FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 63
MARDIGRAS BOMBERS - COME ON IN
This unit are quite local to me and so, as a result, pop up on many a gig in these darn here parts. I have also given them a few gigs myself although a bit further afield on which they have performed most fuckin' wonderfully with their last performance undoubtedly the best. As a rule though I try these days not to overdose on any bands outpourings and pick and chose my listening opportunities. Having used this approach with the MGB machine I have kept things very entertaining for myself and although having had worries for the band as regards over-exposure, the punters in the main seem to still be relishing the produce. Having reviewed one previous release which was good but not memorable I was expecting nothing outrageous here. The first spin did very little for my hungry musical maw and I left the CD for a day or so to ponder. Funnily enough the next spin rocked my arse big time so what was the initial problem? Read on and you may get the answer or you may come to find out that I have rotated this disk several more times and hit a junction of no decision. That's how it goes folks!
A sub-warning, the whine of the siren is high, the infection already multiplying. Validate The Mission' has a mean thread, a sinister space age slant and when the oral void is opened to consume the mix what we get is curious, absorbing and, I am glad to say, not down the usual waste tube of tossology. The wining factors besides the non-conformist edge are the sublimely effective drums and the icy cold keyed up breeze that constantly swirls around in the bleak background held in check by the Bombers resilience. A sinewy opening blitz with the potential created for this CD to go either through the roof or under the carpet - worrying or exciting - you decipher the nebulous verdict! 'No Sleep' screws forth on a tight rein and is occasionally bombed before fleeing the initial ground space and finding a routine verse, chorus style. Vocally sanguine, rhythmically ordered, touched over with undercover efficiency and salted with a non-too flamboyant end production. There is a pain hidden deep within the weave and whether this is borne from the frontman's unsettled soul or the band as a whole is your decision - I'll keep you working you lethargic swines.
'New Locusts' hops in on punctuated heels and then swarms over the sonic scene with eager melodic maws desiring to feed on your verdant resistance. Vocally again we are led along with full bloodied belief and as the first feeding frenzy is over it is into the inner workings the band doth crawl where we are relentlessly battered by a crawling malevolent tirade that does little else but impress. As in the previous song the wires that are wanked off with artistry could be overlooked whilst the drums are titillated with subtle and gentle care and thus a warning must go to those in a rush - have care or miss out. 'Resurrection Gang' are here and what a fuckin' massive moment they bring. From the start the rhythmic vibe is high and although a song regarding the deceased and the corrupt - this song is alive and full of tasteless magnificence. The ghouls of the Mardi Gras Brigade should glutton on this one and fill their swollen, stinking guts with each and every chord of vibrant life (and death). The sable side of the band hinted at earlier is exposed as containing many facets, the obvious disturbing of which are the exhibitionists pride and blatant ego deviancy. The soft 'ooooh aaaahs' are almost sexual and penetrate deep before the bass is left alone in the sacred and yet raped sonic graveyard where atmosphere piles up and leads to a fitting final breath.
Taken, enchanted, provoked? You should be!
'Ah Pook' is in no rush to horrify and waltzes around the jugular, glides across heart and caresses the mind before dabbling here and there at the art of persuasive, destructive cacophony. The band are obviously in a mood to do what the hell they want and that is a hundred per cent more punk than some of the typical putrid poison many an outfit create with no other target in mind than pleasing the punter. This song leaves me wonderfully unsure as to the assessment but somehow totally convinced of a well constructed snip that has much to arouse over many revealing Burroughs-based rotations. 'Girl X' is an outrageously good track combining sensual erotica of the bitch with the seething rawness of the bloke amid a racket that tumbles and climbs like a insidious ivy branch hell-bent on choking the very life out of your little used carcass. The bass dictates and compliments the sloshes of feminine mouth work with superb effect. A masculine hate counterbalances the whole structure and when working in unison with the aforementioned hollering whore many a triumph is achieved. Play loud is the only advice I can offer and keep those doors open so both man and woman can go and play in the big corrupting world.
'Alien Heat' glimmers in on B-movie nonsensical sci-fi sonics where transmitters are twiddled, saucers soar, and little green gonads are bounced forth from the loins of 8 tentacled loons who live on a diet of moondust and fish scales. A queer filled with fear this one skirts around a little too long and slips off on many a tangent whilst waving its wand around and sometimes missing the vital magical ingredient. Schizophrenic, mentally challenging, when in the mood totally firing and thrilling, hindered by relapses into the goonish black hole - a nice attempt not fully caught but worthy of attention nonetheless. 'Invisible Idiots' tears up the book of expectation and pisses out a rasping deep rumble filled with fiery temperament, awkward acoustica and deeply screwed vibration. The vocals dictate, the strings resonate hard and this is a song that is a tough cookie to digest until thoroughly chewed many times over. Again not of the usual spillage that this way drips and that is how we all should like it - difference, the charm thereof! Don't let the overly busy arrangement of the song hide the fact that some good shit is going down and the band are really producing the goods - whether or not you are happy with the finished product is up to you. 'Love Explained' smacks yer face and is a more organised piece of noise with a general straight ahead feistiness that occasionally fizzles over the rim of the rhythmic cup but still tastes just right. The guitar now commands the show and as a result we feel that more bollocks are bared and the band are still capable of upping the ante on future visits to the 'live' arena as well as the recording studio. Yes - a number to relish.
And so we close with a 'Modest Proposal', a musical 'Soylent Green' moment that builds slowly and erupts strong flowing lava that is a joy to be scorched by. At last everything bonds as one and a superb piece of power mongering is had with the string work exuding energy, the drums altering effect with aplomb and the gob at the front once more exhibiting an inner seething spirit not be doused. The song breaks down and leaves us shattered, thoughtful but pleased that are band are pushing the limits of their own musical ability and willing to offer fine fare for the rhythmically ravenous.
Overall this is an album that gets better by the listen and has that longevity factor so many instant hits lose after 4 or 5 plays. The band are thinking about the output which is no bad thing and rather than slip into an easy niche and take false acclaim by the empty headed this crew are going about the business in the best way possible - their own way! Worth a fiver of anyone's brass - it will make ya think that's for sure - scary hey ha, ha!
THE BEAT HOLES - SCREAMING THE BEATLES
You put on a gig in Bradford and the last thing you expect is to meet with an Italian outfit who have called in to see a bit of noise before going off to play a gig of their very own. They say 'hello', pass me a CD to review and chat about perhaps a future gig or two. Off they do piss into the night and I finish the gig, bugger off home too and duly play and review the CD. Here we have a real mix of nothing less than pure entertainment and perhaps this may be disregarded by some as another covers band but, I will argue the point. True they are using others material (which isn't my thing as ye all should know) but this band do it in such a way as to almost make it their own. I am intrigued – here is what I make of some old style rock 'n' roll that has been rehashed, renovated and given a good old kick up the jacksie. Its Beatlemania all the way - hold on folks - this is a queer one.
'I Feel Fine' is the opening number and if you don't feel hunky dory after this you may be missing a very crucial point - this is about good entertaining music and nothing more. To start a CD of this kind one must first banish any doubting thoughts and make an impression that is built on foundations of good musicianship and worthy appreciation to the artistes that have been imitated. The Beat Holes slam straight in and leave no hesitancy at all for those hoping to deem this a positive effort. The gusto is obvious and the gravitational pull into the core of the highly melodic and invigorated rhythm is absolutely spot on. The opening sequence is stroked away via a keyed flourish and the impetus that begins and never lets up is superb. The slip from the steady verses to the nostalgic and gratifying chorus cuts is as good as it gets and although these songs have 'classic' stamped all over them it is a stunning surprise, and pleasure, to see them done such sound justice. One down and then we hammered straight into an amazing bout of 'Get Back' that starts with, you will never believe it, nothing less than an 'Ace Of Spades' intro. The audacity and sheer foolishness of attempting to mix a Beatle and Motorhead classic is either the work of the mentally diseased or the irritatingly confident ha, ha. Either way, somehow this turns out to be a big booted kick up the sonic arse and rocks yer ass to jelly. From the terrifying Hades haunted bass line through the cacophonous rocking riffage that combines the two opposing elements this is a massive number and just one helluva sonic shocker. Class. ‘If you like to gamble’…sometimes it pays off!
'Can't Buy Me Love' is the most orderly track and sticks to the usual vibe with a feedbacked intro, a sub-radioed gob proclaiming the title and the main zest of the song hitting us between the eyes. The main beauty that is apparent here is that the band are obviously in pure love with what they do which comes across more than anything else and instantaneously captures the attention. The ditty is easily taken and enjoyed and the band just apply enough of a dirty edge to make it another rough rockin' gem. 'She Loves You' begins with great texture and emotion with a pace that is exact and perfectly timed. The strings are gently thrummed and each one contributes to that overall caressed feeling so prevalent throughout. The bass and drums play in harmony and the vocals shine and show themselves for the quality utterances they are. There is a lot of expertise poured into these covers and the band should not be treated as an everyday bunch of dudes looking for an easy payday (like a lot of imitation artists out there). I don't do cover bands but I dig The Beat Holes - says something don't ya think?
'Lady Madonna' has good beefy contents, sticks to the original route but has that inner engine fully souped up and not willing to slip gears. The undulations within the weave are gentle but noticeable and the inner surge where all let loose and party it up is well included. 'I've Just A Seen A Face' is a pop punk gem that hurtles through from the initial verse to the deliciously simple chorus routine and up to the final blast with majestic, quirkoid enthusiasm. Many a fine US band of the aforementioned sub-genre would be proud of this and even though this is tribute material it should not be looked down upon - unless of course you want to miss out on a super duper snippet of fun-riddled musical frivolity. 'Come Together' is the most obviously rocked up number and has many clichéd cock rock manoeuvres that will attract many a long haired lout with his multi-sonica air guitar. What I like the most about this number is the fact it showcases the band as a unit and also highlights their ability to diversify the toneage. The construction of the song is gently sloping upwards with pace and tension both rising in unison but ever so slightly. Again another solid offering as is the reliable rhythm of 'Paperback Writer'. Hollowed out proclamations introduce, guitars rubber stamp the fact the song is about to start and a great chugged verse gets all systems moving. The intensity glows brighter and we find the band succeeding with the task in hand yet again. We move through and finally bow out with a sub-repeat of the intro and a final twist of the strings. The finale is a 'live' effort showing that the band don't need to rely on a good production sheen to prove their worth. 'I'll Get You' is a neat song and executed with the simple aplomb that runs throughout this CD. This song was the B-Side to The Beatles 1963 hit 'She Loves You', another one penned by Lennon and McCartney this is a less well known ditty but the BH boys do it fine justice.
So a real curio this one that one doesn't expect to be much but which proves to be a real fuckin' entertaining burst of punked up Beatle-magic. The beauty of there being no rules and regulations is taken to the hilt here and the sonic arena is all the better for it. Don't be too critical if you hate this kind of thing - respect it for the pure joy that it is - I think it is a real sweet treat to savour and I hate cover bands - think about it please!
THE SENTON BOMBS - GAMBIT (ALBUM SAMPLER)
The Senton Bombs are awaiting to release an album and so, in the meantime, I have been given a 3 track sampler to run my lugs over and duly criticise. The band I know well, their music equally so and after a year taking care I expected much of their return. Without debate I gave them an initial gig and they displayed that they can still rock a joint, still have that fine spirit and are now producing the goods again - and some! This is my take on this choice morsel and when the album comes don't say I didn't tell you so!
'Experiment' immediately packs a punch and signifies the fact that the band are determined to up the stakes both technically and as a mean driven force that is rammed with accomplished acoustic moves worthy of a band destined for bigger and better things. The guitars are right at ya and the drums invigorate with amphetamine action whilst front man Joey is dripping with vocal juices and screwing out a sleazy easy drawl. The song wriggles around with many abrupt sinewy switchbacks and well timed pauses and thus giving the listener much to ponder. When in full flow the cacophonic cape is billowing with inspiring unfolded colours and we reach the finale with extreme gusto and success. The opening number may be good but 'Do Your Job' is a fuckin' monumental moment with the band battering away at your will and forcing you to accept the onslaught as nothing less than a classic. All components are fully charged with the front gob at a new pinnacle and driving this effort into a new stratosphere. This is a fuckin' trustworthy band and with choice solos, stunning stick work, great regular and irregular riffage and just a construction to bleed for we have proof of everything I believed this unit to be. The production value is lofty and the running time trimmed to an ideal length. One thing the band may have been guilty of in the past is hanging on to a winning vibe a little too long - not so here - wonderful judgement comes with experience. These guys are doing a job - and in fine fuckin' style!
The last tasty bit that comes served on this silver platter is christened 'Hooked' and again has sincere artistic application, good eye-opening musicianship and...passion! The rise in stature is sensually attractive and the sexualised grind to the whole song is the throbbing nobber that bursts from the vulgarity of the spandex kecks. The crawling caress of the cacophony will tease and please and again The Bombs show they are back and hungry for some acoustic orgasms - open yer orifices.
I love the band, love the new found hunger, love the lads as individuals - you should too and here's wishing them great success - get yer album orders in now!
UK SKUNK - NOBODY'S BITCH
UK Skunk contacted me regarding a gig and so one was duly given. The performance showed promise and although a very typical cut of bog standard punk that lacks complication and intricacy I am sure the band are sure to improve and start producing noise with more relish and more flamboyance. Don't get me wrong the outpouring on that SAS gig was honest and fair and the band did OK but as ever I am there to push bands along and squeeze their sonic bollocks dry. After the gig a CD was received and now I find myself reviewing another silver circle. Once more the critical hat is donned with all intentions for the best - let's have it then.
'Nosebleed' spurts forth first and comes via a fuzzed up soundscape where the budget is tight as well as the overall building tension. The initial wave of crummy distortion takes some adjusting to and one has to fight off the nostalgic years before getting too caught up in a sound similar to many old 7 inch singles that have frequented the turntable of the ever fanatical underdog follower. This racket harks back to an embryonic punk era when we didn't want, expect and get music that was doused in advanced recording room sheens that gave all bands that essential helping hand (but not in all cases). Everything about this song is raw and unprocessed and in some instances this will hamper and in some ways adds character. The song in general is a middle paced plod with all corroded areas a little too rusted and the main drive of the song a little too similar for a plus 3 and a half minute effort. It ain't dross but just average and one has to admit that 'TWA' is a much better song. Shorter and more to the point with an opening sequence that aches for more attention and a speed and slow mix that contrasts nice and dirtily. The cruel cacophony is splattered with acoustic disagreement and during the swift verseage we are given an unruly lesson of mayhem that just scrapes by. The chorus is a vicious, simplistic kicking and both parts are effective in making the end song a fair listen.
'Nobody's Bitch' follows and is of the usual mucky mode with a tumbling winding down chorus that interrupts the scuzzy stench of the verse. The tempo is static and the essence once more of that old school fly blown shit heap where many pearls by the wallowing, complacent swine are left - this ain't the biggest gem you will find but it is worth slipping into yer sonic pocket nonetheless. 'The News' is the song I adopt as the rancid runt in the pack and is just too laboured for this kind of fuzzy feedback and just appeals to me in no way whatsoever. There is nothing I can say positive about this ditty so I shall dash on to the much more applaudable 'Society's Reject'. A song I have heard before but I do listen to way too much tuneage so nailing it is another matter altogether. There is a good upbeat melody here as well as a more defined routine where the number has a focussed regime and sticks to it. The flow from verse to chorus works well and despite the tortured rawness I reckon this is the best of the lot.
'Condemned' flat-lines a little too much and although a stable song the delivery is too level and so any sonic shoots of verdant toneage stay subdued beneath the roughened surface where more production room fertiliser is an essential requirement for future efforts. 'It's Just A Box' is similar but a little more fresh and has a fighting chance despite the band not seemingly fully relaxed. The pace seems awry and without liquidity but again with necessary care and attention the song can be encouraged to develop into something more tetchy, more dangerous, more rewarding.
3 to go and 'Punk Rock Shock' leads the way with a backstreet slaughterhouse ambience that is similar to a kerfuffle in a rubbish hip. Very soiled, very basic and with a stench many will turn away from. The main source where the song just 'lacks' is the degree of pace injected. Speed things up and all components will embrace one another and a certain punk pit will be slipped into and due praise will come. The same criticism can be aimed at 'Let's Go Mental' and 'Paranoia', which are both better songs with a more appealing pick up and play vibe. More speed would again be requested which, during the latter efforts chorus is the case and as a result we get more success. Personal thoughts but alas it is me doing the review ya buggers!
And that is it - a review that isn't glowing but one that, like the band, indicates promise. The 2 areas that need looking at are the clarity of production and of course the tempo. Correct these (if at all they need correcting - I ain't a super sage after all) and for me, you get a much improved end output. The band are worth a listen and a 'live' viewing and of course your constructive advice (as are all units) and perhaps together we can move things on for all concerned.
KING SALAMI AND THE CUMBERLAND 3 - TRUBBLE TRUBBLE CD
Of this outfit I know nothing so here is a quote from Reverbnation to help clarify things a little:- 'After all having roamed around the globe separately, four freaks teamed up in London as King Salami & The Cumberland 3. They bring forth up-tempo party Stompin' Rhythm’n’Blues played according to the basic principles of the old London school of Trash. Their sound is crude like the guitar of Link Wray. In their short existence they gathered a large following of party freaks worldwide that are doing The Mojo Workout with them hypnotized worldwide'. Sexy hey? Requested for review by those fine releasers of all things obscure, namely Dirty Water Records, this is a double flip side oddity that fits in...nowhere. Just the way I like it and be it good or bad I will do my bit to be the same- just the way you should like it!
Side A offers us 'Trubble Trubble' a song that starts with a demanding Hawaii Five-0 drum shuffle and roll before the groovy rich tones of the front mouth call us to listen on in and get down with the vibe. The guitars scuttle about, the drums flip and flop with insect -like nervousness and the general gist of the song is very wise-assed with a flamboyant Mardi Gras approach full of partying funkiness and essential eagerness. When the sax gatecrashes the vitality levels increase and with screeches and high doses of bluesed up inflection from all departments this is a fuckin' beauty to jitterbug around to until those winkle pickers burst into flame. As soon as we are done we are requested to flip the record, so here goes...
'Jellyfish' booms in with big chief drums that don't have the chance to feel lonely as the glistening six-stringed jerker chaperones and adds the crucial style factor. The bass vibrates the ass out of the melodic pants and the instrumental we have on our hands is an irresistible morsel of rocking and rolling brilliance. Very retrospective with one or two clichéd touches but what the hell - just jack down yer booty and waggle away to some fine music my man.
That's it - 2 songs, 2 songs way out of the punk stratosphere and 2 very appealing jaunts of jolliness and jerky quirky funkiness. It is a small piece of unadulterated, unabashed fun - check it out - I am so glad I have.
DE KEEFMEN - ME KEEFMAN, YOU JANE (Part 2)
De Keefmen come under the Fungal radar via the label Dirty Water Records and what I expected and what I got are, in some parts the same thing, in others…different. Hailing from the land of the Tulip this Dutch trio are raw, under-rehearsed (it seems) and somewhat haunted. Their output is from the exhaust filled garage and where a sub-alternative tramp from the early 80's has decided to make a discordance built on simplistic melodies. It is a strange and eerie sound that spills out with the kind of slant that many self acclaimed critiques will dissect and destroy. This is a punk site run by a punk with an appreciation of the murkier side of music - get back to basics and bellow about it is the ethos - let's see what this crew have here hey?
'Wrong Kinda Place' reeks of under-production, bleeds a deep underlying fear, weeps forth tears of ghosted musicianship. De Keefmen make an initial soiled introduction and I know a few who would turn heel immediately and run in the opposite direction - into the arms of a more safer melodic lover no doubt (more fool them). The initial sorrow that pours from the hearts of the players is absorbing as so is the unhygienic heavily dusted sonica that the band so determinedly spill forth. From the despondent strings to the wretched wailings of the mouthman this song has a choice pang to it with an hopelessness not lost on this assessing chap. For me the target was sought and thoroughly achieved and what we have is a most satisfying B-movie mush - nice!
'Don't Ask Me' bleeds and pleads with a sub-Joy Division terror in the drums and guitars but here is served up with an oral onslaught that is infected with torture and pain thus becoming a passionate expulsion of something amazingly irresistible. The thriving sound is tattooed with a diseased futuristic edge where the melodic machinery is operated by players who do it without even thinking - its in the blood.
'Anything' excites no end and spills in with spoiled string work that is both mesmerising and beautifully industrial. The vocals work alongside this raw nerved rhythm with a tension, a fear, a veritable cauldron of fretting emotion. The consuming gist is low slung and embracing of all that the garage pit can offer when all components fall into place without even trying - fuckin' brilliant shit and the work of artistes adept at their musical poetry.
I can't issue enough positives about this CD - a luscious episode of noise that has me genuinely salivating for more. There is a subtle depth, a blatant rawness, but a certain cuteness that makes this sheer joy, joy, joy. De Keefmen - remember the name, chase up this CD and get a glut of more sonic puke this band retch up.
EAST ISLAND CITY - ME AND WHAT ARMY
Again, the word on the web is all positive as regards this outfit and it seems, as I scribble, this CD is highly anticipated. I wonder how many will review and duly praise and yet not have a background and fondness for the rougher end of the spectrum where high quality production is disregarded and a polished end outpouring is not the main aim of the crew making the cacophony. Those out of the murk may well and duly label this punk but I am unconvinced and treat it as just another noise to assess. Labels don't matter after all but some things have their place and so need stating as such. If this is good and rocks off my bollocks I'll be the first to admit it but I certainly won't be tagging as a triumph for a specific genre if it is nothing of the sort. Fuckin' Fungal hey? This snippet of text taken from the Prescription Music PR website (whom asked me to do the review) is what I am up against:- 'Formed in May of 2010 in Dublin, Ireland, East Island City is comprised of Greg McLoughlin, Steve Grealy, Andrew Curran, Ste Hyland and Justin Capocci. Upon finalizing the line-up, the band went straight into the studio and released their debut EP for free in July of that same year. After seeing their record downloaded a whopping 15,000 times, the band were awarded the Band Of The Week accolade by the renowned US clothing line Glamour Kills, invited as main support for the likes of Framing Hanley, Twin Atlantic and My Passion, and even picked up an endorsement from Blackstar Amplification'. By heck if I don't like this someone will be upset (maybe multiply that by 15,000). OK here goes nothing!
The intro 'Feels Like Home To Me' isn't what I was expecting and so immediately has me off melodic balance and re-listening over and over to truly grasp what transpires. What we have is a semi-whispered slice of gentle acoustica that I presume is added to add a 'contrast' to what follows, and so, I deem this as nothing more than an attempt at a cute trick - am I fooled? The foil under scrutiny is nicely applied and blatant suggestions of a top notch production are had. The ditty is a morose sort of offering and isn't my ideal way to start a CD that apparently has much riffage to impress upon one - I shall move on and remain unmoved - bastard or what - no just fair! The next song rises on granite vibes before opening up and baring a soul that is both honest and sweetly built. 'Tomorrow' is scrubbed up sonic hygiene with all areas carefully groomed and then positioned with a distinct priority on squeezing every decent component out of the band without any thought for the coarse and natural. The style adopted is suited to the band and as a result the final gunk to drip our way is bleached of any street-cred but rammed with efficient, professional prowess - which do you prefer?
The title track, 'Me And What Army' leaves me a little vague purely down to its somewhat unexciting arrangement that reaches an above average high but just stays there and really doesn't take too many risks and seems determined to be a commercialised track without threat but with plenty of thought. Too clean and despite the excellent production this one fails to ruffle any Fungal feathers and just slips into the distant memory thus becoming all too easily forgotten. The guitar layers are neatly placed, the vocals too similar to other cleansed outputs and I am just missing out here on something many will adore - you can't like everything! 'The Borderline' get lost in its own complication due to the fact that the intricacies attempted aren't done so with utter 'couldn't give a toss' conviction. The band have the idea but seem drawn to keeping things processed and way too appealing and so will no doubt capture the attention of the masses but lose the interest of the lovers of foul sonica like me. There is much pleasure to be found in the construction but overall a definite 'no, no' for me.
The closing 2 pieces go by the names of 'You Are The Light' and 'Nobody's Gonna Miss US', 2 examples of efficiency, thoroughly groomed musicianship, recording room know how and focus into an arena where commercial acclaim is gained. The guitars are yet again crisp on both tracks, the sticks purely delivered, the gob-work of an ilk to appeal - the opinion though from this sonic pervert is of indifference. The efforts are of a great standard but something along the lines of real 'bite' lacks and with my sonically abused background I find a scarcity of appeal. The build up to the closure of the latter song does excite when the band seem to relax and let themselves go a little more but this is all well-washed music that has me feeling a trifle cold.
A great CD but not for me - a paradox that occurs many times over if one has any sense of decent honesty and will own up to the truth. I am sure this outfit will find their listening audience and do quite well for themselves but I personally would like to see things scummed up and given a nastier edge - it ain't my call though and all the best to the dudes goes forth.
BEAT SEEKING MISSILES - BREAK MY FALL/DR STRANGELOVE
A groovy kind of sonic spillage here with hip-shaking, earth quaking vibromatic beatology soaked in a sixties experience, cloaked with a garaged motorised sound that has a devil may care attitude and some beatnik cockiness. When the dance floors shook with a jitterbugging jive, and when the grease in the barnet was applied to the rockin' rhythm this is a slice of then and now music borne from memory but modernised with accuracy. The BSM are here to bring pleasure and with 2 shuddering songs they go mighty, mighty close.
'Break My Fall' bubbles up with boomed bassed throbology where the hollow skull of sound is bludgeoned with relentless sub-60's rockin' rawness that...hurts. The 4 wired war stick floats the boat with deep tremulous wobbles whereas all other players wait for the crest of the wave and ride along on sonic surfboards that are well-balanced and in accordance with all around. Before the final repeatoid wind-up something close to a musical wipe-out occurs but the band just hang on and make this a fair toon dudes. I particularly like the harmonies - something nostalgic there that plucks at more than just the strings on the guitars!
'Dr Strangelove' is nothing less than slaggy blues filled with a jungle beat that is threatening, liable to explode and full of disembowelled glory. There is a sexualised strain that has swagger and potent hypnotic persuasion and the general gist is sublime horniness. I can take or leave this track to be honest but enough dark and dank recesses are hinted at for to desire further delvings into the private areas of this curious band.
Dirty Water Records seem to have their eye in for revealing exciting sounds to the world and the BSM entity is yet another titbit to awaken long lost appetites. Go and prowl around this bands web arenas and see what taste buds get tickled - it’s the only way!
JOHNNY THROTTLE - JOHNNY THROTTLE
From a Dirty Water press release we have the following typed up test:- 'Formed by ex-Parkinsons front-man Afonso Pinto (aka Johnny Quid), and including former members of Menace, The Shakin’ Nasties, The Jackoffs, the Chinese Lungs, the Stains and Urban Shocks, Johnny Throttle have been playing drunken, beer-soaked gigs since the tail end of 2008. They play snotty, moronic and straight-to-the-point gonzo-garage punk rock, banging out a furious 20-minute (smoking ban-friendly) set of short and catchy songs that bring to mind something like Slaughter and the Dogs meet the Electric Eels. This is probably London’s best punk rock band, and definitely the snottiest'. Now don't this sound mighty fine? Add to this my fondness for the cacophony that drips from the corroded can of the Dirty Water dudes and you may be suggesting that a positive review is in the bag. Not so, Fungal plays it as honest as ever and will only praise where praise is downright deserved. Let’s not fuck around, let's get into the meat of the melody and see what taste buds are teased, tickled and perhaps tortured.
'Lost Sputnik' is a wondrous opening and hurtles along on well worn wheels that blaze a trail along the snot and roll highway regardless of who the fuck is assessing. The engine driving this is tightly tuned and the driver at the helm a cool dude fuck on defiant cruise mode and loaded with passion. The 'whoa hoa's' add to the drive by speed sensation and the wrap-around style of the song coupled with the turbo charged inflection is sweet motorised music to me lugs. 'Alone' sustains the high dose of vroom with the outside lane held and the billowing breeze cutting deep to the core of the listener. There is a crucial energising pulsation within the engine of this song and once the band find that initial slipstream they go for it with unleashed enthusiasm. 2 complimenting deliveries and into the next gear we slide.
'Ann' switches down, rumbles with a brief bass and drum groove and then hits a different momentum that chugs away and occasionally deliberately skids away after a repeat of the bog basic chorus. Deliciously attractive sluttish rhythm making with some honest guitar work via the six-string showman, very effective bass lines that glue all components together and some drumming that is without fuss but bang on the mark. 'See You Again' is a youthful sounding number with an infectious gusto and naive poppoid slant that thus creates a feeling that this one could be a 'live' smiling favourite where the crowd indulge in the intrinsically basic outpouring and take this for what it is - blatantly well crafted, easy come, easy go fun. The song has a good snap to it and I reckon this will be an instant fave with the many passers by.
A brief machine gun attack and 'Waking Up Alone' waltzes in and is the most held back piece in this goody box of treats. Something of a stagger attack with the bass vibrating all into action and the general gist wrap-around and meandering. The alternative pace isn't what this crew do best but it is very much a case of 'needs must' as an album at one rate is destined to tire out the reviewer. A fair 6 out of 10 this one - nowt more, nowt less.
'Leave Me 'Til I Come' opens with a tub thump and then swings forward with a winding riff liable to ensnare you with the flamin' flavours found therein. A real 'couldn't give a fuck' number that paradoxically is aching to fuck - sheer rock 'n' roll style. A whoring bitch this one with a disrespectful edge many a tart will lap up (perhaps literally). Following on is the hepped up lusciousness of 'I Wanna Be Your Ex', yet another great ditty filled with undeniable sincerity and another easy but high quality chorus. The construction is another of those explosions that will stick in yer mind and annoy the hell out of ya but what can you do when a band are so in the zone and producing choice cut after choice cut? The speed is perfect, the slightly sneered and veered delivery most apt and overall I am struggling to find a fuckin' fault here. If I were to be overtly picky I could say the following track is the weakest of the lot and therefore a bag of shite. The problem I have is that although the verse segments are oh so slightly subdued and not having the impact of more prominent numbers the brief chorus once more saves the track from the sonic slums. 'Heart Of Stone' is indeed more of the same folks and although my least favoured snip it is still top notch noise - aggravating or what?
'Spazztastic' is gorgeously politically incorrect and combines a fuzzed up rear drive with a stunning incessancy as well as a sweated up and snot-riddled rabidness. Those who like the indecency of punk and the trespassing on forbidden land will drool over this classic and if you like a good sing-a-long chorus to pogo and ping to then double bonus. Another beauty filled with a vicious edge! 'Falling Off The Edge' has a great undulation in the tone and swings from its own merry tree with distinct belief. The noise punctures the lug and pierces the punk heart and gets me rockin' on down. The grunts and 'ughs' break the flow but are needed to show that the players are well and truly into their hullabaloo and never miss a trick.
The next three begin with a full steam ahead whitewash as 'Time You Learnt' head rushes along with eyes, instruments and minds all aiming to get the job done swiftly, tidily and with the odd splatter clatter moment added for the danger element. The band are riding bareback here and doing it without even trying - cool. 'Johnny Go Mental' eases up on the accelerator and keeps things simple but, well you should know by now - respectful, rewarding and rhythmic. The vocals are sparse in this one but that just adds contrast and in fact makes for something different and unexpected. There is a vibe going on with the Johnny Throttle boys and it’s rumbling my bits to buggery - I like it! 'Stukes Uber Shoreditch' is a fuckin' punked up, spunked up arousal with all access granted and all areas trashed and tuneful. The guitars collide, the gobs drip with slutted conviction, the inner heart is bared and beating with success. From the opening chimes/warnings the ditty delivers all and this, for a penultimate track, is a fuckin' raucous gem.
'Looking At You' begins with splashed drums, ravaged and raped bass and guitars before horrifying things up a little with the most soiled track of the lot. A creep beat that billows out the curtains and welcomes in many evil indulgences thus creating yet another subtle tangent. The snot still drips from the nostril of noise but this time is riddled with profound disease that one just needs to dabble with. This one creaks and groans but comes out as a murky, lurking hit. How do they do it?
A white hot band on the Fungal radar here with a distinct relish and rawness paying huge dividends and bowling me over with the insight into the artistry that creates good high energy melody and yet keeps the main engine room unclean. Fuckin' ace band, fuckin' ace CD - fuckin' spend yer dosh!
WIDOWS - DEATH VALLEY DUCHESS
If ever you slipped into the doldrums and needed one hell of a sonic beating to get you out of it then what the Widows offer here may just be your thing. This episode of pulverising intensity will leave you mentally and physically scarred and whether or not that is a good thing depends on your sonic sexual leanings and nothing more. The torture chamber is always welcoming to those of a curious nature and with an inkling towards the more painful pleasures in life. Within the confines of the pain-inducing hell awaits the ghost of Donatien Alphonse François from where advice and inspiration comes for the following analysing textual matter. It seems appropriate, it seems unavoidable and so in we go to the noxious clatter hoping to receive results most rabid, totally rapturous and utterly destroying.
The first decimating number to be delivered by this unholy crew is entitled 'Green Tsunami' an opening wave that rises in the distance, sloshes around and then builds into a strong wall of rhythmic water that won't necessarily bowl all over in its path but will make that initial impact to make way for further persuasive doom-laden repercussions. The main essence is dark and consuming but not as such to be labelled as excessive hardcore. The bassed sound is rewarded with a vocal partner that gruffly growls across his wordage with dark conviction. Lighter guitar inclusions whip up a wind to refresh the overall sound and although this isn't the biggest opening hitter what it does is 'prepare' and nothing more is needed. 'Goat Lab' swaps noteage and undulates with heave-ho intent. The drums try mightily to get their way and apply a bit of orthodox methodology but the stringed serpents remain restless and coil up around an inner torso of tuneage with increasing determination. I like the riffage for sure and already am thinking this could be the best track of the lot. The vocals remain powerful and echo out with shadowy effect and the brief respite where bass and gob breathe as one is much needed. Not bad but 'Fuck Knuckle' has a great bouncing drive and bolder consistency as a result. The flow may not be pure liquid but the sludge gets where it wants to and every orifice of your listening meat will be invaded. Volume adds to the listening experience as do break away moments once more contrasting and for a song I have said I do not like in the past I am happy to now report that maybe I was wrong - just goes to show how music can be deemed when in different frames of mind.
'Truckules' is shrouded in evil at first and then pupates into a hollowed out number with a distinct lack of opening beef. The muscle does eventually come as well as many grinding moments that have the potential to hit hard but somehow lose their impact due to the 5 minute plus running time. Some big, big moments come and go and get lost in the passage of time and so several plays will be needed to thoroughly absorb - the question is - will your patience hold out? 'Kiss Of Failure' cymbalises and roars forth and seems like a song I have heard before. The rockin' opening verse is followed by a twinged sub-chorus that distorts with quality pain. We drift off course a little and I start to fret but the band realign and give us a good powerhouse lesson in grim sonica. I have heard a lot worse and not much better of this certain sub-generic dinnage.
'Whores Of Babylon' is a number that fails to raise any interest in this reviewer and seems to just lack the killer direction of other tracks as well as being just too similar and too, flat. The band are screwing out some good riffage but rather than over analyse I'll let this one slip by as a 'not for me'. 'Something For Deities' and 'Parentheses' rock things up a little more with the former track having a good humping beat that combines well with the gruffness of the gob whereas the latter track has more relish within the groove and although slowing right up to reconsider the whole concoction, when the song is in full liquid flow it succeeds.
And so to 'Death Valley Duchess', an atmospheric narration regarding a place of extremes where those who enter do so at their peril although this snippet from Wikipedia banishes some of the myth surrounding the name:- 'The valley received its English name in 1849 during the California Gold Rush. It was called Death Valley by prospectors and others who sought to cross the valley on their way to the gold fields, although only one death in the area was recorded during the Rush'. The effort to me is wasted and closes the CD in a failing yet strange style - each to their own I suppose but I would have preferred a riot.
So once more a Widows CD comes, impresses in parts, misses in others but highlights a strong band who will do their thing outside of where I ply my punkism. It is nice to be challenged with reviews and this one has done that but my suggestion is that this will hit specific hotspots for those in specific circles and hopefully a few outsiders - we can but hope!