FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 82
WASTED LIFE - WEAPONS OF SELF DESTRUCTION
A veritable muscular sound is what Wasted Life offer and despite a few reservations initially this band blew it up big time on their last CD and produce many a fine moment to headbang along to. Hailing from Stoke On Trent Wasted Life rattle off a barrage of reality based rhythms in mean and deliberate style and leave their guts on the stage whenever they strut their stuff. On CD they have grown in stature on their two previous releases and as a result I expected big things from this one. The combo of raw street aggression, a sprinkling of Oi and some obvious US flavours creates many options and all I can do is encourage, criticise, be up front and hope the band grasp the balls of chance and squeeze them absolutely dry. This is no easy arena to be involved in, too much sway goes with the arses you kiss, the games you play, the luck that comes your way but...just now and again a band who stick to their guns and go at it with full belief and all balls bared get their just deserts - are Wasted Life capable of that?
The door is expected to be kicked off its hinges, splinters are presumed to be flying at once - we are not disappointed. 'Animal Instinct' is raw, basic brutality that has a driving barbarity that tears to shreds any disbelief you may have in the forthcoming noise blast. Feedback is scuzzed, from which rises the tribal drums and throbbed bass before a twinge and a holler take us into the flesh of the matter where merry hell is made via toughened and toned up muscle and street fucked suss. The verses and chorus are barked out from a scurvy dog who means it, he has players behind him to back up his gobbage with the drums slag clattering around and providing the damage factor. A flourish of punched blasts, a twist in the guitar, a final fuck down, a 'one more time' rattle out - have that one then. 'Zombie' is far from a decomposing staggerer and fuckin' surges from the first with white light heat and utter lunatic speed. Absolutely thundering along and showing at once the band mean business and are not here to kiss arse and play sweetened tones. Not much you can say about this one - a breathless, tight as fuck rattler that does what it sets out to do - burns yer balls clean off. 'Better Off Dead' is a scorched number with a clever lick that immediately skids to the foreground of your clamped attention. The gristle of the number is immediately splattered forth as the scorched tonsils pour out their life whilst the compact soundscape at the rear leaves little room to sweat. The chorus rises into a unified holler, we skid and shuffle forth once more, the whole concoction is rammed to the max with riotous riffs as well as spirited slams and strums - 3 belters thus far.
The disturbing rage that follows is entitled 'Bodies Under My Bed', a boastful number from a psychopathic braggart who has a taste for killing. This crazed attack is too insightful for its own good and I am in two minds to report this lot to the local authorities who can give em' a check out and see if any are dabbling with a bit of body storage ha, ha. The song is a fine effort, slashing the skin of the soundscape, reaching in and tearing the guts out of anything resembling silence and duly making a dinned up mess that is well controlled but quite visceral - they do it so well. Chaos follows, before 'Alternative People' finds its booted feet and walks its own way in celebration of the outsider, the one who doesn't want to fit in with the mindless populace. The verses are regular and only given conviction by the bands passionate efforts, the chorus cuts are simple but in that basic way as to be utterly catchy and easily sung along with - a tribal anthem for the mini-sub circles who want to stick it together and enjoy their own chosen family (fuck I don't even fit in there anymore). Great song again - this is getting too good to be true - set of bastards!
'Radioactive' begins with a group 'splurge' before running through the wastelands with a sub-madness that is straight forward and totally without misdirection. A quite routine belt out that is roared and rigid and perhaps lacking a little flamboyance - it is a midway moment that adheres both sides of the CD together - the band are capable of better. 'Domination' may not have the madness and focused pace of its predecessor but is a far weightier tune with its beefy riffs, overlying guitar twists and furrowed brow delivery. The whole composite is riddled with strength, has a full on sound and drills deeper into the walls of resistance. This is Wasted Life doing it how they should - filling every nook and cranny with big notes, growling incessantly and most importantly controlling their aggression and passion. The slight pick up in tempo for the chasing 'At War With Society' is done at the command of a thriving bass line that orders its musical army into position and duly informs them to nail all to the ceiling - which of course they duly do. Throaty gob spill, more brandished guitar quality, the usual tympanic abuse that creates the extra violent factor - this lot are doing it as natural as you want and the final chant out full stops another concrete cacophony. 'Control' is similar, in build, to track 6 but has a greater hunger, a more ravenous desire to feed on your sonic soaked heart. Defiance is the nucleus of the sonic cell, with the sincerity the cytoplasm and the utter determination to batter out a bone jarring delivery the sturdy cell wall that encloses all and creates punked up life.
Two fingered salutes are plentiful in the sub-pit of spiky tops and here is another, this time blasted along on well fuelled weapons of thrash destruction. 'Don't Wanna Know You' is hatred incarnate and yet refuses to collapse into a bout of petty spitefulness that somehow loses its impact. Again Wasted Life hold their reins, smash and crash along with no areas left to wander and thus we get a fiery, fuck you moment to bounce with. 'Charmed Sinatra' is a casual drift, smoked with care with the band adopting a more contemplative pose. The main sensation I get from this penultimate song is of a more considerate construct giving the players a little more room to rhythmically respire and strut their stuff. It may lack the heave-ho and bustle of previous tracks but is a very worthy venture. We close with the acousticised, sun-down trot called ‘No More Goodbyes’ an effort that takes us into a distance leaving us to ponder all that has transpired. This tail end structure is resplendent in tones of pastel gentleness and promising hope and is a bout of music that many will adopt as a personal theme. It undoubtedly leaves the band a few more open doorways to discover and is a sweet angle on which to close what is, in the main, a raucous album.
Wasted Life, you came, you did OK, you then went up a level and now you are the highest you have been – enjoy the lofty heights, ponder, be respectful, take pride in what you have done and make sure you don’t fuckin’ topple anytime soon. Keep off yer laurels, swirl yer ideas, be good and get out there and blow the bastards ears off with this fine noise. The rest of ya – support and keep em’ enthused please. A big applause from this noise haggard listener – it makes it all worthwhile.
BROCKER - OUT OF ORDER
Brocker are a southerly band who I have witnessed twice playing on a Fungal venture and who, in absolute honesty, have done themselves more than a little proud. They throw in many aromas and swirl them about with controlled security and obviously put a lot of consideration into their tuneage, which manifests itself as something quite darn magnetic. The tunes are intricate but not sickeningly so, the structures ornate but not in a garish fashion, the package delivered is worthy of deep consideration. Here is my take on a long awaited CD.
Smack, action turned to level 'high' please - in we go, thrusting notes in all directions before a firm footed surge is had. 'Getting Late To The Punk Rock Gig' is awash with nervous energy and over-enthusiastic zeal with the players showcasing a superabundance of talent in one drenched and discordance bag of multi-faceted melody. Essences in places are quite DIY, in others still DIY, in parts new school, in what's left quite technical without being toxic - boy do Brocker pack an initial combo with loads of punchtastic power? This one takes some grasping but bear with it and have patience dear muso-muncher - the talent induced end result is an ideal start and shows the intentions of a fine crew of cacophoneers. The second sonic flower to bloom and shed its noise laden pollen is 'A Quiet One' - as if! The dudes are straight at it with an initial repeat of slam and twiddle showmanship that sets the stage alight for a controlled shudder of the soundscape that embraces a threatening ambience just waiting to explode. The bomb blast comes, it is a controlled eruption and is over oh too quickly - we repeat, hit a wall of bellowed 'hey, hey's' before a flashjack instrumental metalises things and puts us out of sync. Where the fuck are we going? Flags of victory are waved, we get further slams and then 'wham' we are outta there. 'The City Is Burning' rumbles in before a twisting groove is found - we stop, start as vocals jump in, we ascend into a fresh and breeze blown chorus, the band hit a new zenith. Again action is at a max and so much is compacted into one song it leaves me wondering how long this band can go before blowing out their own fuses. This is the best song of the lot thus far and perhaps the most orthodox and obvious (in the loosest of ways). There is a distinct sensation of a unit knowing they are 'in form' and getting up and letting it rip before the purple patch fades. Numerous moments to consider - I find little to bitch about.
'Gangster Ska' is a tried and tested, rarely bested 'live' favourite and really blew my socks off both times that I have witnessed it. Cool shit cloak and dagger finger clicking casualness takes us forth whilst the bass poses with drama. A shout of 'Ska' and the impetus is increased with a relaxed skanked up perfection. There is a underlying urgency, the energy is bubbling, the production values exceptional, the band are soaring to massive zeniths over and over again. The break is bursting with danceability, the switch in overall delivery is gentle but very necessary, the 'whoa hoa'd' texture totally ideal for the ambience set - cultured stuff indeed. A shadowglass tinkle, an ascension of skins, sharper twists pursue, a desire to make noise is blatant - the following rupture is expected, Brocker ignite into action, 'Kadaver' is sounding classy. Held back during the first verse, allowed to gradually climb into the cerebral matter, eventually becoming irresistible especially when the guitar/drum duel sequence arrives and burns my knackers of noiselust. Great fuckin' moment chaps and here I am - pinging around loving yet another new and happening band - you nostalgia nuts have it so fuckin' wrong. A final athletic burst of sinewed racket making - wham - a cracker.
'Satisfaction' for me personally is a tale of two styles. After the passionate dialogue the song kicks in with flamboyant guitar licks, slap happy drumming and a bounced bass before scuttling in a frustrated nervous heap of energy that leaves me a little cold. The agitation peels away though and then Brocker suddenly pull out an absolutely superb chunk of chorus construction that just encapsulates what serious potential these guys have. This one small episode of musical precision is where the band should concentrate their focus for future efforts - absolutely massive and if this expertise and overwhelming quality can be captured over the course of one entire album then I will be surely witnessing one of the best releases of all time. This song isn't too bad and perhaps the aforementioned frostiness I have towards the bumble bee cuts is enhanced due to the shadow cast by the gargantuan snip I rate so highly - who knows - the song is solid enough but fuckin' hell - that chorus is way off the scale and the sudden burst of sanguine joy it creates is exemplary. 'Hey' is a weaving rascal full of cheeky underhand suggestion that is slightly cooled off but with a simmering edge just beneath the upper surface. The tempo never really gets going and this could be construed as a minor flaw that takes off the final acuteness. In fact the construction is slightly wavering as well as overly lengthened and although nicely packaged and with the usual solid musicianship this one only grabs my balls of attention when electrically skanking which is all too briefly. I move on a little deflated.
'Imagination' screws in, pounds, scuffles, adopts many spasmodic stances before levelling out and bobbing and weaving in typical style with the odd flurry of punches being thrown, the odd haymaker being threatened and the expected move and master episode prevalent throughout. Regular jabs are grouped, consistent professionalism adopted - a tidy fighting number this one is with extra frills on the sonic shorts. 'One Man Mosh Pit' begins with guitar madness that soon infects the mind, manic laughter and then a strong drive headlong into the slamming bowl where noise matters, decibels clatter and eardrums shatter. A break to refresh the vitality and then more wham, bam gusto that propels the band and the listener into frenzied mania - almost certainly one for the nuts who wanna pogo til they die. Go for it ya pig dogs! The closure is entitled 'She's A Wolfman' a sub-experimental in and out piss about that is here, gone and readily forgotten - what a strange ending.
Brocker do it for me, they do what they do so well but...be careful chaps because, in my humble opinion, the point is missed now and again, a slight wander into the realms of exhibitionism is had and you get too clever for your own good - is that a bad thing though? A class act hitting some supreme highs, now and again tripping over their own laces quite rarely but definitely doing it for the right reasons and with a passion to surely rate. The band have big things to achieve and have all the abilities to do it - just a few pointers here and there and a little restrain with the overflowing talent and bang - something outrageously fantastic will come our way - in the meantime enjoy this - a solid account.
BLOODLIGHTS - STAND OR DIE
Norwegian noise nobbers Bloodlights go at it with all balls bared and have set about leaving the old ring of rhythm truly rattled in many directions since their birth back in 2006 by ex-Gluecifer maniac Captain Poon. The band aim to throw at the audience a wealth of big riffs, catchy hooks and magnetising melodies whilst making sure the rock and roll basics are strictly adhered too. I have high levels on anticipation going into this review and seeing I am forever pushed for time I shall duly crack on.
'Roll With Me' duly rolls in and then a scream erupts from the pits of frustration and bids us welcome. Metalised grooves and modes are immediately apparent with a cock rock confidence that adds extra appeal. The opening salvo of versism is sizzled up but not too much so, this makes for a strong vibe that takes us into an instantaneous punch the air and join in chorus that will get the crowd immediately involved. A quick pace, an emboldened production to suit the band, an internal frenzy that keeps all the acoustic flames whipped up - add some solo sessions, a killer drive and the opening blast sets the bar very fuckin' high - both a good and bad thing for sure. 'Arms Around It' bassily tiptoes, is caught in the flashlight of the guitar and then consumed by the ripping riffage the band apply so dogmatically. We ascend and then more creeping pulses come before we wrap-around, repeat and get thrown headlong into a somewhat stabilising and brief cut of cruising instrumentalisation. This one flies by, it seems to be full to the brim with affect and yet goes so fuckin' quickly - a sure sign of not a bad effort at all I reckon.
'Shit For Gold' is the most orchestrated piece thus far with a few 'unorthodox' moments that must be handled with care. Twiddled forth, incensed by the front gob, the drive is rocked with extra kaboom factor - very busy, very angular in the sense that no real direction seems apparent and very out of the typical punk sonica I get my ears tuned into. In fact, forget that label, this is more to the exhibitionised metal end of the spectrum and although terse compared to many efforts it still has that consuming essence. Overall not my choice of listening matter but that is how this reviewing lark goes - doesn't make it a bad track tha' knows. 'Sure Shot' chases and is a meaner and heavier grilled moment with emphasis on creeping acoustica before a more blazing chorus devours our straying attention. Strings and drums are kept, in the main, right on the leash and it is only when the chorus burst come can the legs of the players weapons truly run free and gain success soaked liberation. The crew play their songs well, the mix and match vibe, the resonant pulsations and complimentary tones all work and yet I am finding song no 2 that I can take or leave.
'10 Times' trundles on good riffery with a fine hollered overlay that has the testes of tonality more exposed - this is a winning recipe. The fire set blazes with triumph, the counting accumulation of tension is persuasive, the escalation of all rhythmic passion doesn't go without credit, the end garnished delivery is fine and highly magnetic - now that's more like it as is the pugnacious, spunky and grinding 'Blackouts And Landmines'. This song has deep textures that imbue the barriers of indifference with soul awakening spirit and so we, as neutral listeners, are drawn inwards. The effect of the strategically positioned sonics, the maelstrom of mature melodies melt our resistance - the song rises higher with each rotation. The dissonance the band construct is saturated and full blown without being over balanced and although we lean once more to the rocked up end of the spectrum I have no complaints.
More quality clangour pursues as 'Stand Or Die' races albeit in a more clattered way. Slicing guitar, deliberate cuttings and a rise to the chorus that duly goes through the polished motions whilst the impetus is truly unimpeded. A busy number but one that flourishes and is smoked over just enough to add extra layers of intrigue. 'Time To Kill' is a somewhat acoustically arid number and really doesn't get any of my juices flowing. A sub 'Limo Life' intro, a bold chant - at first I am all ears and then what develops is a routine rocked up number that by this stage has too much in common with what has already transpired. I take a step back and consider what would be my opinion if this was positioned earlier in the CD - a darn sight better - in fact this is far from as dry as I first deem it to be - I run swiftly on before I dig a hole from which I cannot escape (needs must sometimes).
'I Got Mine' and 'Dive Into The Void' close and come with good weighty gusto. The former track pounds away with muscularity and a general meanness before gouging out a beefed verse and a punctuated pre-chorus that leads into the scorched and well sizzled bout of essential passion very much needed. A fine song as it transpires. Equally resplendent is the latter track but, for different reasons. Whereas 'I Got Mine' sears' 'Dive Into The Void' caresses with professionalistic tones and ensnaring melodies and may it be said, clichéd touches. It matters not if the adornments are routine and expected the closing song is more commercialised, more processed but...it does what it sets out to do.
Overall this crew have me entertained although given a choice my music will remain unwashed, stripped down and under the acoustic radar. Bloodlights can fly above these grimy levels and have all the capabilities to capture the more undemanding and niched markets. If you like the ambiguity of sound that touches several sub-genres then please dabble - you may get everything you hoped for.
CREEPSHOW - LIFE AFTER DEATH
Canadian cacophoneers The Creepshow are a very classy act indeed and since their inception back in 2005 have undergone a line-up change, battled on and proven themselves to be a very committed and appreciated band all the world over. With a new lead lady at the fore the band are still making a big impression and I have to say the last time I viewed this lot I was more than a little impressed. The band give hint at their essence with their name and songs about horror themes are constantly churned out with alarming regularity and precision. This is a long awaited album, many will have baited breath, many will be salivating hard to get the taste of the tunes on offer whereas I am ready to dish out another fair and objective review with no favour and leanings had - it ain't easy after that last performance tha' knows.
And so...we step into the terror riddled room of rhythm where the Creepshow Crew do their stuff, it could be an unforgettable visit, it could be a chilled disaster - The door slams shut behind us, we stand alone in the dark - something is being tuned in, a sub-scuzz causes alarm - a devilish roar of 'See You In Hell' is had, the 'Intro (The Sermon IV)' courses around the velvet darkness and leaves us duly reeling. A bone clattering back beat, a quick and urgent application of strings, a lucid and quite feisty she tone cuts through the noise, the flurry is strong, the hidden players are out to make a bold impression, we enter a chanted cut that precedes the final wind out - the pursuing 'whoa's hoas' are victims who relish being so - ears are now pricked, promise is aplenty. Twisted and cursed the initial tones of 'The Devil's Son' are westernised, butt kicking alive and spunky but then the verse that comes is at first emptied out, left for dead with only plucked bass wires and slightly on edge gobbage keep us company. We rise with relish before the main liquid thrust is had and the hypnotic charm of the song is at an all time high. We celebrate, lights are now switched on - the band want to expose their talent, when they speak of hitting the nail on the head the band showcase themselves for the superb musicians they are - the first massive high. The song highlights more qualities, especially when the lead lady is left alone amid a swirl of whao’ed assistance - nice.
'Sinners And Saints' rushes, gets knocked about with the persistent slapping sticks, persists with restrained mouth work and ascends into the briefest of sub-chorus cuts. Lacking the immediate imposing zest of its counterparts this one needs a few spins on the deck before being fully appreciated. It cuts back on itself, takes time out to vary textures, is more complete than one first deems and travels along with enthusiasm supplied by those ever busy tympanic twigs. Not bad. 'Born To Lose' gets back up yer breeches and tickles yer terrified todger with a feather of fun time rock and roll frivolity although there ain't nothing frivolous about the hard edged passion poured into this jitterbugging belter. Celebrating the fact that loss is in itself victory this pure diamond edge key ridden bout of unifying defiance will get the punters popping their corks and shooting the sonic juices this way, that way and anywhere you care to imagine. I have heard many a song like this - an eruption of compacted musicians enthusiasm just let loose - enjoy. 'Settle The Score' flicks its wrist and throws off a power splash of sub-bleak, sub-spunky sonica that has certain recognisable trimmings and umpteen moments of excelling professionalism. Many twitches, many twangs - the melodies and undervibes are immaculately played and processed. The vocals are top notch here as they are throughout the CD - I am at a loss as to where I will find fault - the ruddy swines.
A Fungal thrust (oooh mother) and 4 swift overviews. 'Failing Grade' is usual fare and leaves me little else to add but when the surging gale of the chorus sways those fields of indifference the chill and captured ambience turns every ounce of my attention and has me standing there - absolutely wind blown and loving it. 'Second Chance' drills in with a pinball vitality before finding space and knocking around the verbals and then once more flowing with all strung intent. The 'whoa hoas' stoke the fire, the alternating aspect of full on and semi-saturated is exquisite and the generous amount of silky gobbage all make this a fine cruise. Rougher and more manly in a beer swilling way is the free swilling 'Last Call', this time with a growling chap at the fore who has a thirst to sup and swing his sonic rear. This one rockets along with anticipatory lust for all things liquid and bites harder than most other tracks. 'Take It Away' is one of the best and after the flurry, the adoption of a solid bouncing rhythm, the bitched up verse slips into the sanguine chorus cut without perspiration and slam dunks yet another quality cacophonic caper. Just listen to those vocal undulations and cool cat grooves man.
'Can't Wait To See You Fall' slaps chunks of big riffage at ya before a hollered title is shouted and the pulsated beat of the song bites. Emptied out and grooved up enter the sweet tones of the front lass - she does it so well and when placed side by side with the angry chap cutlets and then melted into a big hitting chorus where we have another sure-fire winning moment. An inner break when the tonsils at the fore are fully exposed is choice - crackin' band showcasing all quality components. 'Life After Death' is pertinent, loaded with sanguinity and convincing flavours of many sources that all combine to create a stirring, pugnacious and all round fighting fit bout of musical heave ho that signs this CD off in solid style - I have little to add.
The Creepshow are undoubted class and despite upheaval have maintained a high level of success - and fully deserved it is too. Many would have anticipated big things here - you won't be disappointed, many who like the groomed edge to their music will utterly love it - all I can say is, despite my liking for grimier outpourings, The Creepshow have me beat.
THE SEE NO EVILS - DEMO
The punk scene has become draped in the misshapen garb of nostalgia in all the wrong ways and so as become a shambling farce that holds no threat, no real progress and no consistency. What we need are bands who do it in a very distinct style, really focus their attention on a given style and throw off any sub-generic shackles that holds them back and causes a complete lack of ambition. The See No Evils are a band who have a chosen style, who care not for the restricting boundaries of punk and produce a sound that is absolutely loaded with charm, surfed sensations, perfect melodies and, may it be said, musical innocence. They capture a time when music had clout without using brutality, they concoct sing-a-long episodes of acoustic hypnosis that I find quite irresistible and long may they continue. After seeing them 'live' with jaw on floor I picked up this 4 track CD for £2 and have played it to buggery ever since - and here is why!
The initial textures of 'Secrets In Me' hit the epicentre of all that is emotive, all that is persuaded by genuine acoustic articulation. Done in such a fashion as to be utterly unprocessed, disaffected, refreshing and perfectly attuned to a passionate seeker of danceable melodies this initial suggestion opens a floodgate, a barrier where strings come to pure life with crystallised beauty and unified brilliance. The vocals join the flow and have each line tailing off in an almost celebratory flourish which eventually takes us into a well crafted chorus bout where liquidity is maintained and the marvellous standard is upheld. The brief instrumental is glistening with exactness, the overall hygiene is kept real with undercurrents of natural noise making and the final delivery is really a construct of simplified music that many will never capture in a million years of trying - a superb moment and after listening to thousands of new songs each year since time began this has all the qualities to get me jigging, swigging and replaying over and over (like a kid of 16 with his favourite 45) - cheers chaps.
Point thy accusatory finger and protest, I will duly argue the point and...I am not done with the lavish praise.
'Rising Sun' comes upwards on a whispered pulse, textured melody ensues, a stable drum beat. Vocals are borne from vaults of time, single twinges provoke, the stated not sedated verse leads into a chorus that brightens the whole sonic vista despite holding on to an inner bleakness - a strange contrast that bewitches the attentive pattern and somehow masters resistance. A perfect opponent to the opening song and just suggesting the band have opportunities in many directions. 'Cherry-O' backs up this inkling with a delightful bout of loved up, shimmering beauty built on sweet innocence, charming simplicity and sugar-coated insight. The strings are lightly touched but bubble up an overwhelming flavour many harsher hit wires would struggle to compete with. Drums are regular and do more as way of organisation as duly given credit for and the bass is neatly applied with yet more seeming minimalism and again contributes so darn much. The vocal style is apt and embraces the emotions sought and ultimately necessary - what a fine crew. 'Losing Streak' is a more sinewy number with an obvious Stoned up bluesiness that creates more woven splendour and believable tones. Totally heartfelt vibes are emitted by 4 players who work so splendidly together and stray away from circles so poisoned by pretend kudos and competitive idiocy. The crew are obviously playing this from the soul, putting across the choice acoustica with practiced artistry and dedicated sincerity - how else would the essence be so genuine. Again another stroke of skill.
4 songs, 4 crackers, all by a band who have me thoroughly absorbed and thinking that they are surely one of the best on the battered and broken block. I like to vary the noise, I like to step out of created circles and see what transpires because, more often than not, you uncover many a crackin' band. This lot have the sonic landscape before them - I hope they don't hold back and make big strides into many areas where the unconverted will crumble and pay respect to a fuckin' solid unit - you have my backing chaps.
STOJ SNAK - SONGS ABOUT BELIEFS
Having reviewed this dudes latest bout of acoustic puke I was asked to pop back in time and review a few retro releases - you know me I am always up for it and having been taken by the deliveries heard thus far I was more than happy to dip in the assessing toes once more. No intro here, read the other review for details of the strummer in question - I am pushed to the max, on we go, let us get stuck in.
We commence with 'Collateral Damage', a bout of ill temperament squeezed out via contorted tonsils and in the usual passionate and spirited Stoj Snak way. The bass below the initial excited strums is weaving a delightful path and the interjecting harmonica adds a nice respite from the deliberate furious spice of the frontman who eventually feels the need to scream his arse off. A steady opener but Stoj has more in his armoury - I shall be proved right very soon, in fact...'State Of Mine' is more like it, meandering but with intent, artistic and questioning with a strain of innocent idealism running through and so making this a real charmed cutlet of escapism and wishful thinking. The artiste does this so well and has an ethos where the search for Utopia is never to be frowned upon - good chap! Just sit back and fall into the open arms of this welcoming song that insists you think outside the restricted box. Keep the faith!
'Party On The Hillside' leads one up the garden path and sets up a stall where visions of fun and pleasure can be had, the solo swine does this so well. Plenty of zest and scorched enthusiasm are poured in - an atmosphere is set, tinkling and twinkling - good rhythm, melody and encouragement are factors to be dwelt upon - we get taken in with what is a relatively fine bouncing song and then a screamed and frustrated end blast of 'We're All Gonna Die' leaves this one right upside down on its fucked up head. Yeah! The best song of the lot for me is 'Great Ideas Need Landing Gear', a real positive powershift that wanks off in the face of adversity and duly splashes its immovable sonic spunk over the face of the doubting controllers. Plucked, with an appetite that will not be quelled by dubious looks, Doubting Thomas twats and grinding 'hold you downs' this is a real pick me up and exposes the natural ability and insightful musical know how that this young bugger has within him. Short, trickling and so wonderfully pleasant to digest - thank you man.
4 down - 1 to go my perusing nugget - and what a stunner.
'No Refunds' rails against religious arguments but rather than piss and fuck with wayward aggression that misses the point Stoj puts his point across via a charming tune that is a tickling delight. Agree or disagree but time must be given to this wordsmith who manipulates his lyrical weapons and makes them hit their target time and time again. The ditty is flourished with flamboyance via a convincing tune and plenty of expected passion - get this, read the lyrics - far better than shooting the gob off with no erudite questioning.
There ya go, another 5 tracks of this talented twangers stuff and, I am quite taken. Some really inspiring one man puke and driven home with nails of demanding intent and explosive sanguinity. You wanted songs about beliefs - you had better believe this baby!
DUVALIER - DEMO
An e-mail, a batch of 3 tracks, a request to review - you will do well to find out much more about this band - oh yes they hail from Italy and influences are as thus - James Ellroy, Lousiana Voodoo, Sergio Leone, Nikita Sergeevič Chruščёv - a choice mix! So where the fuck do I go from here - into the review sounds apt.
We begin with hip-grinding sludgy cheapness of 'M. A. D. '(Mutual Assured Destruction)', a slow grinding piece of slightly stripped down junkiness that erodes acoustic pretension and keeps it all dirty, crawled and drawled. The secondary layers, beneath that sub-lewd upper epidermis pulsate with sinister life and mysterious suggestion - for spells it is uncomfortably uneven, for periods it liquidises and moves with sexual fluidity. The instruments are, initially at least, kept to a minimum with the lead gob mainly holding the reins and guiding this runt of rhythm. Vitality and liberation increases, the achievement standards are raised and Duvalier meet the grade - post punk, industrial, experimentation from a disturbing angle - interesting indeed and after a false ending the grungy grind winds itself up and eventually reaches the finale. 'Texas' is hesitant, almost nervous and wary of what major eruption could arise from its own self created fumblings. Whispered, on edge, the strings are barely touched, the drums spaced, the flow staggering. The band have me pondering over several spins, where can I find such a style - certainly nothing immediately springs to mind. We are taken into a back woods of sound, ruffled up, left in a glade to consider the smoked sonics, we come away with thoughts of a carefully texturised tune that is one to relax to and not slam the head to. Underneath the threat is a twinge of inner decimation - somehow this lot hold themselves together. We close with the bleak 'Dallas 63', another slow waltz in the ghettos of garaged grime and with all adornments eroded away and thus leaving the real flesh of the intention on show. Thoughts of something insidious are never far away and the midway bout of satanic tympanics only emboldens these foul acoustic images. The band are screwing deeply and slowly and trying, with blooded perspiration, to create heavy episodes of emotive quality that will impregnate the subconscious - they are not far off the mark.
So, the constipated and overly cluttered vacuum of silence is given something mightily persuasive to digest and hopefully turn out into the awaiting maws of the music lover. This will be hard defecation to swallow for some but for others, particularly the niched connoisseur who seeks out perverse sensations of sound, this one will work. I have got to be honest and say that I didn't know what Duvalier where going to throw my way and after making stupid pre-judgements I have been left in the loaded room of the wrong. This is nicely salted and spiced music, albeit with a crawling pace that wouldn't work if stretched over a full album, but I would suggest you do indeed dabble. It will be intriguing to see where these dudes go next and what happens if the aspect of pace is injected therein. I watch and wait with baited breath!
THE MISPELT - 37/41
I have fought this bands corner for many a year now and still the wind blows the piss backwards - that is how it is and I am never under any illusions as to it being any other way - if ya face don't fit and all that shit - there ya go. That band have been settled with Jen at the front since they first played for me back in Halifax about 6 years since and in truth they have produce some right good noise. Here we have some old and new tunes with a more clattered and raw-edge production that gives me a bit to think about. I am still a fan but did I expect more than what I have got here - the years have me getting increasingly fussy and more and more demanding - it's all about progression don't ya know!
'Say Goodbye' is the first loose-limbed, under produced fuckity fuck to tumble down the bare stairway steps and make a din that is cruel and somewhat on the cusp. The opening salvo is gently bruising and backed up by a more robust recklessness before the lead lass softens things with her sugary and sub-spiteful vocal style. The pick up to the chorus is hectic and a nebulous line is drawn between this segment and the verse. It is instantly recognisable though as a Mispelt accident with plenty of energy and gusto, albeit of a slightly more flustered mode. Despite the acoustic arms and legs flying there is a good rhythm going on and I, as a fan, am liking this - the question is will you? 'Alien' I have heard many times but not as delivered here. Similar in many respects to the opener with a clattered edge, unmistakable essences and the genuine girl driven gusto. All parts are unified despite the rushed pace and again I am involved. Already at this stage I am wondering why The Mispelt have gone for a more DIY, bog brush basic approach when they were making approaches into lands that are far more advanced - a strange one. I am not complaining though as DIY is the only way and raw shit always smells more effective than processed droppings but...don't overlook the potential in all directions dudes (and dudette).
'Dead Man Walking' is another oldie I have on a CD that is a right aged retro hotch potch from the bands embryonic years. A slow bass and drum ascension, a sub- air raid warning twinge repeated until fully pulsated with zeal - in we head to the inner thrust. Verse is rattled and then tails off before a chopped up chorus peels away in several directions thus breaking up the orthodox spurt of the initial gobbage. Things are more uneven from here on in and that makes for a better bout of listening buggery. A guitar solo and final push to penetrate harder and deeper - wham the bands load is shot. 'Therapist' is raw desperation done in clutter fuck it style with both he and she colliding amid a turmoil of tympanic mania and strung out slapdashery. Tempers flare, a cry for help had initially and in fact through a radioed whispered moment adds a sinister aspect, the rhythm is just held onto and this new grubbed up crew defecate forth an old time fave now stripped down, beaten black and blue and with extra real life essence. 'Analyse This' is next (despite being missed off the back cover) and swings its crummy ass with relish whilst the mental health doctor gets things all cock-eyed and looks into the back passage rather than the cause for the disillusionment. A snottified shout out, a lower slung jaunt that is within the mindset of the collection thus far and a song is had that has, the by now expected, roughshod approach. There are no extra flamboyances from this one, no hidden depths - just a bold song going from first to last in a certain urbanised punky way - it isn't shite, it isn't overly special - just reliable and rocking.
A veer off the crooked cobbles of cacophony and 'DBT' attempts a sub-skank and is a little off kilter and just not sharp enough to be assessed as a credible ska based number. Caught in between the realms of one thing and another this is a halfway cut out on a limb. Nice try, nice chorus but overall a song to take out of this crumpled pack and really tighten up and gloss over with an essential top notch production. A shame because the song is a sweet thing but just too malformed to do itself justice here. 'Same Shit, Different Day' is more like it, routine bouts of wordage, the simple approach that goes from one distinct component to another and then a spaced out moment that chants along and duly rises into a bonus bout of spirit – see, no need to over-complicate at this stage.
2 left and 'Dear Me' is the pick of the lot with an opening unity, a rather bare and basic follow on and then a chorus that is both honest and very fuckin' catchy. When The Mispelt go for the ensnaring style of song they more often than not do a good job and such is the case here. Positive, hopeful, getting the best out of all components and with the sweet chimp at the fore 'ook ooking' with crystallised femininity and bare arse lucidity - a very uncomplicated moment but a very magnetic one at that. 'The Last Goodbye' is here and for now it is a pertinent title. The band do themselves justice with consistent fodder for the interested fans and sign off with a concrete number that once again lacks any 'wham and bam' but just pummels away in steady fashion. All areas do their bit, the message is loud and clear - you really should take note.
So where are we at? Well this CD, as is the norm, gets my vote but the crew can and should do better. The construct is open and raw, the approach DIY and that is where the CD as a whole succeeds but now I demand the band move in one sweet direction and nail it - pop punk seems ideal. This lot were made for 2 minute rock and roll ditties loaded with catchy riffs and killer choruses and I reckon a full on crack at this mode is there for the taking. In the meantime get this, take it for what it is and chase up some of the crews choice back catalogue. I am a Mispelt fan and am glad to know these fine fiddlers but I won't shy away from the fact the crew need to move it up a notch. It is a harsh and cruel scene full of many fashionable followers of fuckery - you have to shine real bright to get noted - the challenge is set (again).
BRUTUS' DAUGHTERS - BEATING BEYOND FOLK ASHES
Folky punk from Madrid - beyond that I know nothing, absolutely nothing - bah. Skimming research shows that this 6 piece unit started off in 2008 and have members from various punked up sources on their side of the polluted pond. They tackle a variety of issues that are typical and not so typical of their sub-scene and mix up an end sound as one would expect with their own signature sound. The band believe, it seems, in the multi-cultural views, mythical romances and the strength of friendship as well as other praiseworthy values that will surely attract the moralistic and may I say, friendly eavesdroppers. It all sounds good, but what of the music itself - enter the Fungal twat!
Sentient strings are stroked and give a general boost of emotive strength before the stroking becomes a stoking and vim, vigour and vitality are poured in along with the '6 Beers' mentioned - up ya get, prepare for one long jig - this is abrupt, happening and in yer boat race. No sooner done than track 2 zips in with a pep in the sticks, a joy de vivre in the strings, a flourish and freshness in the vocals - utterly folked up with a given breath of life that shines bright. Any doubting clouds will be shooed away by this invigorating style of sonic ecstasy. 'Big Fish And Fisherwomen' is wonderfully woven music made by skilled hands who have a overflowing zest that will have ye reeling this way and that. The gobbage is clear and utterly clashing, contrasting and complimentary in one wholesome way. The bouncing devilry beneath the upper tones is exemplary and this lot have me absorbed so early on - thank you guys and gals.
'Y Mientras Tanto' is immediately animated with fine fiddlesticks and jigging delight. Punctuated and then preparatory for the ensuing surge this one develops into a steady toned bloom with a feeling that the band are in full control and not truly letting fly here. The pipes hype up the essence, the fluidity of the whole movement is divine, the band are holding fast to the style. 'Raising' is a sweet tinkle with moments of unified wholesomeness and snippets of a lone girl serenading as well a delightful girlish innocent soaked intro and some skeleton stick moments that bounce around on elasticised cacophonic cartilage. A party style sensation seems to drip forth with haystacks tumbled, lords and ladies bumbled, the rhythmic reeling far from fumbled. With undercurrents of tartanised mania, overtones of inner bean brimmed stimulants this is yet again a merry-go-round of happiness.
'Break Down Roles' has a more serious edge and travels a fair distance with opening slashes taken over by bare-bones and then whisked up by more acute pipeism. A waspy number with the usual buzz factor and whipped up relish applied throughout. It is quite fascinating that at 5 tracks in, and having no previous knowledge of the band, I feel that I am truly welcomed and in the groove - now that is always a good sign. We continue as we started - I shall be terse - a fine song. 'Neuchi Del Nuberu' composes itself, starts to reel with a furrowed brow, concentration levels look set at the max - beneath a wind-blown stormy sky the opening salvo strives to brighten the day. The lead lady delivers delicious wordage in her own tongue before the rest of the band are called upon to rouse the devil from the deep. Dark upheavals are had, primarily led by the guitar - we delve deeper and find temperament becoming slightly hotter but the encapsulating acoustica that is sweetly harmonised still grabbing the main attentive headlines. There are many angles to be wary of here - one lapse in mental observance and 'whoosh' they are gone. The song slams out, 'Mala Prensa' fills the chasing void and after some exchanged words large strokes of the strings are taken before we are whipped off our tapping feet and thrown into another bubbling pool of excellence, foamed and frothed up by the lively, scintillating vigour of this attractive unit. As per all is kept crisp and snappy and with the sprightly tempo there is little fault to find.
3 left, the consistency remains heady, the brisk vivacity most blatant - what can I do but just enjoy. 'No Battle At All' begins the closing hat-trick and is a melodic number with many militaristic rolls and marching essences, the band will not be stopped, this one just keeps taking them in the right direction of success. ‘Ciudad De Las Alturas’ almost Babylon Burns at the start before dousing those familiar flames with licking tongues borne from the players own conflagration. Here with have the flaming inclusion of a male who adds extra scorch factor with livid lyrical deliveries borne from a belly of belligerence and absolutel aggression – it works – the duel between the sexes is choice, the usual ascensions of oral keenness are also key – have it. We fuck off with ‘They Won’t Turn Back’, an initially sombre sensation before the expected rabble rousing jiggery pokery does its magical best to awaken the entire concoction. I am going to bail quickly here – this is more of the same and we can’t complain about that – the band keep it tight, feisty, enjoyable and get things done in an efficient manner – full marks lads and lasses.
So, as ye may have guessed, I like this one – a real inspiring pip of folked up tuneage that is similar to a cool breeze of cacophony blowing away many routine cobwebs from areas that need this kind of nerve niggling noise. If this lot dip over to this side of the water I advise that you go and get a few beers down ya, get yer dancing shoes on and absolutely enjoy this – if ya don’t you can send yer miserable letters of complaint to…oh forget it, I guarantee that textual turn of events won’t be necessary.
THE KRAYONS - SHIT IN THE SINK OF SOCIETY
The Krayons keep it raw, are a million miles away from commercialised copycat claptrap (thank goodness) and have a lead guy with a high spirit and a never say die attitude. The bands opening account (reviewed on this site) was under-processed and purely reflective of an embryonic unit who have a lot to say and have no time to piss about with frills and throwaway adornments. Here we have more of the same with a little advancement in progress - whoosh - the boot of assessment swings towards the rotund knackers of the band!
Several sound bites of the current harsh reality thanks to another government loaded with detached suited and booted players who have personal needs to be met, ego's to be attended to at every moment of the day and a simply uncaring mentality that looks after number one and no one else, and then...into the deliberately low-budget doggedness of 'Bedroom Tax', an in yer face episode of 'bloke on the street' annoyance clattered forth without pomposity and insincere affect. The Krayons deal with issues today in an abrupt and stripped down manner and have an identifiable sound that is soaked in reality and frustration. This one winds itself on a bare-boned verse before screaming out a simplistic but engaging chorus that does what it sets out to do - that is involve the listener and state its message quite clearly. Chugged, unshaven, gobby and with an inner screwed up instrumentalisation this is bog brush noise with shit still within the hairs - why should it be any other way. 'Cash Generator' follows suit, clatters and rolls out the words regarding a state of play for many destitute people caught in a web of pointless regression and subtle suffering. The gobbage is stark, the strings somewhat minimalistic in a productive kind of way, the drums busy at the skins and jumping around when flurries duly arise. Tempers flare, sonics glare, the finale comes and is spat out with gut borne disgust - nice.
'No Gods, No Masters' chugs in, swivels and turns its own guts inside out with a regular riff up and gruff insistence. Verses corrupted by growls, a chorus delivered with dustbin lid dirtiness and extra speed in the pepper pot of passion this is another harsh condiment that tries a few extra tweaks and twangs but still retains the uneven edge of the DIY spectrum. Impetus builds, the song liquidises itself - ooh watch ya don't shit yersleves chaps. Title track, something ornate and intricate perhaps, some drawn out anthem to embrace all the finer points of the band - not a chance - 'Shit In The Sink Of Society' is a terse tirade built on hardcore elements that are inflated with ill temper and a desire to get the job done very quickly. To the point and highly effective - what do ya want for ya money?
We close with the most rhythmic snarl up entitled 'Don't Believe'. Textures abound, from unwashed skankiness, wayward wankiness through to pulsating restraint, splattered sonic paint. Speed alternates between the controlled and the crazed, the gob up front is always corrupt and corroded, the guitars and sticks under-produced and kept cheap and nasty - they do what they do.
I like this lot, I appreciate the values being cast forth and 'live' they have a fiery glow that radiates strongly onto the heads and ears of the onlookers. This is the bands second blitz and it has all the components of such a product. Yeah why not dabble? Next though the band need to elaborate - up the production but keep the grimy edge, complicate oh so slightly the deliveries but maintain the simplicity, slightly buff up the package but keep it raw and open - not easy but I’ll be buggered if I am going to let The Krayons rest easy ha, ha - push hard chaps, the route your taking seems to be spot on, just never get too settled.