FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 55
U.K. SUBS - WORK IN PROGRESS
Need I take my time and introduce this band who I deem the most honest, hard-working punk rock band of all time and who have been at the top of my fave punk band tree since day 1. The journey has been long, dedicated and enjoyable and it is just tremendous for fans like myself when, after all these years, a new album is released and it is nothing less than fuckin' marvellous. As this unit (well primarily Charlie Harper and a bunch of merry men) work their way through the alphabet I can't help but admire this latest offering and the deep rooted flavours that are maintained as well as all the usual punk rock trimmings. With Charlie at the helm it would be severe bad luck indeed if SS Subs were to go astray and hit a critical iceberg and I am happy to say the band are still sailing strong and do it with such simplicity and remarkable effect. Right enough of my wafflings - anchors away...
The first wave that is created as port is left is the massive, all consuming sound entitled 'Creation'. I have been listening to this one for some time now as I have it on a solid 5 track release and it just really does improve with age. The opening drill is hard before Charlie joins in with stated warnings. A tub-thump and the main drive is at us with the Subs already baring sharpened teeth ready to tear your punk flesh apart. Outside the usual routine, angry and with a manic belief, this is a violent vortex you will do well not to get sucked into. Drums splatter, guitars works as a team with the six-string machine peeling away only to accentuate and dissect the main thrust. A mightily impressive opening. 'Tokyo Rose' is smoother and adopts a gentler approach. A tuneful tale adopting the more soulful side of the Subs with melody first and foremost and any thought of aggression left abandoned. This train of toneage is travelled quite ideally by the band and is found, more often than not, on all albums. I do have a preference for the crews harder side but as a fan can't help but like moments like this.
'Hell Is Other People' is restless and has the gob at the fore in typical sub-singing style. The waters are choppy, there is no time to find ones assessing feet and the rebellious substrate the song is built upon is never far away from being ripped up. Again all is not content and from that standpoint is where the Subs have always, and always will, thrive. The build up to the finale asks the question as to whether full chaos will ensue - control is held and we fade out with delight. 'The Axe' is orthodox fare with a few extra additions. The winning edge comes from the fact that the song is easily picked up, digested and not troubled over. A slower more considered number that will fail to raise the potentially pogoing feet but will encourage the head to nod in agreement. Its fine enough but nothing outrageous and perhaps is my least favoured track of the lot. See, being a fanatic of the band still doesn't stop me from being honest - its called real punk rock in case you were wondering - try it sometime suckers!
'Radio Unfriendly' is a class cut and harks back to songs borne of the 'Quintessential/Riot' double release when a new lease of life was found and this band decided to up the ante and roll out some genuine beauts. This promotes DIY and kicks the idling dross we hear on the airwaves well and truly into the bin. It is good to know the Paradise is still Burning with a scorching flame if ya get my drift. After the previous high I wonder where this CD can go next and find myself confronted by an unexpected giant. 'This Chaos' questions societies systematic tiers, the roles we find ourselves forced into and the general lie where disorder is palmed off as civilisation. The opening sequence is sublime and sets the stage before the initial shouts of 'Chaos' are had. The flow increases and this unit is operating with glory without even breaking sweat. Charlie questions, the crew offer negative answers and a solo ensues showing the progression that Jet has made and how he his now a settled member of the Subs Squad. Anyone doubting if the UK army had anything left in the tank need think again - its all there and not one fan of this lot will have any room for complaint.
Mr Gibbs of the four throbbing wires takes centre stage next and gives us an Urbanised Mongrel offering I have so much enjoyed especially from the classic album 'Wipe-out Beach'. Alvin likes to have an erudite angle and up the 'thinking' stakes. This one has a spiteful undercurrent and pokes and prods at the followers of the fakes where money is gained via the route of vulnerability. The cloaked crusaders who reel off their self-written drivel can almost be seen to squirm as AG snipes and rattles out this high quality ditty. Comfortable and punked - do ya need more? Pace kicks down with the next two with the grinding sub-sleaze of 'Eighteen Wheels' travelling hard and with a touch of Billy-o rock. The rubber burnt is deliberate and driven down a different road taken thus far and the change is indeed welcome. Westernised with sonic spurs glistening in the midday sun this is a song to cruise to and to drink yer liquor to boy. 'Children Of The Flood' is similarly paced but is altogether borne from a different rhythmic vagina. The initial embryo writhes with ecstatic guitar before becoming more controlled and of a more manageable state. This a modern day political outpouring asking what the fuck is going on as the world turns to liquid and the power mongers sail free with loaded pockets. The problem of overpopulation isn't avoided and a doom laden end result is had. I like the way this one provokes thought and as a lover of the natural world appreciate the intention. It is a good tune too – bonus!
'All Blurs Into One' is a classy affair that threatens to erupt and does its best to retain the classical approach and well constructed mode. A brief glimpse is given of a more inflammable episode before a guitar chops the song up and Harper mouths off with glory. The players back him and a genuinely exciting moment is found. Back to the initial routine and it is only a matter of time before the strings slice the thread and the title is given a repeat mode outburst. Magnificent as is the unexpected switch off and renewed spurt of life. An all round triumphant song and one to relish over and over (and over) again! 'Blood' drips to the floor with paranoia. The glossy sheen presented is stylised, grooved up and with a chorus that is seemingly stripped away in ever-enhancing layers. One you may overlook I reckon this - do so at your peril - the power may not be overtly apparent but its there in abundance my good punker.
'Rock N Roll Whore' is the sure-fire winner in the pack and is just one good jolly tune to get yer punk rocks off to (even if they are Chinese hint, hint). Easy listening and pure rhythmic spiky top tuneage with all the elements of the pick up and throw away culture so many of us appreciate. Anyone who loves this album will find no fault with this whatsoever and this kind of approachable noise will win much praise from the passing listening lug. Sweetly produced and dealing with those open-legged wasters who some admire and some consider useless spunk receptacles it is pure rock ‘n’ roll nonetheless. A fuck and a suck may be a cheap thrill but this song is something more. 'Strychnine' for me will appeal to the bluesed up brigade who like it old school. Again all components are present and correct and making for a good old shindig with reminiscences of older Subs tunes forever clawing at the door. What can I add - this is regular Subbage to be swigged - get drunk punk!
'Robot Age' closes and entrances with a looping machine-like grind bursting with automated success and persuasive apocalyptic futurism. With Metropolis-like systematic insistence this is a solid wind down and is ground out with thorough desire. The noise is absorbing and done in a hard laboured style and in some ways upholds the inkling that this 4 pronged gadget of cacophony is still working on sound batteries. Great stuff!
So the UK Subs do it again and do it in fine fuckin' style. Varied but without becoming ridiculously experimental just for the sake of it all the basic properties are there for the faithful followers and much new unleashed energy for the recent admirers. If this was the bands debut album back in the day of yore we'd all be hailing the band as the greatest thing ever. I do anyway but will this persuade you too? Shake off the shackles of time - get real, keep moving forward and appreciate this for what it is - brilliant.
THE POOR GEEZERS - CABBAGE CUTTING TRACTOR PUNKS
A couple of track listings later and a couple of lost front cover jpegs has held up this review and when at last I have finally sat down to scrutinise I find yet once more the given track listing in no way matches the running order of the CD. Is this an anarchic attack, is it just a case of busy lives cannot gain order or is it just a dose of deviancy on the part of Ms. Circumstance. Anyway I am going to crack on and do the best I can and if this review seems a little wayward then so be it - I'll try my best as I always do.
The 1st track on the CD (the version I have) is one I deem to be called 'Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee'. A strange accursed sound this one and in no hurry to perspire. A fluttering grasshopper distracts, ghost-like moans wander in the ether and the vocals and guitars seem borne of the crypt. Beware the orthopteran flutter is not universal and is down to nothing more than a dirty disk but the phantoms and hollowed vocals are not. Make of this what you will - I find it similar to a twisted monochromatic experimental B-movie where horror and abstract ideas meet and end up as a bastard to consider. The following number has more melody, a more approachable nature and so stands out due to the preceding dullard. A name slips away due to the aforementioned wayward textual twonk and so this unchristened beast will remain as such unless the powers of deduction come good later in the review. A nice mood is built and the vocals are attended to with a little more care and something very easy to swallow is had. The song travels a fair distance and I am happy it does. A sweet composite and moving into Track 3 with ease. Another easy sweet scented flower blooms and goes by the lovely name of 'Dumbstruck and Homeless'. Tranquil, with added bronzed guitar, the relaxed sensation is The Poor Geezers at their best and when wandering with an aimless approach only heightens what the band creates. Full of love, hope and yet abandoned this pulls at certain strings and they ain't all on the guitar - a good effort if I do say so myself.
'It Ain't Always Easy' has a goal, has a routine, has a mode - and will not be moved. It is what it is - if it was a stand alone release it would have no longevity but within the weave of this 22 track meandering it gets by and asks its questions and gently slips away. 'Kizmiaz' is a tribute song and does so with genuine sincerity. The tribute is to Lux Interior, the founding member of The Cramps, and who died in 2009 at the age of 62. Tenderised, touched with gentleness, soothing - this is a minor pip in a fruit of many flavours. Again when laid back and not trying as hard the crew discover more impressive fossils of success with extra detail apparent. I suggest you take time to excavate the sound and when you do have a care for the intention.
'Wash Over Me' has a bit of a shuffle in the feet, is lightly dusted with trusting sugar and has a sublime heartbeat that gives the song simple life. It takes a little perseverance to get to grips with the style sometimes and this CD highlights that thought. How dare you rush by though and not take note - this is music and the makers deserve your time. I give it and still drop rackets into the 'don't like' bin but quite often things grow and what the PG snips have here certainly does. In fact one of these efforts I hope will be gracing an Underdogs Morsels CD very soon - watch the usual space people. More softly, softly sonica next with a money grabbing lady who has lost her love of her man and now has a love of the coin. Bitterness is kept in check, the yearning for escape is there but the inability to do it more than apparent. Again this one keeps the flow trickling and takes us into the quirked idiocy of 'I Am The Fly' without fuss. This cover is given the crews own treatment and is nasally delivered with a strange eerie slant that borders on a breakdown and scrapes by down to the fact it swallows its own sonic tablets on a regular basis. Not too bad with 'Pax Americana' on the heels and draped in the shrouds of the spitting speaker. An odd song I just can't grasp. One route given, plenty of spacious room, a crack up towards the tail - do I like this one? Well in truth it fails to ignite a Fungal flame so why need I dwell on the first real dud (in my opinion).
The biggest risk of the lot next with the crew having the tenacity to cover the wonderful classic that is 'Warhead'. A crazy move but one this lot tackle neatly and without making the grave error of trying to be too similar to the original. The over-riding bass line that rules the song is stripped out and the guitar strums the main vibe and somehow pulls it off. As with any cover if you are going to attempt one then do it in your own style rather than a direct copy. 9 times out of 10 exact copies fall short and the ones that try and add a touch of originality do fare far better. This is a good tribute and done in a bargain basement style that tickles ones DIY soul. 'Set Out Seeking' is an awkward song with an unsure series of footsteps similar to a young baby trying to walk for the first time and having extreme trouble. A really difficult listen and with the added spoken word and hesitant strums I find myself completely in disagreement with the whole effort. Sorry chaps.
'Penny And A Pound' starts with a cough, one man bands it with streetwise angst, misses a beat and just keeps its own set timing in tune. It is typical output for the machine under scrutiny and I can take or leave this one which shouldn't suggest it is a bad effort ye negative buggers. Gene Pitney gets raped next (how often do I say that in a review ha, ha) as 'Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart' gets the PG treatment. Again a bold gamble that comes out smelling of sweet sonic shrooms with just the odd stinkhorn moments when things are given an extra kick. Hold it in boys, hold it in! What this track shows more than anything is you never know where this lot are going to come from next and that is surely a good thing. A nursery tinkle and we are left awake with the head pecking 'Insomniac'. A good old ditty this that raises the lidded eyes and should go someway to revitalising any tired listeners. When the vocalist gets chirpy the whole essence changes for the better and I suggest that a good pointer for the next release would be to be primarily positive and upbeat and just drop in the odd moribund moment to add a stark contrast. Just a thought! Anyway I like this one so have it!
Back to the weariness with 'Jack On Fire' keeping his hands in his pockets, holding the head down and in no mood to bop. A flat line piece without frill or thrill to be brutal. It plays its cards close to its chest and when the hand is revealed it is nothing to take the kitty with. Nothing horrid but nothing inspiring and a little more zest in the odd note or two wouldn't have gone amiss. 'Break My Stride' does indeed have that extra zing and so is an all together better outpouring albeit a cover version. Once more a self made flavour is added, things are kept in acoustic uniform and a pleasant piece is partaken of and enjoyed.
Track 18 is an odd little piece and has much twinkling and twanging and leaves me confused. A queer chap as is the following effort but the latter number has a fair bit of tongue in the cheek and retains a good melody. Sobering, gloom laden but opposed with lifting strings this one battles within itself and leaves a good impression. If one doubts the mentality of the CD then 'Psycho On A Mower' will not banish your worries. A flustered song, slightly fractured in many ways, only just holding the reins of sanity and perhaps joining into the mix a little too late in the day. Earlier in the CD would have suited more and this haphazard lashing of soloist sauce is just missing the main morsels of this overall dinner. Again not too bad but if listening to a CD of this length the latter tracks have to be extra special to jump down your throat and singe yer spirit.
2 to go with 'Sweet Kisses For Joanne' plucking rather than fucking all the rhythmic wires of romance and paying tribute to a love that is very close to the vocalists heart. For those of a soppy persuasion then this will do nicely and if you are indeed called Joanne then what a bonus. A good tune as is the final 'thank you' number that requests a kiss as it bids you farewell. A complete complimentary brace and leaving on a happy note and choice flourish.
So what's the verdict? Here's the word on the street dude - DIY, honest, hit in the main, miss in the minority, done without fuss, played with simplicity - worth yer money - why of course. Go get a cabbage and park yer tractor in a field of apathy - oooh errr!
POTENTIAL VICTIMS - LET THEM EAT SOAP
Nicely titled this CD and one that detracts from the fact that this collection of noisy titbits is very much unwashed but contains an inner artistry that gets the bands favour from the Fungal fellow. I always worry when a crew send me a 'live' CD to review as it has been tested and proven that it is the easiest way for a band to come unstuck and so lose any ground they have gained from previous releases or performances. The previous review of a Potential Victims CD was fine and dandy but I was filled with serious trepidation as to how this disc would fare under the analytical spotlight. With caution and fingers set to 'negative' I approached the alpha/numeric finger tapping board and rattled off the following assessment.
'Label It' opens with gristled gobbology before flesh is torn asunder and a real tearing tirade is had with guitars twinging the nerves of noise and drums happy slapping the whole kaboodle into shape. Vocally we have a rockabilly/punkoid hybrid that would easily slot into both camps without appearing like a pimple on a portrait of perfection. I am nagged throughout this dinnage and something tells me I should find fault but other than the usual 'live' warts one would expect there is nothing too toxic to taste. A decent do I'd say. A throb of the musical muscle, a stripping away of the fragrant foreskin that sometimes conceals the hidden devilry and the next prime porker revealed is a firm member in the pack and one that has stuck with me from the first review. 'Acting Dumb' trembles with tension and engorges itself with its own flamboyant blood and ends up a purple peacock that struts with guts. I would have liked a more exhibited ejaculation burst throughout but the rhythm is rigid and maintained well so why pick pubes when the main piece is standing proud. 'Do It' is a particular favourite of mine with its 'screwed up' face intention and 'balls out' approach. The winds blow hard, the unit is thriving with the set pace and I like the overall style and semi-concealed skillage in the village (a phrase a young lad taught me whilst playing footy with his family on holiday - cheers Tiernan McDuff ha, ha). 'Do It' is as relevant as any message you can get and in many respects should be aimed at the punk rock scene - don't think just do it and push your chosen racket with passion - whoar!
'Sex In Sweden' shafts the same sonic circle and once more batters its way inwards and outwards with vulgar abandon. Again there are added tweaks and the basic chorus shouts of the title will have the inebriated or just musically hammered joining in for all they are worth. Ideally timed at the perfect punk distance of 2.00 minutes it is a concrete episode of cacophony but unfortunately precedes my favourite PV number that is entitled 'Reality. Stylish, punctuated with bold flashes, well developed throughout and stretching all players to further limits I appreciate the good melody and the way in which it is dealt. The production compliments nowhere better than on this track and it is surely one I just have to see 'live'. Luckily I have this lot booked on a future SAS jaunt - make a date and check out this one and then offer me your views. Hey get this CD in the meantime and let’s have us all high with anticipation.
'Never Kneel' is another delivery that has ensnared in my cranium of tuneage since the last review and again is typical vomit from the gullet of this band and meets all the set standards achieved thus far. Short, spirited, aimed with the target well and truly focused upon from the first thrust you know this one is going to impregnate your spiked soul so why fuckin' resist? Lay back like a good un' and just take it will ya - submit, submit, submit! Tough, rough guitar and then the swift execution and the livid lyrics are dealt forth and 'Torment' is underway. Guitars unexpectedly swing in and make for a breather before we are slapped around a little more with the typical no-nonsense style. This is sinewy stuff and it grips hard and for me the way it teeters on the brink of a shit-hole but never falls in and so keeps things stinking but somehow decent is the key - well played dudes.
'No Room In Hell' smokes with industrial pollution and clogs its own sonic lungs and slightly hinders the upheaval intended. The inner machinery is working, the attention admirable but the end product is plodded somewhat and comes across as a sub-punk mongrel streaked with darker metallic stains. Not bad but just not as impacting and forthright as the rest of the din-soaked sows in this heavily manured sty. 'Fear' is similar but more mentally injured and that just ups the favourable stakes for me. Listening to this makes me reconsider the aforementioned assessment but forever is the case with reviewing stuff - questions equal answers which in turn equal more questions. It’s always good to know ones own word isn't gospel and shouldn't be taken as so - just a humble, honest punk rock opinion - that's how it is. Not a bad track anyhow this latter one so put it in thy pipe and puff on.
And so - 4 tracks to go and if thy peruses page 52 of this reviewing vault you will see my thoughts there. 4 good bonuses for ya from the studio which you have already heard here from the 'live' arena and for £3 you are getting more than your moneys worth.
Another release and old schoolers will love this and so they should. I am looking forward to catching up with this crew so watch the usual spaces for a review but if you can go out yourself and let me know your thoughts via a review then so much the better. Remember - do your bit! I do go on tha' knows!
ANGER WITHOUT REASON - RETALIATE FIRST
More reasonable rage with AWR producing another release and keeping a good level of output moving. Before I commence this review I have to give full marks to the frontman Fraser who still requests my assessments even though I have been critical and praiseworthy in equal measure in the past. I know that within this scene I deal with many fragile elements who are all fine and dandy when being caressed with kind words but whom soon start to crack and show their inner instability as soon as I offer criticism albeit built on honesty and with the bands interest in mind. So thank you Fraser for taking my words on the chin, having the decency to feedback in good detailed fashion and, most importantly, to ask for a Fungal review again - top man!
And so to the review. Will it be good, bad, ugly, middling or piddling - well it will be fair and straight from the heart and that is all I can ever do.
Track 1 and its a mix of the aural and ocular as 'The War Behind My Eyes' thrashes forth and creates visions of oppression, potential uprising and many an unsettled moment. The opening string and drums are awkward but when the main drive begins the song thrives as a consequence. A DIY inflection is obvious and one I have commented on before but overlooking that the whole essence is enhanced due to the more rapid-fire approach. Played well, not overly cooked and without unnecessary adornment this sets out a stall and opens the CD in adequate style. 'Persecution Complex' is similar but an all round more effective track and my chosen chop from this meaty plate of dinnage. The verbal content is bleak and violent as is the ambience emitted from the players. Good nifty intercuts of bassism, a reliable swift execution and a routine rhythm - this has nothing new under the blazing sun but sometimes it doesn't have to.
'Direct Action' is sub-preachoid and well written with a more damning sonica assist than first noted. Heavily laden with sabled notes this is a rebellious roar that grinds in parts and grimaces in others. Highly gutsed up and quite visceral it is more typical of what the band produce but once more has a good spring in the step. I could take or leave it but recognise the areas where fans will pick up on. 'No Right To Bear Arms' has some decent riffage but one thing it lacks, and in truth so do a lot of tracks from this lot, is any vocal backing from the other participants. All through my AWR reviews I have had this niggle in the back of the noggin I couldn't quite place and now I have discovered its source. For me the lack of these oral additions is, to be obvious, more noticeable when actually noticed! A point to note for future dudes and I reckon the impact will be impressive if delivered right. Not a bad track but waiting there for added mouth work!
'Backlash' starts with looming decadence before shifting its arse into the usual tumult of weighted guitar work, thumped drums and gravelled vocals. You know by now what you are going to get and the machine-like drill gives out its expected produce. It starts well but I am unconvinced by the main power surges. Nothing too out of sync but just a sound that doesn't lay its eggs of favour within my mental nest. Perhaps the most indigestible piece thus far with the main highs the prowling episodes of sincere plodding menace. I'm 50/50 here so move on we shall. 'Same Old Story' explodes, twists the 4 thickened cables and then expels its bowel contents. Same machine gun rolls, some metallic guitar and a solo that showcases its own sonic todge (albeit briefly) and before one considers we are done and that may add to the songs character and win more appreciation.
The closure is entitled 'Last Respects' and winds itself around its own construction and signs out with ease and avoids going for a ‘fuck it and see’ retreat. Some good string work, a more advanced effort and keeping itself in check this is not a duff way to piss off and maybe shows a glimpse of what is to come. All we can do is enjoy, turn off and fuckin' wait.
So 7 songs, a couple of misses, the odd one that has me split down the middle and a few that win over a nod. I am still in that field of indecision with this band and know for a fact there is potential to be tapped and so am just am waiting for the band to do it. This is worth your time and effort as it may just be more to your end of the spectrum so why not indeed? The band tries, the music defies and in store may be a surprise. So go and get, surely parting with a couple of quid won't harm ya.
CITIZEN KEYNE - UNITY
Foul-mouthed, opinionated, always something to fuckin' say and with melodies to sing along to. What more do you festering punk rock farts want? Oh and they are a bunch of ugly bastards too - ha, ha - bonus I'd say and happy to have some company! Anyway, this is the bands 3rd album release and to date I am nothing less than a fan of this crew and have always been happy to push their screwed up noses here and there in the hope of just getting them noticed. Progress is gradually being made and wherever I prod their product I can honestly say that feedback is positive. Be it 'live' or on a compilation the returning vibe is good and I believe this controversial crew are on the cusp of causing a major upset within this sonic circle - let's fuckin' hope so - nowt like a good stink tha' knows.
So here we have an album entitled 'Unity' and a call to all for honesty, a fairer scene and a good fuckin' heave ho for all the underdog bands that deserve more of the putrid punk pie. Now that's what I wanna hear! So without further frolicking in the flowerbeds of digression I shall potter forward and assess the following 14 entangling weeds and give my honest, critical and well meant opinion. Pluck, pluck, fuck - on we go.
'Punk Not Fashion' is already somewhat of a cult classic within the underdog circles and those that have not yet tuned in to this tirade against the idle and well - fed fuckers who go through a routine based on titles, status and prestige need to get out there and take note. To follow a predictable procedure and take rather than give is truly a crime against the punk rock grime and one that really needs highlighting. Rebellion, the money that changes hands, the sheep in the scene who pigeon-hole themselves, and the ones who are cursed with big-band mentality are all given the finger as this simple yet effective rant does the business. A bold step and a good opener and although there is room for a bit more spite and a bit more rawness this does the job and will have every fucker listening right on the back foot. 'Great To Be Me' displays the bands total and utter confidence and rallies against the ones who tell you how it should be and will be. Filled to the brim with street expletives and refusing to beat around the bush this is an open wound that is septic, seeping and sharp. From the dustbin to the illiterate recording room you can't help but admire the cocky, rockin' rhythm and blatant use of gutter gobbage. Many may palm off as the work of boneheads but let me tell you these guys ain't no throw-away thick heads. These dudes are acute, angry bastards who won't talk this way or that way just to please - they do it with reality and respect should come just for that reason alone. The song is one of the best of the lot for me with John at the front as nasty as ever, guitars ploughing a good vibe and drums holding order and banging like bastards.
'Unity' spills in with a feisty spring in the sonic step. The verses are very brief and to the point before an Oi Oi Oi/statement is given as way of a chorus. An unrelenting drive with more toxins spilt as political crusties, the apathetic and the general ones out of step are given a piece of angry mind and the punks and skinheads are called to join together. The title is repeated towards the end with an honest call to bring this scene closer and unite a couple of chosen sub-scenes. A good song and for me the crusties, skankers, bootboys, psychobillys are welcome too but that's me - anything for more noise however idealistic that may sound! 'Friends' is a personal number that snipes at an ex-member whom the band aren't afraid to go to town on. Draped in disappointment the initial creeping malevolence should give a clue as to the vicious invective that will follow. Strings twist and John at the fore is at it again - saying it how it is and not holding up. The chorus is icing on the cake as regards the overall composition and yet again we have a triumphant song to savour. The subject matter is harsh and takes no prisoners - what more would you expect?
The bass pulse awakens, life is given via an initial support machine that switches on and then straight off again before letting the beating inner organ ponder. Another eruption and a hammer gun 'Oi' shout demands the dead doth rise. At first this is an irritating, nagging moment and several spins are needed so as to make the adjustment. The stale air taken on the deathbed is replaced by the thriving oxygenated gas of the living world and Citizen Keyne go forth and thrive. I still remain unsure of this piece and regard it as a guest I would rather invite at my leisure rather than a welcome gatecrasher. I deem this to be like Patrick Campbell (of Call My Bluff fame) on whizz - darn entertaining when in the right frame of mind and bloody niggling when finding difficulty to concentrate. See what you think for yourselves on this one you lazy twats - fuckin' hell you gotta use yer brains sometimes. Oh and this apparently was a 'World Cup' song - shit - now that does put a dampener on it but alas will enhance it for many - oh the joys of being a reviewer and a loather of capitalist twats who kick a ball around and expect to be treated like a God.
'Weekend Riot' buzzes around like a stressed wasp and emphasises the non-stop inflection. Work is wank where's the weekend? A definite Friday night number when the labour ends and the piss up commences. A lad’s song, one to precede the supping and a sensation any good for nothing swiller should be able to recognise. The guitar burst is screwed up to max and breaks the flow nicely. Anticipation is high, it is almost tangible and after listening to this I may just go out for a few bevvies myself and have a good old tear up...again! A decent song but for me personally the highlight of the entire CD comes next as 'What's Going On' fuckin' nails it and shows what the CK crew can do if they just push the boundaries a little further. Rabid riffage, liquid in consistency, perfectly produced from first to last and with a chorus that unifies, alters tone and comes out winning big. From this a pointer arises for future produce and that is 'Why not speed it up and go like fuck for just one EP'. I think it is all there to be had - the question is asked! 'I'm A Punk' is proud once more and spiked to the core. More spacious than other songs and slightly more thoughtful. You have to consider this one for a while and regard the inflection and intention. It fits into the CD sweetly but would it work as a stand alone? These thoughts must be put forward and after much deliberation I am unsure - what a cunt hey! I like it here within the weave but don't consider it a pure high spot - not bad but requiring a bit of extra sonic salt - shake, shake Mr Saxa!
'We Know What We Want' stamps its feet, rattles the scaffolding of your cerebral structure and fills you with belief. The key ingredient is the easily captured vibe to the song that one is almost instantaneously involved with. It ain't nuclear physics but is a fuckin' good sing and chant racket that will prickle yer punk rock nerves into life and we all know that is entirely a healthy thing - don't we? 'CK Army' has an idea, gets off its arse and goes for it without wandering off track. Loads of energy like a well fuelled greyhound this chases its own self-made acoustic hare and runs like a fuckin' good un'. Out of the trap, plenty of cocky yap, raring to piss on yer lap - those Citizen Keyne dogs just don't fuckin' care. Don't read too much into this - place yer bets, take yer chance and enjoy the race. 'Leave Me Alone' is perhaps the most textured track on this album and delights in an inner pain and plodding disillusionment with people’s judgemental idiocy. Well paced, essences of threat, good levels of rebellion and again more of that sure-footed swagger. The more I listen the more I consider this to be a great, great effort. In fact if I release another compilation this may be the one I request. Another pointer - the fast blast release I hinted at before - well why not accentuate all areas with a real slow brooding piece that brims with emotion - come on lads the gauntlet is thrown at yer feet - it's what I am here for tha' knows!
2 left with a bonus track called 'Police State' which I have reviewed before and stated as a good un'. Slightly souped up here and in no way suffering this is a good old slam dunk affair that is illuminated with blue light urgency and blatant vitality. A fave of mine with added effects that always assist - yeah the quality still remains. The hidden closure is borne from a fruity source and is a bit of fun from some wannabe fags who should know better ha, ha. There is a video out there of this Judas Priest cover and what a fuckin' sight it is. Warning - if John asks you to pass him the soap - run like fuck! Take this one and enjoy - it is a fair old cover for sure and one for the 'live' pit when many a beer has disappeared down the lube tube - shit did I mention 'lube' - Freudian or what?
So there ya go. The balls are bared, the warts and dubious diseases that dwell are exposed and the CK lads couldn't give a fuck. It’s up front, in yer mug and straight out of the heart. 3 albums in and I am a Citizen who is very Keen on hearing and seeing more from this crew. Believe me if you ain't checked em' out yet please do - one of the best units out there of that there is little doubt!
REBELATION - STEPPAS
Having caught up with 90% of the outstanding CD reviews it is back on the trail to review all Do The Dog skanky releases. Slow progress but pleasurable progress and this latest effort is more of the same. I have been undecided about Rebelation in the past but on this evidence just can't understand why. Consistently addictive with a couple of highs only the sharpish sonic drugs can attain I have chosen to review this one in the midst of much more spikier assessments. Nowt wrong wi' variety lad! So from the usual mud pools it is and into the clear crystal waters of a new fish tank of noise we plunge.
Initial toes are tickled by willowing, slow dancing seaweeds of sound that ripple with utter hypnotic smoothness and belief. 'Earth First' moves (as does the world) with enchanting ease into an unpredictable future. Subtle, creeping and with a vital essence this brief episode sets the scene, prepares the waters, oxygenates the surrounding habitat. The opening is healthy and a clarity given and now the first major bubbles are to be borne from the feisty fins of 'Bring You Down'. Cutting through the self-made liquidity this bold sonic fish has a furrowed brow deeply carved with effective intent and so ones attention is grabbed and held. The mix of he/she outpourings adds character and the general restless agitation is glimpsed but kept nicely in check. A moment of sub-serenity is included in the mix and the first passing potential prize catch is had.
'Politics' sidles in with crab-like sneakiness before skanking about and kicking up the sand and asking why the inequality? Reggaefied, nipping with acute claws that are brandished with care this is a neat little mover and is worthy of attention. The melody is undulating, the rhythmic facets somewhat clockwork and the overall end taste somewhat jived. As a bottom feeding acoustic crustacean this one certainly has found its niche and is viewed with affection due to its alternative stance. Moving back to the surface and waves are coaxed forth with incredible levels of watery witchcraft. The initial verses of 'Green Fingers' are the veritable calm before the ocean moving storm and one awaits with baited breath. The ecstatic change that comes is sublime, superb and thoroughly touching. A handful of sweet kissed ‘la's’ are let fall and the liquid surface is creased with professionalism (and may I add, a smile). This is how to combine equanimity with force and create an impact without the victim initially knowing. My favourite moment and one to highly recommend to every passer by.
Plunging back in, with the swirl inside and out we are given some energetic electric via the fidgeting eel christened 'Steppa Ska'. Try to catch this bugger if you can! Forever on the move, sliding this way, that way, every way - a sweet change to the preceding track and making for greater contrast. Pipefish join in the dance and induce a faster reeling confusion and yet all who participate do so in unison. I shouldn't applaud but I do and leave the well scaled slitherers to their joy. 'Reggae Workload' is delivered on the back of several multi-coloured optimistic cuties and dished out with appropriate inflection. A delightfully joyous shoal of sonica constructing hope, clarity and most importantly - pleasure. The vocals are pristine, the accompanying players exact and one can almost feel the pressure of the H2O banish and the chance to free float very much a reality.
'My Old Friend' the sea slug makes an appearance from beneath an overlooked piece of herbage and perhaps is the most unappealing track thus far. Idling and not creating enough external activity this is a difficult critter to fully identify with and has me pondering what has passed thus far and what will come. A midway idler that suffers due to its mellow ways and somewhat concealed position. In a maelstrom this one may offer a greater prospect but here it appears, disappears and makes little fuss in between. 'This Great Britain' gets the swing going again with a grooving, moving octopus of noise that knocks down all in its path without any care for consequence. A heap of artistry is going on as many tuneful tentacles ply their trade. The main hammering is given to this septic isle and that works well against the music that is hardly the recipe to whip up a foaming riot. A jolly good do but outclassed by the sonic squid called ‘Temperature Rising' which has more serene sub-panache and a radiating lovable laziness filled with semi-sexuality liable to turn on the most dumbed down lugs. A paradoxical beauty is apparent, a self belief blatant but arrogance avoided. The slightly rappoid flutter that slips in is perfect and instils yet more pastel shades into the skin of this remarkable creature! Choice!
'Egg Dub Chicken Riddim' puffs yet more pipes and paints a portrait of poverty and hardship. The gills are open and honest, the intriguing factor is the melancholic edge and the fact that we are at the last song does seem a little coincidental. I can't help but favour this trailing flapper and appreciate the cadence created. A genuinely cultured way to close.
But...alas 4 gate crashing beasts are upon us and appear something like this (in the swiftness way possible).
'Got No Soul' is a bouncing jellyfish on hyper acid and transmits several colours whilst perpetually bobbing the rocking environment. Rougher around the edges and appealing to my DIY side this has a sting and I am happy to be stung. 'Jericho' is also a pepped up piece and joins its jellified partner in a surface shindig where all is kept simpler, more approachable and easily digested. Just go with the flow is the message at this point. 'Fall Apart' has a goonish clownfish look and in many respects harks back to a flavour of yore. Listen on as the marine critter dives deeper and you'll be rewarded with a strong backbone of vibe, an almost breathless delivery and a somewhat bassed up edge. More and more this one needs and it does indeed get better and better. The final flipper in the tank of two-tone reggae-muffin orchestration is 'Conqueror'. Once more take your time to scrutinise closer and you will find this fish is a blow-up effort one just needs to inflate and lie back within. Let the band casually take you along and enjoy the ride. This 14 underwater trip has been quite a delight and why the hell shouldn't we drink deeply and just bathe in the relaxing ambience of this great little number.
There you have it - another Do The Dog release reviewed and another step towards completing the whole series. This is a small pearl found on the musical ocean bed and all you gotta do is take a dip, look around and hopefully discover. The soaking is worth it.
THE DRASTICS - FUCK ROMANCE
A 4 track sweetie to taste and assess here from the Bradford B-scene brigade soaked in garage DIY effluence and duly circulating in the appropriate sub-scene sewers. The Drastics strike me as having no pretensions and no ideas of being something other than a bog basin punk band in it for the sheer joy of making music - and that does just fine for me! Likeable people, likeable noise – simple as and a simplistic review to follow!
ZIPLOCK - NOTHING TO PROVE
A CD is sent for review. One waits. Questions are asked regarding the CD's whereabouts. I claim to know nothing and wait some more! Further investigations reveal that Scott Bradley of Horn and Hoof Records has the CD. I still wait. A conversation and more waiting. Hope is abandoned the CD is filed as 'fucked' and I move on with other things. A knock at the door one evening and lo and behold - Scott Bradley with CD in hand - best get fuckin' typing then!
REBELATION - YO SWING DAT MAMA
The 5th Rebelation CD review here and alas yet again another Do The Dog release. This band have grown on me and although their music is primarily 'aggression free' my punk spirit still finds much to enjoy and recommend. An old effort this but worth seeking out as an initial taster. I have rattled off a fair bit of textual matter for this lot and on this occasion am going to play it brief. There ain't no point in running over old ground too much so as long as I make sure accuracy is the prime concern I should get the job done and still come out stinking of rotting melodic mushrooms. You know what I mean and if ya don't - where the hell have you been?
'Armitage Skanks' is the orthodox opening instrumental and a style that I love so much. You can't beat a good stage setting intro where hints at the flavours to follow are given in one wrapped up morsel. Starting skanked, squelching into something more and then combining sidewinding rhythm and textured surges with absolute ease this is a delicate yet feisty opening account and the babbling brook that hypnotises is already foaming. Brass accentuates the general ambience and counterbalances the bold, the billowing and the careful. 'Getting Tough' does no such thing and cruises along with a perhaps stubborn approach but is perfectly casual and frothy without a gravelled voice in the mix. The struggle to find a hard edge is given and assisted by an inner twinkle-toed segment that adds extra sheen. Very typical fare for this crew and that shouldn't be taken as a slur on their name. When the quality is maintained at a level such as this then how can it be? Vocally on this one the male/female blend is exact and both assets achieve their potential and combine with simple but remarkable effect - easy peasy ain't it?
'The Moment' is a frustrated song with lyrics borne from a tortured, restless soul. Compared with the niggled music one wouldn't believe the content and take this as a primarily upbeat piece. This one doe’s take some adjusting to due to it’s up and down mental state but if one hangs in and keeps a firm grip on the lighter side one can uncover a fairly decent song. Not my favourite but rescued by the impeccable production and so just has me leaning on the right side of favour. 'No Love' is a song that sidles in, has initial bounce, promises an easy ride and then just won't let you escape. Saccharined but slightly soured by the lengthy running time which mars the initial impression made. It’s Ok but not one I would go out of my way to listen to - nuff said.
I find myself enjoying this CD in fits and spurts and that just about sums up my feelings towards Rebelation. A personal mood band for me and when in the groove I am willing to move but when out of synch I just can't find that missing link.
Moving on and 'Swing Mama Swing' moves between the cafeteria smoke and steaming dishes and gives a song that is pure background music one is liable to hear in any dining arena where attempts are made to add a touch of class and ambience. Not intended as an insult this is again just a personal feeling (what more do you want - falsehoods) and so gets scrawled down and stated just how it is. It is neatly played, full of swirling sonica and creamed up craftiness. Almost celebratory in parts, almost full on swing in others and yet still remaining fairly elusive. Nothing profound just a tune to let flow around you - see what you think! 'Don't Speak' is a minor pip with its twinkling edge, positive delivery and well paced direction. Chorus and verse work well together and create an overall harmony I find most gratifying. From indifference to admiration in one swift swoop - oh the joys of the musical character we all chase around in this noisy realm.
'Politrics' I have reviewed before and praised accordingly. Nothing changes here and I am once again taken. Jived, questioning and given forth with cute inflection. The focus is in the zone, the melody has meat on the bone and one can switch off and easily become absorbed - a definite fave with me. 'Dancehall' pronounces with jazzy style, stumbles around, seems to wonder what end decision to make and for me chooses wrongly. Jerky, fidgety and never flowing smoothly enough - a bit like trying to sup a pint whilst received sporadic anal electric shocks. I just don't get this one and still Rebelation divide my feelings. Way too experimental in gesture for this punk scum. 'Fall Apart' gets back in the right vein with a good old ditty that combines tasteful male/female intermingling within a sonic sheet sodden with spunky joie de vivre. The position found is comfortable and the crew go bang at it with a certain DIY production that does no harm within this highly sheened collection. Somehow that has a magnetism that enthuses and from the first stroke to the last the tuneful seeing to is enjoyed.
'Got No Soul' maintains the tonic set by the last number and now uses the sonic bedsprings as they should be used and bounces around like a fuckin' good un'. Perhaps the middling switch off and 'come (or cum) up for air' is misguided but the blemish left is minor and soon the sassy grind is fully functioning. When Rebelation please they do it with such brilliance and I suppose that highlights even more the numbers one isn't so taken with. Nevertheless let’s run with the positive boner proffered - fuck the negative side. 'Pressure Rise' insists, persuades and repeats - it switches slightly and abandons vocals in parts but the gist is the same. Moments of power add gloss, the overall target is easily envisioned and I reckon this lot just scrape by with being reliant on nothing more than good old musical nouse.
Only a trio to go and we commence the final journey with the chilled but sparkling beverage entitled 'Rockers'. The wind blows slowly as this semi-calypsoed tune ambles along in its own serene scene of pleasure. There is something Specialised here and something very retro but the most admirable aspect is the call to all rebels to dance as one, feel the vibe as one and do it with such good, good feeling. A very nice touch indeed! 'Broken' is the most 'commercialised' song of the lot and although I should kick the speakers straight to hell and condemned as an over-flavoured piece of sentimental shite that pulls out all the clichéd moves regarding loss and separation I do find myself appreciating the artistry, simple yet effective composition and general inoffensive ambience. It is well delivered and done so by a genuinely skilful band and although a bit too sopped up for me I must acknowledge that this is a sharp song once more posted through the letterbox lugs with attention to detail. As an afterthought I kick the speakers through anyway but that's coz I'm a swine and nothing less ha, ha.
'This Great Britain' is the finale and another song I have reviewed on this site already. Let’s cut the crap - check out the other Rebelation reviews and see the assessment. This version sounds a bit rawer or maybe it’s just my tired lugs. It ain't bad but like I say for a clearer low-down do a bit of work yourself.
So 5 down and none to go. I like the band, I dislike the band, I remain on the fence. When its good its good and when it ain't I guess that's just my take on things. A decent band many will take to - end of!
YOU DEAD - SICCIH2R4MCC
The cardboard of the hardcore universe has been ripped in two and from those inner woven tunnels hides a malevolent madness. Peer closely down each darkened tube and listen carefully - does anything assault your ears? Is this insanity or do I ask a sagacious question? If trouble of hearing is thy curse then come with me as we tear apart the cacophonic corrugations and try to reveal the inner workings of You Dead's triumvirate of outbursts. It may not make sense, a nebulosity of text may be the end result but one thing we can do is but try. The first tear may or may not be the deepest but what we uncover is as thus.
The bomb blast hurts, are ye a pervert of pain?
The title track 'Siccih2r4mct' teems forth from a runway of idiot noise. An urgent count of 4 and we a ferried along with acute guitar work. A few slashes and the torn tonsils are exposed. The tongue is stretched, the sinews in the neck forced to stand out, the balls of belief bared. The precipice is pogoed upon and a danger is always imminent and one awaits the eventual catastrophe. The downfall doesn't come because You Dead bail out at just the right time and so track one goes down as a fair piece of taut H/C rage.
Another random rip and...
'xCoffeex' is a better track that is aflame with burning spirits. It has an intention to sear and hurtles along with achingly good aggression. At just over a minute it is perfectly dealt forth and is one track I have my eye on for a future Underdog Morsels CD if the band comply - here's hoping. And yes that is a compliment ha, ha.
I am frenzied - lets us shred away!
We close with the rubber room noisy nastiness that shits in its own pants, smears the walls and then licks them clean. 'No Love' only just teeters on the right side of sanity although I am sure many would disagree. At 1 minute 55 seconds we are done but a minute later we are assaulted by a screamfest where the bowels are re-opened and several new arses are torn. No sooner has this demonic turd been curled downward and we are up and applying the paper. Wow.
Bewildered and sure yet unsure - is that what one would call success. Look if you can't let it go in this puss filled pit of chaos then where can you? Head mashers, passion thrashers - prepare thy mitts and get tearing it up!