with expected guts bared and malignant maggots creating a further stink. You should now know the crack and what is coming forth. Not bad, not outstanding at this stage but a song to consider placing in the midst of less similar punkage. Oiiz To Men give a semi-chant entitled 'Fighty The Righty In Blighty' which is well delivered, riddled with misplaced attention and as blistered as you like. After recently reviewing a 5 track demo from these dudes I wanted a spoiled and soiled melody fest and that in some respects is what I got. A good band but I have heard better songs from em' which shouldn't mean you should disregard this one.
3 left and Krasskepala burst from the storm with the grinding breath that sears the spiked civilisation into submission. 'Napas Peradaban Yang Beracum' sets out to cause damage and does so with a brutal assault that bruises with unrelenting cruelty. Miseria follow with 'Chi Sara Il Prossimo' which is yet another hardcore battering in similar fashion to its predecessor and with full on rage top of the menu. This and the more subdued finale by Union Strike and their rank smelling 'Drop A Cop' are both drastically under produced and punctuate the final sentence with tentative effect. Both tracks are in keeping with the CD but a good explosive closure would have been better.
So that’s Volume 1 done folks and musically I am just won over whereas as far as the meaning and intent of this initial release goes then my full support is given. Go forth, spill yer cash and pick up a rousing 24 track effort that is really doing some good.
TOO MANY CROOKS - INSIDE
To stand out on a label that produces classy release after classy release would take some doing but I suppose someone has to. The label I talk of needs no mention but it does churn out some very impressive CD's. Too Many Crooks have 3 efforts on the said label and this is the third one for me to review. The other two are fuckin' choice and I hoped the standard would be upheld with this collection of 18 efforts but please understand my trepidation. Duff albums happen to the best of them and no matter what style, what skill, these discs of doom occur when one least expects so if this is the case at least I can't say I was unprepared. But....
Enough of this negative dilly-dallying - on to the review and good or bad you know what you'll get from the Mushie Man.
We are greeted with a 'Kiss' but alas we need to know if it is merely a cold peck on the arse of indifference or a full on snog on the melodic mouth of appreciation. Skanked guitar with slight rust opens the doorway into the main thrust of the first verse that is seeped in open clarity and mouth watering productive talent that at once gives us expectations of a classic. The emotions TMC seek are all found and this opening burst is a proud example of solid song writing, professional application and the ability to make intricate music but retain the simplistic rhythm and melody. The sensation within the wordage of a shunned lover now feeling scarred indifference is exact and the fact is we open in grand style a look for more of the same at track 2. ‘Salvation’ whistles in with a joyous effect and as the song progresses in delightful fashion we are given a celebration of the day to day lives of the familiar communities in which we dwell…or so it seems! Underlying the apparent glorious routine is a subtle rant against the ‘same old, same old’ and an unsettled vibe is uncovered. Despite the darker edge this is still a fuckin’ cracking number to enjoy and captures that ‘all is fine whilst my head is buried in the sand’ outlook this country adopts so darn well. The brass lifts the song to higher plateaus and top notch titbit number two is in the bag!
The brace of belters may be achieved and I wonder whether the triple will be mastered. ‘All Brand New’ starts in restrained style and trickles along with sobered sonica and I do worry if a duff duck is beginning to show the first crack (or quack) in the acoustic arse. Pleasant, with a seemingly cautious and worrisome edge, the song grows oh so slowly before a magnificent bloom opens from nowhere and radiates its innocent and deliciously attractive petals of noise with alarming class. Other subtle sonic flowers open before a veritable garden of pastel noise is had and a picture is painted with genuine artistry and insight. Listen to these first three tracks over and over and the more you do the more you will appreciate. Stunningly marvellous and further enhancing my belief that this is one of the best bands (if not the best) to grace the Do The Dog label!
'Trouble' produces nothing of the sort for this reviewer and is a pleasant cruise that combines the now wonderfully friendly instinctive noise of the band under the spotlight and the all too familiar vocals that win favour by the bucket load. A nifty chorus is mixed with a whispered chorus that ends in brassed delight before moving forward with silky attention. How much more praise can a band earn - read on and find out! Dirty subdued guitars commence 'Part Time Girl' before a repeat attack of the title strides in which in due course travels into the keen verse full of swiftly moving serpentine sonica. Accurately executed, relentless and refreshingly bright - come on dudes serve me up a dud to vary my textual meanderings. 'Tie Me Up' excites from the first stroke and the amazing start to this high class CD is just carried on and on with this fine outfit seemingly churning out crackerjack after crackerjack without even trying. Clever, annoying bastards is all I can say. The rhythm niggles one into movement, the whole song embraces the listener’s attention and yet again - oh fuck it you know the score. 'Something Happens' seems run of the mill music for this crew and I am thinking that what I am going to get is something and nothing which I can hopefully assess in a non-praiseworthy way. The verses seem settled with no risk taken but it is only when the more opened and spacious chorus is included do all facets truly shine and work away at my determination to find fault. Another one to the TMC outfit and Fungal is left on the ropes floundering for negative wordage. The way the band apply subtle emotive touches and mix old and new school ska is precious and I am hard pushed to bring to mind any band of this ilk to attain such standards. Yes it is that good and don't forget the other two albums I have reviewed of this crew have been highly recommended and this moves up another couple of rungs on the ladder of achievement with no perspiration on the brow.
Into 'Happy Song' we go and as a protest to the quality on offer I am not reviewing this one. In fact I should never have listened to it and just said 'shit song end of'. Ok I submit - this is a belting little ditty full of false happiness and cuckoo cacophony that borders on the restless and unsettled and one does wonder if a full on breakdown of noise is coming that will duly represent a mental state carefully tapped into. The band play it cute throughout and pull out a bag full of talented touches many bands could only wish to replicate. You won't need pills or ECT to get lifted by this and the joy will be genuine. 'Brazil' comes from a different galactic zone and computes forth with all musical equations unravelled. A serenade from the sands is built and gives flavours of an instrumental ideal for foreign shores on a planet far away. Slowly and steadily the song draws you in and creative wanderings are had with a soundtrack to assist in the pictorial panoramas. At 8 minutes 12 seconds one should walk away and say 'fuck it' but you won't. You'll be glued to the speaker enjoying the vibe, relishing the acoustic portraits painted within the vaults of your cerebral studio. The Whovian inside is tickled but the effects here aren't crude, aren't unnecessary but alas suggestive, unobtrusive and precise. Crafty stuff indeed!
'Inside' walks forth on stunning textures of chilled keys and haunted 'hums' with another prospect of a crackin' song on the cards. The two personas we are shown are neatly delivered via a drift that seems pained, cursed and at odds. The outside may all seem well and good but what lurks beneath is anguished, hurting and fully believable. Not the catchiest song, one you could easily overlook but perhaps the most vital song in the mix insomuch as it shows diversity, enables the band to display that they have many musical strings in their keen bow and is another example of a choice machine working at full tilt. 'Scream Like A Baby' is one of the albums highpoints and will leave you stunned at how a band capable of such utter brilliance can slip by unnoticed. To combine wordage of the day to day drudge with such an uplifting piece of noise is memorable and if any argument against this band was offered as regards their talent then this song (amongst many others) would be brought forth, played and duly used to blow away any negative points given. Massive, massive sonica - end of!
The next effort is an instrumental and has me pulling out my hair (what's left of it), twisting my knackers inside out and mentally straining at the bit whilst trying to recall what the fuck this tune was actually called in its original format. 'FBI' is a great 'get up and dance' number but what the hell is the source of the tune? Anyway just enjoy it - I certainly am. Moving on and 'Yesterday' is another gigantic pinnacle reached with light strings caressed alongside yearning crooning that maximises the potential of the song and lets you have it with utter sincerity. Undertones of 80's electronica survive beneath the gently swaying ocean of sub-acoustic rhythm with the whole movement hypnotic, in unison and full of weighted drive - a stunner! 'So Cold' is frosted with wintered key work before glistening brighter with an early morning sun aroused by the bands expertise. An odd instrumental moment but it fills a gap as they say. Oh just before the next song - step back a few paces and remember 'FBI' - think Hank Marvin and you won't be far off the trail - phew.
'New Killer Ska' is a new sounding groove filled with saxy swings and cool moves that hark back to yesteryear but keep it modern. The band do this so well and cross timescales with ease. Again a total instrumental piece that is spotless, invigorating and aching to be skanked to. 'Monkey Climb' is definitely old school and has the essence of all that is good of backstreet two-tone tuneage. Cheapened keys, accented, shuffling and with a fairground flavour that evokes visions of small dance floors filled with concentrating movers and shakers well into the vibe. A nice switch in style as is 'It's Monday' which is a funny old song that leaves me flat-footed as regards a description. Almost like a Too Many Crooks cover version or something that lacks the final touches and is a raw under-produced offering that has all the bands hallmarks but just isn't polished off. Maybe the weakest track and then again maybe not. It certainly isn't a duff do but just lacks something that I am struggling to fully pinpoint. The closure to this fantastic journey is the reggaefied voyage entitled 'Skabo'. Unexpected, dreamy and semi-dramatic and with no rush intended TMC keep you interested right up to the last sonic pulsation and I for one truly applaud them for it.
So 18 efforts and a collection to adore and play repeatedly. Many words can be used to assess this one but I'll pick one I only use on rare occasions - classic!
THE LEES - DON'T FUCK WITH THE LAW
Ex-Strait Jacket wearing lunatics come forth here as an acoustic duo and offer four songs to tickle thy appreciative ears with. Slightly disturbed, heavily melodic and with a winning, likeable aspect that is primarily based on having fun this is fair darn tootin' stuff and has me wonderin' what the future holds for this dabbling double act. I do need to find these fuckers a gig but with so many birds feeding from the fungal food table they have been on the pecking order for some time now - note to self - come on Fungal lad get it sorted!
We open here with a shuffling snippet of vicious vitriol as 'Don't Fuck With The Law' and the payback you'll get if you do comes at ya through seething gobs. The wrongdoings of the governing body on the beat and the crimes they seem to get away with is placed under scrutiny with a charming tune way out of keeping with the venom of the song. The fact is the whole effort is played well, delivered with expertise and is highly fuckin' catchy, something The Lees seem quite adept at pulling off. Next comes a song I have reviewed before and one which shows the crews damaged mental state and their views on the locomotive idiots we see on a train journey anywhere. 'Electric Oblong' is once again a top notch piece of infectious noise that has cute rhythm, moments of mania and even commentary on a 'man with sausages'. The strings strummed are kept crisp, the vocal tones varied and the drive persistent - this is a neatly wrapped song that travels on the derailed tracks of tuneage and you would be well advised to hop on board and enjoy the chug.
The mental trauma continues with 'Someone's Out To Get Me', a tale of cerebral agony where paranoia, suspicion and loss all combine to give a disturbed message alongside a chirpy tune. A bizarre combo but one that works. Gobs keep things clear, guitars are clean cut and lacking any dabbled corrosiveness and I find myself appreciating the third track in a row. The quartet of quality quirks is attained with 'In The 50's And 60's' which is a comfortably approachable track. Good tempo, again all areas nicely lucid, more pondering prose played with a relaxed style and nostalgic rose-coloured glasses are scratched as The Lees take an age old standpoint and put forth a question to consider. 'Eee by heck lad them were the days' - mmmm - I think not! So a decent enough track and in my humble and awkward opinion rounding off a good set of 4 in consistent style.
The Lees doth please and are a bit of a wheeze and if you like a bit of acoustic artistry with a bit of cute thought then have a probe in the rectal rhythm lounge of this two-pieced prong and see what you come out with - I bet it ain't shit!
ANGER WITHOUT REASON - THE BLOOD THAT FILLS THE GRAIL
Ok so I have reviewed 1 CD from this crew and a couple of 'live' performances. First 'in the flesh' viewing left me indifferent as did the CD assessment however after the last time I saw them play I was very much impressed by the power the band was producing and the bold aggressive songs they were pouring forth. When this CD dropped through the letter box I expected much and this my lousy friends is what I got.
'The Blood That Fills The Grail' rolls in on tidy drums and soon gets accompanied by decadent bassism that rumbles from the pits of bleak melody. The vocals are heavily gravelled, the strain of the song grim and grimy and this and all following tracks are anything but a happy experience. The drive is sub-death metal and not really punkoid and at such an early point I feel as though I am batting at an unfamiliar wicket. This song winds itself up in parts with twisted guitar and nerved up drum rolls but never really thrives. Sable shit man with apocalyptic clouds looming - what next I wonder? With a title of 'Night Black Wings' I can be forgiven for expecting more of the same and that folks is what I get. Almost biblically bloodied and as unsettled, foreboding and brooding as its predecessor this is a harsh listen with all wires tuned to create sonic shadows. Some good musicianship is revealed with a guitar solo operating well against the throbbing four string beast that seems to dominate all and sundry in this burdened landscape. Melodic-wise this doesn't offer any pleasantries and so if your mood is low I would suggest you have the razor nearby and finish the job you may be contemplating.
'Inside' takes time and then operates with the pressing plod now familiar and out of sync with the Fungal passion. Moments capture the attention only to let the rhythmic fingers relax and so our attention to fly free. It is more of the same and this completes a trio of tunes that I don't really like. If one song though has hit your musical soul then you will be at the opposite ends of my opinionated scale and be loving the lot. I'm moving on swiftly here so hang in or bail out at your leisure. 'Older' creates an eerie atmosphere and splashes down with occasional thuds of loaded oppression that demand attention. Picking up the tempo with screwed strings drifting in and out I find myself intrigued. A pause that is overly done and then the main cacophony swoops down to ensnare. Pace is moved up, the band attain a higher level of success and this is my most favoured track. At such a juncture it is vital to point out that I feel the production helps the bands cause in no way at all and seems counter productive and so dumbs down the obvious potential. I feel the band have more to offer (as when I saw them last) and yet are being held back by this DIY arrangement. Cash availability is a disease and I fully applaud the DIY approach but sometimes it falls on its arse and that is what is happening here - repeatedly. Still not too bad of an effort but loads of talent is being cloaked and it is rather frustrating.
'Shadows' has an intent to injure and create a malevolent, murderous noise. More lyrical content is draped in miserable loathsome robes of suffocating sable and any positivity one may feel is drowned almost instantly. Again the construction is accurate, the playing regular and tight but the end expulsion not to my liking and way too glum. Gently encrusted guitar opens 'No Right To Bear Arms' with similar tempo, similar flavour and similar emotions to all that has gone before. When the song explodes into action I feel more joy is had but these moments are brief yet they do combine well with the usual AWR mode. I like the wordage on this one though and so not a total thumbs down is given. Half and half I reckon but as I stated earlier it is all dependent on what rocks your boat and the end views on this one will be severed right down the central vein.
The closing 3 and no rise in the Fungal hope and credit is had. 'The Madness Inside' ponders, builds a stage, raises a slow curtain before a melodrama of misery is acted out. Too dawdling in truth but some success is salvaged as the atmosphere is held and musically the song remains consistent with its intent. 'Bleeding Heart' pulsates in then buzzes with staggered adrenalin. The vocals are as angry as ever and do their best with this song which seems tormented, unsure and yet not as bad as first imagined. Still the darkness oversees all that is plucked, fucked and twanged with a solo segment at odds with the rest of the rhythm. An indecisive piece that leads into the closure of 'Blood Reprisal'. This final numbers buzz-saws in, is crooked and almost without direction and leads us into the last bout of eternal silence with brief, wayward intent.
So 9 songs, 5 I don't really like, 3 I am undecided about and 1 that I feel is Ok. Totally and utterly out of my acoustic arena and one I just don't rate and have struggled to review. Look I could be a twat and harp on all night but I have given my explanation but it shouldn't stop you giving yours.
KERPLUNK - MEND YOUR WAYS
After Kerplunk's opening offering that dwelt in the cavernous sub-production world were many a player falls foul and doesn't come up smelling of spiked roses I wondered if Kerplunk would indeed 'Mend Their Ways'. I predicted that they would and the curve although not screwing immediately upwards would bend slowly and show growth aplenty for myself and many others to consider, applaud and fuckin' encourage. This second outburst is very much moving it on the right way and if the flow is of the same ilk in several years time then we are gonna be in for quite a treat.
'And The World Unites' reaches for a Utopian land were sense rules, racism and prejudice die and people actually get along. Ok you guessed it - it is all a dream but hey we all need to mentally wander off to greener lands and this in no way is a fault. Aim high as always dudes. Musically we edge in with tiptoed bass and interrupting drums before guitar sears and the whole song becomes alight. A speed surge and then a slight tumble away and the six strings groove it up. Stepping back the players let the cold vocals take centre stage before rejoining and making a solid noise. Tending towards the new school noise this is sounding better already with clarity and power balanced and each component showcased quite adequately. The mix in tempo is sweetly done although I would have preferred the pace to be consistently swift throughout I ain't offering an argument at this stage.
The corruption caused by the lure of the coin and the change of face brought about by celebrity status is dealt with in the resentful riot entitled 'The Great Publicity Stunt'. Orthodox and quick to start we are led into skankorama territory and then thrown into a pit of riffage where the song exposes the fact that Kerplunk are maturing at a admirable rate and really coming up with some interesting stuff. The previous track mixed pace as does this effort but I have to say this latter track succeeds a whole lot more due to a tangible certainty, a sure belief and directness that knows where it is going. Take note lads - when you go for something do it with utter determination and envision your goal. Best song on the CD and the louder the better! Cymbals are gently tapped, bass wiggles its hips and then we are pushed forth with insistence into the strong essence of 'Skanky Rat Bastards'. Several switches in style, an underlying 4 string heartbeat that gives life, some cock hard confidence and yet more faith in the fuckology and this supports the vibe given and offers new moves and grooves to appraise. It doesn't hit home immediately but it does eventually arrive on the cerebral doorstep and so my advice is to invite in the rhythm and share a cup of cacophonic tea.
Some whore, many a whore, every whore is given a message here via the sharp tongued 'A Nasty Eye' (non Japanese of course). Rattling along the band maintain the energy and within the weave is a great moment where strings and drums thrive and the vocalist is left to give out the statement of 'You're A Slut'. We chase down the final thrust with delight with a grunt, drum rolling racket and final flourish given before verbal swords are finally laid to rest. Acute acoustica opens 'Life's So Blue (Around You)' and then the staccato scuffle takes command. Spacious within the verse before more saturation is achieved via the chorus this ditty has sublime power and seems a trifle caged and not let fully loose. Tempers reach high in part but I definitely would have liked to see the band open up full tilt at this point and let musical fists fly. Nevertheless what we have is a bold, progressive noise with many musical moments that rock darn hard and yes 'let's keep having it'.
The closure is a wound up, somewhat repetitive chant-esque piece that serves its duty and delivers its own 'Manifesto' albeit without the bullshit. The vocals on this one are at their best and when pushed hard break up and do the business. The least variable song but effective nonetheless. A few practice grunts and Kerplunk leave us satisfied and curious as to what the future will bring for a band feeding on the noisy nutrients and ready to bloom into a highly scented outfit. We gotta provide the supportive sunshine and critically positive phosphates so get out yer idling green fingers and cultivate.
FROM THE CRADLE TO THE RAVE - NIGHTMARE ON WALL STREET
Hard to digest, thoroughly intense, schizophrenic to the highest degree and with an acoustic epileptic approach to bedazzle and frazzle the most observant of minds. Take your gushes and rushes aids, swallow your shape-shifting tabs of horror and then creep away, switch out the lights, absorb the darkness and bury yourself in this intoxicating mix of apocalyptic horror that is both elusive and incoherent yet frenzied, passionate and containing moments to relish. Here is my slant on this warped freak show where noise copulates without taking precautions against the all-consuming STI's (Sonically Transmitted Diseases) and now and again emits a foul septic essence many will need treatment for.
We begin with utterances of fear and foreboding before a breeze is caught, channelled and blown away with a striding delivery intent on taking away your soul. Dramatic and doom laden the advance of noise is convincing and we await the floodgates of the first assault to open. It comes, it doesn't hold back and we are left reeling pathetically wondering 'What's Wrong'. The 'All Seeing Eye' pounces on rappish edges with techno effect and stutters, surges, screeches and reaches - for nothing more than thy undying attention. Totally minced and mashed this hardcore approach will have many switching off straight away and equally as many intrigued. I am a nosey fucker for noise so count me in the latter category. The initial surge and following speedburst is cut in half by an instrumental sci-fi shakedown where even the automated may wake up. All is rattling loose but the question remains 'Are we being scrutinised', 'Do Our Shackles remain'? Not a bad opening effort and followed intently by the keen cut and computerised drive of 'The War Rages On'. An eerie commencement draped in atmospheric accoutrements gets all technological before becoming a shredded item of attire that displays many colours. Some schemes work, some clash but the effort is there and so one must take note. Heavily studded in parts with a nail gun tool this can excite and just does enough to scrape by without any real critique. 'Riot Shields' slows things up and adopts politika pose and raves against the racist disease in our society. A bit too mild for me and not enough clout in the mix which really doesn't suit this kind of digitised din. I like the flavour but not the racket it is mixed with - not my fault - blame my lugs.
'Death Throes' is another track I don't particularly care for as it is a buzzed up incoherent surge that doesn't expose itself enough and doesn't trance out like a good sonic trip should. Too similar to more hippy dope sounds that ravers will adore but punkers won't. Occasionally the song kicks itself up the arse and rattles the rhythmic ribs but then these moments are too brief and so I will be the same...and move quickly on. Sub gangsta rap will get no favour from me and the opening here is awful listening matter and I just can't wait for 'The Horror' to get shifting. It does and becomes a greater force and although a warped mess of anger and with vocals lost within the hell-hole the inflection is fine and the general outpouring apt. A regular tune adheres the main framework together and not a bad do is had. Perhaps it overdoes the running time but hey that's my punk spirit moaning again. 'Murdasound' cruises and slightly bruises but never lets go of its own created melody which could be a failing or a wining aspect. I am very unsure of this one and fail to fully embrace what the band are doing here. Again in parts the song works whereas in others it seems to be filling out its own space and I am left almost wordless. I could be a cunt and stick the boot in but no evidence is had to justify doing this and rather than criticise just for the sake of it I will ask you to make note and make up your own mind.
'Rally Up. Resist' ticks all crusted criteria whilst retaining the theme set. Two birds, one stone - the feathers may fly or the chirping chap may well fly off but this crew are trying. Perhaps the most experimental piece and the one that will be most debated. I can ensnare or let it go and it is all dependant on the mood I am in - see what ya think. 'On The Origin Of Species' points a finger at the creature known as 'man' and hammers home a misanthropic rant that hits true and gathers together all the positive points about this band. Fast, raging, unafraid and more pertinent, what unravels here is most accurate, most rewarding and the most punked. Of course dance/trance dabblings are never far away but the pillow of puke suffocates well this time around and more appeal to the Fungal factor is achieved. 'Punx Inna Jungle' is a tribute song to the late Pingu and the crew do him justice with a solid track of all the mush and mess that has gone before. Thoroughly in accordance with the vibe set, still experimenting and still unsettled - come on you know the score and if for no other reason than to remember a punk pirate please have a listen to this.
'Embers Of Parliament' starts with high orchestration, pulls back the curtains, arouses the pistons which duly start to pump and then...yeah you guessed it...more tense tirades against our governmental friends and their foul twisting ways. A good blast with intensity still at the max. If you have clung on thus far this ain't no bad way to finish and if you aren't satisfied you have an extra hidden track which I find too grandiose and self indulgent but it may be one to tickle your very own fancy.
So as may be more than apparent I have struggled in parts with this and yet in others have enjoyed it. Of this ilk I must make a due comparison to a crew called Cot Death who really did the business and got things more resounding and more tuneful in many respects. If you liked that effort you will most probably like this but I'm afraid I have partially found myself outside of the circle, but even so respect to the crew for pushing boundaries, testing different water and just getting up and having a go must be given. My advice would be to have a taste first and if it seems sweet enough then plunge straight in and invest and again...please let me know your thoughts! Buuuuuurp - see told you it was hard to digest!
THE KORSAKOFFS - SELF-TITLED
Of the Korsakoffs I knew nothing and that is sometimes the best way to go into a CD review. Having only a mere quintet of tracks to assess when dealing with a new band is considerably better than a full on swallow and so with the thirst raging the cacophonic cup was tilted and here is my take on what was poured forth.
‘Bring Me To My Knees’ takes its time on low charged guitar and slow paced drums before mentally ill keys play the fool and seem borne of 60’s experimental psychedelia where the spectrum swirled in unpredictable fashion. An injection of amphetamine energy brings the tempo to the boil and the caustic vocals join the mixture. Rough, incoherent and at first distasteful the recommendation is that you stick at this and with each sip the taste of this initial acoustic beverage will definitely improve. I am now on several glugs a day and am enjoying it more and more. The most acquired sound of the five-some but worthy of its place and perhaps more of a chaser than a main drink.
‘Deed Pap’ compliments the first glass of racket and continues in a somewhat similar thread. Female vocals are DIY, delivered via an unwashed vessel and please quite perfectly. A more regular offering the blend is more considered and so The Korsakoffs benefit a whole lot more. Downed in one the tip given is comfortable and therefore the smiles are all round. I like the amateur edge that prevails and to get it just right is no easy thing. ‘I Don’t Wanna Go’ is served when the mood is high and the upbeat smooth flowing liquidity of the song is what brings first appreciation. Several rounds later and the initial estimate is slightly out of sync and perhaps the ease of the delivery isn’t as first thought. Again all is done without polish but even so I find myself in full swing and enjoying the session. At 3 tracks in I am very much thinking this is a Fungalised band to savour and I head towards the last two sonic slurps with salivating lugs.
‘The Fixer’ is a more saturated mouthful and done with more unity and so what we have is a cocktail of components that creates a harder offering to assess. Several snifters and one finds the flow not as free but the approach still readily adequate. A reliable number that gets along with things and is an enjoyable top up to what has transpired thus far. The band offer something inoffensive and something with inklings of originality (as far as anything can be in this day and age) and so any critique would be harsh and duly unfounded. Usually when I do a review the CD is filed and I have to move on to the next ones in line so as to keep up with things. A true compliment is had when a CD stays in the listening heap and gets played many times immediately after the review. This is much the case here!
The closure comes with ‘You’re Alright’ a swirling go ahead number that is my favourite and is a good way to round off a decent tuneful tasting. Chopped, slopped and with the likeable female overtones this has punky effect, a kick in reserve and a sweet bouquet. A few dashes of something extra are thrown in and rather than be falsely spiked we are genuinely merry with the levels of input.
I am taken are you? This is a respectable effort all round and the many angles that this CD is poured from can only bode well for future blow-outs. If you want something easy to down than look no further and watch out for this crew in the ‘live’ pit. They may be worth a viewing or two…or three, four…you know how it is – always one more!