FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 64
SLAB - MEGAFAUNAL SUICIDE
There is no doubt about it - my fear levels are through the roof. Call the police, arrest these bastards - no instrument on God's gloried earth should be put under the abuse as issued out here by this very intense and overwhelming band. Imprison the fuckers, fine them heavily, banish them to the land of silence for if no heed is taken of this warning the sonic arena will split asunder and every note and chord ever struck will be consumed by this blazing uncontrollable racket. Having said all this - boy do this band do what they do so fuckin' well. Not my chosen cha' in the cupboard of musical refreshments but worth a sip now and again for sure.
A 'Vigil' is set up and creates visions of a withdrawn and hermitised Serge Leone moment of pondering hesitation where potential threat could arise and ... oh and...
The nightmare begins, the plucked strings that thought for a little too long are banished beneath a twisting bender of electrified intensity that soon ruptures and gives way to tribal drums and screwed up and screwed down guitar. A tale of extinction, of mans idiocy and bloodied hands the fury that propels itself forward on behalf of the forgotten Tasmanian Wolf is terrifying, livid and in need of a stop to mans fuck it crimes against the natural. We are thrown around a cage and given a taste of how to make mayhem and send out a message in many billowing, stinking breaths. The chaos, the disorder somehow envelope each other and so become one hulking mass of melodic disarray - the ultimate musical oxymoron - a fine bout of power.
The terror is maintained with 'Kervorkian' squeezing perspiration from orifices one didn't know existed. The strung weaponry is used and abused with horror effect via moments catapulting us into the realms of the said 'Dr Death' and others dumbing down, becoming less voluminous but holding a weightier ill intent, a more underhand maliciousness. When the vocals switch off we are perhaps left to consider a sonic suicide - or have the band already committed this act? Many would say 'yes', some like my mystified and yet impressed self would say 'no'. I reiterate again that this is not the excrescence I would feed upon if tumoured tones were my fetish but one can't help pay heed to the creation of such accomplished acoustic agony no matter how hard one tries. Full throbbing evil! 'Physeteric Faith Disaster' is a 6 minute 50 second disaster zone your ghoulish nature will love to peek at now and again. To play such a song relentlessly would be a critical faux pas but as a one off inclusion then 'yes' - do it! The mindless wind up is at you from the word 'go' and viciously adorned with splattered mouth mush and instrumental insidiousness. For such a lengthy track of such incandescence this one never fails to dim and fade out and the entire stretch is one long pure glow that takes some dousing. 'Pockets Of Resistance' machine-guns inwards and asks all the outsiders to join as one and unify, defy and cry...out fuckin' loud. The opening demands are high velocity and mind-blowing with what pursues both debilitating and superbly technical. The band keep away from new-school nonsense and remain pure to their chosen slipstream - in parts the trembling terror that is pushed to the upper limits is close to complete collapse and that danger isn't lost on this appreciative assessor.
Scratched and screwed the infection that arises from 'The Bite' is a little too much for me to take at this stage and although overloaded with power, injected with musical mastery and laden with crazed passion there are one or two metalised moments as well as episodes of misdirection I find rather baffling. Not bad and obviously will meet the needs of the insatiable hardcore nut but just off the Fungal rhythmic radar. 'The Nihilist' unfolds in a fractured way with the odd positioned slam-dunk of sound calling for all your ears. The intro is however nothing more than a definite prerequisite to a humdinging, much pinging noise attack that once more tumults and bewilders with blinding radioactive danger. Again the only problem I have is with the running time which is way over done but other than that what we have is a multitude of exciting moments that just are too fleeting to grasp and so get lost in the overall melee. 'Tetradon Zombie Voodoo Ritual' is more like it for me and fucks it up and fucks it down without regret, without decency. Highly charged and switching off temporarily for a shadowglass tinkle that is hot stuff and tears open the sonic pockets and rams them with umpteen angry artefacts brought from the cavernous realms of some ancient asylum. The last hideous explosive scream is testament to this comparison and if I was happy with the high and of a mindset deeming the band incapable of upping the insanity then I was wrong. As soon as the chest is torn open the band are near enough into your vital organ system and shredding all life giving flesh to ragged, ruined pieces. 'Pigshifter' is the amazing zenith on this destructive CD and hits hardcore stratospheres one could only regard as out of bounds. Tumbling around with seemingly no control this song has more to it than one could give credit for with the band at the helm steering it exactly where they want it to go - mammoth!
'Animal Faced God' is a certain peach and hurtles away with crazed instinct that one can hardly keep up with. The mesmerising strings confound, the wild oral pandemonium is from the lunatic fringe and if you have any sense the paradox is you will want to be there as soon as possible. A pure enjoyable mush – very exciting indeed!
'Human Rain' is too long – that is my major disagreement, Beyond that what we get given are many layers and considerations with a schizoid noise that is unsettling and without boundary. Jungle war beats, metal riffages, noisy nervous tics, jangling sonic systems, escalating power, moments that are awkwardly anarchic, snippets to swallow, snippets to spit out - you should know what these guys get up to by now - the rest I shall leave with you. 'Connaisance' walks out in the same style of the entrance and so leaves one on edge - whispered utterances only chill some more.
Large, looming, liable to destroy your ear-drums - no doubts at all - if you are in the zone or out of it you gotta pay some big respect to masters of their chosen art. It may be a little much for the many but please do not slate as shite without listening in proper - these guys are at the max and creating quality cacophony with every breath. Applause, applause and then some more. True genius!
UNDERCLASS UK - KILL THE POOR
A puzzler this one that has had me pondering for quite a while now. The essence borders on the hardcore but the over-riding aspect is that of streetpunk Oi with a much more focussed and advanced sound perhaps? Many other flavours drip onto the final canvas and what we have is a good listen with a few layers to strip away and reveal a thinking that ain't just tits, beer and brawling. These London based 'erberts seemed well doused in punk petrol and are happy burning out their own niche with the DIY ethos the main ignition point. Once again we have a CD that needs a little time but having spun several times I reckon, in the main, this is darn good shit done for the right reasons. Here is a little more detail for ya!
The title track 'Kill The Poor' kicks off with well greased guitar work that skids along backed by a well woven bass line and some slap around stick duties. The tale of the tonsils is of something searing but determined to not let things get out of hand. It’s raw throughout but produced with careful hands and ears that refuse to let this, and other constructions, slip into a specific sub-generic soup bowl where the many will dip the curious eaves-dropping bread. The assessment of the song however, in the most basic and direct of terms, is of a well driven piece with a good deal of organised bite. After the opening march 'Enemy' considers and then delivers. The slow intensifying build could be more potent and when the vocals join in the thrust isn't as dramatic as perhaps expected. The execution of the song is fairly accurate but I find myself out of favour with this one due to the overall composition being too repetitive. Some good string work within doesn't go unnoticed but definitely not for me this one. 'Fantasies And Violence (Internet Warrior)' however is a different matter and is a scathing attack that crawls beneath the skin and demands you listen up. There are a few cunts this could be aimed at, you know the ones, those invertebrate fuckers who are too busy spoiling rather than spreading the sonic word. The question that arises whilst listening to this is whether or not the band are at their best when loading up a song with a patient threat and unrelenting menace in the tones? Does it matter anyway - I like this one and am impressed further when this choice song is outdone by the smart moving 'Skint'. A kick up the arse for the user and abuser with a cutting edge many may be offended by. The verse is good enough but the chorus is cute and effective and carries this song with liquid ease from first to last. All sections comply with the strain sought and set and this is one of my definite picks of the lot.
'Destiny' cools it down with a neat intro and an opening vocal burst cloaked over with consistent 'Whoa hoa's'. The chorus is laboured but suits and on we go with the same modus operandi and I find at my door a fair track but nothing outrageous. The muscle is well honed but not hulking enough and certainly not throwing its weight around enough - tidy but could be better. 'I Don't Wanna Be' is a more tortured noise and has a screwed up mug that certainly seems to be trying. The initial burst leads us into a good tribal industrialised spanner wielding riot where rules and regulations set by the wankers in power, as well as the underhand tyrants of tradition, are well and truly defied. A refusal to slot right in will win the minds of the rebel in the 'live' pit and there is something of a 'join in' affectation here so I can't see any immediate problems. The gob work borders on the edge of the metalised madness and that, in this instance, ain't no bad thing. 'The Spirit Of Bobby Moore' is a football song (as if the title didn't give it away) but rather than celebrate the wonderful game it digs in deep with harsh facts and tells you how it is with these overpaid tossers and ethic-free users. A nice attack and much needed and via a tune that begins with flustered drums, sharp cut guitar and good old bovver boy mouthology. Not a bad little do!
'Broken Dreams' has an opening section that seems nothing less than a bastard runt sprung from the loins of a victim of a hippie/indie/techno dance threesome. It is a strange slightly haunted inclusion and throws one delightfully off balance. The secondary section of this song has a wonderful texture and some good transparent honesty within the noise that really appeals to me - like a Jekyll and Hyde number this one offends and pleases in equal yet distant ways but overall it succeeds. The following two numbers are similar in fact with 'London (2012 Olympic Silver Medal)' not doing enough and somewhat of a slack arsed plod whereas 'Harry (2012 Olympic Gold Medal)' is much more like it and has a greater intent and end target. Flashy Oi with a good cobblestone feel and general cockiness that is much suited to the aforementioned sub-genre. The slightly abraded vocals are apt and the music neatly positioned and not fighting for the fore and thus making a mismatched muddle - a tidy number to enjoy!
4 left and let us get through em' can we - my digits are aching off. '25 Years' is a gruelling semi-acoustic crawl with that well worked determination and the still blatant oxymoron that is a polished roughness. Despite a low tempo I find myself liking this one as I do the chasing 'Wild Child'. This latter track drifts into the peripheral waters of spandex rock (which I am sure will insult the band -success at last ha, ha) but which does a half decent job and keeps things tickling along. No impact, no great eruptions - just a steady construction that flat-lines at a decent level. 'End Of The Line' is the last but one number and a gentle stringed cut of acoustica whereas 'Summer Skies' decides to not follow a similar thread and aims to nail the closure of this CD with contrasting power - it does just that and both tracks are complimented for making the final full stop a prominent one.
A fair do if I am honest and one the band can surely build upon and really turn out some choice cuts. Package in a DVD case and well produced shows the band care about their output and that is well and truly apparent. Yes - dabble and see what you think - a must for the curious!
THEE VICARS - EVERYDAY/DON'T WANNA BE FREE
Hailing from Bury St Edmunds these maestro's of the turbine tones make a clatter to rattle yer knackers to and judder your primitive instincts with. Imagine a fully oiled musical machine made bare, injected with a sublime life-force built on horror and degradation and then ordered to make music in the deepest, unholy cavern where only the most curious doth tread. The result is intriguing, difficult to handle and without label. Suited and booted, preparing to shake up the sonic stratosphere and full of belief the band could conquer the crowds far and wide provided minds are kept open and the vibes are fully indulged in. It is a vicious set of circles out there and lets' hope Thee Vicars can smash a few and rouse many a nodding head with their brand of beat bop throb.
'Everyday' is cursed and a scooped out jaunt into stark sonic landscapes where many fear to tread. I say fuck it and if there is clamour to be had then let's fuckin' have it. What we get battered with here is a groovy stomp of the most stripped down kind with a somewhat insect like jittery sensation ruling the rhythmic roost. The pulse is jerky, the beat addictive, the vocal tones sluttoid and yet so matter of fact. In between the sneaky serenades the song collapses into nothing less than fuzzy filth and so a contrast of chaotic styles is made. Is the listener deterred - well in brutal truth you should be and many may well be but something gets entangled within the appreciative grey matter and I personally find myself respectful of what is an unconventional number aching with nebulous qualities one needs to taste over and over - very strange!
'Don't Wanna Be Free' is another somewhat incongruous track that will only find a place to settle in the aural abodes of the most serious sonic specialist - or so it seems. There are hidden depths here via an assembly of carefully positioned acoustics that delve into the depths of certain musical making decades and propels forward into the modern day where all is stripped down, re-addressed and put forth as nothing specific. The skiffle, scuffle shuffle and stark openness are rewarding - one many of the punks will puke at - silly bastards.
Odd - you bet, unorthodox - of course, appealing - in some bizarre way yes. A fuckin' outside the circle offering if ever I heard it with the excitement being of wondering what Thee Vicars will vomit forth next. This is a real appetiser so once more chase it down, turn it up real big now and, absorb.
NIGHT OF TREASON - GENTLEMEN AND HOOLIGANS
Never heard of this band, no idea what to expect (yet more than likely they have crossed my clustered radar and just missed out on being picked up - it does happen as I get so much to plough through I just can't keep up) but visions of hardcore explosions niggled my mind. Why the fuck does one get these judgemental hints that, more often than not, are way off the bull’s-eye? Apparently these dudes started life as a Clash covers band (what a fuckin' drastic waste that must have been) and have since pupated and emerged forth as the music makers we now have on our hands. The reason for my remark regarding the Clash covers effort being a faux pas will come apparent as you read the chasing textual assessment (despite me thinking the Clash weren't that great anyway) and hopefully will convince you of the fact that playing your own noise is best and a fine example of this has been set here. Hailing from Portsmouth and Gosport the band make a strong and almost arrogant claim apparently that they have constructed ' the best English punk rock album since the 1970's' and hey, you gotta admire the sanguinity. Nevertheless I am swayed not one jot and shite or bright you'll get nothing short of honesty. There are some bold connections here I have picked up on via the warped and weird grapevine - who cares - in we fuckin' go - unbiased, unimpressed and unavoidably truthful and, hopefully positive!
'Can't Remember' trundles in on a bass heavy vibe with a good unorthodox melody that reeks of rattled ribs and jangling bones - strange! The gob work that jumps in is swaggered and full of belief and initial reactions from the reviewing side of the fence are of a band who take care and pride in the end construction and production. The ditty is far from routine and has many neat touches and subtle alterings that make this a very concrete opening burst that has you considering, and pleasantly surprised, without relying on an avalanche of over technicality. The keyed inclusions are smart and the embracing honesty of this slightly mean and well focussed song is noted - lovely. The follow up is expected to be sharp and nasty but what we get is a sweet and persuasive teenage snip of sugar-coated nostalgia and inner pride. The tale is entitled 'Ballad Of The Teddy Boy (From Ladbroke Grove)’ and is a work of insightful genius where a knowledgeable net of noise has captured many a fleeing butterfly of cultured discordance and duly re-released with all colours and innocence improved. An amazingly well structured cut of gentle musicianship with a keen eye on melody and soulful intent. The verses are lovely sinuous stems of verdant belief that lead the assessing aural eye upwards to a successful and just perfect blossoming chorus. A sincerely momentous number and well removed from the DIY rough and ready dirtbox where my curious assessing pecker doth poke about. That'll teach me!
The class continues with some retro soaked strums introducing us to the high energy of 'If You Wannit'. The step is quicker and, may it be said, filled with more youthful need and the blue flashing light guitar sequence only adds to the general urgency of the song. The aroma blown our way is one of irresponsible ‘couldn't give a flying fuck’ naiveté but one suggests there is a trifle more consideration within the weave than is blatantly apparent. Its a good change in tempo for sure and then we move on to the enormous hollowed out beauty that is 'The Young Conservatives'. Laden with Bragg-esque clichés and encouraged by a raw, budget priced guitar that only makes this even more honest and approachable the opening sequence is sublime. The textures clamber upward and so does the overall confidence and this so reminds of a one man protest where once the spoken word builds with spirited momentum the overall glow given off increases. The narrative leaning noise is of times of yore it seems and is heavily soaked with remembrance and heartfelt wordage. Right up until the last spine-tingling strum that reeks of many special punk moments this is sheer class and I am already having a thought at the back of my jaded nut that is both persistent and premature - 'album of the year, album of the fuckin' year'. Calm down Fungal ya daft bastard.
'On Clockwork Orange Street' is a refreshing crippler that washes over the listener with gushing lusciousness and spectacularly English sounding truth. With reggaefied rhythms, gentle applications of careful strums and plucks, spacious vocals and very neat and tidy stick work this one is already a behemoth of a construction but when skinned up with perfect melody and cohesive harmony then we have something to just stand back and admire. The album goes from strength to strength and I am, at this stage at least, fuckin' bowled over and appreciating. The chance is there to stick with easily formula but 'What Became Of The Boys Brigade' indicates the band will not take the simple option and step out of another darkened doorway to creep forth along a chosen acoustic alleyway with shifty and sinister steps. The effect sought, made and succeeded with is choice and from the whispered verse through to the skin shedding reveal of the somewhat triumphant chorus this is top notch noise mate and don't you forget it. I plough through some tuneage in my Underdog journey but this is something out of the ordinary. Concentrate on the instruments and the gob - consider and see what makes for a great song - its all there! The gloried finish where extra brassage in the passage is added is pure cream on the cake - aaggghh - superb.
'Speed And Glue And Rock 'N' Roll' questions the belief that the band are playing the 'cultured' card a little too often and so straying a bit too far from the basic punk arena where many will want this band to dip. What they do is maintain an astounding high standard as well as meet the needs of the 2 minute wham bam favourers and come out with a song to hit the most primitive sonic hot spots as well as retain a strong quality throughout. Fast, punked, fill with emergency and carefree abandon - yes. 'Skate City' creates contrast and goes down a predictable yet believable route with a sub-skank, more outward reggaed edge and so eases up on the pressure and floats along with sharp wings and full of flashing 'on the ball' colours. Neat musicianship, straight from the street and just delicately applied with emphasis yet again on the tune.
'Borrowed Time' fractures then twists inwards with a spiralling effect and echoed megaphone alertness. The chug is steady, the tense paranoia perfect, the pace essentially niggling and unstoppable. This one has yet another texture and the surround sound atmosphere is what helps one look into an apocalyptic future where we just don't wanna go. Big weaving bass opens the haunted jingle of 'Violette', a tribute no less to the 2nd World War British Secret Agent and may it be said, heroine, Violette Reine Elizabeth Bushell. If the album was filled with this kind of odd and slow moving uttered and lowly buttered drifting than the end outlook would indeed be grim and less positive but, as a stand alone inclusion, and when put in line with the other acoustica on show, this one shines just right. A sub narration with the aforementioned 4 wires dominating this one brightens via the homage paying chorus and so gets by with a thumbs up and encouraging hint to you the peruser of this text.
3 to go and still the variation continues. 'This Is My Town' is a chirpy devil that has clockwork verseage and although starting on a somewhat saddened note rescues a smattering of hope from the nostalgic sound stable. A sing-a-long piece of pride soaked song writing and yet again showcasing all the finer aspects of a band who just want to create a darn good song.
'Gentlemen & Hooligans' spruces itself up and makes a grandiose entrance that is big swinging and almost reminiscent of a street party flavour. A 'cor blimey guvner' number with a sanguinity that sparkles and struts with artistry beyond the ranks of the amateur. This for me is the weakest link in the created chain but very much needed and again emboldens the fact that the band are not resting on their laurels and are always capable of tying you up with good tunes and dragging you along without much resistance. Decent enough though and taking us into the last burst without regret. The finale entitled 'A Letter From The Front' pangs via a 'from the bunker' harmonica moment before revealing more and harking to a comparison tune I just can’t remember. The delivery is baring, understanding, with good instrumentalisation, rocked up and…most essentially, very melodic. The vocals are clear unto the last, the sub-military theme still with us and the whole attempt climaxes a CD I really do respect, appreciate and adore.
Wow – now where did this one drop from? The Last Call leaves us but the itch to replay is alive and kicking and I reckon anyone out there who gets this CD will be amazed at the quality, variation, catchiness, erudite delivery and downright amount of good fuckin’ songs found therein. How will the band follow this? With great difficulty I reckon but hey let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves – just fuckin’ play this and love it for what it is – brilliant that’s what!
THE CRASH MATS - DEMO
Rough and ready is the name of the game here with a band slowly and steadily finding the footing in a murky scene. Formed in 2008 The Crash Mats are a haphazard DIY pop punk band who chance their arm with a variety of sounds and duly come unstuck, succeed, hit the bull and miss the board. Some work needs to be done here and if any pointers from this over-worked, buggered lugged Fungaleer can help them on their way then so be it. It's the name of the reviewing game as all I see in the 'live' arena, no matter what the performance, is an insincere ‘well done’ and ‘next please’ from punkers who really claim to be all that but are in fact wasting peoples time. Nowt wrong with an opinion ya fraudulent fucks and here is mine - as humble as ever but straight from the heart.
'My Girlfriend Only Has 24 Hours To Live' is a great title for the poppoid pit and grasps out at capturing some of that tuneful, melodic lunacy so often delivered at a high tempo by 'erberts well versed in all things malnormal. The song here is more DIY than expected and in parts this is a hindrance, in others a character increasing aspect. What we get, after overlooking the dodgy production and somewhat jerky end delivery, is a song with potential to be sanded down, painted over and then glossed up and thus turn in to something highly memorable on the quirky generic scene. It is a nice try but the fluidity needs working on and the tempo just picking up as well as a greater tightness to the song added. 'Believe Me' could almost have the same assessment as its predecessor with the somewhat shoddy end finish not squeezing the best out of a track that could have been so much more. The jazzy skanked intro is brave and the bass weaves around behind the guitar that is light and airy and the drums that are skipped over rather than slammed. An abrupt halt is had and the punk puke flows whilst still hanging on to a less blatant skankoid drive. The verse is strong, the chorus simpler but bolder and this isn't bad but again - work to be done dudes!
Orthodox raw sewerage riffs next and due to the sub-production we have a greater accommodating acoustica that gets the best out of the style. 'Rock And Roll' is straight ahead no-nonsense spillage with very little intricacy added and what we end up with is the least orchestrated effort and the most successful - which really shouldn't be the case. I could suggest the band follow this route for the next offering which would be a good thing but also would be a bad thing. Good because it is obvious the band are capable of knocking out a good simplistic punk tune, bad because it would hinder the potential shown in other tracks - your call chaps! Personally I'd stick with the intricate stuff but there ya go - always an opinion but at least I try and help - it's only polite!
'Watchmen' skanks along more and the rusted vibe is nice enough. The vocals try to remain slick and we have some good work achieved here. I await some brassoid bursts but they don't come which is a shame as the song would have benefited no end. No sooner am I into the groove then 'ugh' - its gone! We close this 5 track affair with the beefy 'Get Me Off This Ride'. Again upstrokes are aplenty, bassed wanderings persistent, stick encouragements lively. The longest track of the lot but doesn't seem to be - mmm - could this be the success I am seeking? Again oodles of potential and that bull of triumph just missed this time but a whole load closer than previous efforts. The contrast between order and mania works and from sense to insensibility the band leave us with a schizoid snip to ponder.
OK - I am done and if ye be of a delicate misunderstanding nature, may I add precious, then one may deem this review a trifle harsh. If however ye know the Fungal ethos of trying to squeeze every bands sonic plums dry then you will know where the hell it is coming from. This is an offering that the breaks the ice, sets a standard on which to build and, although failing in a few aspects, has much going for it. One thing for sure is that it has me urging the crew to continue and to at least up the grade of the next offering by at least 2 points. Not great, not shite - a first foot step - here's to running very soon!
NORTHERN SOUL COMPILATION - VOL 2 KEEP'S ON BURNIN'
For some reason there are many sub-texts and hidden rules within the punk genre about what is right, what is wrong and what is punk? Too much of this 'telling you how it is or isn't' goes on and for me there are a load of whole more layers to something that is both nebulous, grey and fast becoming too insulated. The upshot when asked to review a Northern Soul CD by a very polite and enthusiastic lass was to say 'yes' and also to give a two fingered salute to those who try and sublimely dictate as well as pay homage to some darn good tuneage. Northern Soul used to have a big impact in my old hometown of Wigan with the Casino a popular Mecca for the ones who just wanted to dance and share their interest. I like a bit of this stuff and although you won't find me in a tank top, platforms and Oxford bags twirling around on the dance floor, you will find me listening to a bit of this, that and t'other between lengthy bouts of punk and snippets of classical, heavy metal and other such extremes. Anyway - enough of the explanations and digressions, let's go for a swim in waters that are usually perfectly cool and always welcoming.
The Impressions claim they 'Can't Satisfy' and yet gently make love to ones aural erogenous zones with liquid drop attention that applies just enough persuasive pressure without being overly insistence. Harmonised and with a brassed up swing the delicate tones are ushered, the drums softly tribal yet creating the basic rhythm for the song to work upon - a great opening flutter from some sincere Chicago soulists. Following on is perhaps one of the most well-known groups on this CD with Martha Reeves and the Vandellas issuing forth the foxy swing of 'Show Me The Way'. The song here is quite simplistic with an incessant shuffle and clap tambourine slap operating behind the slightly smoked vocals of the lady at the fore and her backing group. Some jazz-esque interruptions occur and what we are left with is a very adequate piece of time-laden Motor City soul. The much used African/American Gospel and Rhythm and Blues influences are kept subdued and that, as a result, somehow maintains the sought after sensations as well as keeping things from being too stereotypical.
A grooving and a moving mode of melody next with the rawer, and more primal delivery of Mr Ray Charles. The defiance in the tones that paradoxically wail in pain are from the heart and each and every statement is reinforced by some yummy passion from a harem of harmonised lasses who just gotta agree with their man. 'I Don't Need No Doctor' highlights another facet of the diamond genre of soul and showcases the work of Mr Charles and the quality and natural creativity therein. A pioneer of the whole soul scene RC mixed and matched many textures and tones with knowledgeable aplomb and came up with something that sounded off the cuff and without affectation - nice! Dusty Springfield poses a question next and we all need to respond to the delicacies of 'What's It Gonna Be'. Ushering in with pulsed breaths we soon get the comforting pillow-talk tones of the lady under the assessment where we are gently eased forth into the song before being given a good controlled outpouring of the singer’s relaxed vocals. A somewhat simple track laden with emotive essence. The Temptations pursue and offer up the swinging honesty of 'Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)'. With a sub-big band intro, an androgynous squeak of a vocal style (that works mightily well) and a finger clicking beat this is essential Temptation tuneage and has all the trimming and acoustical adornments the band are renowned for. Again a remarkably basic and swift number but does the job quite nicely. A more teenage excitable snip next with The Supremes gushing out a sweet tinkling number entitled 'Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart'. With Ms Ross at the fore crooning along with those intriguing innocent tones and her exact and free flowing back lasses who oh so carefully add passion and tenderised utterances what we have is a pure cut of classy she-soundage that stands the test of all time. It reeks of the era it was borne but still retains validity all these years on.
Billy Stewart and his 'Secret Love' next and the scatty style he was remembered for, complete with the generous 'improv' hints and superb unaffected approach. From the first oral rasp we have a punchy song, brightened by brassed explosions and a general perkiness supplied by this very sanguine entertainer. A bounce along effort alive with big hearted joy this is a genuine happy song and an utter delight to listen to here. The scat increases towards the latter end and makes for purely off the cuff excitement many will just miss out on - classy stuff. The Dells next and with a beauty that goes by the name of 'Run For Cover'. The vocal style here is heavily smoked and of seemingly well worn years, the back drop of oral offerings is obvious lighter and so, with oodles of big swinging orchestration and a steady consistent flow throughout the song is a tidy pearl and exhibits a band very much in the know. A mightily impressive fact about this crew is the fact that the Dells recorded and performed for almost 50 years without a single change in personnel - wow, wow, wow - now that is legendary stuff!
And so to Nolan Porter and the midnight moodiness and stoneoid sincerity of 'If I Could Only Be Sure'. Maybe my favourite track of the lot and the special and underlying heartfelt warmth and smooth liquidity of what is a massive muso moment is not wasted and I love it. Sensuous, snaking, cool - yet with a troubled need this is artistry on the button and one can appreciate a zenith by a performer who put plenty of miles on the clock and played with some of the very best - respect man! Mary Wells is happy to 'Drop In The Bucket' and offers a repetitive slinky dinky effort that is rich in belief and soulful passion. Once the Queen of Motown this song has a ruling the roost confidence and the backing singers are an apt addition but I bet they know their place only too well. A great surge of sax increases the zest levels and the utter blatant sexuality doesn't slip by unnoticed.
Eddie Holman's ' I Love You' is a bit soppy for me and is a real corn-ball number that many may have used for ulterior motives (cynical sod or what)? Holman does the job though with complete indulgence and he sets out to create a loved up seduction and I suspect many will agree that is what he has done. Slow, caressing and in no rush to climax anytime soon - this one is a teaser and despite not being my favourite you gotta admire the input if not the output. Again another one soaked in desperate pleas and proclamations of love. 'You Didn't Say A Word' by Yvonne Baker has what could easily be a Bond theme tune vibe that persists throughout. The build to the chorus becomes more relieving and relaxed but the ascending tension of the verses isn't lost. Originally released in 1966 on Parkway Records if I am not mistaken this has a good undulation in two tones and slips from the darker seriousness into the celebratory lightness and triumphs with well oiled ease.
Greg Perry gets a trifle vulgar next with the suggestive and sinister sub-textual sneaker that is 'Variety Is The Spice Of Life'. Listen to the lyrics folks, this randy devil is really laying things on thick - emphasis on the ‘laying’ I reckon. A very light offering and just way out of my sphere but that doesn't necessarily mean it turns off a few folk – quite the opposite I’d bet - phwar! 'Rescue Me' by Fontella Bass is a song you should all know and if you don't then shame on thy musical credentials. After topping the R 'n' B charts and hitting number 11 in the UK charts this one has gone on, over many years, to become a genuine classic cut. You may be more familiar with the Aretha Franklin version which isn't the original by the way. The gobbology of Fontella Bass is just as sweet as honey with a clarity and freshness that works well against the bass driven and strummed backdrop of noise. The extra brassed eruptions give a vital joy de vivre that helps the song excel and as the song progresses Ms Bass seems to adopt a greater desperation even though we leave on a real low key note. Class!
Joe Cato tinkles forth the soft and somewhat comforting 'I'm So Glad'. A strange one this that has a hippy guitar figuration and a sort of wayward unfocussed drift. The production is exact for this kind of offering but I find myself out of sync with the flow. The tempo is middling, the vocals somewhat held in smooth check and yet this 1967 release on Chess Records passes me by with little effect. The Kelly Brothers break through the musical waters and showcase their 'Crystal Blue Persuasion'. Soothing, relaxed and with a drifting outlook this one embraces a harmony and pulses with a good oceanic motion. I do like this one as it reflects the more 'switched off' style of the genre with all troubles shunned and all needs met - select work indeed.
'Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me For A Little While)' by the energetic Kim Weston is a typically busy number with all bones shaking and all hips gyrating. The tambourine is kept rattling, the eager Motor City mamma irrepressible and what we are delivered is a great wake up and shake up episode of spunky spirit that will not be denied. All gears chosen are pace orientated and my advice is therefore to catch your breath before this one kicks in or you will be left high and dry. Tammi Terrell gives a sub-sultry loved up example of pleasurable lucidity and open hearted honesty with the slow waltzing 'All I Do Is Think About You'. Almost recorded on the dance floor and played through the cafe jukebox this has a recognisable era soaked edge and downright freshness. A poignant moment from this Philadelphian musician/songwriter whom began her career at 13 only to be hacked down in her prime at 24 due to a malignant brain tumour. Sincerely the music world’s loss.
What’s this only 2 songs left - bah!
The Hit Pack are the penultimate offering with 'Never Say No To Your Baby' and lo and behold the CD link I have been sent doesn't contain this song. Very frustrating and although I have heard snatches of this song it would be vulgar to try and give a review. It does sound fine enough though - aaagghhh! Terry Callier closes with the repetitive wrap-around of 'I Don't Want To See Myself (Without You)', a song that starts with saxual caresses and gospelised harmonies before the vocals croon forth. Once the intro is banished the tempo builds and what we get is another repeat offender that goes on a little too much but has a lot going for it with the funky four wires getting on down. Mr Calliers voice is of a fair standard and the main chorus line very catchy indeed.
And so that's it but what's this - 4 bonus tracks - woop, woop. Here goes a super swift analysis.
Bobby Bland takes off his 'Shoes' and casually strolls along through a song that has more passionate grooving that stops, starts, digs deep and gives it straight from the inner core and when Mr Bland goes for it a greater effect is obviously had. Verdict - far from bland! The Ambers fluff up the pillows of noise next and make a comfortable cacophony that is one of the most saturated sounds on the CD. 'Potion Of Love' begins with a Bumble Bee-esque deep key tremble and then swings in with a finger-clicking driven beat that is smoothed over with light flowing vocals - not bad folks. The Festivals and the Smash Records release 'You've Got The Makings Of A Lover' which slows things down to a 'one for the lovers' dance number that will have all the doey-eyed lasses being seduced by their wannabe charmers. I don't like these underhand interpretations of a decent song that is mellow, wonderfully innocent and a fine example of a sensual scene. The sex appeal is obvious but don't get too dirty and instead take away only the special aspects of this song.
We close with Bobby Hutton who is happy to 'Lend A Hand' and does so with a feisty little number that sees our lead man vary the vocal range and be encouraged and complimented by a never to settle musical mode and some tight crotch backing gobs. It ain't my favourite but it ain't a turkey either - it just slips in with the theme and lets you have it.
What a journey, what a treat for my lugs to review something different and something I do listen to now and again and in truth not as much as I should. The target audience for this CD however should be well versed in all tracks so my advice is to those outside of the soulful swimming pool, which is - Take off your sonic socks, dip yer tuneful tootsies and if you like - then jump right in - don't be shy now - this has many flavours to please and something for everyone I am sure - and that means you punker!
DIRTBOX DISCO - LEGENDS
This album is long awaited by many moochers on the murky circuit of noise and so as time has progressed expectation has duly risen. The band have brought on this scenario themselves due to playing top quality gig after top quality gig and sleeping with the right homosexual promoters within the melodic web and so, if this album is a floppy fanny flap of nonsense rather than a taut testicular bag of robust and rhythmic sonica then it will be left up to me to be as honest as ever and bloody well say so. Such is the sea of fraudulence and false gesture out there and even though many a good thing is said conviction is a rare commodity. Anyway onwards with the review and the question is what do we get for our well-earned brass. A load of shit, a heap of glory - here goes the usual Fungal assessment that tries desperately to be accurate and fair - it ain't fuckin' easy tha' knows.
We are plunged headlong into the mix with a song that needs to be that all important opening 'stunner'. No slack arsed shoddiness will suffice and thank fuck we get just what we desire. The din that arises from 'The Other Side Of The Street' does not emanate from a throwback family where the parents hump in spunky glory on the kitchen table whilst the fungus encrusted kids run amok and stick the fingers up the baying dogs arsehole. No - the noise that we are blasted with is actually from a band very much at the pinnacle of the musical game and meeting the desires of a variety of loyal members (read into that what you will). From the opening tap of the drums you know the incessancy factor is going to be large and after the encouraging opening repeatoid rant of 'Alright, Alright, Alright Come On' we are sucked into a devastating effort of ideal kick off, fuck you dance-along noise. The mix is choice and the band are making a strong statement here and that is 'They are ready to rock your fuckin' balls off' - feel that testicular tremble. The more subdued moment is gifted and as well as accentuating all around it gives hint at something more sinister hanging around in the sonic under carriage of this band. Fuckin' peach - end of - now follow that ya fuckers. Its mouth shut for Fungal (and happy to be so) as the band slam in a true gem entitled 'Peepshow'. A screwing build up enthused along by passion and unrelenting nail gun drums. A wail from the vaults of emotion is unexpected and hollowed out which gives suggestion of something haunted and taunted. The simple repeat rebellion of the verse could easily be an orthodox routine that fails to break any new boundaries but what DBD do with the whole concoction is marvellous. More agony is poured via the chorus and the state of play is that we get two contrasting and conflicting essences thrown into a melting pot and stirred up with clear accuracy and delivered via the medium of a band right on the fuckin' mark. 2 good songs – correction not 2 good songs - 2 fuckin' classics.
'Rock 'N' Rolla' is destined to be bilge water and so I don my assessing wellies and get ready to splash the shit this way and that. The song is rammed with honest melody and is a tribute paying, wannabe rocker displaying ditty that fucks off hidden agenda and sets out to be nothing more than a homage to many influences that we all love and adore. Once more the construction is nothing special - that is until the mucky mitts of these musical masturbators get to work. Chorded ejaculation moments are many, melody inducing insanity consistent and general feel good vibe-o-matica non-stop. These cunts are taking the piss surely - magnificent effort number 3. 'I Just Wanna Be A Girl' confirms a few suspicions I have had about this band and so I move in for the kill only to be blown back on my arse via the lightest song of the lot that is just a choice cut of acoustic excellento. A lovely 'Na, na' sing-along pilfered piece is bent inwards with a warped twang before opening up to reveal the contents of the verse that is stated, controlled and just so slightly seasoned with a subtle relish. Back into the 'Na, na' and then the most intrinsically basic of chorus moments that is harmonised to a tee and just fuckin' makes one get up and confess to wanting to change ones sex (if yer a bloke that is). You just can't help but want a double jug and wizard beard combo after listening to this and that is terrifying but testament to the power of the crew. Stunning chaps - stunning!
OK 4 songs and 4 gems - so what about 'Smackhead'. A cymbal intro and straight into a deep power drive with the most punked song of the lot trying an area new and coming out as a piece of snarling rage that is rammed into your veins with tried and tested ease. The inclusion of something more abrasive and downright blatant as this is indeed a risk but very much a necessity and the boys come out swiftly, unscathed and still not giving me room to boot the balls. 'I Am Rock And Roll' is most careful and rather than just go for it we are gradually led by the aural hands into a strong song that restrains itself and allows us time to consider without losing our frazzled heads. The slow down in pace is a good move after the previous blast out and the band must be applauded for that. Later in the song we are given a spacious moment that tells us that the band intend you to join in and just enjoy - I do, you should do - success. 'Psycho' next and after a squelched and squashed guitar that borders on a sub-skanky precipice we wonder what will come next. Juddered buggery that soon adopts a bouncing harmony and an effort that has a lot on its hands trying to stand out from this bevy of beauties. Give it time folks - this unit are giving you many flavours and let your tuneful tongue adapt to the more pervasive and slow growing examples before digging in. Not an immediate winner but just watch it blossom - I warn you - do not underestimate.
Over halfway through and what a blast.
'I Don't Wanna Go Out With You' sidles up to the more soppy side of things and really goes for a gentler melody that is still backed by plenty of good riffage. A casual verse and a caressing chorus both combine without much fuss (despite the attention seeking 'Oi's) and present themselves as one unified snip of glory. The word here is 'lovely' - what a lovely song indeed. 'We All Fall Down' opens with a bucket of corrosion that spills over into a nasty opening rant which in turn ruptures into a chorus I have heard a million times over but still find punkily inspiring. The switch out is expected and this is obviously the most 'clichéd' cut of the lot. The band really do need to keep things well groomed here without any slip and they do just that - my least favourite but still a very strong number. Short, tight and billowing - it could almost be Ronnie Corbett on a baked bean diet! 'I Won't Forget' has inklings towards something nostalgic and carries an inner grief that adds to the intrigue. More harmonisation, more chugger bugger guitar work, more consistent similarity and for this CD at least, more triumph. The vocals are once again lucid, the musical accompaniment perfectly balanced, the duel singing cross-over sweet and from thereon in the band can only win. As we wind down to the final three the standard maintained is impeccable - ooooh!
'Talking of those final 3...
'Radio, Radio' saws in with acute stringwork. Unified gobs highlight and compliment, the title is repeated and followed by a finishing line several times over and into the light and indulged chorus we go with yet again the band creating effect, demanding and getting attention. Constructions built on musical fundamentals and nothing more and do you need much more? Many bands throw everything at the wall and end up with a splattered mess whereas these guys do it by the book and then carefully manoeuvre the mush into one helluva of finished picture. 'Let's Get Wasted' is a belligerent drinking song that is rough and ready to bellow and booze. Anything that enthusiastically promotes idiotic and irresponsible drinking gets my vote provided the target is on making a good 'join in' racket and forcing one to fuckin' destroy. This is as good as the alcohol-fuelled mania gets - now where’s that window I want to put my head through. We say goodbye with the proud and sanguine 'Dirtbox Days'. In any other position the song wouldn't have the same effect and as a stand alone doesn't reflect what this CD has been about. Stuck on the end of a prominent 13 track surge we need this moment to reflect, to realise that what we have just gone through has been fuckin' marvellous. This softer touch still has a fair whack and many fiddlings to admire with the production spot on and rewarding for the listener and the music making minstrels. The build up to the last beat is something of a celebration of all that has transpired and I am more than happy to join in and pay due respect.
So the band came with big potential and big prospects and have absolutely delivered in one big mighty effort. This is stunning quality and mirrors the entertaining gist of the band and utter fun-time aspect that you cannot refuse. Each song has a similarity that is vague but apparent and this has served the ditty designing dudes well over the course of these 13 blow-outs. One more CD like this and everyone will be more than delighted but 3 would be way too much and that is the challenge the Dirtbox dudes face - where next? It will be horrendously difficult and they may well come unstuck and get caught up in one terrible loop many will be happy to be stuck in but insatiable twats like myself will get niggled by. I’ll let em' know and do everything I can to help em' along on to fresher and more testing rock 'n' roll fields but in the meantime lets just fuckin' wallow in this classic and await that problem when it arises. 8 out of 10 - are you kidding how’s about a 9.9? I can almost here you disagreeing and wanting that last 0.1 - oh go on then!
THE MURDERBURGERS - HOW TO RUIN YOUR LIFE
It is no great secret how much I enjoy a bit of Murderburgerisation and this 4th instalment in their career thus far was greatly anticipated and greatly received. Having reviewed their other 3 albums and enjoyed each one thoroughly I expected still the progress to move upwards but the initial and readily identifiable pop punkology to be etched all the way through. I have seen and booked these Scotch serenaders on a few occasions and have seen them tear a strip off many a more 'well known and adored' band which proves again that the Underdog (capital ‘U’ doubters) is where to find the absolute cream of the crop. I have always been proud of spreading the word of these feisty fucks and so if you haven't heard of em' already then listen up big. If you are familiar with the crew then I take it as granted that you'll be purchasing a CD, playing numerous times over and telling all yer friends (if you have any) what a great band this is. I know I will!
We open with an appropriate introductory instrumental entitled 'It's Burger Time'. A quirky stuttery start that won't let things become too orthodox and so has you just rising to dance then stopping to assess. I like the awkwardness (what else would you expect) and the instantaneously familiar MB sound. Now we are ready. A strum and splatter repeat and then we are thrown into the melee that is 'Unemployment, Here I Come'. A despondent feeling and one of complete give up, the emotion is one the band deal with over and over and are indeed masters at. The guitars and drums are all action, the urgency immediate, the final change in gears to the end wind down ideal - boy are we going to be in for a treat here. 'My Head Is Fucked Again' has more texture and gets back to a pace familiar with this outfit other than the 100mph mania. Frontman Frasier bursts in and is soon joined by the chugging strings and drums. The heart and soul are bared and via a double jointed verse before a simple chorus is blown our way and rounded off with a brief rumble of the bass. The final verse is a wretched look back to heart breaking times when a kid is let down and the hurt will stay forever. It is a poignant touch and works with a high degree of success. On we go!
'I Don't Wanna Dance With You Tonight' is a tale of confusion, want, refusal and I get the feeling - self punishment. Sweet teenage poppage that is typical and expected but point must be made that this little ditty now has extra pubic maturity and with just that little bit more attention in the production room and a few twiddlings the advance of the talent is obvious. 'You'll Have No Fun Without Me' is a bitter pill with a spiteful and somewhat egotistical twang where you get the feeling that a relationship has ended all fine and dandy on one side whereas on the other its all turned sour. The aspect from which this outlook comes is purely biased though and this short song is only a peepshow into a few of the emotions experienced by the jilted and jilter. A fair song without no nonsense and no frilly edges - it gets on with it and no more!
The next 2 songs turn things up to a whole new level and are the best brace of the bunch. Firstly we are informed of a 'Broken Brain' in the ranks and what a fuckin' good way to deliver this piece of prime and worrying info. A life going to pot with a building angst are the ingredients here and what we get is an inverted cascade of fear, wretchedness and defeat. The song is a cry for help and this is how the MB machine thrives. They take a feeling, they add intensity, throw in an irresistible chorus, thrash the guitars then carefully pick out a strung melody and chuck in for good measure - the result - magnificence. One to careen around to with a loaded head that won't let you stop until you desperately...drop! 'You're A Fuckin' Moron' is a swift slice of intolerance and to the point honesty sent out with fast, accurate know how and ‘in the groove’, heavily influenced style. The execution is precise, whirling agitation necessary and overall souped up gumption very much a key factor. If someone asked you to sum up the trio in one song then this would be a prime candidate to use as an example of their noise.
'It's Over Already' has a bittersweet pang and reeks of many a toon found in this delightfully melodic pit. The vocals are loaded with regret, the strings supply a regular chug that builds as the frontman bears more of his injured heart and the drums roll, splash and crash when called upon - it's all tip top tuneage. 'Gimme Gimme Negativity' is an offering of deliberate wallowing that quite paradoxically has a thriving essence thus creating a musical oxymoron once more posted through your listening letterbox with belief. It completes a usual quality brace of songs with 'Drifting Apart' less effective but still of a notable standard. It really does get quite difficult to go into detail at this point without being deliberately unnecessary due to the fact that the MB men are firing and flaring without, it appears, to be even trying. You know the feeling, when a band just produces fine song after fine song that you need a real shitter in the soup to make an impression - annoying isn't it! So let's be swift shall we and nail the last 5 songs in one paragraph.
This is the paragraph and here's the nailing. 'She Better Stop Killing Me' is more of the same - tuneful, reminiscent of numerous influences within the genre and highly addictive. 'I Don't Live Well' is a smooth flowing ditty but comes out as a runt in the pack due to it being too much of the same. A fault, perhaps its me, but as a reviewer I have to push bands and perhaps even earlier than this the band should have been throwing in something right off kilter - this isn't it and so, for no real reason, this one seems to find the least favour. 'She Don't Wanna' follows and is a purely simpler song and nothing more than a repeat offender, but it works - see what I mean about throwing in a change of style. Yeah - love the madness it invokes. 'Valentines Day 2009' refuses to fuck about and is much to my liking with a swift delivery over and done with without even wiping its own arse. We close with another wrench of the ticker and 'Learning To Hate You' picks up a teen theme, plucks not fucks, calls on a million jilted jerks to sing in the mirror in the hope of salvation and issues forth a genuine miserable joy the pimpled masses can cry along to. They do this so well!
The Murderburgers may just be the best pop punk band in the country at the mo and even though I have now reviewed 4 albums, loved them all and wish for their careers to continue and continue, as a fan, I now feel the time as come to change and push themselves a little harder. I get the feeling this is becoming all to easy for the crew and they are overdoing a thread that may snap a little sooner than they think. The next time I demand violence, I desire a few clichéd numbers, I must have something skanked/wanked with perhaps one or two indulgent solos and, may I even suggest a metal moment and something hinting at hardcore. It would certainly shake things up a little and if it gets these fine melodic minstrels sweating and shitting a bit more then fuckin' class A result. The final verdict of this album though - lovely!
NO DECORUM - DEMO
A band in the embryonic stages and finding their feet but after a recent Fungalpunk show I reckon they are making tidy progress. The set that night was varied and despite having a few slack moments and not being as relaxed as it should be the band have plenty of good vibes about them and seem to have their ear in for what makes a good tune. This CD is a mirror reflection of the 'live' performance and although only 3 songs long it gives you enough of a taster to see what is actually going on in the No Decorum camp.
We commence with 'No Pride', a song that punctures, bleeds bassism and then pushes forth a passion borne of the youthful. The vocals are not fully laden with liquidity but have potential whereas the guitars provide a nice buzz and so make the drummed adhesive a matter of course. A good guitar sequence livens up the song and already you can see a well-versed knowledge at the back of this clatter. We punch and rattle ribs to the final strum and overall we have a sinewy song that has much to consider with many sweet aspects.
'No Hiding Places' is a song that doesn't get complimented too highly via the production but has a lot going for it and many complexities to dwell upon. A poignant opening, a stop start segment and a spiralling guitar sequence before a safety first opening verse. The lead into the chorus is slightly wary and when the chorus does indeed come it is only for the briefest of moments. We move on and something attracts and for some reason I have to play again and again. This is a nice old tune and several good components of creating a song have been grasped with again an agreeable textured guitar cut, a slight build in passion towards the latter end both not going unnoticed. Keep at it dudes!
'The closure is called 'New Brutal Conspiracy', a sub skank that needs an extra boost within the opening verse and a bit more violence in chorus. The attempt at two contrasting styles is applaudable and this is only slightly off the mark of a full on belter. Again we have an erudite instrumental snip that gives the song bigger prospects and once more we are donated an attempt that has lots to congratulate the band on. Neat work.
So there you go, a 3 track taster and 'yes' - given plenty more gigs, the right encouragement and just general kind support we will have a band looking back over their shoulders and realising how the potential they had was well and truly tapped. Some good prospects here - book em', add your own fertiliser and stand back and watch em' flourish.
COLIN'S GODSON - IN SPACE
The first thing that strikes you about the CD here is the packaging. A 45 single sized folder that opens out and reveals a mini CD inside, coloured black to hint at those vinyl days when A side/B side was the order of the day. The inner cover is covered in a complete cartoon strip that gives clue to the musical content and one can't help but praise the effort this crew have put into the mix. When first opening the CD I had no idea where the fuck it had come from but after a couple of listens something Plimptonian was on my mind (and that can only be a good thing). I expected something cuckoo, something off the wall but I was quite surprised what actually came my way and I have to say, no matter how off the beaten track this one seems, it is a pleasurable journey that we are taken on. Here's my humble take on matters - 5...4...3...2...1...blast off!
Thatcher’s brain has been implanted in the core of some gigantic weapon, Colin's Godson must go forth and destroy - we are given a dramatic musical intro entitled 'Also Sprach Zarthursta' - computers tick in and we are into the second track that free floats into the black void. '(Theme From) Colin's Godson In Space' is sublime drifting intro music that really sets up the adventure in super duper style. Hippied out and adroitly put forth this is a breathtaking moment and a million light years from the nucleus of my usual listening mush but hey - this is indeed accurately hit tuneage. We watch the rhythmic rocket disappear into the back of beyond and are left to ponder before being given a brief alarm and then being dragged into the fuss and bother of the energy loaded 'Patrick Stewarts Unexpected Tie Fighter Journey'. What the fuck! I shouldn't like it but this is a perfect accompaniment to the opener and is played to a tee and continues the sci-fi concept and deformed reality rock out. Madness and genius wrap around one another and the 'beep, beeps' only had to a feeling of mentality instability and general simpleness. Crackin' stuff and no sooner said than done and 'Death Star Ditty' caresses over us with gentle and dreamy persuasiveness that I just can't get enough of. Something pleasurable is offered on the mission into the unknown and perhaps it is just that 'unknown' element that keeps us thoroughly intrigued. Of course the great musicianship is crucial but for me the band are reaching out, braving unexplored territory and discovering many an oasis of accomplishment.
'Let's Destroy The Thatcher Brain' is bordering on a breakdown and foams over with gushing enthusiasm and sits within the mix quite nicely. There are many visions had and the music assists by being on the brink but retaining a proficient melody that hints at lunacy. I don't know what is happening here but these tunes are sticking like mad and I just can't stop playing em'. 'Michael Palin Visits The Dalek Home Planet' begins with shambling malevolence and threatens to come unstuck and then...wow...we are passed into a vista of kaleidoscopic thermals and self assured sanguinity. Almost beatleoid psychedelia that the Fab 4 would be more than pleased with - commendation. The enshrouding delight within the slow unwinding melody is superb and a pinnacle has been hit. Rock Operatics - I think so! The sonic spectrum is being shredded here and 'Brian May's Intergalactic Tax Dodge Tactic' adds yet another sincere shade to admire with a groovy kind of sonica free flowing amidst an asteroid belt of soft, fluffy pillows that cascade off the surging ship of attention and leave one stimulated rather than bruised. The gentle pitter patter non batter is a charm and the light vocals enhance a hundred fold - boy are these rhythmic voyagers on a roll. The Richard Stilgoe like madness that finishes is disturbance incarnate and just keeps one wondering!
A break in proceedings and advancements comes via a stop at 'Homebase Alpha' where a bout of 28 second urgency induced madness ensues in truly satisfying style before we are into the slightly longer (35 seconds I make it) insanity of 'The Cringeworthy Demise Of The Red Dwarf Saga'. Building up to a count of 8 episodic introductions, a winding away 'whoa hoa' and then a stated closure and we are done. Sublime or shit - it's a close call! The final confrontation comes and we have a wind blown release that glides then blasts then glides once more. 'Colin's Godson Vs The Thatcherite Satellite' is the climax of the outward journey and in fact all does indeed end well. The pace when shifted into fight mode is triumphant but yet the band can relax things at the drop of a hat and still achieve in big style as they do with the comforting celebration (and relief) of 'Back To Earth'. A perfect closing chapter to a terrific tuneful narration.
The question is - what is the overall verdict? What words could sum up this opening escapade in what could be a lengthy adventure. Well let's restrict it to 5 words shall we and here they are - Intriguing, unorthodox, listenable, successful and fuckin' spot on the fuckin' mark. Ok that's a total of 11 words but no-one else seems to be following the rules so why should I? Brilliant - make that 12!