FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 85
THE 4130's - OVER THE BARS
An interview can say more than what you think and after hooking up with Ben from this crew it was a matter of course to follow up with a CD review. Impetus is what it is all about and if a band can get the ball rolling a little faster with some help from Fungal, as per, I will try and do my small, humble and honest bit. Hailing from Ipswich this lot play a skater US style of sonica with sharp accuracy and a very magnetising energy and rhythm that, in all respects, is worthy of your attention. A tight unit with many precocious touches, this opening gambit isn't to be snobbishly sniffed at - the DIY gene pool produces yet more fine offspring I think - once more into the breach we go.
'Remain Strong' bursts through the substrate of silence of enthused anticipation before tumbling over the senses with rusted cuts and instrumental flourishes that take us, as a matter of course, to a brief inspiring bass rumble and pursuing tumult. The avalanche that consumes is remarkably accurate, swift and concocted with one eye on the influences and another eye on trying to identify a certain individual output. The blend of each component is more than agreeable to the acoustic receptors and the gobbage swims within the turmoil with healthy affect and gratifying comfort. Having read the usual on-line bumph one is always swayed one way and has inklings of what to expect - in this instance (like many) I was wrong - a crackin' opening number and into the melodic melee I am dragged - fuckin' have some. 'Left behind' changes stance oh so subtly and swings the rhythmic hips a trifle more loosely but still invests one helluva impact and has me rockin' along on those ever hungry heels. The madness of those stuck on a carousel of nostalgia is emphasised in bold and blatant outline as this new noise nails it and has me feeling so lucky to be able to explore, review and praise. 2 songs in and The 4130's are hammering home their capabilities - great stuff and full of youthful energy and precocious rawness so many aged bands are lacking. A drum tumble, a grooved up, hard drilled verse, a cleared-out easily slipped into chorus that burns out at the latter end and back round to more ground out riff and roll. The inner segment where a cruise is taken offers options and is ideal in its compliment - we continue to the last with flags of dinnage flying victoriously - choice!
'Stand For Nothing' screws in with acute attention before ploughing out a confident vibe that is roughed up, primarily, by the hectic tympanic input. An head over heels propulsion that eases off the gas in certain parts and rattles along in others - another fine track revealing a quality machine that likes to pump it hard. The relaxed moments though are there for all to admire and get the band prodding and poking at their own depths and so pushing them into new corners where, if they have anything about them, new found glory will arise - it certainly does here. 'Hearts And Minds' is in fact seemingly borne from the ticker and the cerebral matter with a heartfelt delivery that billows hard with controlled emotion, honest and open riffage and an accented oral style. A consistent upchuck that flies the flag for the ordinary man, the DIY upstart who wants to shake off the fuckwit limitations and expectations. 'Whoa hoa's' increase the saturation factor, the unhurried anthemic thread and the overall Americanised feel make this another concrete winner.
4 quick ones - why not - gotta keep the flow moving. 'The Bible Was A Lie' gently climbs between the sheets of your comfort zone and after a seemingly non-too offensive start begins to ruffle the sheets with a swift surge before going back to the initial style that seems all honeyed, sickly sweet and disillusioned. The whole delivery is once more soaked with US inflection and has 2 main aspects - not bad. 'Nothing Here Is A Mystery' thunders harder and gets back to what the band do best - flourish their sonic swords with pirate belief and sanguinity. Thrusting, ball busting - this is quick rapido rhythm making with an inner segment that rides high on the set waves and gives it some home made glory - whoosh. 'A Terror-Ible Leader' is a mean number that furrows its brow and grinds out a highly intense trail of inflammable tuneage. The approach is precocious and successful with an advanced sound that belies the bands years. Riffed and organised with drums ripping and rolling the tympanic skins the song has a big heart and beats with the best of em' - most excellent and it roars out with a passion. The closure of the speedily assessed quartet is 'No Legacy At All', a comfortable gear shift with the usual acoustic touches that makes this band seemingly so dependable. Love the spirit, the fluidity, the foot stomping inclusion, the overall production values - a cracking band at work here with a complimentary end mix to assist. 8 tracks in folks and yet another quality album is hitting me between the lug holes.
'Give Em' War' slaps in several times amid a controlled drum avalanche before a proclamation comes and the song head rushes into a whirlpool of effective whizzoid verse and chorus cuts that are tackled wonderfully by these vimmed up artistes. The said verses are tight and tempered with plenty of fight in the mix, the chorus chunks are more laden with defiance and refusal to lie down and die - there is a youthful zest and gumption to these songs and this one is, yet again, a choice blast. 'Water And Dirt' has more depth and greater texture than many other tracks with a perfectly embraced accent to the acoustics and a subtle blend between the obvious influences and the bands own style. The vocals impress, the strings do everything required of them and the drums are hectic without being messy - this is a fuckin' good unit and all we need now is a complete turn around to the approach to see if the band can take a risk and manoeuvre the mode when required - I shall not complain as yet though.
Penultimate track and a grimier slant with the ground out 'Alone In Here' really grubbing up the sonic mitts and fighting its way to an all releasing chorus that snatches at all the crews finest assets and flings em' right in your doubting mug. Extra strung touches, the conviction of the players and an essence that has me thinking this band wouldn't be out of placed on a full on Warped Tour - where can I possibly find fault? The song ascends and crescendos comfortably and into the last song we go. 'Gas And Air' - hey people a slow tinkle built on emotive vibes and deliberate care. A mere acoustic ponder, an episode of stripped out string work, a cutlet of pride that is well delivered and displaying the bands firm belief in what they do.
A new band (again) comes under the Fungal radar and one that impresses and holds much promise (again). A very likeable vibe comes from this lot and the spirit that comes from the band after exchanging a few words and doing an interview with them highlights an approachability and 'in it' for the right reasons aspect. If I do book another bunch of gigs this lot will be certainly getting an offer, in the interim - jump in and get em' on board first.
SKIPRAT - MARCHING ON TILL SUNRISE
I have given these 'erberts a few gigs here and there in the past (the first one quite a few years back now) and their welcome brand of punked reggae is always a delight. The style has gradually been polished over the years with this latest album seemingly capturing the bands true essence. Chilled, politically heated, embracing a Jamaican style spikiness, the band have a cultured carpet of tuned vegetation beneath their feet and seem to be cultivating many new melodic root systems on which to grow credible and verdant tuneage. The weave in the bass, the cared guitar strokes and the exact stick placement are working in unity and that can only make for an exciting encounter. Are there any bare patches within the lush deliveries, are there still areas to be fertilised by ever keen and attentive hands - on with the Marigolds and in we delve.
As we take the initial step into the rhythmic woodland we are greeted by an early 'Sunrise' and a serpentine trail that takes us into a relaxed and solar kissed glade where a DIY reggae roll out is duly absorbed and enjoyed. The complimentary production, the exact sparseness of clogging acoustic vegetation make for a slightly manicured environment where the band can fiddle freely without tripping over their own noise making feet. As we look around the set sonic scene we take in many shades, tones and angles - each one merging into the next with learned artistry. The bass seems to do so little and yet so much, the sticks the same - perfect for this kind of stress free spillage. Gob wise we find a new lease of belief with Skiprat taking things to new levels of success. Once more we take a stroll with an underdog outfit and, having stuck with it, are being shown the tapped potential we suspected. Lush indeed and exposing many shoots of promise that can erupt into who knows what - excellent start. We tiptoe forth and suddenly are stalked, prowled around by the slinky charm of a 'Predator'. The use of hypnosis is immediately apparent with charmed string ripples enchanting and being wonderfully shepherded by cool Marley-esque utterances that really do the entire business. The band are instantaneously in the zone it seems and as we try to escape the enclosing threat, that will undoubtedly lead to sonic submission, the heat is turned up and we are trapped. Classically sub-generic and carefully handling the fragile delicacies within the adopted scene this dripping beauty falls through the canopy, alerts our senses and keeps us unflustered. Onwards and through more undergrowth and out into the light with 'Occupy' providing sound advice and persuasive fruit of hope. We reach up to the bending branches, pluck one or two morsels and examine further. The rind of rhythm is thin, pliable and easily removed but the inner contents ooze with noised nutrition and the overall value of the song is exposed. Varied tinted juices flow and merge with natural effect thus adding to the general enticing appeal. A full on taste gives suggestion of subtlety and the immediate flavour is not as obvious as other efforts - dwell, ponder, consider. Only when the entire offering is digested to we get the full appreciation of the song - full bodied yet light, well cultivated and with an inner kick that triggers impulsive and tribal instincts. Best not described as a quality dish but nailed as a very substantial recipe that gives insight into the green-fingered constructors - nice.
'Banged Up' is more of the same (thank goodness) with all output lush and natural. Wailer'ed in part, exuding a cocky confidence and a streetwise slant this one escapes the undergrowth and walks along the wooded edge where solar sonica is soaked up and radiated. There is a threat beneath the leisure, a dark outline around the sunshine strokes which not only offers deeper options but also emboldens all. Solid. 'Fascist' hits squelched vibes and then ponders certain political angles - the drift is still leaning towards the horizontal and this undoubtedly helps. A breeze still blows through the acoustica, a pleasant rustle is had, a point is made. Harder steps are taken in part, brief flurries had - the care with each note is apparent especially in the more stripped out moments. A quest for liberation seems to be taken, the artists are casually nailing their style to the acoustic tree and asking us to take note - I find the message, I submit to their request and...enjoy.
'Listen Here' is a jerked up effort that sees a spasmodic approach similar to a woodland grasshopper loaded up with jumping beans and amphetamines. Pinging incessantly and then rolling over in a seizured style – chirrup, chirrup. A busy number that flits about and leaves one wondering where it will lead us. Only when the wings of the song are fully opened can we assess it for the effort it is - a cluttered rust bucket shook with intent and somehow kept in unison with what has past - not a bad chunk of angular noise at all. 2 left and ‘Politician Man’ is out into a colourful meadow of toneage with a strict march adopted that poses straightforward questions and never looks back. A repeater beater built on more rusted vibes, advanced instrumental inclusions and protestation angst. The grass is flattened, the tent set up - this is one to dig you heels in with and chant along to - once more I am won over by the bands new found levels.
We close with the delightful 'Fessytune', an unassuming jaunt that celebrates the sound, and emanates a joy of life - a definite end of set/CD/day tune of triumph and one not to assess too deeply (so I won't) and one to just fuckin' enjoy and jig along to (so I will).
For me this CD is the result of sticking to ones guns, believing in ones ability and knowing where one wants the vibe to go. Skiprat took my faith and have rewarded it with an utterly convincing 8 track product that will certainly be visiting the CD player on many an occasion - very satisfying indeed and all I ask of you is to go check this and make up your own mind - my guess is you will be very taken by the whole offering if you are in need of some pure and safe cool down time.
VOICE OF ADDICTION - MODERN DAY MELTDOWN
These 3 political noise makers from Chicago sure as hell have their arses in gear and play numerous shows and expose their spirit to many an eager punter. The social conscience within the weave is apparent, the intent to push themselves rewarding, the overall hunger to get their personal noise and beliefs out there urgent - I best crack on, you gotta keep up with these blue light movers or get left in the pissy distance where the tone deaf indolent dwell - fuck that.
4 songs, random order I think - why not?
'Same Old Song' first then and after a preparatory slam dunk with power chords aplenty and attentive grabbing nipple twists we set a scene via the vocals before the electrocution comes and we are fizzed into life with a well controlled passage of play that eventually erupts with searing energy and both an underlying disgruntlement and overflowing intensity. At plus 5 minutes it is much to the bands credit that this seems a whole lot shorter and with several sections that oppose and embrace we have a lengthy mixture to dwell upon before making a verdict. The production is worthy of the band under scrutiny, the raw edge is careful not to get too shabby and a distinct new skool feel is tattooed beneath the upper acoustic epidermis. It works and it is looking like we have another accomplished unit getting overlooked way too often - wake up, wake up!
Erm...what next? Ah yes the title track...
'Modern Day Meltdown' clatters in organised fashion before smoothing itself out and giving me gentle suggestions of Most Likely To Fail - listen closely and it's there I am sure. Melodic and well structured but no sooner have these thoughts risen than they are banished as things get broken up a little with flavours of the more US kind. Almost Epitath etched, rinsed through with a slightly harder edge and more abrasive acidity and furrowed with a restless rage that the crew do well to control. Sticks are brisk, we have the occasional string risk - it seemingly teeters but fear not, the band have nouse and rush along to finish a neat track. Nowt new under the punked sun but there ain't much that is these days!
And so to...
'Juvenescence', a scatter bomb song with no seeming pattern to the eruptions but with many power bursts to be bowled over by. The style evades strict structure as a way of persuasion but leans on the shoulder of strengthened musicianship and a youthful defiance. The point of not giving in is reiterated, the back grind has bite and works with the vocals quite nicely - hefty man, hefty. The last track to be assessed is 'Daley Struggle' which has tribal aromas arising from a fire that radiates many spasmodic tongues which lick of the unobservant arses. Slips and slaps, burrowing corrosion comes like the result of a rusted nail being hammered into virginal flesh, a closely knit patchwork of power thrusts unfolds. We still stay utterly modernised, this latter blast takes some adjusting to but the crew force us to stick with it and all and sundry should eventually get this one.
A 4 track taster, sometimes better than being overfaced – yes indeedy – this works and builds up a good appetite. I reckon another 4 tracker to follow with not too much alteration in the style – it is all there already, just needs fishing out and slapping in many new mugs – go for it!
SPIRITS OF THE DEAD - RUMOURS OF A PRESENCE
By heck a psychedelic stoner band from Norway - it keeps me inspired as my eclectic tastes are forever in need of satiation - better that than causing trouble wink, wink. So with one foot in progged up early seventies dabblings and the other in the modern day it seems that the crotch from where the cacophony will burst from is quite unpredictable. Many who read this assessments will have not heard of this lot, now is the chance to get clued in, turned on or completely turned off. Keep the mind open - tha' just never knows.
Track one and 'Wheels Of The World' advances with repetitive strums and slightly silken vocals that have a strain of yesteryear, namely late 60's/early seventies. The plodding insistence seems all too routine but with ideal production values, a smooth methodology and a few subtle flamboyances the song is given extra life. Progressive and with an inner break that dabbles with psychedelia and low-brow classic rock this is a safe and yet sanguine commencement to a style away from my general acoustic selections. It keeps one thoughtful, it has a laid back feel with an underscore of fair muscularity - interesting indeed. 'Song Of Many Reefs' grumbles and twinges whilst the rear mare gallops haphazardly before tranquil vocal touches smooth out the potential discomfort. Impetus is minimal (in regards to speed and general gusto), the band rely more on persuasive exactness and a structure built on firm foundations rather than slapdash sonic scaffolding. I always will prefer the shoddier 'have a go' side and from there greater success and danger will spring from but this steady concrete cacophony has its merits and much professionalism. The switch off of vocals gives time for some showmanship and a slight pseudo-jam session - the musos' will lap it up, the sub-generic hippies will dig the groove, I remain impressed but bored - such is my spiked spirit.
'Golden Sun' begins with the brightest vibe yet and has me making immediate comparisons to those creators of something 'out of the blue'. In fact the vocals are Lynne-esque and so we duly expect something very special indeed. After the opening float through an awkward commencement to the chorus is had with only the simplest of structure found on the other side. I considered more flamboyance would be cast my way, more experimentalisation, more clear cut decisions made as to what mode the song would take - instead I get a meandering track filled which sub-generic touches those in the know will adore but touches that the outsider will find incompatible. The song melts at the latter end and segues into...'Dance Of The Dead' a concoction that rises from unhallowed grounds where Lovecraftain beasts are seared on the day of damning judgement - are we to be thrown into a cauldron of horror borne regret? No - we are placed on the precipice of the consuming conflagration, given a glimpse and abruptly dragged away - bastard!
'Rumours Of New Presence' is tranquil and testing and perhaps the best offering thus far with its risk taking style and unpredictable angularity. The initial ushered tones slip into cathedral statements that add an unsettled sensation throughout. We return to the whisperings and once more become all hallowed before a thunder crack strikes the sonic steeple, the heavens open and a torrent of black intent falls. A montage of melody comes, initially dictated by military driven tympanics and a stylophone-like whinge - no sooner are we settled than the song ends - double bastard. 'Red Death' falls down the last few steps of the stairway to indulgent oblivion and duly gets up and plods around the pit. Contemplative, ready to pounce and then...raw and needful. Guitars copulate with careless abandon, drums create a hectic rhythm, throat hollers operate with sandpapered brutality. Moments of tranquillity are borne from distant shores and given an exotic touch but the main drawback is that the song is too prolonged with the overall effect tempered down and so losing its inspiring edge. 6 minutes 28 seconds is a long haul and for me the cooking time is definitely over done no matter how good some moments are. 'Seaweed' is a stripped down episode of atmospheric acoustica and sees the output use less heave ho but create a greater impact. Almost Simon and Garfunkle-ised in part, this new strain of delivery is very well done indeed with the fragility and delicate care taken not lost upon this listener. Utterly relaxed and somewhat ghostly this wafting progression of soothing wavelets is a dreamy delight that enhances the stature of the bands potential and musical insight. Nothing dramatic but it doesn't have to be - just carefully positioned and nailed.
We close with the plus 7 minutes grandiosity of 'Oceanus' an elongated bout of sailing sonica built on a powerful upthrust of sublime energy. The waves roll with seemingly gentleness but have an all consuming strength not to be underestimated. The opening chorus is perhaps too hippified for many spiky tops, the lack of aggression maybe to distasteful but...this song, as far as it's generic circle goes, is up there with some of the best stoner flotsam drifting out there. It grips, it massages, it offers promise - no need here for whizzing pace, internal tweakings, external apologies. The band fit into their own groove and cruise mightily - it may be the longest journey of the lot but it does the business.
8 tracks, more than adequate and the people who find this stuff pleasing will do well to criticise here. Of course I can take or leave this and am by no means an 'in the know' observer but it goes without saying that there is some real quality within this mix. If you are inside then buy it, if you are outside then check it out - if you don't like it well at least you dabbled.
THE FRANCEENS - THE STEPFORD SMILES
I have talked a good talk about this band and on the several viewings that I have had thus far they have rocked off my knackers as well as wobbled my ever wired up willy. The vibes that burst from the band are of an ilk I will go into as the CD progresses but at this initial stage I will tell you that, prior getting into the meat of this CD, I consider this trio from York to be one of the best new bands on the block. Imagine my anticipation when receiving this CD and setting about the overall assessment - ooh man - blood surged, a certain flaccid fleshy tube was filled, a sturdy pole of correction stood proud - here's what came out as I hammered the keyboard with the old dome of decision - ouch!
Groovy fuck strings, a splash of deliberate enthusiasm and then the rattling train to the boneyard comes and takes us into a whirlpool of hectic horror. Initially this initial burst known as 'Nothing' donates the impression of a nihilistic nightmare that refuses to dip its toes into anything positive - beware - it won't be belong before you are absorbed, roughed up and delighting in the devilish discordance that runs on hot fuel primarily known as spunk. The hollowed and howled effect has been pushed deeper into the anal passage of the chosen sub-genre and as a result we get something stinking of spirit and emanating a reverbed vibe one cannot resist. Vocally hungry, musically epileptic - the band certainly don't need laxatives to shit the melodic magnetism. 'Alarm' is a song I am more than familiar with and here it has been made both over and under and given an icier edge as well as an injection of amphetamine beans that pushes the players into new gushing realms. Bass and guitar exude a vibromatic industrialism with a machine-like quality that will not stop the high speed production levels. Drums are crazed and splish, splash, slap and dash whilst contributing an overall nervous energy throughout - mmm - 2 songs in, I came with a hesitancy in my stride, I walk more confidently now and slap the assessing hard-on right in yer mush - told ya didn't I?
'Bomb' keeps within the rhythmic blood of the open vein and foams up a little more, spurts in parst and in others collapses and coagulates. We begin with such opposing factors before the he and she duel takes us into the opening flurry. We expect the usual, the song peels away many layers, the nakedness left is scuffed and somewhat brutal, the challenging components contrast, intriguing to say the least. Further in and we are accosted by raw and rusted monochrome mania, given many moments of incongruous waywardness and are still left with a sweet aftertaste of a band on the fuckin' punctured ball. A genuine classic next and 'Attack' climbs, pronounces and...squeezes yer gonads with as much ill-intent as you can require. The nuclear subject matter is enhanced by the apocalyptic delivery where the bare and dust blown landscape finds these three maestros playing away and trying to fathom what the fuck has happened. All is lost, all is not lost - all is matter of fact, all fact really doesn't matter. The grinding riffages, the harshly positioned routine, the insisting drive and vocal frustration, the sweet lass questions that inject innocence and the choked middle break where all is seemingly subdued all contribute to a marvel not to jest at. The final blast out shows the bands venomous side and if you don't wanna put your fist and head through a window after this then I pity you.
2 quickies - ooh missus!
'Gone' two thumps in, careens around a shit basin of insanity and then triple nudges twice over before adopting the set urgency and dropping its pants, curling down a successful sausage and hitching back up and clearing out of there - where's that darn replay button! Don't forget to wipe it now! 'Alright' comes at ya with something almost Exploited before stating its case, stop starting and thrashing out the fever via a fully saturated upchuck of the usual grim tones. Well scuttled, urged on with weaving bass - in, out, shake it all about - that's all folks. A midway session done in double quick time - the balls are aching but the job is a good un'.
'Wrong' aches with a sexual swing, provokes with arrogance, buzzes with hypnotic riffage and retro sleaze - the muck on the member of melody is rank and yet so magnetic - garage gunk dispersing its spores with the intent to infect. After listening make sure the next time you drop your trollies you check your privates - from there Franceenian fungal fruit may be sprouting and you will have no chance to look back. Indulge, invest your attention, invoke images of two toned sparsity - and then tell the band this is bang on the bastard mark. 'Goddit' is one of my faves, a real scuzz bucket of underwashed acoustica with all players rattling out their frustrations and creating a discordance to judder to. Primitive noise making done with gusto and rising in stature down to nothing more than the bands passion and thriving unity to keep all things paradoxically lo-fi and yet totally awash with chordage. As the famed baron once claimed 'It's alive, its alive, its alive'.
A deliberate and all consuming vibe closes with 'Pledge' a 'live' fave and now a recorded fave. Sincere, pressing and most ensnaring - the boa constrictor of the pack - once the sinewy rhythm entwines itself around you and gently squeezes a reaction you will never break free. Stated verses, believed in 'yeahs' that lead to the rewarding hip loose chorus and there you have it. A threat of total collapse is bordered on, the band get the piece back in order and working - we retake the chosen path until final chaos reigns supreme - the energy has dried up, we are left fritzed, fucked and flat-lined - a fine closure.
An extra track is hidden for thy pleasure - a secret track, a dirty low down trick with a dirty low brow vibe - I like it, as per I shall say no more - you have to do something for yourself sometimes.
Fine CD, fine band, they are on a roll - I have em' booked on another Fungal jaunt, they need little help though as things are developing fast. The only advice I would offer - do not play the same places too often, avoid over exposure, keep it DIY and take pride in thy achievements thus far. The Franceens are class - believe it boneheads!
SPUNK VOLCANO AND THE ERUPTIONS - DEMO EP
A cock based conglomeration of several artistes, who have done the rounds in their respective bands, this ejaculation of sonic semen comes from a circular shaft that is already getting well rubbed and so impetus is bound to be jumped on. I know several of the dudes involved and have witnessed them wank their individual weapons on many occasions with varying degrees of success and, in somewhat opposing styles. Here I will, as best I can, take the neutral stance and if any seeds of hope are splashed onto my assessing lap and give hint at a promising acoustic embryo then I will duly applaud. If any of the said tadpole fruit is limp and has no prospects whatsoever the critical handkerchief will be brandished and a bloody old wipe of advice will be given - cone on ye fuck arses - ye should know the consistent script by now.
The first dome damaged rub off goes by the title of 'Sellotape', a song that starts in pure rinsed out, scrubbed up style maintaining a corned cleanliness throughout and playing a safe old hand that has much room to be built on. Pure throwaway sing-a-long trash and not meant to be anything more - sometimes there is a place for this lightweight tinkering and who am I to knock it? The mix is splendid, the lucidity of the vocals sweet as fuck and the whole tone is obviously reminiscent of another band that is on the up - you should know the one. For me it is a simple song though with no risk taken and thus will have a short shelf life in the Fungal nest of discordant vipers. Saying that, it is nice to reach out and press play sometimes, without too much agenda to explore and any layers to reveal - it has its place. 'The Devils Spits You Out' pulsates with a strong beat before having several preparatory strums. The first verse is quite excellent and leads into a fine swinging, highly melodic chorus. Big formulated stuff delivered from a cacophonous cunt that is clean shaven, tight and pleasurable. Like its predecessor it will be a toss aside fuck and, as in my real life, I prefer things with more depth than just a flimsy sonic shag. There is much meritous work within this one but, with fear of being repetitive, there is room to adorn, to frill, to ornament - think on? Many will gush to stay in a zone, I will insist on a push and not give a fuck about being out on my own!
A growled 4 count, oooh what wicked anger this way comes - answer - none! A partyfied 'nah, nah, nah' burst, a slating of a slag it seems, some swift and well drilled noise that riffs and rolls around the palate and when spat out perhaps leaves the sweetest aftertaste yet. Again the complexities are kept to a minimum, the production values precise, the orchestration of the entire song wraparound and none too difficult to replicate but...one has to admit the band are nailing their style. 'Crossfire' next, a chop and charged intro, a sub-furied surge that hails those golden oldie toys and a racket that rams home a solid chorus hailing the joys of the rapid-fire game many of us enjoyed. The essence is swift and accurate (just like the game) and the terse running time is complimentary. I wonder how many had the game out there and threw the ball-bearings through their neighbour’s windows along with most of their other toys? See, once a raging disgruntled cunt always the same. If the vocalist of this band would have done the same and spent less time jacking off in a mask his chopper, perhaps, wouldn't be so red ha, ha. I like this song though.
We close the five laden fist fuck with 'Superior Brain Damage', a more cultured song with a fine, almost hallowed, opening sequence and a following belt out that is laden with arrogance, viciousness and straight talking twattage. The tympanic rolls, the fully harmonised chorus, the delightful incessance all make this the pick of the acoustic pops and rams home its point with conviction. It seems to cater for the bands desires rather than the crowds and it comes across as utterly more passionate and believable.
Hey up then, a new band here and destined to jump on certain tails and get dragged a fair distance without trying (such is the state of things in this life be it inside or outside the sonic ringpiece). At the end of the day though this ain't bad material and if sweat is broke further, they refuse to listen to the groomed wordage that will come and, take a kick up the arse now and again, there is much room for some mighty outbursts. That latter track I feel proves my point but it is only my point, but at least I make it with the improvement of noise at the centre of my thoughts - so suck on that. Hey and whilst sucking away, get this and tell yer friends (if you have any that is - I know I don't - blah).
OIZ II MEN - BEER BUKAKKE
Self described as street punk onanists these weapon wanking deviants have several obsessions it seems, one of the most obvious of which (according to this CD) is the delightful drink. The style the band throw off the wrist is up yer jacksie and totally raw and without process - a back street affair where many tuneful balls are kicked around and knocked through many inattentive windows - like it, lump it or shutter up. If you seek erudite and textured toneage with much sonic strata then bail out now and cover yer lugs. If you like things as they are with much transparency, 'bugger it' passion and 'have some' spirit then keep listening, you may find something to your liking.
The first drop to be spilled is entitled 'Cider' and as we rip open the trousers of time, offer ourselves up and prepare to be rogered by more rhythmic angst the arse empties and we find ourselves (after an initial pisspot confessional) right back in the early punk days where budgets didn't matter and the output was stark. A holler loaded with pangs and the essence drops into the current day and adopts a bare basic style that gradually inflates itself with acoustic insistence. A raw effort straight from the dustbin and if you are looking for fancy man grooming then turn away - loutish idiocy that promotes the indulgence in the old fruit water - not bad. 'Another Drinking Song' enters on sub-fuzz, goes through traditional tuneage, slips into slight vulgarity and is nothing more than a bout of beer bellied crudity. Now the question that arises is - does it need to be anything else? Seekers of the advanced, the erudite, the technically twanged may turn up their hooters but despite the basic style there is a place for this kind of frivolity. My personal opinion is mixed - today I can like it, tomorrow be bored by it but, if I am loaded with ale, I suspect I would be very much entertained - such is the state of we simple slurpers.
'I'm Fattist' is still soaked in booze, is cobbled to buggery and slightly terraced, has no inclination to be anything else and clobbers its way to a short and abrupt finale. The song is routine, gobby and one for the lads - mmm - we seem to be in the midst of a one way cyclone - judgement is reserved thus far. Not much to add - I've heard it all before, it ain't bad but it ain't exactly inspiring - bear with me. 'Beer Street' tommy guns in, is fuelled by scorched intensity and hard palpitated stick work - we develop into a speedy flush of ill-tempered sub-fury that seems to never let up. The structure is unorthodox, we have no clean definition of verse/chorus etc. but we do rise to a closing showdown where all gather together and proclaim their love of the booze. A fine effort this one and easily the best song thus far.
Up The Ante' scuffs the sheen off anything resembling a shiny moment and kicks out at your more genteel sensitivities with a bulldozing pub scuffle that sees a bare thread hung on to and a political mouthing off given. Roughshod, unorthodox, lyrically rewarding and with a grimy edge this ain't half bad but it has room for improvement. 'Brown Sauce, White Skin' duels, chops and changes, punctuates with sharp stated lines escorted by uncompromising low brow string work. At times the intensity glows more harshly, in places the drift seems too ranted without being to dangerously slanted - I am getting where the band are coming from but am just missing out on a full on thrill. A difficult ditty again to fully grasp and once more I confess to being left just a little on the outside.
We turn for home, 4 quick ones are needed.
'Pissheads' is more like it with a distinct 'Oi' leaning and higher pressured approach that gets the band moving with greater fluidity. A snippet where the band set new textures and offer a sub-chorus that has little effect gives me cause for concern and so the general gist is impeded despite the latter end surge. 'Rodeo With Rockets' staggers around, chugs, stomps, mixes noise and nastiness amid a machine-like stutter before going through the usual fluent motions - this one has much to consider and perhaps there are two songs here instead of the one given. I still feel one step behind what the band are trying to do but I am catching up - hey I gets through a lot of racket, sometimes my legs lose the odd race. Next up and the regular drilling known as 'Men Handbag', a flat-lined number that doesn't fully grasp the advantages created - the chance to explode at the end of each verse, the chance to sharpen the toned talons and really scratch away the doubting flesh. A similar response arises - a feeling that potential is not being tapped and that is nothing short of frustrating.
Last 3 and 'The Great Indoors' is raucous and crumbling with the band throwing about their usual discordant dandruff and leaving a messy aftershock to assess. A quick brush down and nothing really sticks, the whole affair seems disjointed and yet there is something within the mix to take and form into something more rewarding - bah - the final breakdown says so much - I am just not in the bands groove at all here so will bail swiftly. 'Red Dwarf' is a piss take of the famed TV series and is over and done with in the mere exploding of an asteroid and, in brutal honesty, I can't see the point of it. We finish up with 'Shout Your Oiz II Men', more acidic tumbling from the dustbin and fuzzing, buzzing and no doubt guzzling along the way. Another quick one, a bit more relevant but not my thing - just something about this song, at this stage, that doesn't impress me.
Cracking on and despite Oiz II Men intriguing me in the past and hearing much puffing about this one I feel a little let down. Too many tracks are the same, too much predictability and just lacking a sharpened edge that, it seems, is essential in this instance. I love DIY music but can't like everything - this is a case of where I find myself ticking the 'don't like' box. Many do disagree and so they should - I can only be humble and try my best. The pointers I would give though is to add clarity to each component, throw in some downright regular power chords, dabble with a few 'out of sync' areas and of course 'never give in'.
BENEFIT STATE - DEMO
I quote from Facebook - 'A punk band playing punk, what more can we say' - not a lot it seems and so what more can I add? Well this is a DIY unit which is local-ish to me and has a few faces in I have seen in action before - that's about it. Oh yes they formed this year, 2013, and are based in the Salford/Mossley area. Well it is more than the buggers in the band have said.
First up and a comically vicious tuned tale known as 'Cake', a song that ploughs away with regular riffs and abraded gobbage and has worded matter regarded gluttony and a fat cow who just can't get enough. The main winning ingredient to this stodgy tune is the incessant approach that won't be denied - like a fat fuck on their way to the fridge for a feast - no stopping the march. A few flashy cutlets of stringwork are thrown in, the grind is appealing and I think that this opening track, without being overly ambitious or unnecessarily ornate, does the job. Fingered bass and a drum ripple and into 'Fester' we go. A tribute it seems to a wayward chap who was well liked and brought a fair bit of joy here and there. This track is similar to the opener in general acoustic dress code but contains a slightly extra flamboyance and is carried off with slightly more elegance and sanguinity. Again, quite orthodox but with trimmings that set off the number and stop it from becoming a lost member in the sonic crowd. What I am liking is the end mix and feel with a little more danger in the approach things could really hot up. No gripes here though, first EP, a safe and steady start!
On we go and 'Salford Girl', has a retro feel with the youthful embryonic innocence found in punk of yore. After an initial electronic twinge a chug is adopted and a reliable and seemingly inexorable routine taken. The lass of noise we are greeted by is decent, approachable and without distracting adornment. She swings with sanguinity, contains a distinct earthiness and has a watertight simplicity. As stated, this is definitely an old skool grind out and one many may miss the feel of - personally I like this uncomplicated rhythmic lady and am happy to jump in line with her set beat. 'Touched' closes and is the most devilish offering of the lot with the paedo brigade, who hide behind many masks, truly dealt with and highlighted. A grim bleakness pervades, a heavy power persists, a threat looms - what this one primarily does is dip its toes into a more metalised arena and thus creates further options. A bit too methodical perhaps but laden with good force - 50/50 on this one but as far as the production goes I have no doubts - very satisfactory.
So an opening gambit from a new band and yet again a crew to seek out and enjoy it seems. The songs are honest, easily picked up and come from maestros with no pretensions. Cute touches give extra authority and offer glimpses into what may come - what else can I add - hopefully I can do my humble bit to open a few doorways for em' - simple as you like!
THE MURDERBURGERS - THESE ARE ONLY PROBLEMS
Back in January of 2009 The Murderburgers played their first show for ye olde Fungal fruit here and knocked off my pop punked socks. They were booked on the back of their fine opening album which captured a DIY feel, a sweet honesty and an ear for a good toon. The band have been busy since, they have made some impressive strides, played a few more gigs for yours truly and upped the ante as regards output and giggage. A few line-up changes and now, signed to Asian Man Records, we have their latest release to assess. The band have come a long way in a short time, they are still spot on in the 'live' arena, does this CD still hit the right hotspots? Questions, questions - only one way to find out...
The scotch soniceers open with 'Another Way Out Of Here', a song that starts in an odd way and comes forth as something halfway finished - mmm - awkwardness hey. The song immediately finds its feet and has all the new trimmings of the MB machine with clean cut guitar, Fraser’s melancholy tinted vocals and well skipped drum work. It is a very bleached number and lacks enough specific sonic bacteria with which to infect the listener’s interest - I hate to say it, as I love this band, but this is a pretty dull start and fails to inspire my soul. 'Everything Is Muted And Brown' is more like it and despite the title giving suggestions as to a description of what has just passed this more promising ditty is back in the richer vein where the band find more success. A nice swing in the bass, a sweet guitar manipulation, a song given the odd minimalist cut and gently swayed with melody - no in yer face assaults, the band have advanced into a creature that has become more acoustically erudite, more (dare I fuckin' say it) professional. Is this a good thing? Well, it depends on your slant but in the 'live' pit it works remarkably well and here it will win many new fans who have no ear for the technicalities and subtleties of the more muckier noise out there (stupid cunts). Not bad though! 'Sorry In Advance' completes the opening trio of tuneage and with still hesitant fingertips I rattle off the next assessment. This one has a quick sharp start, embraces the set theme but comes with extra vigour. The words are fluent, as is the toneage, and we find ourselves with a very polished end sound that leans more than ever to the bubble-gummed (or double bummed) US sound where sickly sweet vibes from the up market chocolate box dictate over the pick and mix cheapo stall run by Mr DIY and his sidekick, Vera Lo-fi - the transparent bint with no hint of affectation. This keeps me on the back foot and my sonic shoplifting abilities are put to the test - where do my digits prefer to delve?
I crack on...decisions to come!
'When Winter Doesn't End' is thoughtful and has a dreary underlay to the general carpet of melody which makes for a comfortable wander around the general room of rhythm. Much passes by, the routine is far from orthodox, the band weave this way and that but give one a certainty in knowing that the end is always in sight. The song arrangements here far excel previous output and, given more time than normal the offerings, do indeed grow. This is the best so far and sees many concrete aspects of the band and their ability to progress deeper and deeper into their own chosen den of discordance. The frontman extends his own range and is assisted by the production values that are truly precise. Neat and tidy, tidy and neat as two creations of Mr Hargreaves once said! Onwards, 'The Working Week Is A Case Study' (yeah - in fuckin' madness) is fuckin' delightful and gets back to how things were - lovely. Swift, acute, slamming of the soul destroying farce we are all trapped in, with glints of hope given via pertinent strings and slap happy sticks - come on lads, you say it how it is and no matter how bleak the picture is you always add a splash of much needed hope tinted colour - thank goodness. 'No Need For The Reminder' has a shiny quality and uplifts with its harmonious approach and substantial reliability. A very resolute opening burst, a glide through the main material, the prototypical thread of misery creeps below the main epidermal layer and the band somehow win favour with the sub-self loathing oxymoron that is a dreary delight.
Double quick time for the next 4 folks - starting with the aptly rapid 'The Next Time...', a straight ahead rattle that nails it in 33 seconds flat with all feathers preened and looking rhythmically resplendent 'All My Best Friends Are Dying' gradually curves upwards on well constructed tones that are saturated, emotive and crisp. What we eventually lead to, after much excellence, is a wind out to savour - a poignant structure that fights against the piss we are drenched with in this weary existence. It all seems a struggle, this is pure 'fucked off' music - relate to it or miss the point completely. 'The Shades Of Grey' suggest more pessimism/reality but begins in a determined fashion with plenty of good old MB strength and stubbornness within the opening bars. Things ripple outward, we reach a calmer moment with a good underflow of bubbling intent before the song blossoms and flourishes to the finish. 'Turning 25 Was Shit' opens with lucid clarity and restrained power which is duly let off the leash and bites us hard on the apathetic ass, thus knocking us forward into a sweet headlong rush of Murderburger relentlessness. They do this shit so well. 4 songs again, consistently effective.
3 to close, mmm - may as well keep moving sharpish.
'My Name Is Elbows' - mmm - do I like this track? The start has me worried but as soon as the wee warbling man opens his throat I am no longer disappointed (no intention here to suggest the guy is orally dabbling with my central lone digit). A terse trundle with optimum melody scooted along on tireless spirit - it will do for me. 'Christine, I Forgive You' re-emphasises the thoughtful direction the band are seemingly going with a well plucked sensation running throughout and a alcohol-induced bout of anger cum misery the main essence arising. The structure, once more, avoids the typical route and is one lengthy whinge that really shouldn't work but does as it is played with deep meaning and utter sincerity. I don't know if this style would serve the band well over a long term and must point out that the short punchy 3 chord pop blasts are essential components and the band would be unwise to neglect them. Think on ye buggers. We bow out with a song called 'My Inner Mental Room', a tale of cerebral problems that need to be shouted about and trampled under a tuneful rapid stepping foot. Social strugglers will relate to this and find hope as well as the desire to ping and pogo and fuck off the brain drudging filth - well that's the idea. A lost soul still seems lost but he has toons for company and that can never be a bad thing.
The MB boys go forth, albeit in a different form, and have me pleased but pondering where they will go from here. I like this but I prefer a couple of their other albums if I am honest but that is a personal thing and I can only judge on what I have before me. The fact is that this is well played, tight, solidly produced and shows the band are pushing themselves. A couple of tracks do little for me, some wobble me wotsits, others have me smiling - a fair mix. It will be interesting to hear what the band release next - we are on the cusp of a determining episode in the popped up journey - fingers crossed the basics aren't forgotten. Still one of my fave bands though...I think that says it all!
TOUGHSKINS - KEEP THE FAITH
A co-release by Germany's Randale Records and US label Rebel Sound Music for a band who first hit the airwaves back in 1993. After a long, drawn out pregnant pause the band was eventually reformed and here we have 4 tracks to ponder and hopefully stomp out our guts to. The artwork, the band name, the title of the EP all suggest a certain style - I am too old and rhythm worn to make pre-judgements though - Oi, Oi - in we go (oops).
I expect hard impact aggression here – we shall see. Some CD's are easy to review because they instantly strike a chord...one session...wham...done!
A dominant grind, the immediate riff is overpowering and enhanced by slightly frilled bass before the tub thumping drive is at us and the band reveal their true tattooed nature. 'Too Young To Care' is seeped in focused aggression with a throw away, 'couldn't give a fuck' intent that remains as tight as buggery and twists home a fine street based bout of routine rhythm. A central segment of exhibitionism, that is brief and to the point, this opening salvo batters along and never pauses to look over its muscular shoulder. From the confident full-bloodied entrance to the final scorched declaration I am fuckin' having this one and having it big time. 'Keep The Faith' initially promises to be anthemic with a pronounced start adorned in strictly positioned notes but...the song becomes a typical surge filled with the units excitable edge and very tidy affect - pleasing indeed. The bass is controlled and given ample room to flex itself with the guitar and drums both swiftly executed and essential to the 'whizzed' sensation. The gobbage is gruff but still very lucid and overall this is a fine second track that has me requiring more.
Onwards, yet another good reliable band hit the fungal frequencies!
Glasslight textures shimmer, a natural shuffling rhythm ensues, cymbals separate and welcome - back into an expected groove. Honest and well mixed with suggestions of a rougher style than it has actually got this slightly unshaven track is once more 'of the street' and travels on well polished boots that will give you a kicking - but in a most decent way. 'Black And Blue' is a more than adequate song but I must give a warning at this stage, albeit prematurely, that the band need to keep on their toes and make sure, over a longer distance, they offer more variety and texture of tone (just a thought). I shall not complain though, this is in keeping with the EP thus far and all is good enough for me - highly recommended stuff.
We fuck off with the best song of the lot and as I always say 'start with a good un', finish with a good un' and if yer band has anything about them the rest will take care of itself'. 'Crack Some Skulls' is a provocative piece of urban ill temper pounding out with delicious sincerity and fist flying control. The frontman salivates has he delivers the aggressive verse and chorus tirades and is backed, during the latter sections, by his beefy players. No matter what your stance as regards violence this one will appeal to your animal instincts and get you singing along with raged spirit. Any fuckwit who is an hindrance to your flow will be thought about as you join in with this vicious number - most excellent.
That's it - 4 songs, rattled off from the pit of the stomach where passion (and last nights curry) burns. Sometimes you don't need to scratch too deep because everything is on show - balls, beating heart and belief. Don't fuck about - indulge!