FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 75
THE SENTON BOMBS - CHAPTER ZERO
From the sludge and shite of indifference, through the mire of the many untrained lugs, on with determination to a self made rolling wave, forward to the success level of knowing 'we did it and are still doing it', The Senton Bombs are a band who I am quite proud of and who have always been an approachable set of sonic maestros forever keen to stick to their chosen style and...fuck the rest. The fact is they crack off a mean horny vibe that gushes energetic, hip ground spunkage that many salivating sonic dogs will want to lap up providing they have broke away from their restraining generic leads. Again I find myself absorbed with a sound that isn't punk, isn't metal, isn't anything only good old burned up and well heeled rock and fuckin' roll - and there ain't nowt wrong with that. I come in pregnant with expectation, I hope I don't come away producing a runt of a review (it can happen, even to my most favoured fiddlers). Here we go...
The vagina of silence gapes wide, the acoustic uterus relaxes, the first spillage is christened 'Chapter Zero', birth is given to a feisty baby well-drilled in the art of salivating rock and roll - fuck you mother. After the initial statement the guitars spiral in many directions with that hip-twisting drive the band do so well, riffing it up the ass of the eavesdropper, vulgarly parading all the spicy aspects without shame. The first verse is snarled control, pangs with desire for something unique to be told and rolls with aplomb into the first of three thermo-enthused Acts. The production is choice and captures the finer facets of this quality crew, the inner string show is funked, fruited, unembarrassed showmanship - it propels the song into the stratosphere of bone jarring rock - infected with sex, sleaze, utter submission - the art form is adopted. Chasing is the pulse fuck of 'Nothing Quiet Like This', a cock rock affair from a band saturated with DIY, gutter insight - the mix is intriguing and makes this approachable, fiery throbber a real intense hammering one rates very highly. It is tribal at its core, it is primarily a simple take on a familiar theme but the Senton Bombs gloss it up, engorge it with new blood, parade it with sanguinity and boldness and quite rightly let you have it between your trembling butt cheeks. Certain touches elaborate the powershift, the intensity flashes, throws of sparks - you just gotta keep getting closer though! A fine example of Slamdunk Riff and Roll Rock, - off the backboard, into yer face - bleed!
'Heading For The Guillotine' scuffles in before frontman Joey reveals his usual thirst and toxic oral toneage that teases, tempts and sneers. The volcanic simmer builds, boulders of sound start to roll, acoustic ash emanates from the heart of the seething cacophonic cone and suddenly the band are erupting. Lighter than normal backing vocals seem the persistent order of the day - it works and I don't know why! Riffs get slammed into the bands mighty magazine and are sprayed each and every way with classical touches aplenty whilst the superb stick work slaps all components into rigid order thus finalising the commanding noise! Moments are given to showcase, momentum never ceases - whoosh - my arse hair is singed. 'So Cavalier' is another choice cutlet from this stunning carcass of melodic meat with a stop/start/strut that takes us deliberately into the main flesh of the song. The strokes of the strings are forthright and authoritative, the drums remain classy, the switches from strong demands to careful vocal caresses is sublime - the band had me thinking this was a CD of usual fare (which is mighty fine), at four tracks in and several listens I stand corrected and erected - classic. The harmonies work a treat, the cadences persuade, the metalised hammer blows add the finishing gloss - superb.
'Tornado' adopts a similar strong verse sequence and floats into a peeling away sub-chorus that is pursued by compressed string solo work that is alive with electro-energy, flash-fucking, dyno-drilling into the sonic nucleus. It is a 1000 giga-watt behemoth that strikes hard and fast and leaves a scorch mark on the senses - wow! The back up punch comes from the wild hunger displayed via the anthemic piston pump known as 'No Rest For The Rockin'. The intensity is unquenchable, the flesh tingling rhythm almost concupiscent, the ravenous need overwhelming. The drive of the guitars is pivotal to the end effect, the gob still glorious, the fast-staccato repeat punch of the relentless chorus massive - wham, bam don't give a damn - a breathless number. 'Reapers Sow' begins in acoustic delicacy and eventually fades, a cymbal 4 tap and mean chuggery buggery follows with the lead lout keeping his utterances initially gentle. We ascend with utter triumphant positivity which highlights the main theme of this thoroughbred thread. A very confident and accomplished number that deliberately stands out and makes its own presence felt. A lighter number in many ways put having a kick to match the rest - it lashes out in flying colours of success - a fantastic sub-twist and exposure of the depth of talent. Fight on through, do what ya gotta do, look back with pride!
'Medusa' is a beast in fine fettle with a groovy glare to turn one to utter stone...in admiration. Textually advanced, composed with utter brilliance - from the opening tub thump, through the power surge, via the smoked oral assault, up a level as the flames rise and into more hefty rhythm, making. We repeat, where is the chorus - surely a bomb blast to do some damage! No - the lads submit to the man crushing bitch with the slinkiness of a sidewinder, the hypnotic stare of a cobra, the finishing crush of a boa, the bite of a mamba. The sub-chorus is pleading harmony delivered with ultra cool efficiency and contrasting accuracy. I fall back on my heels - pinnacles are many, I am battered into submission.
What next - an unbelievable Americanised, desert singed tale regarding a lady with a lust...to burn, that's what! The first pulse warns, a strum prepares, the opening, almost solitary words promise. Strings rise on clean cut thermals, the match is struck - power ensues and then we move back into the hollowed out mode. Melody is sweet textured, bar room wise, beer soaked and tinged with a long day’s knowledge. This is a momentous offering that moves the band into new wondrous realms and it pleases me no end to see this always obvious potential come to the fore and ram it in the face of the doubters. We take time to let the guitar pluck out an emotive weave before a splash of all encompassing sonica gushes taking us into the last vocal episode. The wind-up to the closing chapter is complete, the circle is full, the song is everything a fine song should be - a solid session of wrap-around sound that reeks of excellence - I bow down to the glint of an acoustic diamond.
'Acid And Alkaline' is the penultimate track and leaves me just on the positive side of neutral. Is this a backlash of having to follow such gargantuan produce or is the song just not up to as much as the rest of this prize pack of din busters. I contemplate, I listen to the chasing track, I re-assess - I believe this is the runt or cunt of the pack. It is far from rubbish but far from a big beating bastard. Well polished, having a fair wallop in the delivery but lacking that extra corrosive attitude that convinces you of a crackerjack. The closure is known as 'The Rider', a chopping executioner that soon moves into a more bone-grinding incessancy with the depth of the incandescent glow almost beyond the sonic spectrum. The scythe of sound cuts repeatedly before torturing with a brief moment of ecstatic respite...and then more life-wrenching madness this way flows. It is a wonderful closure with a flush of passion thrown in and a death knell only relating to this fine CD. The end isn't nigh however because when this is over your immediate reaction will be to press...'replay'. Lazarus rises!
Marvellous again and after initial thoughts of a duff dangler in a parade of proud prongs I am happy to report that The Sentonised Bomb Squad are all present and correct and yet again poking higher within the uterus of the acoustic underdog. Get this, get on all fours and get humped - the fuckin' will convince you no end and the overall climax will thrill in multiple fashion. Ooooh errrrr there I go again....splash!
DISCHORD - THE WAKES
An irate unit that are chomping at the bit to tear it up and get themselves heard in this swirling pit of cacophony. Based in Blackpool, the land of a condom infested sea, tit doorbells, chocolate cocks, staggering drunks and family entertainment (oh and a punk festival I just can't remember the name of) this is abstract puke with many splashes and streaks of vicious colour all making it a CD to consider over several spins. It is more than a little obvious that this output hasn't just been wildly daubed across the canvas of silence and that there is an insight in to what actually makes a good mess. Not anyone can make a splatter racket without rule - it takes a good eye and ear for sure! And so what else can I do but delve, consider and eventually pour out the following text:-
The madness begins within the fuckwit funfair, the crowd is here, the introductory statement of 'This town is a zoo and I'm here to shovel the shit from the cages' promises much deranged defecation to be flung our way - I hope the first dollops are extra fetid. The first heaving lump of filth is 'Seaside Suicide', a fuckin' scrumptious pile of cacophonic crapulence we flies of noise just need to land on and feed deeply. Radiating much heat the first unholy verses are delivered with virulent passion and sear into the brain cells with dramatic effect. The pleas, the anguish all reek of essential need - the rhythm is fuckin' absolutely spot on - this is a thriving mass of wretched excreta and I am gluttoning as fast as I can. The break for the unified attention grab of 'Roll Up, Roll Up, Try Your Luck' is subtle and timed to a tee and the whole buzzing ambience is a joy to aurally behold. I puke all I digest back up and am happy of the opportunity to nosh some more - you get my drift I hope - this is select shit from highly knowledgeable ring-pieces I presume! 'Recession' hits in with a street chant before winding upwards with good, strong orthodox rhythm. Deliberate scorchings come with brief stated attacks, words are manipulated, criss-crossed and still hold their point - cute. A tumble sequence into a comfortable chorus that tribally mouths off and then we repeat - class. Mince meat intent, moments to pogo to, moments to let loose yer restrained mind - you fuckin' have this and have it good now! We whip up to the last blast and then the gulls come to peck at our dwindling resistance. A chug, a stick burst and into the gristly horror of 'Second Hand Model'. A fuck, used and abused - nothing more! A tale that has sub-text galore which can be read several ways - the end result always leans towards depravity and neglect but what makes this so darn attractive is the sinister schizophrenic slant the gob upchucks so garishly, so beautifully (in a sickening kind of way). With many alterations, moments that run off the rails, sequences that creep beneath the skin and cuts that tear up the fabric of rhythmic reality this is highly potent stuff one must snort - addiction, addiction, addiction!
The CD so far is nothing short of throat cutting violence that inspires self molestation and sonic orgasms aplenty. The cusp has been saturated with pleasure piss and it is over the edge we jump with one gloried whoop of utter abandonment - slap. Impressed - you bet yer dumb ass!
My noise hungry stiffer inflates more as I envision what the next offering will bring, the title does offer so much. 'I Came Here To Ruin Your Life' is a peach of crusted and rusted passion that rips out your heart and bounces it around the rubber room with devilish joy. The pleasure of the torment is our extreme high and the slashing noise that cuts deeply over and over again is momentous to say the least. The polluted waters fill out our mental arena's, the scorched and controlled duet works a treat, the chanted inclusions icing on the mouldy cake. Munch! 'Animals In The Place' stands up for the critters and hails itself inward, slaps hard before a cross hybrid of garaged/popped vocals comes our way. The verse is cool dude stuff with a hip-grinding swing - more smacks and the superb chorus eruption. More terraced chants, yet more smacks, more delicious fighting hardcore with so much more than the heavy indulgence we sometimes get overloaded with. The acoustic closure is majestic and digs in to the greedy stars who rape the carcasses of the innocent. These first 5 tracks are absolutely stunning in my humble opinion and after over 700 CD reviews I'd be struggling to find many matches. Wham!
And interlude - the sirens warn. All is desolate, a clear-out is played with rainy soaked simplicity - we are in the midst of a roller coaster ride and this is time to renew your energies before the next flashpoint. Madness upholds...and then…is that Roy Barraclough welcoming us back into the…?
Savage machined guitars, utter relentless cerebral mincing hardcore blazes hard within a 55 second song that really turns things inside out. Patient at first and only reliant on big strokes before cutting clear and leaving an open sonic space for the tonsils and tympani to make way for the all consuming conflagration. I like the rabid attack on the ones with the heads in the clouds who think everything is fine and dandy and ‘my life is okay Jack’ when in reality IT FUCKIN' ISN'T. Crackin' thrash out! 'Lights, Camera, Satisfaction' rearranges the index of expectation with a chilled snipe at stardom and all its affect and synthetic ways. The slant here is electroid, more orthodox and yet still highly convincing. The mouth operates with sub-erotic slinkiness and weaves out a style that is serpentine and lubricated. There is a matter of fact input here too emphasised by the almost pre-programmed statement of the title. The crew are still guzzling down the motivational juice and seem to be thriving within their noise and really hitting the most purist of hot spots. The saliva still runs!
'Music Is Dead' immediately captures a punk angle with its title alone - making an ambiguous statement many will misread and so help towards the controversy and debate - the result sought and 'thought' provoked (do ya fuckin' get it). The questions asked via this effort are obvious and the sell-out mode is perhaps easier but not an option. DIY is the only way, the sagging overfed breasts of the swallowing whores will eventually be beaten black and blue and thus explode into nothingness - the underdogs will have their day. On evidence such as this it may come very fuckin' soon. Sawing in, continuing with a H/C edge drenched in fizzy pop before chopping up with a tweaked moment. On we travel, still blood comes from the gullet, we stomp, we stagger, we proclaim together - does no-one really give a fuck - well I do! Lovely luscious dripping filth this noise and gunge to guzzle on and toss around the palate to capture the many heady flavours (the Spanking flamenco twist a prime example).
'The Wakes' has me worried at first, perhaps an utter turd is going to come washing out on this fine rockin sea and it may just end up turning everything on its head! Gently creeping inward with a sinister pulsation, the tension builds, the band relax a little and move through the gears. From a struggling pupal case emerges a rough looking creature of cacophony which waits before a 4 count unfurls the real beast and encourages a buzzing mechanical thrash gutterfly to flit in dis-regular hurtful fashion. Things calm down, a confident flight pattern is adopted and then we fade and fall to the floor to briefly recover before recapturing the madness...radio burst...out! 'Vote For No One' rat a tats in military style before the title is hollered and nasty gobbage pours heavily onto our awaiting laps. Suddenly the songs bursts into life and a hardcore duel is had with drums still hammering the point home. The inner spirit is thrown onto the flaming riot and the band go full tilt to the final depot with reckless abandoned paradoxically...controlled. Suddenly the song unexpectedly continues - it is a repeat of the riot - whoosh.
'The End: Blackout' heaves out the last belch of belligerence, bold sonic statements, utter horror filled words, single blazing lines, snippets of stringed mania, a collision cult of clattering chaos - terror time indeed. There is no rush, the band can well enjoy this dwelling point on what they have achieved through this CD - it is something rather fantastic and my time in punk is always rewarded when unexpected highs like this come along.
Do not take this lightly, I listen to much with consideration and thought at the fore as regards the stance of the sound and the effort poured in. I listen to many flavours of racket making and appraise them for what they are, where they fit in and, more aptly, where they don’t. I hold no favours, shirk bias and piss on grooming sycophantic ways - the end result - I take some stick - it ain't easy. But...what I know is what I know and I say what I believe in over and over again - I believe this is a stunner, a real trashed and thrashed montage of multifarious aromas all making for one big end stink. Sniff it out before your ignorance takes over!
VAMPIRE JUNKIES featuring TEXAS TERRI - 5 TRACK EP
A whole gamut of noisy histories has been brought together here with this London based group fit to burst with experience. It bodes well and this 5 track offering sets out its stall and gives an insight into what will transpire over the coming years. The CD came via a member of The Machines (a band I had recently reviewed on CD) and so I was keen to get my reviewing mitts moving and try as best as possible to capture what the band are trying to achieve as regards their sound. It ain't easy doing these assessments, here is another humble attempt from the Fungal fingers!
'With My Machines' is decent fare that cuts in with crisp guitar strokes that are sub-staccato repeats gnawing on the acoustic bone. Front lady screams in and delivers her typical US drawling sleaze that is roughly smoked and obviously well worn in. A burning desire is within, a true rock and roll suggestion and a real throwback to a kind of New York filthiness apparent. The tempo isn't as liquid as it could be, the inner instrumental piece though is wide awake, happening and too short and before we know it we are already on the homeward stretch. The style is repeatiod, the production not half bad, the last eruption overloads and makes this fair dinkum tuneage. You do need volume though - play low and the track suffers immensely. 'Mainline' pursues and after a brief bass rumble all is taut and we move into a song of similar angles to the first. Mid-paced, a chorus that is said rather than sung, with more quality control etched within the guitars and drums in accord and without a rattle out of place. Again another guitar eruption fires this one up and after initial listens it does indeed get better. The band have got the sonic arena packed, the approach could be a tad quicker and a few extra risks taken but this one stamps its feet and stands firm.
Drums roll, strings cut through, we move on with sharded eloquence - into what I deem to be the best of the lot. The first verse opens with more lubricity, more relaxation in the rhythm and so the triumph factor moves up several notches. The chorus could have been more flamboyant and in yer face but the tonal contrasts work so one cannot argue too adamantly. I am finding a greater texture to this one and more layers within the woven fabric of noise as well as a more DIY infected end result - you know me - cheap and nasty always attracts. 'Denmark Street' is celebratory with its opening riffs, moves along in yet another stated oral fashion but slaps home its intent with good riff levels and rocked up flamboyance. Turn up the volume another notch and ponder each component - yes - it isn't bad at all is it! A spacious moment abandons the 6 stringed spear before hailing it back in a full tumult of glory. Again not bad and showing that there is a lot to be pleased with here but a whole lot to build on. Be interesting to see if they could rattle a track with the boiler turned to 100 degrees like in the instrumentalised segments.
A whine inward, a tympanic roll, a peeling away of the initial skin and 'Tokyo Rubber' sexes itself up and continues in now predictable fashion but with the most sing-a-long accent of them all. Texas Terri goes for it, the band are concrete in the rear - the essence is still R 'n' R throughout - this one works despite initial doubts. The grind up offers varied hints from many sources, the impetus is fine and dandy and the last blast at the finish line is high action indeed.
5 tracks and although not 100% convinced I can see much to praise and much potential. All tracks sit side by side in harmony, support one another and have good concrete foundations. The band play well and the production is spot on, the only niggle is perhaps the fact that it is more than obvious there is more in the tank and when the vocals go for it they thrive a whole lot more than when stating the wordage. I am gonna keep a close eye on this lot though and in truth this is worth a punt. If the band are ever up this neck of the woods I'll be there and I am expect a real raucous tear up with many new songs exploring new pathways of dinnage.
MAYHEM FREAK - PUNKED UP EP
This CD is apparently only available via the web and I was duly given a request to review with some very confident text to boot. I quote 'Bored and a little stifled in a punk scene where playing two chords flat out is becoming tedious? Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of cracking bands out there. But its not us. So we (Mayhem Freak) are bringing something of our own to the game. We are not setting out to be or sound like anyone, if you see our live set you will see brutal riff heavy songs, along with song cheeky rock 'n' roll songs, but at the same time it still sounds like us.' Etcetera, etcetera! And so, as is the norm when I receive bold statements I duly ignore and make up my own mind with emphasis on really finding out if the noise backs up the propaganda. So under the microscope these North-West noise merchants go and what on earth does Fungal reveal?
'Sheep' scuttles the tympanic skins and no sooner does the gobbage come in then the full impact of a sub-standard production hits one in the face. I'll say it now so I don't have to repeat it again - it does mar the whole CD - end of. The song moves through the first awkward verse and into an equally awkward chorus both of which suit one another but hardly raise the hairs on the back of ones neck. I can see the target aimed for but I just feel things need sharpening up, definitions between areas need to be more marked and the vocals just need to rise a little more. It is an odd song that strolls then shoots along, with a grinding guitar and a slappy drum beat. I listen several times over and just can't seem to make a high recommendation . The intent is right, the execution not so - there is primarily one major drawback but I said I wouldn't mention it again.
Another drummed intro as 'Punked Up' makes its presence felt. A sinister riff is had and a sprinkling of atmosphere. The singer comes in and 'sings' rather than belts out the words. The slip from the verse to chorus is sweet and easy with the latter component well delivered. There is an underlying swagger that needs emphasising a little more and further proof of this view is had when a fine instrumental moment is had – oh if this was recorded in a top notch studio. Not to worry, forget the murky overlay this one is a strong song and I reckon could be a ‘live’ favourite.
'This Town' boldly marches in, taps along and then judders around in a dazed manner. An old school inflection is eventually had with a strange twisted angle taken, the overall sensation is of an offering from at least 25 years ago. More juddering, the eerie verse and the more relaxed chorus – mmmm – there is something there but it is slightly out of kilter. We get tossed around in a slag bucket of swirling chordage with indecision high on the menu before continuing on as per! Unconvincing stuff for me but definitely an underlying factor that offers hope!
The band have slipped up here and all 3 tracks I suggest should be re-recorded at a later date if more time in the studio/production room is going to be had. The initial impact has always got to be strong I feel and here it isn’t although saying that the band have enough know how and contacts to correct it. It is an initial step, it moves the band forward and gets some material out there but next time I expect a big improvement. I shall be checking them out ‘live’ though and expect and will be expecting an altogether different experience!
I USED TO BE A SPARROW - YOU ARE AN EMPTY ARTIST
Who the fuck are...I Used To be A Sparrow? The fact that I don't know makes me want to review even more and after receiving a request from the Prescription Press gang I immediately thought 'yeah why the hell not'. On Facebook they describe themselves as ‘kaleidoscopic indie rock and roll’ so I have some inkling of what to expect but...you just never, ever know! In truth their influences suggest that I will have little in common with the discordant vomit that will be propelled but in for a penny in for a pound(ing). Odd tangents and varied angles are what I like and to be kept on ones toes is always the way - shred the safety nets, urinate in your comfort zones - tis the best option for sure! So to the Swedish duo in hand and their 'alternative' sound, here we go again, another hiding to nothing:-
We commence with 3 tracks that are nothing more than gently teased out susurrations bathed in placid rhythm and lullaby inflection. Each one hits a feathered furrow and softly rolls along without any thought of producing perspiration or increasing the thermal output. 'Laura' has a feeling that is distinctly scene setting and suggests it is quite happy with this role. The sun rises, a shimmering scenario is laid out and adorned with whispered tones that drowsily come across through this tenderised solar utterance. It does what it sets out to do I feel and although I am one for the initial big impact I do kinda get this (or at least I think I do). 'Warpaint On Invisible Children' merges, moves along at a similar pace to its predecessor, is slightly more experimental and certainly more disjointed. What we get here is a dish that is served on a plate of distinct fragility and so the whole contents threatens, at all times, to be upturned, in the least dramatic way. All flavours strike me as utterly insipid and advice would be given as to make sure the condiment input is high especially when dealing with such delicacies. A little more pepper, a touch of salt, a lashing of heated sauce and the song could have been more. Add to this no clear break within the recipe and I am turning my nose up in no uncertain terms. 'Spring Knows Where You Live' is more like it with the initial rise on somewhat nostalgic strings having far greater effect and hinting at a song that will be more orthodox. The words are posted with a sub-Everly Brothers lilt and despite the weary, well-worn maturity of the lyrical content there is a youthful hope that shines through and persuades with subtlety rather than opting for a full boot in the rear end. From my sonic sphere a good kick up the jacksie holds its own pleasures but they can't detract from what I am feeling here. Nothing bold but a pleasant sensation nonetheless.
'Skinny Leaves' is a rustling fusion of autumnal acoustica, kissed by a far off sun that tries hard to give each rich coloured note...life. To a degree it works but instead of the bold golds, russets and crimsons we get a song made up of pastel shades and so becomes less effective. A chance has been lost and within the whole canopy of sound the definition between each tone, shimmer, inflection we have too much happening with little making a play to grab the attention. Again I can see the target, I can admire the subtle skill but as for final impact....no, I miss out!
A brief foursome now with accuracy aimed for via one swift textual thrust. 'I've Got A Feeling We Are Not In Kansas Anymore' is yet more limp or tepid toneage dependant on your harsh viewpoint. It shadow flickers and does so in a room where one almost gets kissed with melancholic lips - yuk. The next one comes forth entitled 'Cannonball' and I expect anything but to be blown away. The opening ascension is nice enough, aches with promise and delivers the usual mode of melody. Sub-Garfunkel vocals come and drift into the hazy ambience - I can see through it and come up with a verdict of middling. 'Always The Runner' has more distinction in the strings, glows a little brighter and has a more convincing lilt. The tempo is a matter of course for this CD and looks set in stone and will not be altered anytime soon - a real error I feel or is that just my punked stance punching through. This isn't too bad of a saunter but the chasing 'Submarine' is a musical vessel that really sinks to the bottom of the assessing sea and is my least favourite number. Too weak, almost painful, this is utter 'turn me off' music to my spiked and studded soul but...as per when assessing outside ones favoured range...many will disagree.
Last 3 folks and in we slip with 'On-Off', a song that starts with fine melody, includes good harmony and has that familiar restraint. A happy kind of song that needs to just let its hair down a little more and perhaps shave itself down by 30 seconds or so. The production gets the best out of this one though and the two-way compliment is noted. 'Blindfolded' exposes another slight increase in impetus and has early mid 80's alternative style vocals borne from bands that went on to make a fair name for themselves. The potential is there, a bit of extra emotion in this helps all areas and the neat musicianship with a sub-regular rhythm shows what can be achieved with a more basic approach. How many works of art are just right and then one too many extra strokes are given and the whole picture collapses - think on! The finale is entitled 'July', a twilight number just happy to tickle your reflexes and take you on a journey to the final silence. This time the mouth work stands out a little more from a star-spangled backdrop of deepest black. The ambience is just right and for a ‘go to sleep’ number the ingredients are all there. Half decent finish if you ask me!
In truth this CD has me caught on the hop and so makes for a review that is purely from out of the circle. That can be a good thing as well as a pointless one but the fact is I swing in without bias or any sycophantic shittery. The end verdict I can make is of music that will continue to be outside my already multicoloured listening spectrum but music that is produced well and is as good as a lot of commercialised bilge I hear. Just because it doesn't fully arouse me doesn't mean it is garbage. The fact remains though that the punks and the skins and the metalheads, in the main, will piss on this, whereas a few like myself will give it a few spins and try to be fair. Overall I feel an average mark is given with a feeling that there is much more to come. More ‘ooomph’ next time, more angular moments please!
PROUD CITY FATHERS - EIGHT BY FOUR EP
This CD came my way via a crooked path and was a copy given in the hopes of raising the bands profile and getting a review. I sat on it like an egg for a goodly while until a band member prompted me into action - appreciation was had. I get sidetracked sometimes! The band were new to me and so I needed extra time, eventually a review hatched out and these London louts were put into the Fungal frying pan. Apparently they have been in existence for a goodly while in an on and off fashion and this outpouring will hopefully kick-start some good consistent action - unless it is utter shite of course. Right and on we crack...
'Eight By Four' opens with a good prod from what I deem to be a three-pronged fork of sonica that hints at post-punk production, a Killing Joke machine-like advance and a typical angry 'Rut'ted vocal style. A staccato mode is adopted and the temperatures all range from the bearable to the searing. It is far from the usual liquidity that comes my way and so needs a fair few extra listens to totally grasp. The automaton acoustica is hard edge and attempting to pulverise the will, I can see many finding this too gut wrenching, too industrialised but there will be many who will enjoy the regulation of rhythm. The bass is a commanding factor as well as the aforementioned anger and when the guitar decides to opening its wings a fly with abandon the song soars higher and we wind down in good fashion. 'This Is The Story' goes for a similar thread and I am immediately thinking that a flaw is in the making and a method already discovered. Nevertheless this meat-mincing episode of gritty, grinding rockin' robotics is hard grilled and left with many scorch marks one can't ignore. The flow here is more successfully oiled and after the grim verse we get tossed about via a sub-chorus that again has all the tribal adornments I am already expecting. The two tracks thus far have got to be complimented on the production values as music of this ilk can really sound very lame if not mixed and processed to an apt standard - thank goodness the buggers are bang on and a big shout out to the final finishers.
'Feeling' is more of the same but for me is a fuckin' stunning track bursting with visceral desire and consuming rage. We creep along with a malevolent streak exuding blooded sweat before the inner flames rises higher and the vocal vulture swoops and goes straight for the beating heart. The tale of a tense relationship is utterly raw throughout and this rise in temperature is very much welcome. A pure lesson in sub-minimalistic sonica that does just enough to assist the textual danger and ultimately...horror. 'I Believe' has a lot to follow but does so and adds a whole load of extra beef with a deeply screwed number that is similar in essence but moves up into higher echelons due to a more bolder riff, a mighty chorus and some wonderfully stoked up and gravelled 'whoa hoa's'. Saturation is achieved and yet one has a sensation the band have still more in the tank - pretty scary if you ask me. The song blasts out - full respect given for two crackerjacks.
That's it folks - 4 strong songs with 2 being quite fuckin' special but...hey 2 bonus tracks come this way. 'Mud Of Eden' has a real solid vibe to start with and suddenly abandons the guitar and creeps about in unsettling fashion. A neat move but that guitar rattle had me intrigued and only when it kicks back in during the orthodox chorus am I any where near an agreeable level of satisfaction. I like the switch in style and indeed like the song but...a full on guitar laden explosion would have been far better I reckon with a real open wound of a chorus created to add the finishing impact. Not to worry - something to think about next time. The swirling instrumental piece reinforces my belief that a potential bomb blast has been missed. 'Boxes' is the most clattering racket of the lot and offers up a nice change with its greater degree of urgency and overall uproar. Still staccatoed to a certain degree but with a heavier fist fuck that leaves a definite bruise on the listeners fanny with the inner lashes of the six stringed sword cutting deeply. The shortest track here and a powerful way to finish with a more swig and jig essence.
So a fair do indeed with much to ponder within this hard hitting 6 tracker. It has a good chomp, is produced quite exactly and has a comfortable level of aggression - why not check it out? One thing though - if the band free flow a little more I reckon they will go on to greater degrees of success and the potential is there to have an album of sounds such as this and more easy moving molten lava we will find inescapable. Worth considering chaps - prod, prod. Overall though - a crackin' episode of pre-meditated ire - suck on it!
THE KINGCROWS - CORVUS MAXIMUS
I have reviewed all tracks on this CD before and rather than go, once more, through varied detail The Kingcrows will get a just and fair overview that will hopefully reflect what this CD is about and the actual quality of the band as people and musicians. I can't be fairer than that can I?
I have dealt with these guys for a fair few years now and have seen them grow from an overlooked solid outfit into a well respected band who roll out fine set after fine set, crammed with quality numbers. Along the way a few EP's have been released (which I have duly reviewed on this site - come on keep up will ya) and enjoyed by the ones who have picked up a copy or two. During this period the band came under the eagle eye of Stu Taylor of STP and after much thought and chinwagging have eventually been taken on board this very fine label. Here is the first result - a gathering together of all releases to date which will hopefully get newcomers up to speed, re-invigorate further interest and get the ball rolling a little faster. It is never easy but I reckon the band are on a good waggle at the mo and so I would highly recommend you get out and take a bite of the noisy fare. The EP's gathered together here are 'A Murder Most Foul', 'Magdalene' and 'Up Before The Beak' which covers a span of 2 years. Each one has its distinctive vibe but is very identifiable as work of the band - a good thing that can also be a bad thing - if you get my drift!
And so to the songs that have been souped up and levelled via Grant Henderson of Ivolv Digital. Where to start...? Well what you get is a consistent mix of what is catchy rock and roll with production values that...as it now seems...do the band justice but can be built on and so move this excellent set of louts into greater echelons of acoustica. Don't forget I am coming in from the angle of a long term fan and I now feel this batch of songs are capable of much more as should be all ensuing offerings - I am squeezing with kindness here - are you with me? Too many classics now need a facelift I feel and new songs need that extra polish so as to really showcase how good this band are. 'Live' they are bang on the game but I think the time has come to real nail a top notch recording - challenge set. Back to the individual numbers though - wow - so many gems, so many memorable songs that have brought me an abundance of good times. Personal highs are the splashed, crashed desperation of 'Hanging Around', the excellent sing-a-long and bloody good vibe that is 'Sex Oui', the mid tempo persistence of 'Revolution Street', the tumbling footy chantoid 'One Of The Boys', the marvellous acoustica of 'Writing On The Wall', the favoured familiarity of 'Magdalene', the classic status I give to the quality of 'Insult & Injury', the subtle lunatic threat of 'Who Are The Madmen', the easy celebratory joy of 'Party', the steady enchanting undulation of 'Don't You Know', the necessary speedburst of 'Renegades' and the pertinence and prowess of the hefty 'Friday Night Heroes'. Beltin’ stuff and no wonder I am a fan. But...I ain't a fan who doesn't care and I reckon with a few red hot textual pokers up the bands arse, a few face to face pleas of passion I could get this band squeezed absolutely dry and onto releasing ever increasing quality of noises - wow - can you imagine what that would be like? Why sit still, why get complacent - I like these dudes and it would be insult just to take and offer nothing back.
So there ya go, a different approach but hopefully bursting with intent and pride in a band whom have given me (and my two fine lasses) endless entertainment. If ye be a Kingcrows virgin then go forth and let their relentless pecker do its business on ya and go and enjoy all their recordings and a few 'live' shows too - you will have nothing short of a good time. For more in depth reviews of all that is on this CD then go mooch around the Fungal site – it’s all there, honest and bare!
CHANTAL CLARET - THE ONE AND ONLY
Prescription Press certainly keep me intrigued and this latest offering came with the following text ' She’s well known for fronting Morningwood, a pop rock band who were considerably successful in America with a No.1 debut on the Billboard Heatseekers chart! She's also known for being Jimmy Urine's wife (Mindless Self Indulgence)' - sounds promising! Being a cynical swine and well worn with the noisy world I am of the belief that promises only mean anything if they are fulfilled and the music that flows forth is varied, accurate for the sub-generic pool (or wider if one has no limitations) and catches those certain inner emotive vibes that get us involved. This is far from underdog stuff and seems to be borne by someone with fortunate connections - which always helps. Who gives a fuck anyway - the music is under spotlight and here is a Fungalised textual frolic.
We are welcomed by a full on, 'look at me' intro that is pure show business, almost patronising corn, self promoting nonsense. If you love this artist you may love this, if you are neutral then you may just well puke. Onwards and to 'Bite Your Tongue', an upbeat number that is definitely chart/top ten material given the state of today's septic and static scene. It is produced with an exactness that emphasises the best qualities of each musical donor. The vocals are very girlie in parts, more weighted and forceful in others - the tempo is nippy enough and what we have is a super processed cut of cute commercialism. 'Pleasure Seeker' is more to my liking as it has a more bared soul, a more emotive edge and smacks of a sub-sixties routine. Hollowed out in parts and with a few snaky smooth segments that add to the overall blues-iness of the track. It is once more approachable stuff and worthy of competing with more promoted sonica out there - the bollocks are a little more exposed and that ain't a bad thing.
Just to stop you at this point in case you think I have turned all simple and soft - nah - just trying to be fair and objective. I still wouldn't buy this stuff or go out of my way to hear it because it really is not for this scuffed soul but...one can still give credit to a good job done and...some songs are a real pleasure and capture the dancing vibe.
'Pop Pop Bang Bang' is a groovy grind with plenty of feminine spunkage giving this a cocky attitude and a defiance to all those who doubt the power of the lass. A song draped in confidence with the lady at the fore showing plenty of spirit and a new range to her oral offerings. The backing vocal additions are neatly placed, the final execution works and we get a spiced up number that will get many a lover of music who likes things without threat or crude edge just lapping this up. It has its place and once more I am struggling to find anything much better on the current scene of crapulence. 'This Time' is a ditty posted forward by a bitch with an itch. Plenty of gumption, hip thrusting intent, sexualised sonic suggestion - all defying the actual content. The musical mix is choice (which goes without saying) and even though my bag is noise of ill temper, vicious rage and hard fucked riffs I would be an utter fool to nail this as tonal trash. It may have the odd clichés, it may be for the masses but...and I repeat...it is done oh so well. Bastards!
'No Love Lost' is a gem of a track that even this spiked scummer can appreciate. Youthful freshness, a stunning vibe very much of the genre but deliciously mixed with sugar coated energy and something extra - a positive clarity, a bold delivery, a sensation that is soaked in sunshine happiness - that is how I am reading this. For some reason I have gentle hints of something almost 'Supreme'd that has been entwined around the cheesed layers of something 'Glee'd - both are components built on innocence and their own particular style - I shouldn't complain and although tempted - I will not - very nice track exposing the quality of the gob on show - most sincerely the best track of the lot. 'Never Gonna Let You Go' starts with spoken word and slinks in like a million songs before it. Really sloppy slush that is borne of the crappy arena where everything is overly sweetened, loved up and oh so fuckin' annoying. From a hit to a shit in one foul swoop - please don't go this way unless of course you want that shallow commodity known as success on other people’s terms! 'Real Girls' is almost cheer leading in parts that hybridises with a sub-rap chav rhythm that jingles, jangles, staggers to a finale eagerly anticipated. It is once again swirled around the sonic playroom with accuracy but by heck I am way outside of this bull’s-eye.
4 quick ones as patience runs dry. 'Black Widow' has more effect because the vocal variation and emotive inflection are deeper, strained harder, delivered with a greater conviction so the song gets more appreciation. 'Honey, Honey' reminds me of a poxy Phil Collins cover with the same bouncy positivity and spring in the step that after a while really got on my tits. It is a merry old ditty this and stays with a similar thread throughout but hey if you like things uncomplicated and with an edge to raise yer spirits don't listen to this nettled git - enjoy. 'Song For The Sinners' gets back to the mode of 'more like it' with a smooth liquid sexualisation and thrusting motion of the melodic mons pubis in the direction of the eavesdropping wannabe boner. Many should be able to grasp this (quite literally knowing the machismo machines out there) and be able to get that slow, sub-textual foreplay that seems to be the underlying factor. The lasses may get into the groove too and use this as a feelgood, self-confidence builder - it may just work. 'Light It Up' is a flurried hustle with a different approach and indicating that this young lass needn't go down the orthodox route and has all the capabilities to move in many directions. There is a brisk and breezy essence, a tonality from the smoky backrooms of some 'in' club and a good complimentary extra gob via Pigeon John. Not bad!
We close with 'Can't Save Her'. The opening sequence is on the cusp of dreamland, has a slightly spectral feeling and is a cool number that floats forth within a placid lagoon of emotion. Ripples are created via brief chorus moments but the major state of play is serenity with a layer of sanguinity more than a little obvious. It is a surprising finale that outweighs many of its more flamboyant, in yer face predecessors.
The end result is this ain't may thang ma'an but...this lass has an abundance of talent that can't traverse boundaries and so get the most wayward music nut intrigued. I was never destined to completely like this - it is almost a case of chalk and cheese but many snippets do insist on praise and that I am happy to give. As far as the punk scene and the metal heads go - forget it but...the bubblegum lovers of teenage tunes with a little more bite and plenty of sensation should lap this up. If this doesn't make the top 20 in the album charts then I am a tone deaf twat on drugs (again).
EYE LICKER/DEATHEAD - SPLIT CD
Oculolinctus refers to achieving sexual gratification from licking a person's eyeballs - sounds fuckin' great and surely better than all the arse licking that goes on in these nasty musical scenes - harumph! Eye Licker are a honest crew who make a noise that is nothing new under the sun and are quite happy with that - so long as they are having fun making their very noxious eruptions and entertaining their loyal fans. I have given them a gig or two, seen them on a few extra occasions and utterly enjoy their attitude and output. Now we reach the stage where a review is requested, this one with a band called Deathead. Deathead are a 3 piece unit who blitz the listener with heavy artillery and relentless aggression. Formed in 2001 with a few hiccups along the way the band are still in there fighting and this new split CD should do them no harm at all. Hailing from Ogden, Utah the band know the business and come seething forth with obvious influences such as Sodom, Motorhead, Venom, Overkill, Testament, Metal Church, Slayer, AC/DC, The Ramones, Bad Religion, Nevermore, Exodus, Megadeth and Mercyful. By heck best get me mufflers out. Ok then, the aural passages have been lubed, let's dish the dirt!
And so to Eye Lickers first wild, reckless bout of sonic warfare and the insane eruption that is 'Apathetic Bastard'. The wheels of industrial grind churn forth with such utter threat one almost faints in anticipation. Like a giant lung sucking in ones resistance these bastards are surely gonna blow. Guitars enter the fray and cut through the sinew with electro-lightning effect, the drums fuckin’ pelt our minds with a superabundance of hail-stoned hate balls and the bass underthrobs whilst giving a deep resonant foundation. The gob is just out of the strait jacket and vents a spite-soaked spleen all over the laps of the indifferent. Hardcore isn't for everyone and certainly shouldn't be played by anyone but…Eye Licker have it just right here - bordering on the cusp of power violence and really slamming its intent across.
'The Other Commandment' gruffly buzzes before peeling away the upper scummed layer and leading into the more organised horror crime of the first sub-verse. There is a snottedness here, a demanding thrust of attention grabbing necessity. The chop of the strings is solid and the slip into the smoother assault only accentuates this hard pulsation. The trip is fast and hard and full stopped when needed. This band are really doing themselves justice. 'Generation Of Masochism' tinnily bobs in with a totally contrasting effect, never fear the acoustic aggression soon prolapses from the sonic bowel and the shit that leaks forth is of the foulest kind many H/C nuts will want to dirty protest with. Protest against the commercial shit that has no worth at all - get it! Perhaps the most well behaved runt in this riotous rhythm pack but still nipping the rear of the listener and with one last howl not letting itself be forgotten in a hurry. Rolled up drums pave the way for the sing-a-long lunacy that is 'Broken Promises'. Again quite regular considering the fast hard edge tension that thrashes throughout. The strings here are wired up and skid along with fine tempo. The drums do well to keep pace and are an incessant rattle that gives more weight to a noxious noise the full tilt vocalist can scream along to. Utterly delicious and breathless verses slide into straight ahead yelled chorus chunks - no time to mess about - a central instrumental scuffs up the sheen a little more and suddenly we are belting along to the finale - crash, bang, bollocks!
Deathead come next and offer a thick, dripping gruel to partake of, a sludgy filth that is black terrorised demon inspired murder. Intensity levels are set high, the pure seething essence on the level max but...the sub-production and low sound level make this first number (In Fear Reborn), pale into insignificance against the higher standard of the Eye Licker quartet. I take my time, switch up the noise and reconsider. What we have is a sable sonic serving that is difficult to swallow and of a very specific sub-genre. It is well played, twists around with metallic hints, ploughs along with purism maintained but just needs to break through that subduing membrane. A mistake on both parties side!
'Last Act Of A Desperate Man' is more grim nosh slopped into a foul dish that already contains much vampiric bacterium awaiting another host to infect. We get stuck in, we almost choke on the thick glutinous dross. The rhythm in the recipe is slightly uneven, the overlying vocal pepper very harsh and not to everyone's preference. Certain parts are cooked better than others and scorch the listening throat - the ever intensifying flavours stifle but...I expect more in the 'live' pit. The production chef here has got things all wrong and the potential stomach filler is a stomach churner for sure. A crying shame! 'Dragon Head' closes with an insidious bludgeoning mode with sticks pecking away and strings assaulting anything decent. After the opening promise a slow shambling menace is had, glutted with malicious focus. Things whizz up, cruelty is suggested, once more we are bruised by a dirty whore of a song. Flames are cast, the bands snout blows out rancid smoke, the scales on display are on the cusp of non-melody. There is no mistaking this band have a blackened soul and will appeal to the adorers of the decadent and sable sonic circle. Heavy stuff!
So in summing up - Eye Licker absolutely do it right and nail a fuckin' solid opening 4 track account that will surely propel them onto bigger and better things. I like the band but had slight reservations about what they may pull out of the studio - why on earth was I worried? Deathead are very much a Marmitian band - like it or loathe it. On this CD it does very little to appeal but I reckon a viewing in the flesh would be a different matter altogether. Sometimes you just get a hunch and if they up the ante in the mixing room next time I deem a certain momentous crippler to be shot forth! Why not pick this up anyway and support people who are doing it their very own way - come on it won't break the bank!
DARK VALENTINE - SELF TITLED EP
The dollhouse of gothic decadence opens its baroque and welcoming doors and let's us inside for a short journey within several sub-sexual musical rooms. Our host is the band Dark Valentine, a mysterious outfit who hail from Sweden and are the brainchild of Simon Björn. They formed in 2005, have now relocated to the US and have several releases and numerous shows under their tidy belts. What we get is several melodic moments of ornate horror, ghost stories laden with mystery and suspense, tuneful drifts of seemingly blasphemous utterances. All is not as it seems and it certainly gets me thinking.
'A World Beguiled' rotates on a spectral carousel before darkly creeping forth with an unsettling suggestion. The seduction that eventually takes place is done at the point of cold steel and one wonders how one will be penetrated - by blade or boner! The tepid tones of the lady at the fore are somewhat limpid but have a gentle depth in which to plunge. The movement of all players is deliberate and careful with all intent on making this initial song a scene setter, an episode of foreplay, a mere crawl onto to more releasing instances. It is very much a placid caress but does what it has to do. As the sincere strokes become more intense we get wails of anguished pleasure and then the song abruptly ends! We continue in a slightly altered fashion via 'Let Me Hide', a sable orchestral piece once more toying with our senses this time with a male driven intent. The pace is still subdued, as is the whole texture of the song, and we have a pervasive malady to mull over and to give a prognosis for. It is a hard cloying number that, as part of this 6 track construction works, but then as a stand alone track would the verdict be so promising? In parts no but that sub-chorus drift does have charm and potential so one needn't abandon all hope of an overall orgasm just yet.
Next and the third layer of black lace is slowly removed, subtly offering glimpses of warm, perspiring acoustic flesh. The tonal touch sends profound shivers to varied sexual fibres albeit in a strange, distorted way. The Lynchonian opening tease of Jabberwocky' however is soon blown away and we get a fairy tale preparation and then a jaunty, slightly cuckooed bout of warped story telling. No sooner as the saga started than it drifts away leaving me frustrated but yet pleasantly intrigued. Worth a listen methinks? 'Lady' comes next on bassed heels that tread plush, bloodied carpets with attention grabbing style. No urgency, no thrashing of musical weapons, no wild outbursts- just a firm grip of the hand and a forceful waltz down darkened alleyways where overtones and undertones of inner restlessness and hidden phantoms lurk. The lead mouth whisperings soothe, the 'la, la's' of the rear lady add a dream-like aspect and with all instrumental components kept blanketed in foggy, nebulous veils we have yet another cutlet of eerie atmosphere.
'Fragile' just about sums up what we are getting here - a delicate, 'Handle With Care' sextet of sub-sexual serenades that intend to unsettle. This song struggles at first to get going and hangs around in a graveyard of acoustic despondency just way too long. A zombified crawl with an overwhelming breeze of abandonment - not my chosen chunk of flesh. 'Freakshow' closes and has me looking back to track one with its similar vein of noise. More fun fair frolics and still twisted in the extreme but with that ever nagging musical mockery and sexualised slant. This is gruesome theatre, a comparison to terror life, the feeling of an outsider as the masses look on with molesting eyes. Strange stuff and refusing to be dragged onto the dance floor of predictability. Definitely a melody from hell.
Overall I get this and appreciate the style and stance but that doesn't make it essential Fungal listening matter. I have enjoyed this CD but given the choice will always opt for more raging intent and rocked up riffage. But...if I were compiling a CD to promote assorted generic noise then this would be high up on my 'want' list because it ticks all the boxes it sets out to and has a flavour to neatly slip in between more abrasive sounds. I would certainly like to hear what this band offer up next and suggest you have a swift mooch around for some of their stuff - many from the punk netherworlds may hate it but a few will find something in there to chew on and hopefully enjoy