FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 74
HOOLIGAN - NO BLACKS, NO IRISH, NO DOGS
I was quite taken with this lots last offering on CD and looked forward to seeing em' 'live' in Manchester. I went to the show and came away deflated - surely this wasn't the same band. I didn't do a review as I didn't want to stick the boot in a band I believed had more. I get this CD and am proved right, the band do have a whole lot more. So what the fuck happened in the dank, dark night in Manc Land - just one of those it seems which can happen to the best of em' if truth be told. These Irish buggers let themselves down I feel and need to come back and fuckin' ram one down the throats of the doubters with a moving, grooving vigorous set filled with vim and vigour - challenge set lads. As for this CD...here are some words I think sum up all 4 tracks quite nicely!
The title track opens, 'No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs' and is an absolute stunning way to start blending many aromas and creating an unexpected creation that I rate quite highly. An intriguing pulse, the initial life is given, sax (yes sax indeed) weaves and winds in, a skanky smoked up backstreet jaunt is add and further zest arises with a swift build to the chorus and then the bouncy statement of the title. We continue with this new found thread which I reckon the band ought to maintain within the more orthodox outpourings. Not overly cluttered, plenty of room for each player to strut his stuff, a middle break where the brass explores varied avenues and on we go to the closure - a few different pieces all fitting perfectly together and making a fine end picture - spot on! 'Calling Joe Strummer' was a song I saw 'live' on the aforementioned night and it really didn't suggest that it was of the magnitude shown here. Lightly assisted by keyed delight, full of belief and upbeat eagerness and played out with an overall bouncing joy you can't resist. Again the band refuse to try and win praise by an all out battering but go for careful, considerate rhythms and interminglings of tones. Scuttling with many shiny aspects that glint at various times and keep this one a full on must. A celebration, a triumph, a sub-defiance - two great songs if you ask me!
'Cops 'n' Robbers' blue lights, adopts the obvious Exploited 'mee mah' and then cracks on with now typical well spread toneage. A grunt and in proving to be the most orthodox song of the quartet with lashings of old school production, a feisty beat and straight ahead intent. There are a few layers to this number that help it along and although not primarily built on power this is a neat package that rises above the 'bog standard' label the construction suggests. It gets on with the job - simple as. 'Bandit Country' was my least favourite song of the lot during initial spins but has grown in stature with further spins. The docu-Panorama opening prepares the pathway, a piggish grunt encourages onward and we make our way down a solid walkway of noise that rustily bursts in, relaxes during the first verse and leaves all components exposed, turns up the heat with several questions and then hits us with a whoa hoa'd soaked chorus to indulge in. Repeat all, keep the energy alive, twist in a terse and taut mid-section, go for the finale with relish high - nail it, sneak out amid radioed atmosphere, over and out.
So what the fuck was all that about? 4 sweet tracks, filled with many options for further escapades and showing that Hooligan have many options in their notebook of noise. A sound EP and one on which to rise even higher. The effervescing life shown here now needs to be poured in to the max during all 'live' shows so as to leave not one person with any doubts as regards the bands quality. Let's have it!
DIRTBOX DISCO - PEOPLE MADE OF PAPER
Dirtbox Disco have made great strides over the past couple of years and reinforced everyone’s belief in a darn good entertaining outfit by blasting us with a right crackin' album. It was a classic and so set a standard their next release would do well to even sniff the arse of. Here we have that follow up effort and all ears are keen to savour the flavour and see if the band can really dig in deep when it matters most. The ball is rolling fast, will it be punctured by an unexpected thorn, will the faux pas be of great magnitude and see these fine minstrels fall flat on their hairy arses? It is all about questions and answers - let us not fanny around, ooomph in we go!
The first acoustic hernia to pop out from the much stretched bowel of noise is the hefty lumpage of 'Freaks', a protrusion that really does have a growing twinge that you really can't help but prod and poke at. A scuzzy fur surrounds the main orifice of noise and the essential drive is loaded with a meaner infection that shows the band really want to make an impact to think about. Dirty, volatile, packing a good pummel and yet so catchy - no easy trick. The band have far more obvious and attractive boils of sonica but this one opens things quite adequately thank you. To follow up from a song that lays good foundations you want consistency and a rise in the quality - enter the classic outsider anthem 'My Life Is Shit'. More grimy guitars (seems to be the order of the day) are pupating hard and we await to see what arises from the pupal case of cacophony. A glorious flutterby filled with a highly magnetic harmony that just hits the spot. The vocals are given good air, the inner pulses of electric glory emphasise and provoke interest and the wings of this wondrous beast flap around and make merry noise. The release of utter angst is colourful and impacting and the verse to chorus manoeuvres may not be the usual orthodox routine (applause, applause) but by crikey it don't half work well. After a week hidden away in the bullshit routine I can see many weekend revellers absolutely explode to this one - and why not! Classic!
Balls out prostituted cliché next with the unapologetic rock and roll well whipped bitch 'She's My Baby'. The whole industry throughout time has been slapped in the mush with noise of this ilk and one could easily reach for the hammer and smash this predicable fuck to utter smithereens. Party pooper that I am destined to be but...the band take a typical theme, load it with sing-a-long 'yeah's', bully it about a bit with some power chordage and spittle soaked gob work and then cut the whole slag short and leave you...I am embarrassed to say...wanting more. They do this kind of shit so fuckin' well and I'll give this one a thumbs up for seeing it as what it is. The inner drum and bass chill out gives one a little time to re-contemplate - aagghhh - fair enough the band have me beat (just). 'What You Gonna Do About It Now' is harmonised to the max and coughs up visions of some squeaky clean twats taken for a ride, dipped in a whole history of rock know how and given a dose of spikiness to boot. The effect is utterly celebratory and tinkles along with a triumph in the tone, a finalising declaration of 'this is what we do, have it or eat shit'. The song lacks any real punch within the chorus as it just seems to generally blend within the whole concoction but somehow this doesn't really matter as the entire song gets by. There is an art to what the band are doing here and whether or not the brushstrokes are deliberate or somehow there is an element of utter luck I care not - the buggers are doing it nicely to date!
'Top Shelf' thunders in and is a tale of wanking lust and deviant desires. Similar to wanking I feel the overall end buzz will last briefly and you'll come away with the sensation of tackiness rather then concrete relief and feel. I find this one of DBD's weaker tracks and spunked over with crowd pleasing crudeness rather than the true erudite contributions of a fine band. Many do this kind of slop, it gets repetitive, add to this the obvious essences of the band ('Yeah's swapped for 'Na's) and I feel my head turning with disinterest. It had to happen - for me a lazy track to meet the needs of the many rather than stick to the better route they know they can do - my palms itch for a better release! Advice - do not sell yerselves short chaps!
'Round In Circles' doesn't seem to be doing that much but believe me, there is an undercurrent that will pull you down into an irrepressible flow that will ultimately see the death of your resistance. There are now several obvious nuances and idiosyncrasies that the band are calling upon and a danger lies ahead that the band will come across as over-cooking the same old recipes. It would be easy to praise the fine riffs, the direct attack of the verses and chorus lines, the subtle alteration of intensity...rather than point out the direction of an oncoming hazard - think on - indolent, care free reviewer I ain't! Pointless violence and petty tiffs becoming major frays is the theme of 'My Dad Is Bigger Than Yours'. A hard attack of brutal noise that moves away from the softly, softly, tickle yer arse approach the band could have got ensnared within. Basic and ram-rodding, a real blistering tempo, fully focussed and...most importantly...offering variation. The band don't hang around for too long and take the early escape route which is ideal for a slam fest such as this. A nice inclusion. 'My Girlfriends Best Friends Sister' is a pop punk peach with a hormonal edge and love twist often found in the arena I often find my ears roving. There is plenty of weight with this delivery and the entire construct of cacophony is built on good forethought and excellent positioning of each player. Far satisfying than the cruder option with further longevity within the whole song. This one will stand the test of time and is far from a throwaway jerk off. Well groomed, emotive, loaded with heartfelt problems all radiating from the loins, hearts and heads - choice and maybe, just maybe...the best of the lot for many reasons stated above - think about it!
Cripes - only 4 left guv'nor! On to 'You Think You Know Me' it is then, and here we are back to a progressive stance, offering a good romp whilst retaining the usual touches and infecting strain. Words leaping from the ticker, harmonies designed in Heaven, a drift that needs no effort to escort, an overall sensation that something quite delightful is happening. Encouraging, well produced with saturation levels high but not overflowing - easy ain't it when going with your impulse. 'Aftershow Girlies' however goes down the crude crack of the acoustic arse and will undoubtedly tickle many with its cheap and nasty lyricology which will ultimately deflect from the weight and validity of the noise making. Is it a case of wanting cunts for cunts or cacophony for cacophonic connoisseurs - I know not. I don't mind a bit of rock and roll sleaze though so can climb over this rickety fence and look deeper...within the noise! The rhythm is belted out, is loaded with large riffage, rips it up from first to last in definite DBD style - a style that is obvious which will be a flaw if continuing into album 3. Think on - push, push, push!
'All For One' is a peach, chuggery buggery inwards it comes, a hunger in the gob, a defiance I adore - a unity ensues and then the chorus that this band do so fuckin' well. Any melodic loving musketeer worth his weight in sonic shite will utterly love this episode of primal simplicity that appeals to our basic acousticised animalised instincts - you better believe it! Like a stack of dominoes - the first note is pushed, the rest just follow - it seems to come so naturally when embracing this style. Lovely. Last one and 'Punk Rock Porno' cums our way - splat. All red hot action guitars and then the overall pounding - the ass wobbles to the rhythm. Slaps come, a tale of a friends dad having a porn collection with which to pass ones time. Sounds familiar - it is what we did back in the 70's although got barred from a mates house for pinching ornaments and vandalising the sofa - it's a tough life. It passed the time between bouts of music listening, arson, glue and zoff sniffing and smashing this, that and t'other! Love the rush, the violence of the vibe, the suggestion that fucks are not given (just watched on the screen). It is a final hammer in the box of tricks this time around - I am a sucker for a fast track tune!
And that is fuckin' it - a hidden track is had I believe but not on the version I am reviewing so you will have to wait until you buy a copy ya set of septic pig wankers! My verdict - a sound album with much to enjoy but, as expecetd, falling in the shadow of its predecessor and not really chancing the arm as much as I would have expected. At this stage though it appeals but the shelf life will not outlast the initial classic and for album three a tough challenge is ahead. I gave the last outburst 10 out of 10, this time have a 7.5 - no more, no less - this is still essential fodder for the fans though and people like me, who hear much, enjoy much and are always hungry for more and respectful of decent chaps. Honesty though always prevails - now throw yer sticks, disagree and call me scum but support this lot please - I can survive with umpopularity - bands can't!
THE BROTHEL CORPSE TRIO - DEATH SHOP PIT STOP
Having just recently dealt with a BCT hammering I find myself back to square one as this CD is a swift follow up request and my reviewing fingers are once more in for some tip, tap work. More horror-fied cum fried gushings with crudity squeezed in, obscure thoughts aplenty and some coffin kicking cacophony to boot. I enjoyed the bands first offering but just suggested a little variation wouldn't go amiss - and here is the response from this dark and yet merry Aberdeen threesome.
A tap of the sticks, the rusty scuzz of the guitar, the hotch-potch Scotch vocals that are singed and sizzled and into the opening and title track of the CD. 'Death Shop Pit Stop' is gory melodica with a crisp edge and sinister underscore. These roadkill enthusiasts recommend their favoured eating establishment whilst knocking forth a sub-tribal noise that has a good swing in the step and punchy rhythm. The raw open wounds are never fully scabbed over so you slightly lean to the more DIY style of sound which is always good fodder for me - yummy! 'Love Mattress' tommy guns in, becomes crippled with a decadent beat and moves along with little flamboyance, little frill, little danger trod. After an opening that was loaded with focus it seems the song slips up and just plays it safe. It is a straight forward offering from this crew and is far from bilge but one just wanted a bit more at such an early stage - never mind. 'Big Ron' strums in the rear, chants briefly, finds the groove and swaps between the lucid and the encrusted and again just ploughs away without too much fuss. The enthusiasm rises in places, the guitars thrash it out whilst drums splash, the taste is toxic and similar to the previous track. These two are just missing my radar despite the consistency and familiarity - I am being harsher - this is the second offering so more is demanded. Tough - maybe, necessary - of course. A 50/50 to both preceding tracks and no more!
'Rebel! Rebel!' is a better burst and gets back to more primal tuneage with an urgency to get the gathering a calling in unison. The very furrowed slot is taken in which the crew drive home the tidy sound that hints at potential chaos. The overall hunger and slightly horrified, chilled sensation the players pass forth isn't lost either - not bad! 'The Diseased' military rolls, then pulsates in spasmodic fashion before breaking up into a neat groove. A nasty tale of necrophilia, insanity and the resulting private produced pox - is the disease literally this or more of the mind? The grind out is deliberate, without grandeur and in the consistent style of the band. If you hate everything up to this stage then switch off, if you are captivated...hang in for more joy! The taste for flesh is never far away and 'Cannibalism' indulges via a savage war tribe beat where visions of hungry pot bellied rockers jigging around a bubbling pot of cooking human flesh wash over my already twisted mind. Oomba loomba ding dong the big drums dictate, the chewing maw of the guitar is hungry, the chop of the rhythm is harsh. A bit too levelled out to be totally honest but given extra dints and dents by a swift glassy instrumental. Average.
A quick 4 song rally next and 'Eyeball Pinball Machine' neatly alters the pace of the whole CD with a ponderous sub-acoustic, minimalist piece of crawling music relating a tale of Silver Ball/Flipper addiction. A fair inclusion and dissecting the CD adequately as well as enriching the sonic soil. 'Stalker' is a naked surge flayed to the bone and is unapologetic in its stripped down scarcity. Razzle dazzle is almost extinct within the world of this scuzzy racket - contrast had. 'Three Piece Suit' begins in good heart, screwing out a likeable vibe and keeping within the BCT boundaries. It turns out to be another folder of regular noise from the expanding file of these merry fiddlers and as a stand alone works, as part of the mass...fades inwards. The same can be said of 'No To The Living' but a little extra spring in the step, a further surge in the desire and a more general magnetising mode is taken. I am feeling now that perhaps the distinction between fast and slow needs working on more and more so as to get the best of each songs neighbouring tunes - oooh a conundrum!
'Creep' is about a people repellent who will forever be in the halls of the unacceptable. The Brothel Corpse Trio avoid atmosphere again (which is a shame) and go for the usual ‘nail it and see’ approach. The corroded edge, the middle guitar groove down and the pestering rhythm all make this an OK option but the 'whoa hoa's' sound a bit half assed, a bit subdued and at this stage the band should be stomping forward and insisting we listen. I am getting fussy now and asking for more - it is what I do but there ain't no malice in it - just pointers and encouragement! 'Devil Boy' slowly waltzes in, assesses the space to fill and ploughs on - a mere cacophonic conglomeration of all that has transpired as are the last two tracks namely 'The Cannibal' and 'Four Man Gang Bang'. Out of the three the latter track convinces the most with its bouncy feel and obvious catchy chorus, the first track repeats itself too much like an undigested human burger and the middle track is one to get ya thinking and hopefully...motivated enough to shift yer arse. There ya go - over and out...well almost!
In summing up - the band have a good sound, a good style but...are now at the end of two albums with all wearing thin and things must be altered and new tricks thrown in. It is all about advancing, keeping the loaf of racketology fresh and clean cut - I have no fear the band can progress on from these two sturdy foundation setters and wish them all the best in their quest. I shall be all lugs to see what comes next - I suggest a 4 track tester with a new production mix and a few surprises thrown in as well as some nice atmospherics - it is, however, the bands call. Check em' out in the meantime - they ain't too bad!
THE ENEMY - LIE TO ME EP
From 1980 to 1984 The Enemy stomped around and played many gigs, knocked out a few releases and built up a small following and then...kaboom...it all stopped dead. Suddenly in 2012 the buggers were back - so much for time and now they are starting to kick arse in a more professional, more erudite manner - so the word on the street goes! Ever the pessimist but ever the unbiased I was asked to review this after seeing a darn good promotional video for one of the tracks. Fungal expects, the whole community expects, The Enemy have a reputation - could this be utter disaster and a time to fuck off back where they came from? Shit...and is it going to be left to me to tell em' to do so...oh you set of twats!
The dudes from Derby kick start this 3 tracker with the title track 'Lie To Me', a hard fought episode of succinct lyricology built on the pulsating embers of suburban retro vibes where smoke rose, the dust settled and the future was forever polluted. The opening guitars are ravaged by time, squeeze out a riff from their very innards and help along the undressed vocal style that is struggled to the fore. Mid tempo, mucky to an exact degree, driven primarily by instinct it is only when the chorus hits home that the true inflection of the noise comes to life. For a band that have history this is a very orthodox comeback tune but there is meat on the bone and that is where we must aim our critical gnashers. Not a bad chomp!
'Little Big Man' begins with a subdued grind, fights hard to progress through the first strained verse, moves along in mid-tempo fashion and breaks up into a clattered sub terrace chorus that just could have been enhanced a little more. I get the sensation of a Sham 69 style offering only with the accelerator eased up. Pace is the key aspect and the band needed that extra 20% to make this a more effective burst. The solos slot in nicely but we have a grainy film over the top of the tuneage and this may add character but it does deflect from the inner machinations of the song. I can see the target aimed at, I think they miss it but not by too much - just not quite there!
'You Didn't Care' has a touch more impetus and as if by magic, the song has more impact. The flow is encouraging, the sensation one of positivity, the street based honesty to the overall sound more apparent. Again we have a gobby sub-football essence to the chorus that makes it a more blokey kind of jaunt and the only real niggle I have is the whining guitar in the rear - is it necessary - maybe, maybe not - the jury is out. Is this the best of the lot?
3 tracks is all ya get, a mere morsel on which to consider - but what is my Fungalised verdict? Well after all this time I expected more but understand that this is an initial step on the road back and in truth it is a fair stomp. Good weight, forethought and DIY approachability but I think (in fact I fuckin' well know) that these lot have more in the tank and here I go again 'squeezing'. I reckon another 3 track follow up would be a smart move with two of the tracks increasing the speed ratio - other than that fuck the laurels on which to rest and keep pushing yourselves to the max. Remember this is 2013 and the competition ain't what it was - it is fierce, deliciously crammed with quality and very hungry to achieve - be warned!
ANIMAL TRAIN - SITH VICIOUS
Many influences are poured in, a distinct belief in community, friends and the DIY ethos, an insistence that raw and under processed is best, a desire to rock maintained - these are the building blocks of Animal Train. I like what they do - they hark backward, move forward, keep it outside the commercialised cage of clap trap shite. It is gutter music for gutter aficionados. Over the last few years I have tried to push the name out there, there is no reason for this to change - here is the latest assessment of the bands latest offering.
For a 3 track single 'Thin Thread' is vulgarly brief and thunders along on a hot-roasted bitched up runaway track with all systems set to 'erupt'. Fast, fucked, frosted over with icy angst this is the AT artistes thrusting sonic swords with wild abandon and I am salivating and in need of this powerhouse slashfest. The raw ingredients that make up the band are there but this new found dog off the leash intensity is a thrill - swallow it, choke, thrive in the maelstrom of mayhem!
'Vital Core' adopts a more levelled out stance of sound, rolls around on dolloped drums before tribally progressing and then becoming an enthusing and encouraging 'get up and create the action for reaction' modus operandi. Clear the crap, see it for what it is, go do your bit, never surrender - the sub-messages that drip out from the composite are many but all equally desirous of movement, resistance and effort. The stated verses against the tumbling chorus moves and the rumbling, prowling bass driven episodes all make for an interesting listen that I very readily take to. The AT cluster have me convinced and having grown with their vibe since its unaffected inception has made for a very rewarding trek - please keep it going until this bastard word is spread and the true DIY simplicity is had.
'Sith Vicious' is one of my fave songs by this top crew and this is once again a damn fine rattle albeit with more oil in the machinery and thus liquidity to the whole composite. The result is that the defiant blasts are somewhat less effective, the rawness is slightly healed and the initial bite is not as infectious. The positive aspect is that the band show progression, they are testing new sonic water (albeit within the same stretch) and there is an added tightness to the whole construct. I am at war, I raise the volume - aaah - now we are talking! The song sprints from first to last, has an even keel of corrosiveness and defiance, insist on a pogo and has that darn decent underlying honesty the band radiate oh so fuckin' finely. Go on then!
If you ain't partook of some discordant dung from the Animal Train then you would do worse than to start here - 3 tracks of a fine taste that have no deceit and no pointless sub-text. Good, up front, transparent Do It Yourself noise from a band I am very fond of. Do it, check em' out and remember DIY does indeed equal FREEDOM! Only advice to the band - get a new album recorded - I'm hungry for more!
THE FAIL - SINK OR SWIM EP
I have a stick, I use it quite often, it pokes out many acoustic grunts, groans, cries of pleasure! But no matter how much I prod the crack of the music scenes arse there are still tucked away many haemorrhoidal minstrels awaiting discovery by my ever alert ears. Midway in the bowel of discordance I have found a crew who like to make a clatter and do it in a fun way, with many angular assaults and with much chancing of the whipped up arm. The Fail hail from Aldershot, they have youth and hunger as good comrades, they appear to have much potential and just need to keep it 'real'. Enquiries give feedback of a fair crew on the up but will my stick get stuck in their shitter and shall I be the one to cause concern with mis-interpreted critique. All I can do is be true and genuine and try to inch these buggers a little further along the crooked line. Here are 6 tracks assessed in the usual Fungal way.
The annunciation into the avalanche of acoustica is emboldened by hard, deliberate thrusts and 'Perpetual Shit' is smeared over our awaiting countenances. A Hawaii Five-O suggestion via the skins, a bass that encourages rhythm, an Oi repeat that is raw and throws one off kilter. Heat is turned up, new school noise is donated but not in its entire format and so the band come up with a brew to toss around the cerebral gob and contemplate. When spat out the aftertaste is of a rowdy tear up with controlled technicality and with an underlying feel of fevered attention and desire. One would expect a sound of this ilk to be more buffed up but yet one is glad it isn't and the certain frayed edges and DIY hanging threads make it a more character laden effort. Nice perpetuality that isn't shit - quite apt really!
'My Town' is grumbling scuzz, jarring the bones of the disbeliever and those without pride in the mire. The losers and abusers (of life) dwell in many places like the shithole related our way and there are many of us (if not all) who can relate to this. The griping appendix of acoustic disease looks set to burst with the verse leading into a real screwed up yell fest that is filled with loads of emotional spices. We have a good break where things threaten to rock out a little more - no chance this bastard is blazing on a one way track to oblivion. 'Paid Peanuts' boils on a medium heat and then gets stirred up into a fair pace injected rhythm. Guitars stop and start whilst gob and drums fulfil their duties, the chorus that comes is simple enough and has enough weight. The impetus outside of the repeater chorus is a new style for the band and showcases yet more success and possibilities to tamper with. The song careens around when gobbage abandons and then we move on to the last flourish. Still suggestive of modern modes, still scratched with DIY greenhornery! I like it that way.
The title track, 'Sink Or Swim' is perhaps the least impressive jaunt but only just and does have enough damaging discordance to slightly draw upon. The voice at the fore is cold, the whoa hoa's less emotive and somewhat dutiful (in a brow beaten and accepting kind of way), the insistence of the song good but...I feel this effort never finds it's true power punch and drifts too much from first to last. Not direct enough and chopped up enough into distinct sections. I am not complaining too much though (honest). 'FML' is again a more littered room of rhythm with a few angular moments to confront. The opening burst is raw sewerage from the many thousand spiky shit basins whereas when we go into a snotted salvo that states and twangs more litter is strewn rather than defecation. A bass and drum scuffle, scuff marks are applied via wire wool guitar scrubs and we nail down to the last 'Fuck' of the song. Decent man, decent!
Acoustica, a street call, a jaunt along and 'Baz' is a merry old jiggle that clouts our lugs in rough and ready style. A short under-ripe turnip of a tune that has a fair stink about it and much soil hanging from it's ripped up roots. Nothing too offensive and just a good old jolly it seems - always nice to finish on a bright and not detracting note.
6 songs and 6 offerings from the youthful thoroughfare of noise. Unfrilled, to the point, loaded with potential on which to build and only in need of some true support from the scene out there who should stick it out for the underdog and help these yappers and snappers get their fair share of the bone. There will be gig offers from Fungal and if you hear this then why not chuck em' on one of yours too? Only advice - clarify the edges of each sub-section, make those alterations sharp and contrasting - otherwise - fuckin' roll on!
DIO - DREAM EVIL
A re-release of the original album from 1987 this deluxe edition is a 2 disc offering with the original songs on Disc 1 and 14 extra tracks on disc 2. The second disc is a mixture of 'live' and studio performances showcasing some of their highlights and most memorable songs (whatever they may be - I come in from the other side you see). I am no metal head, I dabble now and again but my musical tastes are primarily elsewhere although I have many obscure sounds within my collection and certainly mix and match my listening mush. Dio have indeed crossed my radar but nothing has settled within the ripped and torn archives - so I come in here all virginal and unbiased - this is never a bad thing. Fuck it on with the review and just to add self-indulgent clap trap has never been my thing and so I am straining to be objective here and to see things from those that stand in a different pit of racketology.
We begin with 'Night People', a laser/electro pulse and a routine scuffle of strings. A fall-out and then into a first verse that is very ordinary indeed except for the thirst in the throat that coughs up believable gobbage and carries the whole cacophony. The chorus is very basic, if a chorus at all, and the solo slots are quite grubby and not as clean cut as I would have expected. A safe number indeed travelling along a very horizontal plane with few noticeable undulations - too safe to make the necessary impact in fact - bad move! 'Dream Evil' is primarily an orthodox number when stripped down to its bare, rhythmic essentials but as per, when minstrels of this ilk get their tampering hands on board the naked runt becomes a showy pedigree. Grinding, grooved guitars, loaded drums, a steady pulsation - a moment to prepare. The verse is riddled with mid-tempo, postured placement and is typical orchestration as is the chorus that is slipped into with simple lubricity. The title track and the easiest pill to swallow due to its regular riffage, obvious ambience and controlled headbanging beat. Not bad to be fair! Dawn breaks, a new world ascends, guitars assist and 'Sunset Superman' rocks in. Verse is easily tackled in stadium-style, the chorus tribally beats along in a similar essence to something Queen-like and overall my overall opinion is of a quite tedious number that drags its feet to its own freshly dug grave. Harsh, no, this band have bigger capabilities and this is far short of the mark. Moving swiftly on...
'All The Fools Sailed Away' is a lengthy sonic saga and has a rather ambiguous meaning, however a quote of Ronnie James Dio goes like this as way of explanation - 'It's about people who believe all of the crap that their government tells them. And, all the crap that everybody around them tells you. And you know what happens too? All the fools sail away' - which shows you don't just need a short sharp punk explosion to deal with political bullshit! The song is, as stated, a prolonged episode of generic showmanship but looking beyond that a lot of decent points should be noted, despite this rank and rabid reviewer seeped in relentless spikiness. The careful sub-acoustic build up, the pomposity of grandiose guitars (which may now be clichéd but are part and parcel of what transpires here) and the ensuing power shift led by the classical vocal styles all make for a well constructed composite that make this more than just routine fodder for the scrubbed up metalists. The true blossoming of the song comes via a chorus that has magnetic effect and like a moth to a flame the inner melodic soul is attracted. Moments of six and four string manipulation aren't my thing at all but even I can see the necessity and throughout we can witness the entire soundscape has been well attended to and given exact fore and after thought. I hold my hands up, this one works mightily well despite that darn 7 minutes plus running time and my awkward angular outlook not in synchronisation with the vibe.
'Naked In The Rain' is another stretched out number built on scuttling guitars, lumbering yet precise intonation, an over-riding compulsion to slam home the rhythm, a desire to be ultimately deliberate in the overall delivery. The solo moments are flamboyant yet fail to send one corpuscle of melodic blood into my tune hungry todge - just way out of my acoustic area. The section when the whole cacophony becomes self absorbed and fiddle fucked to buggery is a nonsense to me no matter how the crowd bay. Just very average fodder and even though I am trying to be fair this one deserves a kick in the sonic scrotum - so that's what it gets - thwack!
2 quick ones I reckon...
'Overlove' has bluesy tints at the start, develops into a steady rhythm and places prominence on clarity of units and a quicker tempo than is the norm. Regular, with a predictable guitar driven break, pummelling on to the finale. 'I Could Have Been A Dreamer' has a steady, sinewy confidence and starts with a stutter almost suggestive of something AC/DC. The steady advance of sound is ballad-esque, the whole coming together of each individual segment is precise and the feel to the lyrical content and emotive weapons of noise is pleasing and both areas compliment highly. A stronger than at first realised number and surely one with longevity and most mass appeal.
I like 'Faces In The Window', it has a good familiarity which always helps when one is far flung from ones comfort zone (which I don't really have anyway due to crapping in it quite frequently - the only way tha' knows). A good opening patchwork of sound, the usual twiddles, an orchestral pause and in we go with the highly efficient gobbage. The verse and chorus work well as a combination and move within and without of one another with easy as you go affect. A secure running time, a good tempo, just enough of the frills and spills and overall a decent track I feel. 'When A Woman Cries' has caught me at a stage when my patience has worn thin. Way too much of the same with all the pre-set modes of operation thrown in to yet another middling track that sticks in mid-gear, tosses about here and there with the odd wheelspin and then drives headlong to the final rocked up parking spot. We are done and...so am I!
Disc 2 is the bonus part of this deluxe edition and so a brief taster will be given as I am not willing to whip a collection of sound that I just can't adjust to. Small amounts fine, of this length - count me out!. Basically what you get is the same tracks done in the 'live' arena and a few extras of the same pattern. I listened, I came away unmoved and yet realising why this band passed me by! I'll never be into this stuff full time, am happy to dabble now and again but am fully convinced that even though this band has it's own niche and therein praise will come aplenty, from this side of the fence the comments will be either negative or indifferent. Each to their own, I'm outta here!
ANDY T - LIFE AT TETHER'S END
Andy T has been around the block, in fact the block has a continuous furrow where this relentless blighter has been ploughing away and doing his very 'own thing'. If punk should have taught us anything it is that 'you' should get up, have belief and do something about your inner passions and making a difference. Alas, this ethos passes many by and so when a trooper who carries on in the face of such fuckin' indifference comes my way I am always happy to push along and poke further out there into the vast ignorant unknown. If one man produces utter shit filled with passion and another man produces clean cut commercialism filled with ego driven gushing then my vote will always be the way of the stink. It is how it should be! You can polish shit, you can move things along, you can make a difference. Andy T is a wordsmith rather than a musician but he dabbles and is always making a point via the recorded medium - listen and ye may just learn. Here is the latest spillage, assessed, non-processed, unmessed! I also try to do what I do!
The style here is acute, terse, hopefully tense and capturing the hate, disillusionment and relentless effort. 'A Pound In The Box' is naked poetry, soundless preaching, hollowed out word war - Mr T is alone and going for it. The words are poured with zeal, the message is to resist the crushing powers that keep us in line and to avoid easing ones conscience with a token gesture piss-take. 'Are Your Children Revolting' comes with shadowglass strings, honed down bass groove, ample stick suggestion and the usual sub-sung gob work. The question constantly asked is basically where has all the spirit gone, where has the inner fight disappeared to? The generation today is a void mass borne of brow beaten elders, kept in line with an avalanche of materialism - the end result is Mr Thornley's disgruntlement. The whole creeping tune works and separates the preceding poem from the pursuing 'Hand Made Grenades And Letter Bombs'. This one promotes the power of the 'words' and the way they can change a mood, be used as a weapon, yet give or take away belief. It is a simple concept yet so naturally put across with hard fought manipulation of the said 'words'. The initial 3 tracks as a tight trio work together and make it a firm opening sequence that sets a tone never to be left!
'Finger Pointing' is a chilled number that has a haunted sensation with suggestion of an impending final solution where at long last our asses will be on the line and the time will come to make the ultimate decision. It provokes thought, it is sub-sound, it is DIY to the core. The pressure rises as does the levels of irritation - a fling out of fury and into 'Who Chases Me', another poetical interlude that gets things out in the open and wrestles with life’s niggles and offers a solution via love, peace and trust. Idealistic that should be realistic - if only the populace can take the words on board. The past is a phantom that needs shaking free and wise advice comes throughout! 'Wooden Curtains' is a bleak number portraying the state of this boarded up, closing down septic isle where the predominant colour is grey, a grey of defeat, a grey of hardship void of freedom. Far from a comforting tune this is once more heavy stuff to digest but you should know what you are getting - don't be expecting a pleasure trip, expect some harsh facts delivered in a flat, grinding mode that is etched with an era where passion was more rife - think on!
'Get The Addict Habit' is brief but gets the message across - the doctor is keen to keep his customers obliged, the pills are there to be had, all legal, all above the board - the board on which you can lie eternal - in a fucked up haze. Succinct, sharp and expressed with ghastly matter of factness - scary man! 'Freshly Skinned' fights for the furry friends and decries the wearing of animal skin - it is what it is - it is fuckin' bang on and correct with a vicious final poser full stopping the tirade - neat!
8 tracks done, the subcutaneous sensation is hard to break away from, this may be pseudo-sonica, bastard rhythm making but it sticks in the noggin and does what it sets out to do - creates thought!
A rusted guitar that sub-skanks in jazzy cracked crystal style takes us along with a fat bass line that keeps it to the point. Drums splish and splash in regular rhythm, Mr T growls out his diatribe with vicious intent. The nazi (small case letters used) filth and their experiments on humans that so many decry are compared to the current day abuses of the animal kingdom. The belief is acute and blatant and spat over us with acidic rage that we would do well to take note of. A firm favourite bursting with anarcho ill temperament and passionate urge - go on Andy lad! Sinister going's on whilst a war raged are not topics for the faint of heart, the lyrical outburst that follows is typical vomit - but it says it how it is, doesn't beat around the bush and makes 'Evacuated Innocents' a moment to dwell upon. And so I do!
'I Still Hate Thatcher' shows what can transpire if the furious flame is kept alive and the natural hate that must come is persisting. When wankers in power used, abused, crushed and dismissed (so as to make their own personal statements ) was the name of the game the ripples duly transcended time and therefore still maintained that money is a God, capitalism equals control, selfish ideals are to be cultivated and the id (still lower case necessity) is the most important factor. Many so called spiked rebels seem to have had their flame doused, their hate lost and so we have a slack jawed scene with people more interested in - yes you guessed it - self (the trick has had ya). Here Mr T gives us all a pertinent kick up the jacksie via a controlled fury that finally spills over into all out rage through a blatantly obvious line. The tones are dangerously brooding, they seem borne from a sweated brow that has dwelt on matters until the blood has boiled and been used as ink to pen this vicious piece. Choice!
'The Casual Racist' rams a nail into the palm of the goon, the one who says, jokes and has little perception of respect...we have heard it all...the poet slaps one in the face. Like it or lump it! More grooviness via the 4 strung sword but with a refusal in-built to not give you a chance to stay merry. The gloom set, the documentary-like harshness scrawled over your needy mind will not be given - miserable bastard, factual twat - this bugger tries to be upbeat but in a turn-about style, finger-saluting the ones who like heads in sand and to piss about stating everything is hunky dory when...IT FUCKIN' ISN'T. This isn't a game - 'Sing A Happy Song' indeed!.
'Wasted Life' decries the state of being hammered to avoid the drudge and strife of life and then about turns at the last and makes it all seem fine. 'No Freedom, No Escapism' continues this thread and puts things back in place - the question that arises is - how can you rebel when your mind is addled? 2 quick sub-assessments of 2 quick odes!
'Sophie Lancaster' drills in with questions, pure fuckin' rage, shuddering disbelief. The rhythm winds up, Andy T winds himself up too - prejudice gets you like that and when it involves bullying and murder one has every fuckin' reason to blow a fuse. The education system that fails to encourage the belief that everyone is equal, everyone should be given due respect has got out of control - the 21st century is the new dark ages - fight the thick fucks, fight the subtle players, destroy this fuckin' inbred idiocy that is more rife than understood. Sticks and stones break bones, and so do names if left unchecked. The inner sequence that slowly seethes, crawls with intent now adds a different angle but we still have to find answers. As necessary as ever - the message is obvious! 'Hoodies' aptly follows, turns an argument on its head - awkward bastard - I like things that way! Not a lot to add - I don't like sheep, I don't like boneheads and I don't like excuses - think on!
6 left and a sprint to the line. 'War On Terror' whinges, roars, grinds, is once more driven by bass and sticks and the angry chap we all should respect. Again sub-melody, again offering a different perspective! 'Weary Of The Flesh' is again a veggie rant, Hey I ain't no veggie but can respect the words and as time progresses even this meat chomping chump is dropping the meat - nothing political though. This one slips into the brutal 'Chamber Of Horrors' which is of similar theme but this time protecting animals from abuse for the sake of vanity. Now this I do readily concur with and in a society where we claim to be educated why do we have to paint ourselves at the expense of furry friend’s lives? 'I Still Hate Thatcher (extended) is as was with a more relaxed pace, a more futuristic slant but with the same eruptions of hate. 'Miss Ten Percent' rails against the greedy leeches who take their cut and leave fuck all. The repetition trick is caught and relayed and done with fine manipulation. The usual tones come and go, there is something though that will niggle and that is the main winning factor of all this puke. 'Letter From A Soldier' is the closure, military sticks send you on the way, then we are given the facts that from hero to zero is the only ultimate outcome. Pawns of conflict suffer, should they have thought rather than fought first - I think so!
A long haul this and if brutally honest...too long. Two albums from one could have been had over a longer period and more direct impact made but...there ya go...it is the call of the artiste and after such a lengthy stretch in the scene I am happy to disagree and maintain 100% respect. The packaging of this CD is best described as a small book which is very impressive and shows the dedication to the delivery of the product. The final verdict is fair I feel - a fuckin' good collection of anarcho thoughts poured out from a heart that absolutely lives it and is utterly convinced in what he says. If you agree or disagree surely the main aspect of anything punk is to have spirit in your convictions and for that reason alone this is worth your attention. It certainly has got beneath my skin and made me re-assess a few things and if that helps me grow into a better person no extra argument is needed. Goodbye!
BILLY LIAR - THE GHOSTS OF PUNK ROCK
I see the name Billy Liar here and there when browsing the web for gigs to attend but, to date, he has slipped by the Fungal peepers. The result is yet another unflavoured stance I have when taking into consideration this initial review of material by a seemingly well respected strummer. He is a regular player at the usual festivals, has a well earned CV as regards musical experience and in the pit know how and has many good references as regards his end output both musically and lyrically but...none of this matters to ye Fungal bugger, I take what I receive and analyse it for what it is - be it top, slop, flop or cream of the crop! You all the know the crack! Have this then....whoosh...
We dig in and come up with the first spade full of sonica known as 'Change', which begins with a monasterial like harmony, all haunted and quite disturbed. The opening sequence has backing vocals just shadowing the main gobbage which takes some adjusting to but given time you will get there and applaud the character of the vibe. The hunger in the lyrics is for a change, for inspiration, for someone to fuckin' give it large - that is quite sweet to hear and underneath the film of tender string work comes a passionate stance that almost pleads for more. The feeling one gets when seeing too many bands go through the motions, this aches with desire for a darn sight more - and why not?
'The Ghosts Of Punk Rock' is a softly frothed piece that starts on fragile strings and continues with equally delicate vocals. The tuned text is delivered and makes one ponder certain names within the spiked scene and the way things are. I disagree with the sentiments that suggest that some are unworthy of criticism as it goes with the flow in which we wade and if anything we should always try and maintain equality and...in punk fashion...avoid heroes. Anyway - those are my humble thoughts - fuck that - the review isn't about me (apologies). The song though is well composed and does indeed provoke a response which far more than rowdier and in yer face songs do. I like it, the arrangement is of professional standard and the pang in the mouth is noted - well done sir.
'Leaving Town' opens with strings one would deem to be leading into a bouncing episode of upbeat, straight ahead rhythm - wrong! The drift is far from a trip concerning A to B and instead just sub-wanders off course which makes for something gently off kilter. That is no bad thing and the vocals are rinsed through with accent, forethought and less blatant spirit than you would get from a growling attack of punkage. The spirit is there though, just dwell and scratch a little - that is all you need to do! Overtones of melancholy, an understanding of relating a tale of life onto disc and a chosen style that is ones own all make an impact and even if all you desire is a good headbanging session you would be sorely misdirected if you didn't stop and dabble here. Quite sweetly put!
Crisp strokes unearth the main drift of 'The Difference', a song that slots into its place and continues the set criteria for this 4 track journey and maintains the consistency. The method of melody is hard to grasp as our Mr Liar will insist on avoiding orthodox pathways. Twinkles, tinkles, thrums, pauses and moments where the strumming shoulder is loosened all pass through the inner intestine of acoustica with floated folky mouth work relaxing the tension somewhat. There is more going on than what appears - a bit like a man with a rear full of jumping, electrified anal beads. All looks fine, but hidden away is a multitude of sensations happening. Compliment!
I like this dude’s style and can see why he slots into the odd punky gig here and there. Alongside other strummers suck as Robb Blake; James Bar Bowen and Drewvis (to name a few) we have here another artiste worthy of consideration. Of course this delivery method has its limitations but when done well it is highly satisfying. Be interesting what this guy could do fronting a band? Mr Liar - you are on my list to check out!
COCOVAN - DATA IMAGE
The deep end is a place I often find myself thrown and another instance of this lonely place is had here as I find myself confronted with 4 tracks that wouldn't normally be on my ragged and rusted radar. My eclectic, hectic ways however do come across some angular aspects and in the main I get many surprises that tickle the senses and illuminate the soul. So what of Cocovan? Some text sent my way from Prescription Press intrigued me further - 'From her late teens she attracted A&R attention from various French majors, who all told her that she should sing in French and that they weren't sure they could compete with the US and British competition out there. Her response was a simple one was to stick to her guns, to instead further hone her sound, develop, get even better, dedicated to the likes of New Order and Davie Bowie, but charmed by the more current, individual pop smarts of Robyn and her contemporaries. Her message is that an artist can do, in this digital era, what was impossible for them to do 10 years ago without huge support - quality production, direction and importantly song writing can be entirely down to the individual and still have the same appeal, still be achievable, even on a limited budget, even on your own terms'. My punky soul is niggled, this French multi-instrumentalist and producer (nay sanguine bundle of talent) has me intrigued, what can I do but assess without affect, offer my thoughts without sub-text. Splash!
The initial track 'Roosevelt Hotel' is laden with a vulnerability and sugared innocence as well as tickled throughout with a delightful oriental touch that is wonderfully light, sparkling and somewhat refreshing. The liquid drops of acoustic life fall with exactness and escort the charmed tones of the lead lady with a stunning, minimalistic brilliance. Almost harmonising a thread from the weave of Mother Nature this is seemingly non-manufactured output although the production does its best to negate that sensation (despite being spot on for this mode of music). Is this a form of organic instrumentalisation that has intertwined with electro-synthesis and given rise to something quite unique or are things overtly capricious within this soundscape and are hidden depths there to be discovered, explored or merely vulgarly plundered? I ponder deeply and come away convinced of a subtle touch of artistry. Suckerpunched into submission? You bet!
'Bang, Bang' slips away from the sub-unique and strays a little too far into the realms of commercialistic conformity, thus resulting in a wave of noise that could have been kicked up by quite a few modern day artistes. Cocovan rises and holds her own but a certain aspect of identity is concealed and that hurts the track in the final overview. We still stay hygienic, utterly synthed but alas lose the earthiness, the idiosyncrasy easily captured within the first track. It is a decent offering if you like this kind of thing and I can't see why this gentle motion cannot cause a few ripples in the murky waters of the masses. I stay on the outside, on the underside, at the rear - I know where I thrive!
Candy coated utterances ride alongside plucked strings of tactile reliability and 'Baby Love' lullaby's away with more commercialised value (Yuk) and charmed character (Yum). The trouble I have here is that there is an obvious rhythmic arm reaching out to be grabbed by the masses but I feel there is an inner heart wanting to beat to its own inventive tune. The latter option would always be the way to go but what pressures does the artiste have, what expectations arise when promising so much? I suspect and yet don't entirely know but can be astute enough to recognise a good creator with the style to be pounced upon and pulled this way and that by unscrupulous judges. This is OK but I have heard much of similar ilk and again, when compared to the first track, it stands in the solid shadow cast!
'Apples' has cluttered effect, twinges with electro spasm, nervously twitches with much over affect - fighting through are the aromatic tones of the lead lady, somewhat drowned in a kaleidoscope of tumbling acoustic additions. The end result is of a tune that is too crowded, too confused and quite claustrophobic. If one peels away the several skins of sound I feel one would be left with a better track that relies on obvious delicacies rather than the multitudinous flavours we are offered. This could have been so much more!
Overall this has been a pleasant listen but I still think the embryonic stage is the dominant place of creation and the artiste needs to recognise her true style, grasp it hard and squeeze out the very best of her obvious talent. It is highly problematic for any musician to maintain what they desire and to resist what others want - the outcome could be routine, mundane bilge for the gaping Oi Polloi or some genuine classics for the more discerning lover of noise. A tough one indeed - you can see success come, you can see it pass by - just one of those moments laden with unpredictability. My message - do it your very own way, and look at that opening burst and take the essential points that make it a beauty!