FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 58
TOTAL CONFUSION - POLITICS MURDERED CHRIST
This CD arrived and much was expected so why after the first few listens was I slightly disappointed and unsatisfied? Understanding how a few hearings is never enough to capture the essence of a CD further plays were had and things did improve ever so much. Still playing away between many other episodes of noise it emerged that this is yet another of those creeping chameleon giants that somehow remains hidden until you suddenly realise what is actually before you and then...! I like this band anyway and perhaps my expectations were a little too high or perhaps I was just out of sorts mentally (well there's nothing new) and the tuneage didn't really hit home. Then again, like many offerings that have the greatest longevity factor, this may be an offering that just doesn’t have that instant 'wow' factor. Who knows and who gives a fuck ...well I certainly don't know but I do give a fuck and this, my awaiting sonic scummer, is the opinion of ye Fungal assessor!
It seems the TC Five have never read Dan Carnegies tome of trickery 'How To Win Friends and Influence People' prior to naming their opening effort entitled 'Death To All ' - yeah that's a winning statement if ever I heard one ha, ha. The silence breaks, pronounced strokes are interspersed with regular chugging before drums roll away and escort to the first bout of intensely gravelled vocals. The production is aimed at heady saturation point, the pace set at medium with no unconfident need to push down hard on the pedal. The chorus that follows the verse is stated simplicity but what makes the whole concoction work is the aforementioned loaded soundscape. Pushing, colliding, organised and powerful - this opener just does the trick without any overspill - solid. More pace is injected and the improving 'Out For Blood' channels its energy and does indeed reach out with taloned tuneage at the neck of the listener. Power is the key and it is just so fuckin' nice to hear a band make the most of two guitars. So many 5 piece crews sound like 4 and that is always a crying, dying shame in the book of punk. The upsurge in rhythm doesn't go unnoticed and this effort compliments the first precisely. The best song of the opening trio is the stunning hammering account known as 'Blinded'. Guitars thrive together and the bass makes sure that the agreed path isn't strayed from. Punked up to fuck, bollocks exposed, drums banging away like a vicar on whizz this is a raw tub-thump that grips onto the primeval spiked edge and never lets go. Something primitive shines forth and no matter how hard you'll try - your punk soul will be charmed by this one.
'Just Another Tuesday' is a more melodic tune and flows from the speakers as easy as my praising words bleed from the end of my keyboard tapping fingers. More taut, more advanced in general arrangement but definitely with more emotive intention. A lack of hope, a feeling of abandonment the inflection is exact and the band pull it off well with the gob at the fore doing his job in grand fashion. Even though the mode is more rhythmic the raucous edge isn't lost and with extra splashes of unified instruments the landslide that showers us is welcomed by the bucket load. 'At Dawn' builds with Metropolis like industry as all machines function before the production line vomits forth the main stranglehold of noisesome terror. The offering develops into a bold striding piece of racketology with the band seemingly in cruise mode but succeeding big time. This is one of those you deem less than what it is and after a few plays this darn bugger will be in your head and demanding to be sung. Kept in check so as not to breakdown this is a well oiled beast and you just need to sit back and admire the output. 'For What' is something similar and whines in with bass assistance. Grandiose eruptions are embraced and the main channel is tuned into. Less pace but with a volatile sensation and sing-a-long orchestration one just falls in line with. It is, when stripped to the bone, a real bog standard song that any band could do but the quality comes through when the bones and flesh are attired in robes of sound. Positioning, frequency, the avoidance of anything to garish and contradictory is the key and as tailors of tone this pentapunkoid outfit stitch things together with triumph.
'Predator' begins with a quirky step and is accompanied by a staggered stride. Alarms ring and a dark cloud is borne. Following a routine already seen a few times this is perhaps the limp leper in this pack of diseased dins and although nice and harsh with scabs and lesions freshly scratched this one can be easily by passed and so no infection is caught. Not awful, not outrageously good - just one of those middling numbers that er...is in the middle ha, ha! A 6 out of 10 moment perhaps with the report card having a 'could do better' remark scrawled across. There will be the ones who disagree as per usual but if ya do then go write a review yourself. 'Composing a song entitled 'Anger Management' and then posting forth with a very tetchy edge is paradoxical and somewhat contradictory. Who cares - a well fuelled piece this and although following a similar thread at this point I am too Totally Confused to care less. Swinging in with heavy thudding fists this one aims at the attentive kidneys and you’ll be pissing blood for sure after the treatment given. Drums relish the opportunity to ram home punches in bunches and the black and blue effect is a joy to have.
Coming down from the hiding takes some doing but what comes next is a fuckin' classic masterpiece that you just can't ignore. A veritable massive moment in Underdog punkage with all components getting it just right and combining to make something of a gem. I have seen this track 'live' and the hairs on my nape stood on end as this fuckin' crucial noise washed over me. The whole song works and wins in behemoth style with strings slicing through resistance, drums orderly and accurately embellished at necessary points and the vocal work at its most eager, enthusiastic and effective. Fuckin' crackin' in the flesh and crackin' on this CD and if you hate all the other songs then your money will still be well spent for this eruption alone. 'Suicide' does well to even shine in the shadows of this crackin' shithole of sonica but shine in its own right it does and is a self destructive tale built on rushing incessancy and usual TC weaponry. Again this one is easily joined in with as is...well you should know by now...a song that is a cover and goes by the name of 'Warhead'. Being a 30 year Subs fan makes me extremely picky at this point and although this is a sound effort and primarily sticks to the original script the crew just fall short of a 100% blinder. Let us face it though - this song used to be hammered out by every band under the sun back in the day and is perhaps the most covered song out there. Total Confusion play it primarily safe and add little to the original recipe but don't really need to has this song contains all the wining ingredients therein. It ain't bad but I ain't convinced but there ya go and it doesn't necessarily mean I ain't right either - such is the reviewer’s position.
The final chapter comes from the glistening effort and early post punkish offering named 'New Wave Degenerates'. A really concrete song that has more layers than anything before it and is a darn good way to close a fine debut album. Less growled, more feeling within the players, more textures within the cacophonic carpet this one flies high and says goodbye with many a thread to follow into the bands next release.
And here we are - at the end of another CD review from the fucked figure of Fungal. Who will read this, who will give a toss, the free-loading me, me, me scene will tick on anyway and that my self sedated cunt is the truth of the matter. Nevertheless a few are hungry and want to hear new noise and for those the text keeps flowing - one day, if we continue, a bigger bone may come our way but if its sticking out from between Lionel Blair’s legs I'm well out of it. This is another silver circle destined to be praised in part, enjoyed by a few and overlooked by many but...the band have done it, I like it and on that ye can fuckin' well suck!
THE COLLECTIVE UNDERGROUND VOL 3 - BBPR COMPILATION
The third in the series of offerings from the crew at Brown Bag Propaganda Records and after the previous treat I was very much up for tackling this 29 track compilation. It seems this forest of sound is laden with an assortment of punking life and in I step with eyes peeled, lugs alert and passionate punk heart expectant.
29 tracks is a long haul and you really can't afford to fuck around at the first stop although if one is determined and the first offering is a mere foot in the dogshit moment I am sure by about halfway through the journey the sonic soles will be well cleaned and the opening mess-up will be forgotten. Parting the initial blank herbage the superb verdant growth of 'A. M. Airwaves' by Celebrity Stalkers is there to admire and by heck admire it I surely do. A scratched fuzz, a worded greeting and the marvellous old style punked guitar work slices through the air and ensnares with thorned beauty. Each sonic stem quavers with melody and I am all agog as I become entranced by something that is purely punk as fuck. Cut to ribbons my resistance falls away and I have to admit that this is a fuckin' mighty fine band who I am sad to say are no more - such is the punk void and all that it sucks inwards. Vocally exact, musically honest - enjoy this and chase up some more!
Random Conflict follow with a more brutal edge and as the first echoes of grumbling bass lead us in we know all that follows will be roughened. The track taken by 'Atrocity Manifesto' isn't as uneven as I deemed it would be and a fair rhythm is kept and more importantly a fair degree of lucidity. One to amble over several times to appreciate the gist but not too bad of an effort nonetheless. If the first track is raw then this is still bleeding heavily - bandages please! Benedict Arnold call from the trees with a throat warbling warning before the foliage is scattered as the air is whipped up with a wind of fury with the bellowing bird that comes forth huge, blackened and hungry for your metalised H/C soul. Another hard flapping number with every component pecked hard and with the front gob squawking with real zeal. Quite technical in parts and bridging the old school/new school gap and so hopefully will attract many to join the flock. The Muffs go down into the bush and come out all covered in glory after delivering a grinding, hip-humping twister entitled 'The Drip'. Slightly snotted, swaggered and slung low this well channelled drive is a mean affair that impregnates once more the whore of rock and roll. The grass in the glade is flattened as a good tumble is taken and be it crude and lewd it still does the job - the seeds are indeed sown.
The painful sounding Titty Twister jump on board next with the awkwardly attractive piece of junkoid jollity entitled 'Motorcycle Jetboy'. Free-wheeling, tattooed with mayhem and hinting at something schlockoid this is an interesting little snippet that veers off from the track set so far. The decision is difficult to make but I do find myself smiling when the song emits from the spinning silver circle so surely the vote must be a 'yes' although I do need to hear more. General Bastard turn back onto the expected route with a laboured piece entitled 'Cell Phone Drivers'. A very dour dose of dinnage that doesn't do it for me although this crew have excited in the past. Sounding like its been squeezed through the anal flap of the speakers this is constipated output that just needs an extra flourish. Having said all this a bit of volume does improve the experience! Potential Victims next with a song called 'Acting Dumb', a ditty I have dealt with on a previous occasion. I like this crew and do need to catch em' 'live'. This one scuttles in, moves at a decent pace, overtakes and undertakes in equal measure and is moved along with an inner relish straight from the underdog shithouse. Slightly under-produced but so what - this ain't millionaire’s avenue!
'Sounder' ask you to 'Feel The Vibration' and after an initial wail come forth with a cool dude rock 'n' roll tune that feels way out of place on this noxious mix. It shouldn't do as this is a collection of varied soundage but it does and that is much to the credit of the band and compiler. The song itself rolls along with another low slung feel and does improve with added volume and more plays. I like this and am wondering what else the band has to offer - that must be what the band have in mind. The society hating, outsider is delivered next with the female beauty of 'Not This Life' by The Jesse Minute. Powered up, very raw, truly accentuated by delightful girlie gob work and subtly frustrated this is one of the highs of this entire 29 track noise burst and again I am intrigued by the whole sound posted into my listening letterbox and am more than keen to see what other acoustic envelopes I can open. Something very retro entwined within the guts of this song but the production helps it to feel 'modernised' and so a good compliment is had. 'November Palace' is more she-sung sonica with a stronger edge and a greater rock-esque approach. The bass that begins is founded deep within the belly of the rhythmic beast and in no way reflects the offering that pursues. A decent episode of racket that is well orchestrated, well rehearsed and structured so that all players have equal airspace. 'Friday Night Dive' is the name and for me it is yet another succeeding turn within a very convoluted compilation.
Tight arsed guitars twinkle and then 'The Irrit's ram forth a roughened erection of horrored melody that is unwashed, natural and very intrinsically punk. Drums boom and bang, bass punctuates when allowed, guitar exposes flesh and above it all the vocals ejaculate our way with an 'out of the dustbin' reality. I like it and it is followed by the bruising, abusing crush-up entitled 'I Want Out' by The Midnight Saints. Hardcore, lighter than as is the norm but still highly charged, volatile and seeping precious pus found only in this nasty noxious niche. You'll know what you are getting a few seconds in but when placed between many a varied soundscape this sub-generic spillage definitely works. Scrawled across the punked bog walls this is scarring stuff with vandalised vocalisation adding threat. The Jon Experiment come next with the severely disturbed sub-pop drawl that doth sow the polluting 'Seeds Of Discord'. Ragged, drugged, slurred and done with a careless effect that really does take some adjusting too. The guitars whine away, drums play it regular, bass throbs - I am adjusting and my verdict is of a ditty I don't like - ye can't win em' all! What I do like though is the mightily impressive 'Sith Vicious' by the glowing and growing Animal Train. Simple, melodic and a Song of the Month chosen by yours truly - need I add anything else - yeah - punk as fuck brilliance and a good defiant message too.
The Typos offer 'Girl You Make Me Sick' which starts with a fine old vibe full of popsicle dreaminess and in truth continues that way. Very fluffed, softened and without thorns this is easy come, easy go rhythm I do insist on peddling. Pop punk to me is an essential ingredient in the overall scene and this crew do it nice and sweetly without any sickly edge. Good bass work too - yeah! B. F. O. M. belt in with a raw unprocessed piece of screamoid idiocy christened 'Jesus Esta Muerto'. This insane riotous rhythm is an acquired taste and in small doses I can indeed 'hack it'. Given an overdose of this wild filth and my nose turns well and truly up - here the foaming rabid monstrosity that leaps from the speakers is taken, swilled around the assessing mouth and spat out - the verdict - typical, effective and full of extra reserves - the chosen few will adore, the outside masses will label and walk away - surely the band know this already. Not bad but of its genre! Suicide Bombers bowl forth a good energetic sub-Partisans racket that rolls back many a year and keep it vindictive, bold and second waved. Another one out of the shithouse and thrown into the onlookers mug ‘Cover Up’ does tickle my punk todger and no matter how hard I say 'I shouldn't' I do find myself nodding along in appreciation - daft ain't it?
Rabbit With A Habbit state that 'We Want' via a unflustered number built on surging wind gushes that saturate the whole tuneful trashcan. Like a juggernaut whipping by on a rain soaked road this one sprays and leaves a drenching not too uncomfortable - best change me duds though as it has soaked through - win! Kombi Killers is poisoned sonic sap that drips out in horrid glutinous style. A very viscid noise and in parts most unpleasant. Overall though the song is what it is and although one of the most dirtiest pieces on offer there is an inner charm. The worry is that many won't be arsed to bother to look - so what can I do only suggest that ye do. If I'm in the mood this one works if I ain't then the 'off' button is sought! 'Voodoo Healers' up the class with the finely concocted 'Run And Hide'. Casual, cruising and avoiding punky clichés this is a stabilising number that is unflustered, quite charming and yet subtly arrogant. The tones are rocked up but kept from being overly flamboyant and the general feel is of a solid rock routine - I may be wrong but I ain't far off! 'Leftovers' start their effort with a backstreet busk before broken cymbalisation fractures and the rusted rhythm follows. 'Blue Suitcase' is an awful racket to admire and one that takes great delight by wallowing in its own festering fleapit of sound. A very pick-me up effort highlighting that the punk circuit is an all embracing arena and that is how it should bloody well be. Too many cunts are creeping in and trying to keep things restricted - fuck off - this is fungus ridden fuckology and I welcome it. Tony Jones And The Cretin 3 creep in with a shady shadowy graveyard shiverfest cursed with the name of 'Lady Frankenstein'. Slow paced, dripping and with a ghoulish inflection I reckon this one is for the psychobilly brigade for definite. The vocals are scooped out, the whole sensation cavernous and that is nothing more than I would expect. A delicious inclusion at so late a stage.
The Pressure Tones stomp out some crackin' skankoid stuff via 'Bring On The Guillotine'. With a death march preparation, a cutting following we are soon within the world of retro skankorama with keys adding that final savoury taste so as to make this an all round convincing contribution. Busy bee bass, waspish guitar, frog hopping keyboards and reliable vimmed up vocals - what more do ya want ya two-toned twat - great stuff. As if to to create greater contrast The Enders follow on with a power surge that goes by the name of 'Martyr'. Blinkers on, the focus is on the finish line and this lot take us toward it with an extra clip in the stride. Speedy and direct with no apologies - not bad chap! The screeched breakdown instrumental is a nice after touch and so we go forth still as keen as mustard. Hot stuff hey!
Never Submit may be 'Grounded' but rise up and make those bedroom walls shudder with a terrifying bone bursting avalanche of flaying tuneage. From the hidden grave bellows the demonic force and this one aims to musically murder over and over again. A sonic serial killer to run away from unless you like a noisy beating to remember - your shout! 'Time Again' is called and The Hated make one sit up and listen with a startling flash in the pan semi-'oi'led riot. Again the wound is raw, the delivery off the cuff and with a wind down intended to regain breath I find myself eager for more. Thoughtful guitars follow and Myrtle Place please with ease with the solid 'Policed Population'. Commencing with care and deliberate decisiveness the on-coming eruption is marvellous and is totally unexpected. Once on the back foot we never recover and the varying levels of heat thrown off by this molten madness is very satisfying to say the least. 2 to go and the penultimate piece is a number called 'R 'N' R Days' by DFMK. This is a nifty little titbit that clatters along in beaverish style with strums and slaps colliding within the whipped up maelstrom the band have created. Vocals are sporadic but appropriate and at 28 tracks in I give this one an extra mention in case you are struggling to get this far. The tail at the end of the discordant donkey is provided by Freedumb and their uproar that is anointed 'Trash Talker'. The way in to this CD is best played loud and the way out is exactly the same. A very rib-cracking number with action in all departments - it is a bold finish and that is where I will leave it.
I admit I am a bugger for noise and many do not have my idiot levels of enthusiasm and so may give many songs on here a harsher deal. Look, I can't help my hunger, I can't help my belief and I certainly can't help having a varied taste. It isn't just punk that turns me on but it is the major player with ska a close second. I listen to a range of noise and can't help but admire the scene where many make an effort and fail miserably. Failing and having a go is indeed something to be proud of and just think of the many that succeed and aren't really doing it the right way anyway - keep yer ethics in tact, get a piece of this and just dwell in the dustbin.
REBEL CITY RADIO - HELLO HYPOCRITE, HYPOCRITE HELLO
Nicely packaged this with all the usual bumph from a band playing more on the tidy side and coming across as somewhat Americanised. Now even though I prefer the DIY noise I am no fool and do understand that every band should not adopt the unwashed way and set about making a similar noise, in a similar way with a similar ethos. Nothing wrong with paying out a bit of dosh to maximise your potential and even though my inner punk dog isn't fully tickled I try my best to remain as objective as possible throughout and be a fair old Fungal nonetheless. I have only seen the RCR unit once and was taken aback by their nifty talented approach and rough but rhythmic sound. The set was tight and well thought out and going on the evidence delivered I expected much more of the same on this CD. 11 tracks and 1 bonus to deal with - three big breaths and in we plunge!
'No Guts - No Glory' begins as the kettle boils and the steam rises. Bold introductory guitar strokes welcome, sirens wail, the opening eruption finds its own flow. When the first verse hits us the technical skill and high quality of production wash over our lugs and immediate attention is prickled into further scrutiny. Defiance levels are high, the universal sound is draped in star spangled robes, the talent glaring and appreciated. The US influence as said, is obvious, but this should not detract those lovers of Old Blighty's spiked sonica and all should pay heed to some good riffing rhythm. From lone vocals to unified chorus bursts this travels well and smooth and I am at once posing the question as to whether the band can maintain this standard. Clean but well worn and this one does well to avoid being just overly polished - choice! 'Johnny Got Led Astray' is a corking piece of work and although slightly clichéd and of a certain ilk I dig this little beauty and am happy to encourage the sound. The singing begins as though borne straight from the airwaves with the players adding enough sonic assistance to thus make a fully breathing and feeding beast that will devour all the listening attention it can. A tuneful tale with emotion layered sweetly between firmer wedges of noise. The composition reinforces a belief in the bands insight and the fact that they get across a feeling of hope, loss, abandonment and smattering of frustration is much to the crew’s credit. 'Hide And Seek' is a more tribal sound and 2 thumps its way through the first bout of verseage before drifting into a more settled chorus cruise where bassism comes to the fore yet again and highlights that this band has balls in many departments. The singing is more gristled, the backing 'whoa's' a thoughtful contrast and the vibe more invigorating. This one, as well as all other tracks, just gets better by the play and at three tracks in a CD I initially considered as nothing much is convincing me of something of a debut classic.
Darker tones commence 'Sign The Dotted Line' and one awaits the blood rush. The pulse increases, the head goes light and in to a seizure we go. Even though a frothed up mindset is given via a very organised piece of work the track is observed with clarity and the gritted delivery, the anti-systematic vitriol and power chord tactics are not left unnoticed. Many switches are taken but a well adhered set of eruptions make this another good riot. 'Last Goodbye' is more rocked than punked and borders on something by a more longer haired brigade. Slightly anthemic in the wrong kind of way this one tries a little too hard to be musically cultured but alas is needed so as to alter the overall kaleidoscopic cacophony and keep one on their attentive toes. Not my favourite and somewhat doey eyed and overly melancholy but I like a few of the smart touches with the radioed Smith's attack not going by without note.
'Rapunzel' is a fairy scary tale based on celebrity culture and the scabbed up whores found therein. Destined for failure the brainless bitch brigade gets the treatment here with a poisonous onslaught not holding back and going straight for the jugular. A click of the camera, a military drum section, wired up guitars join and sub whispers soon commence after intensity builds and the charge begins. This songs contains many sub-textures and electrified hate aspects and that is what gives the punked edge more than anything else. From utterances to screams the band have much to offer and this is a nice mouthful indeed. 'Hunt The Pack' tenderises the melodic meat with rapping effect before the song blooms into its full glory with a sound first verse that then disperses magnetic seeds in many ways with a chorus that is sanguine, persevering and professional. The paranoid words drip with deep feeling and contorted sincerity and yet again the band come away soaked in perspired glory.
A tale of the washed up next with a straight fitting suit of sonica adorning the torso of tone. 'Reflection' is slightly moribund, slightly sober and without any danger. It is a song I could quite easily kick in to touch but the band have my attention due to all that has transpired thus far so extra effort on my part is given. Many listens, many ponderings - the verdict - fifty/fifty. This is an inoffensive little tune that is played with articulation and given a few bonus trimmings so has to colour all parts. Maybe the lack of clout is what gives me a doubt so I shall step back now. 'I Am An Atom Bomb' follows and from the first stated scream, through the heavily pronounced verseage, to the heat rising build up and into the easily picked up chorus this one wins all the way and is, for sure, the one the fleeting assessor's will remember most. Again all components are well drilled and unified and this only emphasises the power of the song.
2 to go and 'And The Penny Drops' tests the water beneath the radar before breaking the surface and showing a mean intent. The swift necessity of delivery that follows is superb and the texture of gob, guitars and drums is not lost on me and I find that this song triumphs with each and every play. Several layers are exposed as the song progresses and all interlock with high security and no real flaw can be seen within the end picture. At 2 minutes 15 seconds the impact is granite and many pushes of the 'replay' button are taken. The finale comes via the stupendous rushed up skankiness that is 'Human Soundtrack'. Sneered, heavily pulsed, pushed with conviction and covered with an edge that is a millions miles away from the DIY gutter this is still a good spiky product and it is such a pleasure to hear a band finish a darn good album on a sound note. Well done chaps.
An extra track is given, for which there is no need whatsoever but 'I Am An Atom Bomb Remix' is not a bad affair and basically just fucks about with the aforementioned crackerjack. It showcases the fact that the band have some good tinkering talent in there and if this is the case then who knows what the fuck the next album will bring. I am already looking forward to it and in the meantime will be playing this many times over.
TNS SPLIT - FOUR BAND SPLIT
Even though a split CD is an unoriginal idea and has been done a million times over I do find they are the best way to operate and is a good method of getting bands to help one another move their outpourings along. This one is on the TNS label, a group of dudes who operate primarily in Manchester and have their own crowd and social circle. As always this festering Fungal fucker isn't part of the circle and dips in and out whenever he feels fit to - that's how it is fuckers - too much to do to walk down anyone else’s set route and too fuckin' punk and awkward to boot. Here we have a typical mix of noise many will abhor, many will take to and a few like me who will just pick up and assess as honestly, directly and hopefully constructively as I can. Up yours, kiss my fat arse if ya don't like it and piss off anyway if ya do. I know Andy who helps run the label isn't keen on reviews being too in depth so that is how I'll do it - I am an accommodating soul after all. Each band will get a good paragraph and nothing more, nothing less so I hope I can make what I say count!
The Mighty Midgets come first and belt forth 6 high energy riots filled with technical tweakings and flamboyant interconnecting structures. The band are part of the new school tribe where punk is fractured and thrown about within a dishwasher of discordance. Some of the bilge water that pours forth is, quite annoyingly, fuck all to do with punk rock and so doesn't tickle my todge however clever the claptrap is (I'll bet I get slated for that one too - hopefully - yippee). Luckily for these gargantuan growth-stunted sonicmen I do like their output with several songs arousing my nipples of noise. 'Note To Self' is short, sharp and accurate, 'This Revolution Is For Display Purposes Only' a well written questioning piece of frustration and 'Cease And Resist' full of spunk but tripping over its own enthusiastic heels and become too twisted for its own good. The rest is of the same ilk and although I much preferred the previous shit I reviewed by this band I feel they have become too predictably unpredictable although they are surely one of the best bands in this small sub-generic pool. When the power turns up to full it really does hit you how technically accomplished this band are - if that is your thing of course!
Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man come next with 6 songs based primarily on beer fuelled destruction, DIY and peripheral politics. For me to take the booze laden ditties seriously the band need to get on the sherry, piss more people off and go at it without giving a fuck but there ya go - such is my pernickety, fuckity-uppity mood at the moment! 'Drinking In The Van' opens and is a seriously good number that rams the sonic shitter with meaty melodic muscle and ejaculates its own brew of alcho-spunk right into the eavesdropper’s orifice. The bone of tone quivers the membrane of mayhem and this one hits the inner glands in fine style. 'Not My Fight' is crisp and clouting mixing dual vocals as do several other tracks thus creating deeper interest. Nice and swift is the key with speed always set at max. 'Booze Time' is basic idiocy and nothing more - a moron with a rubber brain could write these lyrics but hey sometimes that is what it’s all about. I don't mind a bit of idle raving and if this song mentioned QC it would get a full 10 count but alas...! The remaining trio is more of the same again with 'The End Of Everything' a nice do due to the ominous build up and mention of a gall - galls are good but not if they are on thy arse! It may be a hidden classic! Not bad overall - heard it all before but what haven't I heard - on ya go lads!
Fist Of The North Star offer 4 songs and why the fuck a band from a different pit wasn't thrown in here is beyond me. Vary the violence please! Anyway this crew follow in the footsteps of the previous bands but the numbers poured forth have more weight, more impact and a better self-suiting production. Yet more new-school spillage with those annoying squeals this isn't half bad and although nothing new under the sun the band deliver the goods by keeping the saturation point high and all areas tight. 'Burning Out' is a real mean piece of noise that has an unrelenting approach that takes the breath away and billows the loosened skin of your ball sack without much fuss. This and the free-wheeling incessancy that is 'Voices' both bomb blast one into submission and I reckon FOTNS are winning this 4 way race in comfort. The band seem assured of themselves and have their intricate art form down to a tee with all components ready to fist fly, fist fuck and fist pump. The riffage is blindingly busy but coherent and even though many spices are within the recipe the end baked cake is edible and enjoyable. Yummy, scrummy, ding dong!
Elastic bands come out of the box next as balls and fannies are tightened and voices heightened into a taut affair via the ability of Broken Aris. A real hotch potch of dinnage this with screeching, shouting and swivelling the order of the day. The first song is a convoluted mush entitled 'Gnorwsi Metsyseht' and very much for the ones in the ball park. Very typical of its medium and offering no major threat whatsoever. Played, as one expects, with skill and accuracy but not for Fungal folks. Track 2 is a trifle better and coked and poked into action with much bass bumping and sing-a-long sincerity. 'Mr Snowman' may be hazy but the pace isn't lazy and again a definite for the baggy arsed brigade. 'I Have Brought A Pair Of Sneakers, They Are Pink And Very Gay But I'm Not' is one of those super swift dick-abouts we all are familiar with and who the fuck cares if anyone is a fruit or not - certainly not me (and please do not excuse my political incorrectness). 'Yens' starts off in a mode I find testing but when the air clears the vibe is much more enjoyable however these fuckers just love to over-complicate matters and that is what they do again albeit in smaller segments.
4 bands, all very similar but all in a basin where they clash and collide and compliment each other sweetly. A lot going on throughout and if you have the time to dissect and analyse then this may keep you occupied for a while. If you like hard riffage then again you'll find something to enjoy but if you prefer your technical twiddling in small doses you won't be spinning this too often. Not bad, not great - just one to peruse now and again!
FREAK CIRCUS - FREAK SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH
Mooching around a lighthouse in search of the wonders of the natural world is always a fantastic thing to do and during our 14th visit to the usual spot it came about that one of the locals knew of a band I may be particularly interested in. The band were Freak Circus and a CD was discussed and then several weeks later this 13 track offering popped through the post and duly placed onto 'the reviews to do' pile. In the midst of the fungi season it was another one to mull over whilst assessing a variety of mycological material from here, there and everywhere. Time taken the review of the light, poppy composition is as thus:-
'All You Need Is A Gun' begins with twinkle toed guitar work before dissolving into some heavier dutified stringology. One expects a surge but again a minor surprise is had as the first verse comes forth in subdued mode. Semi-spoken, semi sung the sequence is basic with bass and drums only escorted by a dying whine of the six-string animal. Eventually after two halves separated by the aforementioned light footed wires we build into the chorus and the general gist of the song is captured (and if one wanted to be so prematurely bold - the entire CD). Careful, unthreatening, emphasis on maintaining a listenable tune the Circus of Freaks dish out a quite appetising opener and even though my lugs are usually open to things that brutally rape this sincere bit of melodic foreplay doesn't go without note! A sub-acoustic opening is delightful as 'Sky Girl' floats inwards with all cacophonic clouds pouring gentle rhythmic rain rather than hard hitting hail. The commencement to each verse is pregnant with big, big promise but the sonic spillage that slips forth from the musical muff is not as expected. It is still a fair embryonic offering but I just couldn't help expecting a more stunning little bruiser. Nevertheless I feel at this stage I am being slightly didactic and the whole offering is able, likeable and complimentary to the first delivery.
'Chemistry' strolls in with post punk effect and builds to a moderate simmer without much ado. A more commercialised style with easy listening 'music for pleasure' overtones that once more do not darken any decadent’s doorways. Punk has many faces in these confused times and if this is such a countenance then it is most definitely on the periphery of the lighter end of the ID parade. Clean shaven, boyish but precocious enough to attract viewers from further afield - I like the short playing time of this one, the continuing clarity and the overall fine production. 'My Lullaby' doesn't induce any form of sleep at all (failure) and only keeps one awake with...interest! A nicely composed driving tune that again strays from the pit of prickly noise and stays within the circle of smooth dittified constructions. Pinned and puked fuckers from the bowl of belligerence will be more than a little bored by this but, being punkily patient, eclectic, and honest, I gotta say this ain't no cold turd waiting to be spat on. A simple offering that doesn't try to trick itself into being something heavier than it is - not bad at all!
'Troubling Trainspotters For Loose Change' begins in metalised fashion and is the most raucous number. This one will surely transcend many dividers and there are many sub-generic shitholes this one will happily fill with sonic semen. The result will be greatly satisfactory and the heave ho within the weave accepted and appreciated. The band let their blossoming balls swing low and the overall contrast is stark and opens many a door for future screwings and doings. I do like to let the words wander sometime but try my best to keep it pertinent - if ya don't get it then don't write to complain because I just can't help it - blah! 'How To Laugh' pulses in, vocals are hollowed out and a stage is set for the flowing and ever-growing poppoid herbage to charm. Dusted with gentle over and undertones all players are restrained and refuse to be led into any unnecessary explosions. Music you could play to your partner and enjoy together - again no violence, no danger, no potential hazards. I shouldn't like this but I have to compliment it and praise accordingly. What the band do is not get too entwined within their own musical bowel movements and come away fairly shite free. It may sound any easy thing to do but it ain't and many fail on this precipice and end up in the lavatory of over-commercialised excreta - never to surface again - noooooo!
3 quick reviews now so as to keep thy eyes peeled whilst reading this and not to labour on the unnecessary. 'It Took Some Time' is sweetness incarnate and reminds me of a more fluffed up Husker Du moment with Moldy essences drifting around and guitars getting on with the job in several well sectioned ways. 'Ugly Head' is a strange composite with slightly poisoned guitars beginning, a sub-acoustic verse gaining a foothold and a surging chorus winning the most favour - a dish with many flavours and with nothing too drastically out of place. The third song to get a swift assessing shafting is the moping and doping 'Mercury Falls' and if you aren't in the mood to doze then this is a mundane 'waste of time'. Sorry chaps but really not my cuppa but for those who like a bit of soul stripping melancholy then this is for you. It is delivered and produced well enough but really pisses on my chips of favour. Come on give me a break I cannot and will never like everything - or is that a little too much to ask you critical puds ha, ha!
'Custer's Last Cluster Bomb' is slightly automated and is a little too pre-programmed for my rhythmic digestive system. A belch inducing chorus brightens the listening experience but in-between and roundabout this moment a lot of stuttering fartology is had. I hate the verseage and like the chorus - one of those tha' knows! 'Ten Minutes Short' opens with independent texture and then shuffles around in hazed and glazed fashion with influences of Madchester, and more, apparent. Glassy eyed, dreamy, pondering - the bass behind the lines holds all in place whilst the players at the fore seem bombed and yet in time. A real blast back to a time when punk was struggling and more drugged up noise frothed to the top. Add to this something suggestive of a Bigger Country and I hope you follow the thread - it weaves many ways! The bite that comes next from the 'Sex Vampire' is orchestrated to the extreme and each note seems carefully positioned during the fine balladesque opening sequence. When the power is turned up a great march is created before a well riffed up drive is adopted. When the band let the flow come more naturally I feel there is a greater chance for more darn exciting moments to erupt and this seems to back up my theory here. The paradox comes when my preference for short songs is had and yet I still wanted more - yeah awkward bastard I be.
The finale entitled 'Shell Beach' is now more of the same and there ain't nothing wrong with that. This one seems a trifle misdirected though and is the most careless output of the lot. It mixes up the liquidity of some songs with the treading water approach of others and gets lost in between. From within the mush there are a few good embryonic songs to be had but this last number is a little to busy and confused for me.
There ya go - 13 tracks assessed and in my opinion 10 of em' at least are worth your time of day be ye punked, spunked, metallic or just a passing punter who has no chosen ship of sonica! Nothing ventured nothing gained and a little something different is always welcome. Cheers to Dunk from the lighthouse for sending me the copy - it keeps me rolling!
RAGWEED - LIVE AT THE WINDMILL
The sonic toilet is full of crap and the next band with loosened bowels drop forth four more dollops of dinnage from an acoustic anus very much neglected. The fuckers excrete with glee, hitch up and doth flee and poor old Fungal is the sonic sanitary man who has to delve into the piled high produce to find something of value, of note, of praise! The fingers form a scoop and in I go - such are the hazards of promoting oneself as an underdog enthusiast.
The initial layers reek with DIY bacteria of the most careless kind and one can criticise the shabby attention to detail or applaud for the 'couldn't give a fuck' approach from the 'live' arena. Christened as cretin punk this moronic melodic muck needs some adjusting to and that is what I do. Short gasps and grasps poison all the senses and only with perseverance will I find any goodness within these coils of discordance. 'Smiler' is the first turd to be abused by my assessing digits and with the tinned and thinned guitars opening and the dustbin lid drums rolling us forward what follows is reefed up raggedness straight out of the prolapsed ringpiece of rhythm. Idled vocals, orthodox skin work, fuzzy fuck wire wobbling and what we have is a soiled sound to contemplate in our more desperate moments. Drums explode into action for no reason whatsoever and the song continues on. Feedback occasionally groans like a birth giving behemoth and before we know it we are done. My thoughts are bizarre as the song is obnoxious and should create no interest but the general approach and cracked surface intrigues and this has me slightly itching for more (or is that the defecation feeding fleas eating me alive).
'Is This How' is a nice schizoid track that intertwines a combo of colours as though the band have digested many edible sounds the night before the event. Constipated in parts and darkened with strain, more liquid in others and lighter to the beholders eye. Controlled emotion is held for only so long and the relaxed positioned is soon over-ridden by a clenching squat that distorts the face of the deliverer. I like the hidden danger from this one and the fact that there is potential to cause an array of discomfort pleases my punk soul no end - swine or what! 'Sunshine' is an equally unpredictable number with many dangerous ingredients liable to damage the eavesdropping sonic sphincter and thus make one rethink the phrase 'the sun shines out of his arse'. The drums delicately suffer from IBS (Irritable Banging Syndrome) whereas the strings tease the duffel bag with a threat of an over exuberant sandpaper wiping to come. Nasty stuff but equal to its predecessor and making 2 half decent tracks out of 3.
'Widget' drops out with more ease and is a straight forward thrust that curls sideways now and again and so stains enamel higher up the awaiting basin. I am not convinced by this one and wonder how the hell they will pass this into the studio and what the outcome will be - a chair legger or an insignificant moment of flatulence where all that is had is a forgetful smear?
Such is the way of Ragweed that this review is so turdish in the extreme. Many will just flush this away and never think about the pollution caused but a few, who just can't help their perverted hunger, will reach out and squeeze the slippy mass and duly explore. Whether or not they end up in intensive care due to a rabid infection or out of their minds with the need to feed on yet more effluence is anyone's guess but if ya don't seek, scratch and sniff you'll never know either.
ACID DROP - FULL DECK
Acid Drop have a very solid reputation and go about their business in an efficient manner making many a head turn and take sincere notice. I have seen them a few times to date and have yet to be disappointed and this, of course, left me wondering whether that the dudes would up their game on the next release or just steady the ship and keep the standard flatlined. Well, seeing this is the review I hope I can shed some light on that very poser!
The first pill to plunge into the belly of the eavesdropper is an instrumental showpiece built on mechanical strings, pounding along and stutter drum work and perfectly placed guitar bursts. 'The Drop In' is a lesson in sharp execution and is nothing more than an initial semi-high to prepare for the forthcoming fab tabs. The song develops itself and builds itself up with stereo steroids and so opens the curtains for the main thrust of the CD's loins. A decent commencement and a style I particularly favour.
The next multicoloured rush regards the desire to drink and maintain a lunatic level of inebriation. The fear of being in a non-pissed state runs deep within the vein and the song thrives as a result. This one however is an awkward jigsaw that at first seems highly disjointed but with patience grows into its own set pattern. Pulsating inward with palpitated effect and restless twitchiness the chorus soon comes and is an energy surge that is brief and out of sync with the noise that surrounds. This style is high maintenance dinnage and a lesser band would lose control of the rhythm and deliver a diminished dick into the attentive aural asshole. Acid Drop seemingly pull off the impossible and make for a good opening gambit although if your nervous system is on edge you may just struggle with this one.
'Times Of Apathy' begins, ironically, in a somewhat drinking singing style and after the initial spacious vocal, bass and drum sequence an offering more orthodox is given. With bassed foundations, very strong stick work and strings that refuse to be over flamboyant the vocals are left to flourish in an ocean of sound that is majestic. This is a regular number with many influences shining forth but played with genuine skillage in the village that many an idiot will adore and pogo along to (compliment meant and all goons please do not take offence - unless of course you are an incestuous freckled arsed urchin with a desire to screw a pheasant). Sharp work and 'Birth Buy Die' trundles on with easy go power and 'this is how it is' wordage and inflection. Punky by name, punky by nature this one deals with subject matter that has been done over a million times but still has a 100% degree of relevance. The systematic routine we all abhor, try to defy and occasionally get sucked into is dealt with in articulate terms and having spent 15 years outside of the system built on beliefs like this I can appreciate the underlying frustration and hatred. A very good song and one to play many times over to digest with an ale or two.
'Kids Of The Rebellion' pulls the strings of the populace and demands we get drawn in and join in this unifying anthem. A very saccharined song with many a clichéd overtone aching with enchanting magnetism. Bass follows an initial sobered burst and then some sub-melancholic verseage is ours. Suddenly the words that are etched with hope are blessed via a chorus that is consuming, rapturous and very nicely composed. The blend of the song is complimentary in many ways and the eruptions of punked choral cacophony are genuinely effective and do what they set out to do - impress. The most basic blitz of the lot follows with the increased voltage of 'Conceited Beliefs' getting on with things amid shuffles, scuffles and blue light urgency. The gob work is raucous, the overall acoustic assemblage has several dimensions that alone fail to stand out but as part of the general din sound OK. This one is just that - OK - nothing more and nothing less.
The finale comes, is entitled 'Johnny' and is a quite decent closure for sure. The rain and train fuck off, the orchestral attack is proud and welcoming with words pursuing that are slightly sneered. The pace is ideal and the spaciousness between all that transpires adequate with the 4 string beast driving this one forth and with the brass attacks added adornments that enhance the song ten-fold thus making this one quite possibly the best of the lot. The liquid slip from verse to chorus is attractive, the cool singing style ideal for this forthright ditty and the included breakdown were atmosphere builds a sweet touch. Vera Lynn folds up the CD and off we fly with 'Up The Punks' etched into the Shite Cliffs of Dover - or something like that!
I like Acid Drop, I like to Drop Acid - take yer pick - there ain't nothing on this CD to change my mind regarding the former statement and perhaps the same may be said of the latter - worth finding out I reckon but this is enough of a buzz in the meantime.
THIS ARE U.K. SKA VOLUME 4 - DO THE DOG COMPILATION
Sometimes when a compilation drops through the letter box I pick it open examine and think 'oh fuck a struggle here then'. Occasionally I open and I whizz the disk into the player and wait for the avalanche of sound to crush me - such is the case here! Do The Dog make one expect and more often than not - deliver! Looking at the track list it is no wonder I was chomping at the bit to get this one spinning with the crème de la crème of the label etched all over the cover. 21 tracks and hopefully 21 one crackers that will contribute to the compilation CD of the year - my ass is on the line, my wager placed - under starter orders and they are off.
First through the opening tape is another reliable nag 'Sons and Daughters' brought to you by the ever consistent Cartoon Violence. A safe bet for sure with many a victory under the belt this cool as fuck stable have taken my eye over many an acoustic gallop and once more my peepers are agog. The bounce in the stride is delightful, the synthed accompaniment the subtle encouragement that is needed and the brass and strings essential ingredients making this the first thoroughbred to hit the turf of toneage. The vocals make this immediately identifiable and I have to say ' is a grand first leader and I am sure it will be joined at the end tape by many more solid runners. Sliding along on the inside rail with liquid elegance is the fine and slinky 'Slight Suspicion' trained by those skanky supremos Physical Jerks. This is a mighty fine episode of serpentine two-tonia with an ease of pace that is deceptive to say the least. The tinkling keys adorn the inner muscle of the melody and so give this acoustic equine beast absolute character. The training crew have very few offerings in the stable but when they do eventually let a release run our way it is only us that should be grateful. With more impetus this crew could become something rather significant in this skanking race.
Rasta4Eyes have a good track record albeit over a shorter spell than some of the other bands on here and their runner rattles along with a weaving style that may wander over the course but still keeps pace with the more direct gallopers. '10 Per Cent' is nothing of the sort and this skanked up reggaefied competitor has a genuine chance in the final shake down. Efficient with unpredictable bursts of energy and a solid saxoid inclusion the outfit make an impression and although slightly off the lead make good listening within the first few furlongs.
Copasetics are a new group to me and so their odd little pace setter christened 'Phantom Signals' comes as a shock. A mare from the murky urban thoroughfares this flying machine is a dirty ragged beast that is streetwise, sinister but very much on the ball. Gangsterised, cool edged and saturated with vim and vigour beware this each way certainty - it may just attract you and not let go - a nice little animal for sure. The John Player Specials up the talent next with a fine, fine thoroughbred oozing confidence and polished maturity. 'Wilsonator' is bold, dramatic, played with orthodox skill and at the front at this stage and, I suspect, will be up there at the finale. Starting odds on, this is a great little burst of slamming skank with every acoustic hoof hammered into the dirt below and making melodic muck fly forth. The front fuck foams, the brass swings the balls at the back and the rest of the players provide that vital inner sinew - strong stuff.
A robotic pony breaks loose from the local tuned up toyshop and no one but the Splitters are responsible. Brough Scott seems bewildered and John McCririck has shit himself (very nasty) as this clockwork trotter sidles up. 'Dead Suits' is an intriguing oddity and if you are looking for a darkened horse then this may be the sneaker in the pack. Lithe and muscular with an inner twitch that may impede attraction this has a very old school essence running through the veins and what is snorted out is fragrant and convincing but I'll hold on to my money for a little while longer if you don’t mind. Cracked Actors boldly burst through and whip away at the hind quarters of the very impressive 'Someone To Hate'. The mix of the ingredients is what matters here and all skanky compartments are compact, well built and fully functioning. As the meat at the fore strains, the flesh at the back reinforces and vice versa. Again something ghettoed is hinted at and with the excellent power we have another to look upon with admiration. Jeramiah Ferrari bring sunshine and joy with the sanguine gold entitled 'Fatty Man'. The handicapper may have piled on the pounds of this flirtatious animal but there is no holding back and on genuinely light hooves the winning line is sought and achieved. What position this one finishes at is up to your imagination but for me it is bang in the winning group.
Robb Blake next riding a sonic steed entitled 'Ain't Got No Soul'. Mr Blake has left me hit and miss in the past but this is a cracking effort and has fetlocks filled with soulful springs despite the name of the song. A very ardent outing and an all-consuming sound that gets the crowd involved. I have reviewed this one before and am wondering what I wrote on that occasion but nevertheless at this point I rate it as a fair tune. A good acoustic gee gee that does just that - gee you up! Miacca are a new crew for my assessing self and the bobtail beastie they produce here is far from green and is a steady slogger named and shamed as 'Would You Like Me To Be The Cat'. A very likeable song that has a precious charm that fills one with good vibes and general bonhomie. A fairground piece that has hidden depth and an obvious gutter gob tetchiness. A clamour builds in the cymbal splashing chorus with inner sensualisation and the job is a special one - best keep an eye on this new runner in the riot.
Liberation leave a trail of visualised soaked and smoked urbanian streets were shady characters hang out to the theme tune of 'Can't See You Coming'. A shifty little pony this and one that nestles in mid-pack and yet somehow shines like a good un'. Something slick and serene is given with the danger that something explosive may just occur. Very casual and another one to note. Fuck - what an amazing collection of cacophony! Too Many Crooks come next as ante-post favourites and whip up the sweated 'Rock Bottom'. I am very keen on the TMC output on the 3 CD's that I have reviewed thus afar and this is as you were. Accomplished, borne from a stable seeped in high class bloodstock and with a stated approach that just works a treat I really do struggle to find fault with this group’s delivery. The front leg vocals have a cold tinge and that compliments the back leg groundwork provided by the engine that is the players themselves. Another strong competitor I am afraid and cruising with a double handful - scary!
The gentle brumby that follows is straight out of the woodland glade next to the summertime beach and although one expects a shed plate at the start all worry is lost as things soon get a-going. Unexpectedly this song by Captain Black No Stars is sub-wild and semi-feral despite the reggaed persuasion and laidback cuddliness. This old brown sauce is tepid and so languid I am sure that if all other entrants finish in a dead heat this one couldn't give a toss if it’s at the back all alone. 'A Thin Line Between Slapstick And Tragedy' is a smart switch off rhythm with some internal twinklings to enhance and what you have is a subdued beauty riding with tender hands and heels - delicate man delicate! More crafty slip-streaming appears via Too Spicy and is lapped up via Fungalpunk. The slow lazy start lets the others race away but when the acoustic whip is lashed on the rump of the rhythm this fucker gets rolling and cutting through the crowd with ease. 'Ruthless Killah' mows down the landlords of the lugs and is a hybridised lump of tuneage borne of da gangsta and da skanka! A massive stop and start moment and one to groom not be groomed. Strings are tweaked and twanged before the clamorous clatter turns over the turf. The song gains in stature - yeah - go, boy, go!
Smoke Like A Fish are of an impeccable standard and sport shining silks shimmering with class. An unstoppable tinkle here that never huffs and never puffs but just goes through the well oiled motions with superb efficiency. Clearly defined, presented with aplomb and with an ache in the heart – ‘Rainy Nigh’t is well placed to pounce.
6 left and the handicapper has things just right with all runners bunching nicely and contributing to one hell of a showdown. Mr Flowerdew head of the skanky jockey club is a proven connoisseur and gives you races that are true 'classics'.
Breadchasers place more bets and Breadchasers give you their entrant which flies by the name of 'Time Ticks By'. A natural sound and with a very DIY overtone that may not be obvious but is there nonetheless. After the opening ranted sequence a sweet flow is created with all hands to the reins and pushing hard. A mix of several shades of greying melodies the bounce may be light but the general feel slightly grubby - I like it nonetheless and reckon it is a choice turn of style worthy of a place on the CD. Rebelation give birth to a throwback borne of yesteryear. A cheeky mule this and 'You Will Know' that this is a hesitant git during the verseage but relaxes a little more via the brief chorus lines. Vocally very lucid (or loose-id) and creating the main flavour and drive. I have reviewed a bit by Rebelation and some stuff impresses and some just passes me by - this one passes me by but leaves a grand impression on the way. Drewvis' puke up 'Drunken Words 'n' Dub', a sable sniffer that has a furrowed brow, thoughtful intent and tortoise-like approach. Slow and steady but certain to get there this sub-acoustic shifter is tranquillised and may fail a post race dope test but surely not fall down when it comes to the musical articulation check. An 'in the mood' delivery but still of top quality.
Inter City Crazy Train give out a 'High Life, Low Life' jaunty joggoid jumper and although scratching away with nervous vigour the end result is a good ensnaring reggae rocker that shits big heaps of bloodied dung borne from an acoustic arse pleading with enthusiasm. The race is a side-line as this shuffled fuck does things its own way and wins favour. Yet another one to check out further despite my familiarity with 90% of the bands on show. Talking of which...Jimmy The Squirrel talk of 'Music We Throw' and what we have is another switched out sprinter that has no need to win, no need to lose - take it as it comes and enjoy the keyed out segments where hooves leave the grass and a glide is adopted. A good thoroughbred camp JTS are slowly catching up the label/stable headline hitters and definitely give you a song here not to lightly pass by. Bringing up the rear are The Amphetameanies and although positioned last the bold strides of brassage taken soon get them on an even keel with all that has gone before. Guitars wind in and a fun-time loose screw gob dual creates the style and signature sound with something reminiscent in parts to an age where 'Aquarius' freshened the environment. Something different for sure and something I am fond of - get yer note books out, update yer form guides - another 'one to watch'.
The winning line comes, its nip and tuck and alas - 21 runners begin, run their race and finish in near enough a dead heat give or take a few inches here and there dependent on your frame of mind/mood. Pure genius!
I rated Do The Dog highly and now I have to re-align the levels and add a new rating right at the top. What I will label this new standard is beyond me but think along the lines of utterly brilliant, annoyingly superb, eye-ball, lug bustingly massive and you'll get the drift. Get dogging cum horsing dudes and let the sonic stallions shag ya - oooh me disc player!
THE PLIMPTONS - CHRISTMAS OVER THIS TOWN
Darn those pesky Plimptonian tinkers! How dare they confuse my already muddled head and send me a Christmas single in the middle of November. That much raped festive season is nearly here it seems and do I really need reminding. A time when greed grows, sperm is spilled and ale is consumed by many alcohol-amateurs the world over. Everyone becomes a cunt, everyone gets 'in the mood' without any Christian values whatsoever and tinsel, tomfoolery and general twattism is the order of the day. Fat pigs get ready to glut here is the only snippet of goodwill you'll get from me unless of course you deserve it (which I very much doubt)! So before Santa spills the contents of is bag over your pillow here is something to whet thy appetite. Does it taste of turkey or is it a veritable tonic - get yer hands of ya baubles and read on!
Cheesed keys and sleigh bells welcome and then the perfectly apt tinsel town words puke forth and we into the highly listenable 'Christmas All Over This Town'. Very highly tuned, very festive and ridiculously sickly this one will win the favour of the red eyed inebriates that use the commercialised season as a piss up and a chance to get all wet eyed and in some instances wet knickered. Yeah I am a cynical twat but hey a realistic one. The line 'The whole world is a snow globe and you're shaking it with me' has me wondering if there is any sexual sub-text within and I wonder who out there reading this is hoping to get their globe/s shaken this Christmas - very nasty! This opening gasp isn't my thing but is a right good ditty and achieves everything it is expected to achieve. There is a place for this kind of stuff and if you want something to spin this year then why not this. 'Xmas In Motherwell' is more like it and has more stuffing the turkey of tone, more beer-fuel in the belly of acoustica, more raisins in the puddin' of rhythm. A great riff opens, a toy soldier drum roll follows and then we are in to a swiftly executed piece of drinkoid sub-punkage done with poppological spirit and frustrated urgency. A real good blast this and rather than fart around within the chimney of uncertainty these Santa-soaked players deliver the presents in good style.
'Christmas Is Over' closes what was promised and is a somewhat stuttered, bitter piece where one is loaded with regret rather than spare cash. The flavour of 'was that it' is captured and the midway explosion of party blower mania hints at joy but definitely leans towards an annoyed rage. Another quick one and so it should be - the whole trio work as a result and that is all to the credit of the band.
A bit of fun, a bit of piss-taking, a fair festive fuck about - even I feel like pulling a cracker (no not that way) and partaking of a bit of stuffing (no not that way either) so it can't be all that bad. Look - if jigging around a plastic tree full of fraudulent belief and insincere love towards your fellow man is your thing you may just like this but if you like just a jolly decent tune then have a go too. I like the Plimptons but just hope the next release ain't an Easter Egg EP - please nooooo!
LOADED 44 - WASTED ON YOU
Fuckin' hell man am I glad to be a punk rock pervert! I am so proud to know this scene despite the many shits therein. This music was stumbled upon by my pimpled self over 30 years ago now and lapped up with outsider passion and misfit necessity and, as a consequence, saved my ass, gave me belief and fed me an acoustic ambrosia that I couldn't, and still can't, get enough of. I care not to be part of a crowd, I care not to play to gain popularity - I like punk rock because that's how my spirit is constructed. I can't help it, I make no apologies for it and am so fuckin' happy it still thrills the arse off me - BIG TIME! Loaded 44 hit the nail hard and straight on the awaiting head and it drills deep into my soul causing a pleasurable pain I am sincerely addicted to. At this stage I am close to completing my 600th CD review and when something special hits me I fuckin' well know it. This 14 track treat is something delightful and here is the expected Fungal gushings!
'We Saved The World' slams in with two punch, shuffle combos before standing back on regular riffed up boots admiring the handiwork. All action is the key and when the strong bitch and beef vocals are added to the attack we are in a situation where we realise that our attentive butt will be kicked. Within the thrash of the song the band hold a high level of melody and keep things as tight as Anne Widdecoms ringpiece (so I am told). This is a mightily impressive start and the challenge comes into the second round when the opening assault is soon passed by. 'Drop That Bomb' follows with a similar imposing style but the first verse is a trifle more whipped and makes for a less aggressive approach. The chorus that follows is exquisite splendour radiating a sonic magnetic field that we punk rock victims are utterly drawn into. A scrumptuous snippet of delectable dittyism and done so simply and so fuckin' effectively. Point must be made that that when delivering this mode of melody the mix must be exact as is the case here - superb.
A titanic trio of tuneage is had via a blindingly good song entitled 'Last Drink'. Whereas the latter two songs sway gently to the pit of poppage this leaner, meaner swinging sensation has hardened strata and more firmer foundations and so the end layered cake is tough to assess but fuckin' wonderful to listen to. A lot transpires from the first breath to the last but without becoming a crippling episode of nonsensical showmanship. This strikes as nothing more than erudite punkage posted through our listening letterbox by 'erberts well drilled in what makes a darn good tune. Absorbed, thrilled and thoroughly entertained - that's how I feel at this point and await the banana skin with all nerves on edge. '10 Years ' provides no slippery surface to find my critical feet and so I will stay upright, appreciate and praise accordingly. Again drums are rock steady and do what is requested without any hint at exhibitionism, strings work in harmony and screw each others guts out with dramatic drilling whilst the vocals flow over the top of the instruments like liquid gold streaked with strains of androgynous mystery. Strength is an ideal word to use at this juncture as the band is obviously laden with it - fantastic stuff!
'Radio' sees the lead lass sharpen the singing style and get more acute and highly seasoned. Switching from a somewhat sedate stance to a screwed up zeal that flourishes, yet again within the chorus, one is filled with lofty esteem for a band quite blatantly firing on four red hot cylinders and reaching a peak over the course of one very special album. Here we have a song saturated with brilliance from the escalating verseage, the high appeal sing-a-long segments to the extra special 'Na, na' moment where the head is totally lost and rock and roll demons are let loose. 'Life's Wasted' strums in with deliberate intent and the opening sequence is rigid and unforgiving. The sturdy approach is softened by the vocals and soon we are given another treat but this time in a more creeping style. This song sees more vocal ranges touched and is one of those that improves with time - not the first to jump at your throat but biding its time before it eventually feeds and leaves you dumbfounded
How many is that folks - 6 out of 6 I make it - incredible.
'I'm Not The One' opens with the lines 'Do what you wanna do' - ok I will. This one has a deeper rumble in the clamorous chest and grinds out a good result with more persuasive tones that creep rather than run. For a midway piece it is well positioned and is far from that dreadful entity we know as 'a filler'. The CD at this point is somehow cemented firmly in and it seems we will not be short changed at any position throughout but then again...'Let's Get Away' could well be that duff duck in a crackin' free swimming flock. Alas it isn't to be as this feisty beast is oozing hunger and unrelenting, tireless thirst and so is caught supping down your attention by the bucketload. Less flamboyant and brazen as previous pieces but a very capable song quite easily able to be viewed as a stand alone and therefore duly respected. Interspersed with encouraging 'Whey Heys' and crammed with great guitar riffs, splashing drums and sanguine voice work this keeps the sonic waterfall crashing down on our heads in refreshing style - I certainly ain't complaining.
'Bad News' opens with bassism, proceeds in with hard nail gun intent before softening up and becoming a sweet tune that lacks the punch of previous efforts. What it lacks in general 'ooomph' it makes up for in crafty cuteness and although one the weakest songs still scores a sound 7 out of 10 which just shows what a crackerjack showcase we have on our mitts. 'No Time' is easy fare and slips into the cerebral listening zone with ease and is yet more ‘pick up and join’ in noise whereas the remarkably hard drilled 'Say Nothing' wavers between many well adhered textures and relies on a powerful riff to drive the veritable meat of the tune into the rusted memory banks of time. Irresistible incessancy and at so late a stage in the CD this one really does make its mark.
3 left and the swift assessment is of icing on the already compacted cake. 'When I'm With You' has a spiteful substance to the edge of the rhythmic blade and you would be lucky to escape infection. Done with a furrowed brow radiating concentration and flowing easily into usual expected waters of 'I've Got No Name'. At this stage the only criticism is that Loaded 44 have hit a startlingly good winning formula and are hammering its arse right up until the final bow. The criticism though is a weak one but it does kind of layer out the overall view and feelings and has me considering what the next release will offer by way of a difference. Anyway sod the digression – I like the track and the stuttered wind down to the last blast is sweet. The closure comes with the more orchestrated 'Wanna' that sniffs at the door of several influences but then takes a piss and runs with its own characteristic bone of tone. A wrap-around repeat number with a simple construction and extra fringing to make a wider appealing essence. For me it is a choice moment to change route and although only slightly off route this is a grand closure.
So there you have it - fuck another contender for Album of the Year! I am really impressed by this and the high consistency throughout really does take some doing. Very rarely do bands achieve a solid high standard and when they do it is only for the course of 1 album, maybe 2. The crew concerned here are on a peak - can they surf along to the next one or wipe-out way too soon - who fuckin’ gives a shit - enjoy this and please tell me if I'm wrong! I expect no messages.