FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 89
OWLS - TWO
Active for 2 years early in the decade and now back again after a lengthy break Owls are an indie rock band hailing from Chicago. The style has emotive slants, the usual alternative accents and much to consider for my Fungalised self. The band rose from the ashes of Cap n Jazz and have much musical nouse - but does it melt together and form an end composite to tantalise my acoustic taste buds? I be a fussy bugger at times. Without further digression I plunge into these untested waters with balls bared and flippers of neutrality working away.
The CD begins in a semi-submerged style, floating between that which is obvious and that which is hidden. The dispersing ripples that come from 'Four Works Of Art' are vague and need watching very, very carefully. The effect is semi-psychedelia with a hint of 60's doped out mellowness and hippified spaciousness. The delicate chuggery has deliberate positioning of each note, the repeated chant style is Krishnafied in the main and this commune/tribal chill out leaves a quite unsettling aftertaste. 'I’m Surprised' picks up the impetus and further fascinations are unearthed within the machinations of this more eager song. The initial theme of switched off serenity still dictates and seems set for the rest of the tuned collection despite the band soaring high with this natural glide of steady tranquillity. Strikes of the strings are clashing, disharmonious at times and occasionally melt in to a most ruffled rhythm. Owls cough up numerous angular pellets so early in this offering - I inspect further.
'The Lion' next, I expect a roar, I could be accused of a foolish thinking faux pas, what I get is a well constructed piece that initially pounds within the twilight before settling down to the first sub-verse. The mellowed utterances offer a detachment from the more restless moments and as a result we get an opposing essence that benefits from the competitive components. In certain parts we are tossed into the air and fly hard on soaring surges, in other areas we are grounded and walk with the most deliberate stride - it all makes for a slightly complex mix that I find delightful. 'Why Oh Why' has too much drifting and underhand fiddling and twiddling to make anything resembling a comfort listen. The bass, drums and guitar all seem to suggest unity but appear, in the main, to work as a sole entity. We then turn from the contented dreaminess to the anxiously awake and a veritable disturbance arises that cannot be shook. A bit of a let down for me personally after such a quality high point - it happens!
Acoustic adrenalin rush, I think so, the perusers are as important as the players!
'This Must Be How' is marginally angled toneage with another disquiet drain flushing out many opposing notes. The bass palpitates, the drums invade spasmodically, the guitar shimmers and scares, the gob maintains a detachment that disturbs - haunting in some underhand way. 'Ancient Stars Seed' glistens randomly from varied facets, each one suggesting prize gold albeit in different pastel shades and not the vulgarised way deemed. Unorthodox in structure, quite wondrous when breaking away from the self stitched up sonic strait jacket, this curious number has many angles to admire and numerous touches to be tantalised by. 'It Collects Itself' follows in similar style but with a greater corruption in the routine and a greater roaming rhythm that seems to be always searching for a set groove in which to slot. The light slightly fluffed lyrics seem to gets tossed about on the uneven ocean of awkward acoustica and yet somehow something captivating this way comes. It is a real melting pot of on the cusp vibes that get stirred around leaving me quite sure that with each rotation of the silver disc the individual chords and notes get changed around. Fiendish!
3 left and a rapid round-up methinks, gotta be fair on all parties concerned! 'I'll Never Be' continues to warp the metal of melody with solar rays that are searing from all sides and contain a grabbing tonality that disturbs and disrupts the senses. The legs buckle several times most notably at the last hurdle - a real trail this one. 'Oh No, Don't' is an intentionally grim and grimy slab of nerve jangled sound that fails to get the positive reactants bouncing from within this assessing Fungal frame. Hippified in a bombed out kind of way with a dabbling disquietude born from mauling anxious mitts hands with too much time to fanny. Courtesy requests I bow out before I say things unnecessary due to this not being my chosen bag of racketology - ooh I must be going soft in me old age. 'A Drop Of Blood' finishes things with a more acousticised feel and a greater management of the melody had and so leading to a far easier listen. It isn't all about keeping things digestible and I am all for bending boundaries but sometimes, after a real clog up, it is nice to drift along in an easy manner. This is tepid, chilled music - take it as it is, at such a late stage let us not get so picky.
Sp, out of the pool, into the neighbour’s sink and a swill down in new noise laden water. Uncomfortable, of course, challenging, you bet - but I am not complaining - it keeps me alert. Overall I am not brandishing this CD as the greatest find of my musical life, I am not spouting about it as a great addition to thy collection - No, all I can do is say for the majority of punters I know this will be a curio to dabble with, an outside oddity to at least check out and then, after all that, you still find nothing of elevating worth then so be it. Personally I am convinced in part, saturated in ennui in others, undecided with other areas - and that is honesty for ya.
FOREIGN LEGION - LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
Foreign Legion have been around the block, stopped on several corners, emptied their acoustic bowels and pissed up a few lethargic lamp posts and...still they wander on. Formed initially in 1984 these Welsh Warriors have played with a few better known bands over the years and in some ways have become something of a reliable bread and butter group that many punkers have heard of but know little about. Now the band are chomping again and with a working class slant to this latest album one wonders where things will end this time around. Here is my take on things thus far.
'Jenny' pulses in, stays clam and gently emerges from the silent undergrowth and reveals itself as a distinct mule of old and new with a narrated tale given of a young town based lass who fell for a shaven headed valley lad. Well written and with a steady chug this understated piece plays its cacophonic cards close to its chest and so sonically stays within certain restraining boundaries. The essence though is solid, the harmonised moments enhancing and the general musicianship appealing. Without producing a royal flush the band win the open hand and serve up a solid ace without too much fuss. 'What A Place To be' is dealt up next and is a scuzzier affair with that extra 'ooomph' factor, initially at least. The first verse is mellow and drifts casually into a simplistic chorus that maintains the fluid flow Foreign Legion are so adept at creating. Again a safe number with the strength only obvious if volume is cranked up and you are on yer spiked and studded toes. Don't overlook the depth, the detail and the casual aplomb that this is ploughed forth with.
'Regeneration (Council List)' drum rolls and plods, the first verse is as dreary as the rain that falls in the first few lines, dreary but not dead - take note doubters. The chorus is more like it with a well pushed desire driving home the intent and showing the band can alternate the thermal energy levels. Nostalgic in parts and a pleasant old listen but my favour is destined for the next song, a real repetitive grind out with a tuned in appeal and going by the name of 'My Radio'. A slightly scuffed surface and real insistent lick that has the vibe well and truly captured and just an example of one of those basic affairs you just can't shake free from your noggin - excellento!
5 quick ones as is a common theme. 'Hey Girl' shuffles its arse, rouses, has a nice shout out title to join in with and trundles with fair consistency whereas 'George Best' has a bouncy aspect with a streak of defiance and longing for the past. Not bad but lacking a true punch this and along with the the following 'Stalker' just disappear into the pack with what I deem to be an insipid approach and quite dumbed down production. Harsh - of course, but Foreign Legion have good form and I don't think this is reflective of that reputation. Come on lads - go for it. 'Market Trader' seems as though I have hit the repeat button and goes through the usual motions and I can't help but feel disappointed. The same chuggery, buggery and nothing more. The crew stay in the same gear, play for consistency, knock out a solid but usual break and then fold to the finish. No - I wanted more now I am demanding it. The last of the fast five is 'Three Years' the strongest song of the lot due to the subject matter which has the band raising the anger stakes, the tempo and the general attitude and of course it goes without saying the effect is greater. Compare this to the previous 4 and make up your own minds but the FL squad need that essential chomp in the tuneage and thrive as a result - take care, I shall argue the point on the evidence shown here!
The finishing three and 'Miners' next - is the cavernous production edge deliberate? A rough house song sung from dusted lungs in a hollow where all is black and loaded with danger. A tribute it seems to the grafting vampires who worked their sable asses off in the dark and surface...yes you guessed it...in the dark. A gutsy drive, the most crummy number in the pack with strings strummed and skidded, drums kept in strict order - I shan't grumble. 'Drunken Heroes' claws its way upward, slips and finger scrapes downwards, manages to knock out a typical generic effort I can take or leave. Too many loaded idiosyncrasies of a saturated scene lessen the impact of this well played song and I do wonder at times if I am getting to a stage where I have heard too much of the same thing. Put this song back thirty years and its a good un' due to win fine praise, in today's upcharged environment it is part of a wealthy pack. 'Phoenix From The Flames' is a resurgence, a self rally call, a romp to revive - I like the effect, I like the attitude, but is the rhythm not erupting enough and do the band have more in reserve? I am convinced they certainly do and am only giving a judgement of undecided here.
Look here and listen, Foreign Legion are a good reliable unit but I am not here to make a review based on that criteria alone, my task, as per, is to scrutinise the sonica at hand, push the band onto better things and give a fair end opinion. I think that has been the case throughout, if you don't concur then write yer own review but make sure you do it with the bands progression at heart!
TEAR THEM DOWN - THEIR FAULT, OUR PROBLEM
I have had a dry patch, the textual torrent I so enthusiastically pour forth has failed and I therefore have had to take stock, flush the head, blow out the clogging cobwebs. It happens and when coming back to the assessing table it is always nice to be greeted by some lively tuneage to tantalise the sonic receptors - enter Tear Them Down. These Swedish tearaways requested a review, I pondered (during the arid spell) and thought why not - I do stupid - which is part and parcel of passion it seems.
Rapid stuff this with blue light emergency rush throughout - I shall run along in the slipstream and be equally as fast and effective (I hope). 'Bomb City' first, a chanted intro, a fizzed up first blast of the chorus and then into the verse that brings into play the breeze blown rush of rhythm that drags one along. The song has much inner activity but when stripped down is a simplistic affair - that can work as it does here. 'Over The Sea' tinkle toes in on fired up notes before a brief pause and then the headlong plunge into more swift sonica. More Americanise din inflection with an encouraging vibe pulsating within - the band are obviously hungry, on their own musical ball and like things souped up and effervescing with life. Up-tempo and tight, like a midgets electrified anus - so I hear!
'Modern Times' initially thumps with a deliberate action and thus sets out the stall of sonic gratification. A shakedown with strings and skins well injected and then all the usual trimmings come into play and give you some exact modern day noise that is fresh, approachable and may it be said - sub-commercialised. This is clean and hygienic music for both well worn and newly weaned racket lovers and as a result should win a diverse army of followers. The odd cared for moment is thrown in to kind of assure us this isn't throw away expertise flicked off the wrist without thought - nifty sods.
'Fight' rolls up, rocks, out, mean rumbles with a hollering escort before hay making with numerous chorded fists that contain considerable power. Strings are struck with purpose, tonsils torn with intent, gusto blows the bands flag hard - concrete stuff with a flourishing finish. '1986' flashes up next and follows the same course of dramatic discordance with more control and more regularity. When the throat is opened the song comes into its own with a new lease of life gushing through the veins of the din. The chorus is all consuming and the crew rise to their highest levels yet and offer a warning for us all to take heed of - fight for your rights folk! 'Election' cools down the heated zephyr with a more tepid offering that suggests a greater commercialism that will undoubtedly attract fans of more approachable punkage. The latter label though means hardly fuck all to the ones outside the circle due to the ones inside shredding it to fuck and splitting it more ways than a whore’s anus. For me the weight and prosperity of the noise is what matters and this is yet another scrubbed up and sonically fresh song with an abundance of chomp. 'Small Town' is a pertinent effort with lyrics many, in sonic sub-circles, should pay heed of and get off their arses and do something about. The vibe is feisty, the lucid message encouraging, the zest absorbing and the overall tightness to the tuneage most impressive. Again the outpouring is ram-packed with passion and high impact accuracy - I can't fuckin' fault it - annoying I know but all I can do is be straight and unwavering!
'Oh The Irony' alters the thread, stitches up the energy bursts for the time being and gives a sub-acoustic meander built of sanguine musicianship and well prepared tones cooked by sonic chefs on a very accomplished roll. The change in impetus and effect is choice and this song enhances the whole listening experience 100% and more. The harmonised areas, the keyed touches, the overall fragility and yet underlying strength all make for a very worthy listen. The long woven theme is unbroken and fully appreciated by this Fungal swine for sure - a veritable classic. To keep things beautifully unbalanced 'I'm Dead' power surges in electrifying ecstasy with a brutal thump out laden with modernised mayhem to keep thee enthralled. A full CD of this deliberate dinnage would be too much to swallow but one chunky morsel thrown in like this and delivered with such expertise is mouth wateringly wonderful - keep the nutrients of noise coming. 'Punk Rock Love' is a tale of a journey we should all be able to relate to with this song plucking at our spiked heartstrings and bringing noisy memories flooding back. The pride exuded is apt, the mode in which it is delivered most accomplished - can Tear Them Down do no wrong?
Last 4 prove much, I shall whizz through, it is more of the same with 'Violence' a smart forward roll with a distinct lack of brutality but with much provocation to make ya swing your fist to - in a dancey kind of way. 'Not Listening' is a whirring effort loaded with gumption, likeable well chorded threads and a pushing persuasion that sees all players contribute to the saturation of the soundscape. 'Take It Out On Me' is the penultimate track and is a catchy gem I particularly enjoy. At so late a stage in the CD it is nice to have something easy to join in with and with still so much joy de vivre. 'Our Time' is a glorious blow out with the band having supreme confidence in the here and now and what they do and how they do it - an irresistible full stop despite the hidden piss about (ya tinkering buggers).
Convincing material to say the least and played with such relish and invigorating joy. This is a must for new-skool lovers, those who like it fresh and bouncy and those who like to keep positive and upbeat about the whole musical arena. Where can the band go from here without replicating themselves - at this stage who fuckin' cares?
ILL GOTTEN GAINS - STOLEN GOODS EP
Skanky dubbo punkage sprouting for the armpit of Basingstoke the Ill Gotten Gains crew are constructed of 5 members and although only arising during 2013 they really do have a really progressive and well rehearsed sound on their hands. Bordering on ska core with a slighter lighter edge this is convincing music and as long as the band don't get too caught up in their sub-generic undies and therefore rupture a teste of rhythm I reckon the future is rosy! Anyway, the kind buggers have asked me to review a 3 tracker and so I will, with the tried and tested Fungalised approach.
WHO SAID PUNK WAS DEAD - COMPILATION CD
And yet another compilation - but this time from an avid fans viewpoint who has an ear for good music and is a real stalwart in the noisy community. Stef Leppard is the man at the helm, a passionate 'erbert who puts on gigs, plays in a band (well a two piece if that counts) and of course, releases a few CD's. It is all about doing your bit and this guy does in the most applaudable terms and here, is a Fungal take on the CD in hand. 27 fine tracks, many of which I have reviewed before, and many of which are fine new vibes to my lugs. The ones I have reviewed before I shall deal with in one block paragraph (ye can do some homework and if have anything resembling interest will no doubt seek out the textual assessments on here or elsewhere for that matter) and the rest I shall go through as per usual. It is the least I can do!
So, to the previously reviewed - well many efforts fall into that bracket and here is a swift lowdown. Dirtbox Disco offer 'Burning' and singe ye knackers with their choice style of approachable poppage, Flat Back Four complicate things and give you some new skool technicality and fair fretted sonica via the encouraging 'Reach For The Sky', the UK Subs roll out an old fave and something of an oddity with the rabble rousing 'Reclaim The Streets;' Acid Drop defy the routine with the crackin' 'Birth, Buy, Die', the Mardi Gras Bombers throw up the best song of the entire collection with the flesh feeding classic 'Resurrection Gang', Loaded 44 vie for the prestige of top of the pops though with the remarkable effective and instantaneously catchy 'Do Nothing' and 'Suicide Cop' add excellent sonic and vocal emotion as well as well worded lyrics via 'Tunnel Vision'. Dischord are always excellent and we have a third prospect for the pinnacle players with the raging screech of 'Vote For No-One' a searing gem that highlights the quality of the here and now, whereas an old fave band of mine from yesterday were Shotgun Solution and, proof of why is shown here with 'Nobody Wins A War', a solid account from a band who trembled out the tuneage with believable vigour - oh yes! And to the last one from under the Fungal spotlight and the remarkable electro digitised output known as 'Complimanix' by the thriving Black Light Mutants - as I say - the here and now matters because it is the most exciting time you should be having musically - if not then fuckin' wake up.
And so...to the ones I ain't reviewed - fuckin' hell me digits!
A screech, a jittery rumble, Rotunda snatch at your attention. Shuffles bordering on scuffles, fleshy riffs and bollock busting drive - the band know the direction and with 'Ten Years On', put everything into gear and fuckin' go towards the tuned destination. An uncompromising heavy duty song that blisters from the start right up until the finish. In fact In Evil Hour do the same with the more corrosive 'Divide & Conquer' a fast moving bout of white hot sonica that doesn't do anything new but in truth doesn't really have to. Sonically tight, metalised in part, highly roasted throughout, this impetuous blazing flare up is routine bone jarring noise but stands out due to the serious sincerity thrown in - nice. To maintain the billowing flames Defcon Zero pour on their own brand of tuned petrol and build the conflagration higher with the nuclear thermals of 'Bring Out Your Dead', a raging piece that is a blindingly fine example of if you decide to tear it up then please just absolutely fuckin' shred it! The chords are brandished here with slash happy murdering intent and for me, anything less, would just be insulting! Luv Dump uphold the energy levels, technically up the stakes and do things their own modernised and intricate way. 'Who Decides The Truth' is an absorbing piece you need to pay full attention to. Much transpires, many targets are hit, many directions are taken - stick with it oh ye of little patience - it be a good honest burst of discordance.
Another choice song next that combines a clashed vocal style, persistent (between vocal) guitar riff and an all consuming chorus regarding the 'Fun Police'. The overall meritous point of this song is the melody and naturalised gob work but don't be fooled into thinking some members are cruising - the band are working as a tight unit here and doing themselves an abundance of favours with this showcasing cracker. Next neglected noise to go under the Fungal finger based judgement is 'Empire Of Wealth' by the always efficient Dun2Def, a song loaded by mouthed emotion scarred in the most natural way with accented purity. The pace is middling, the submerged flame set at roast levels (with subtlety) and the overall construct is heavily laden with questioned intent. The band have reasons to rock, they have things to say - if they do it like this why shouldn't we listen? RSI next and the flustery passion of 'Daggers'. Forget the tune, concentrate on the uplifting wordage - very necessary in this testing musical shithouse. Well composed, delivered with swollen chest hepped up by a commitment to the cause, nicely produced, appealing no doubt to the new skool brigade and...yeah the tune ain't bad wink, wink. The Kirks step up, bass intro, drum skip, a skid and usual nervous energy poured in via the vim soaked mouth. Fluttering, always on the brink of falling apart, again a modernised approach with scatter bomb moments, slow staggers and surges many adore and all very much typical of this band. ‘Kickbacks’ is an example of what they do and I must say they do it fairly well tha' knows.
Wrecks flutter acoustic eyelashes and posture and pose with a theatrical kind of tune that has a somewhat manic suggestion. That feeling of unhinged acoustica is confirmed when the band release themselves and fly into a holler out where the vocal range of the accomplished vixen at the fore grabs ya and convinces over and over again. 'Arms' is a rally call, the song does indeed reach out and embraces your appreciation - wonderful. Roughneck Riot are an accomplished crew in their own chosen sub-style and ‘This Is Our day’ is very much an example of the bands finer points. Plucked, gushing, incessant and highly charged with the signature sound that has served them so well to date. The gobbage is abraded, the persistent shimmer of the strings encouraging, the overall push convincing - the band have some considerable weight.
A fave band of mine over the recent years has been Most Likely To Fail, a super bunch to work with and a band who place emphasis on the tune, the melody, the construct rather than the effect, the outrageous. Musicians through and through with their hearts in it for all the right reasons and their feet firmly planted within their roots. 'Waiting' is a gem that has a bittersweet outlook, a feeling of regret, an overtone of hope - the band do the emotional so wonderfully well and combine this with their instinct for a fine catchy tune - you'll soon know why I am an eternal fan. Line up changes have occurred, the stance is still the same - a great track. Lunacy next and with a serious edge as The Cosmic Fingers assault the name of that corpse fiddling, child abusing, woman raping git Jimmy Saville via the song 'Fix This'. The band don't hold back, state the obvious, do it without thought for being politically correct and get a point across we are all familiar with - a sobering snip for sure.
Brace For Impact next, a band on the radar and now off it again - what has happened here then? 'Terror' is a choice example of the bands forceful ways, stubborn relentless thrash out that blends wholesome noise with a razors edge - unapologetic, fizzed and to the point - the bread and butter of a scene that should glutton more. Total Bloody Chaos offer 'Lowlife Scum' a double headed he/she holler off that consumes your interest and provokes a pogo action loaded with rebellious intent. A scatter drum attack, harsh gobbage onslaught coming from both ends of the sexed spectrum and doing it in stunning style with strings taut when needed and adding that final touch of flamboyance the band are gradually grasping onto and combining perfectly with their angry vomit. Excellent band, excellent tune - they are rolling upwards folks.
To the last three, Autopsy Boys come forth with 'Knee Deep In Dead', a futuristic electro snarl up that flicker switches, crosses wires and expels an inner fury you will be purely frazzled by. Play loud, damage yourself - play low, miss the point - the choice is ultimately yours but I like the critical danger, the severe angularity of this out of synch potion - I mustn't drink too deeply but I find myself always taking that extra sip - keep it on the cusp and confound the cunts who are coasting - shut down! 'The Antidote' by Vermin Suicides is a silky skank that adds extra facets via twanked strings, bounced vocal quirkage and a structure that just oh so slightly teeters. The chorus clears cobwebs, holds onto a spiked edge and with that groovy bass weaving throughout there should be enough to keep many reaching for the replay button. I couldn't think of a better way to close a CD of this ilk with the acoustic assisted attack called 'Your Living In The Past' by Paul Carter, a bastion of hope who sees the ignorant shit going down and wants to say his piece against the shameful behaviour involved. It is typical Carterised cacophony (thank fuck) and worded in such a way as to highlight Paul's cheeky but thought provoking slant on things - he is bang on the mark here and has a sweet thought for us to ponder as the final silence beckons - do it!
Now that is it, all done and the only way I can sum this CD up is by making the point that if this were one of my releases how would I feel. The answer is extremely proud, proud of the quality, the bands involved, the value for money and the ethos that it has been compiled with. A cracking collection showcasing many bands I certainly believe in and an underdog culture that goes to my very core. Stef Leppard, I salute you!
THE YOUTH - FANCY YOU
Formed in 2012 this Danish band have a desire to play sweaty assed melodies that will get beneath your skin and cause an eruption of pleasurable reactions. Rumour has it that this crew lean towards the trashy, unpolished and spontaneous end of the spectrum with a high regard for high energy and sing-a-long songs that are riffed and rocked up to the max. There is a retro feel that is transported into the future and that can make for a darn exciting mix - Fungal is ready to plunge into the heart of this 2 track single.
The A-side and 'Fancy You' begins with a 4 count before twisting its sharply strung hips into the main grind of the song that gushes with garbage can clutter, garaged griminess, rock n' roll refuse tip reality. Fly blown and simmering with a desperation this bass riddled rhythm is straight into the lugs, down the spine and into those hot dancing toes. The Youth instantly capture yesteryear, catapult into tomorrow and catch up on insightful heels loaded with good time vibes. I love this style of music, I am easily sold but my obdurate objectivity won't be suckered so simply - however it has to admit this time that this is a fair toon.
'Your Love' shakes its lo-fi ass and grooves on down with a more slap and shake effect that is overlain with sandpapered gob work and interwoven with glassy guitars, cymbal shimmering tympanics and a beetle (or perhaps Beatle) bobbing bass line. The effect is distinctly of an era and of a style, of course it fuckin' is, but that shouldn't detract from the quality on show and the variance it offers in most music collections. It will do for me anyway - fuck ya if ya disagree - I respect opinions, it is what it should all be about.
There ya go, 2 tracks, 2 pips and I am always up for this kind of low brow music that goes back to basics, kicks shit in your face and has that inner primitive noise essence many (especially in the punk scene) have lost. Sweet shit indeed that will attract many happy flies I am sure!
GOOBER PATROL/7 DAY CONSPIRACY - SPLIT CD
Fuckin' hell man - when was the last time I heard a Goober Patrol track - some time for sure? As for 7 Day Conspiracy - not a band I can say I am utterly familiar with and now it seems is the time to correct that oversight. 2 bands, combining forces and, in all fairness, contrasting and complimenting in an equal and unpredictable style. Between these 2 bands there is about 34 years of noisy dabbling to call upon and although slightly different on sonic stance the ethos and the attitude seem well tuned in to one another. I ain't in the mood for fuckin' about (mainly due to the ever growing backlog of CD reviews I may just disappear within) so into the assessment of this Bomber Music release we go.
Goober Patrol first with the gorgeously victorious toon known as 'That's The Point'. Don't be fooled by the chilled quiver of the verses, sections designed to lead one astray and to get one all settled for an erudite listen it seems. All is efficient and dandy but the chorus that erupts in a harmonised energy burst is what makes this opening gambit and really gets the juices of noise flowing down the trembled thighs and eventually flooding those old dancing shoes - flip, flop, slip, slop - why the hell not? The GB dudes have a rawness that is paradoxically boiled up to appear slightly processed (or should that be tampered with) and so what we get is an ever increasing episode of convincing DIY dinnage - strange innit? 'Tory' follows and is a kind of TV jingle borne from yesteryear when things where more transparent, more basic and more fuckin' approachable. The opening chant is keyed in followed by an instantaneous ball grabbing delight and is duly chased by terse and crumpled wordage that fits the bill quite nicely sir. Again that soiled and shitted sonica has a keen edge and so we keep the corrosiveness as well as a complimentary finish. This one doesn't hang about and neither will I - a nod of agreement is given and the tax robbing Tories can go fuck themselves.
We were on track, wherever that was leading to, and now we derail and charge across country with a unadulterated joy and an unmolested lunacy in all that transpires.
Firstly a question - What begins with 'C', ends in 'T', has 'U' and 'N' in the middle and is hairy on the outside and juicy on the inside - the answer is given within this song. 'Coconuts' is looned jingling and jangling with all privates bared and dangling. Those elusive fruits are sought and never found it seems despite the upbeat jaunt of the song and the incessant hope of the band. Fuck any over analysis, drop yer trollies, get looking, become helpless and jig til' ya drop - love it, why shouldn't I, the band are warped but who cares - they do it so well! 'Man Of The People' puts things firmly in place and any lying wankers better beware. Quirky, super carousel jerky with the men at the helm on the edge of flying free from the rotating machine and scraping their arses of sonica along the awaiting concrete of judgement. Imagine a bunch of noodles on happy pills with electrified anal strings and you may be some way to deciphering where this band are at. Fast, twangy, fairground fuckology at its best - more amphetamines please! The Patrol that is Gooberised close their offerings with 'Jacob's Ladder', the rising and falling oddity that undulates like well blasted waves and then froths up as it crashes onto a harshly rocked and well rolled beach. A strange bugger this and one I need to ponder more – tick, tick, tock, tock - I am still unsure.
So to 7 Day Conspiracy and the sublime beauty that is 'Berkshire Hunt', a song that has a vicious repeat statement amid a happy go lucky tune built on celebratory tones and joyous vibes - a real salt and pepper juxtaposition. The superb drums that begin along with the gushing tones get one prepared for a real worry free burst of innocence until we find ourselves in the midst of a political attack second to none. The harmonised freedom of 'You're a fuckin' cunt' is absolutely memorable and nails a track right into the subconscious - sing baby, sing. 'This Was A Town' follows and is a modern edged sword flashed before you wary eyes with controlled aggression and tight action control. Busy, hectic, loaded with tangents but always driving forth with an all devouring desire to get the job done and done fuckin' well - I think they may have just achieved that. A solid song that runs to the final tape and breaks through with a flourish.
Last 2 and 'The Mill' begins with keyed sadness, is boosted by strung spirit, further raised on textured clouds and finally welcomed by unified gobbage. The band unwrap their noise, throw it at ya with clustered accuracy, tease, test and travel with ardour and eventually hit a chorus that encapsulates the talent on show - a nifty song with many complimentary factors and a good overall feel. 'Sunshine' closes, the most complex construct of the lot, certainly the most whizzing, the most urgent. Now we have a full on specific vibe that will slot into certain pleasure domes whereas before the band kept things ambiguous. I prefer the previous approach but recognise this as a finely crafted song with much technical merit and some hard slamming moments. Just watch yer step chaps and go for that nebulous style a little more dudes - it will keep more interest in some of those lazier heads out there. A good closure though - don't sweat too hard ha, ha.
2 bands, ideal to be joined at the hips and a great listening experience. The variation between outputs is at a perfect level so as to introduce fans of one band to the other without being to toilsome for the lugs. The quality out there never fails to impress me, this is more solid sonica for ye spoilt bastards.
MARK WYNN - NO FUN (NOT THAT ONE) EP
Mr Wynn has angles. Mr Wynn is a jigsaw piece that is a veritable bastard to fit into the overall picture. Mr Wynn may just well be another fine musical cunt unearthed. I like all 3 points and so head into the third review of this dudes material with all anticipatory senses on red alert. I love the artwork and packaging that come with this disc, a visually appealing A5 booklet with noodled noetic slants, disjointed wordage that is so ambiguous has to have many a meaning we can work out and relate to - nice work sir. It is also self deprecating, DIY and sharp witted - another 3 points I like but...do I like the darn 8 tracks on the silver circle - we shall find out about...now!
'BYTC (Blah)', 34 seconds of loosely slung naturalness with a distinct ad-libbed wonder tattooed along the acoustic arm that flexes and relaxes in spasmodic unpredictability as is so frequent with Mr Wynn's outpourings. Why am I instantly intrigued, why indeed does favour float to the surface. I presume it is due, with an increasing desire, to see artistes let it flow and to see them spit all over procedure and expected routine! This is a brief taster, be prepared - it continues and I am all happy about that! 'No Fun (No Not That One)' embraces a more structured style and throws in a consistent tinned up/tinned out strum that works in conjunction with the strummer’s garaged vocals and liquid loquaciousness. The tale is of love, distraction, may it be said deviancy, but comes with such insight and 'in the scene' knowledge. The edge of all that transpires is of course very worn, the precipice of digression randomly slipped from but once more the song has depth, layers to reveal over a period of time and therefore has longevity.
'Ray Davies Nicked All My Songs' is unprocessed rambling that goes for it without thought about what the fuck comes next. Incessant madness that can only be digested over several spins and all done with a kind of tourettes style delivery that disrupts and has many tuned thorns to get snagged by. Purely on the brink again but kept in check by hands well versed in their own art form and at one with the frustrated corrugated feel given. Again I shouldn't applaud but my hands come together with repeated glee in the most sincerest way - I am in a bad way! 'Knee Socks' reclines, ambles and after the initial stress busting scream finds its true unflustered direction. Cool flicks of the wrist twang the strings in a laid back manner, the voice drawls out a sun kissed idleness, the undercurrent of anguish and worry worm character is well brushed beneath the carpet of cool dude casualness that seems slightly threadbare to say the least. A sweet change of tone, most welcome!
'She Fancies Me That One In Age Concern' is almost a spoken word, a poetical monologue delivered from a dirty dustbin of dinnage that has a loose, garage inflection and utterly thoughtful disjointedness that always seems ready to be distracted or digressed into unsynchronised territory. Wynn, as ever, plays a dangerous game, by the skin of his gnashing teeth scrapes by and pulls out an object of acoustica to mull over and to be duly pleased by. Fascinating trash this, take me to the refuse dump, rock me with unwanted rhythms, therein beauty will be found. A very everyday song we can relate to in one way or another! 'Lipstick' has a rock 'n' roll groove, we wonder if something resembling routine will be adopted, no chance! What begins is something akin to orthodox organisation that soon fractures and becomes infected with bursting emotion, spilling spirit and thus metamorphing into another Frankensteinian creation. Clattered to fuck, confused it appears, knowing where its going for sure - this toxin loaded tune is a screwed up mess that is a bitch to assess - something drags me into the side of positivity, something tempts me to slate as a wayward failure - I will eternally be unconvinced by both options.
'Day Trip To Wakefield' is a sweet journey that once more states what’s in the head, relates what happened, puts things in a ludicrous chronological style and is basically a diarised account of what the title says. It shouldn't work, it disgusts me that it does, I am skipping by here, words fail me, I like it, it is something different from the usual acousticised normality - oh ye strumming devil Mr Wynn. The closure comes via 'Tabby Cats Instead', a hunch of the shoulders, a general fuck it and a song that goes with the flow. Slow, steady and with relaxed strings, rain soaked vocals, the expected bloke in the pub feel. The amateur edge that keeps things approachable and agreeable seems to me to be no chance occurrence and the naturalised flavour offered is a delight. The words come without putting the jaw into gear, the drip, drip, drip has more fluidity than at first realised - go on fellar - keep it as real as you personally need it to be.
So another upchuck from a talent never to be trapped, an artiste forever roaming his own mental wilderness and spitting out snapshots of new sonic locations. I like the style, I admit to not grasping every facet but hey, does that always matter? Go forth, test, titivate and tease thy discordant loving senses - you may be charmed or alarmed!
WONK UNIT - NERVOUS RACEHORSE
Have you ever had a flock of starlings burst from you rear end and fly around your nether regions for days on end without a care in the world except for a feast on rectal worms and a good old sing song within the boughs of the bowels. Troubling isn't it and very unpredictable! This occurrence is similar in fact to receiving a Wonk Unit CD - you don't know what to expect and what will happen next but you do know that certain feathers will fly and one hell of a racket will be made. This is my 4th Wonk Unit review and so far the curvature of appreciation has swelled each time, in fact the last release was a veritable gem of dysfunctional deviancy that cleared out the Starling roost and rocked my private areas in a most ardent way - chirp, squawk, peck! So onto the latest release, insane artwork, many abstract titles and expectations of more quirked and jerked energy! I should know better, I should give this a miss, my nerves jingle and jangle, but my assessing pecker I doth dangle - whoosh!
'Wood Pigeon' coos and woos us, crafty twat it be! It is a charmingly terse episode of melancholia that ponders what could be, what won't be and has a pang for that which is unattainable. Beautifully composed and delivered on downy acoustic feathers that increases the comfort zone. 'Lewisham' pounces with an earthy honest and the front dudes clear and friendly tones flowing amid a tidy scuzz of sound from the rear that has bite but keeps things clean and tidy. The impetus is liquid, the cut out drifts ideal and the natural wordage that relates a tale of waywardness and reality makes what could be an average tune a very accomplished end product with much character and idiosyncratic brilliance. 'Nan' is a ludicrous piece of throw away nonsense that should be confined to the filing tray of 'idiocy' but is a relatable tale with wrap around lyrics that do the fuckin' business. The obvious is stated but how many would dare pen a song about a fumbling OAP who takes a leak with the door open. It is insane that something so 'everyday', something so 'overlooked due to is normalcy' should be constructed into a cacophony that is such a delight. Only the Wonkers have the tenacity to get involved in such creations and I for one am fuckin' glad they do. This latter treat completes an opening trio that you will find hard to shake from yer discordant drenched dome - and why would you want to? We are all surely a great big bunch of wonkers at heart!
'Go Easy' and a full on plough out with the mania a priority and the angst relieving masturbation equally important. When the chest is stuck out and the band brandish their weapons with utter abandon we get moments like this - unhinged spillages that deal with subject matter in an angular kind of way. The old boiled eggs are indeed important and many a time has been had when the fuckers disobey when the ale has flowed too easily. The essence of the song is to blast along as the temper dictates - I am all enthralled. 'Siobhan' and in case you are feeling settled we get the soft delicacies of a pleading request to ease the stresses and strains of a lady close to ones heart. Light drum skips, plucked not fucked strings, cool caressing utterances - an end mix to soothe the beaten senses, the anxious muscles, the battered sonic brain - a turn about, a march in the way least expected, another fuckin' awkward option to keep you attentive - this is the only way to be. Lovely stuff.
'There's Me' and a distinctly more profound construct carefully blending the lighter aspects of the band and the persuasive riffs and chords that make them so darn convincing. Off the cuff wordage with heartfelt transparency, a sweet melody throughout that has an almost switched off naturalness and a flow that searches the soul, strives for nebulous answers and comes up with...almost none. Quite nearly too introspective and too self analytical to be comfortable - point to be made - comfort is not what we are here for. 'Kings Road Sporting Heroes' and a real nasty snipe at certain class systems and inner deviant circles found therein. A repeat beat, a grinding drill, a vicious onslaught based on fact - one of those moments when the jugular is ripped out and bare faced questions are put with a discomforting aspect onto out ignorant laps. Wake up, smell the disgust, taste the underhand goings on – a cracker. Next up and 'The Trail' is a calypsotic jaunt with retroed key tinkles that have charming skeletal delightfulness and quirked character. Our lead man harps on about an hypnotic arse he can't help but be enchanted by and is escorted by a sweet lasses tones who join in the buttock based bilge. It is a sweet, plump jingle that comes, goes and leaves a fond memory - a bit like the bum in the spotlight I presume.
'The Blonde' is grim punk with diseased temperament flaring in many directions. It is a minute long outburst that travels fast, nails it and bails out. In the 60 second rush we get desperate spillage that pleads against a backdrop of wrist slashing guitar work - far from a happy deal it seems. 'Heroin' is a head pecking piece that begins with extreme pill needing misery and a repetitive grind that annoys the senses - we open up the main vein and feed it with madness which at times spills over into relieving rage and at other times floats in the midst of a fix taken, absorbed and drifting within. The crew capture a sensation - it feels good, I try to avoid an addiction - pass me the needle of noise please! 'I Love My Nagging Wife' is a somewhat belittling song of a man trapped, who can't get away from a relationship, who seems happy to be verbally prodded and poked and who has some inner perversion to be constantly moaned at. I know many, many people within dead eyed relationships with the cause lost - this finger poking piss take is choice and built on a contradictory blissful tune that adds to the more than malicious mockery. The message for me is work at your relationships, have respect or fuck off, if not...the following outburst will let you know where things will end up. 'Depressed' is a pertinent song to me as I have numerous mental difficulties brought about by this shitty world and the fuck wits who make it harder to live in than necessary and set about bringing everything to its knees and revolving it around themselves. Many claim to be depressed and yet know fuck all about how that hopeless suicidal situation and how even the sunniest days are dark, oppressive and without promise. This blasting onslaught is a fuckin' peach and rails against the fashionably fed up or averagely browned off, the twats who claim it to be depression and so dilute the effect of those really suffering. The delivery is savage, self crushing, self motivating and tears out its own fucked off heart and slams it right in your indifferent mug. Suck on it you smiling bastards, let your empathy be provoked, listen and enjoy this musical primal scream.
3 left 'News Year Resolution' is smooth punkage, swift and getting on with things, it isn't a stand out track, it isn't a duff - my new years resolution is to give Wonk Unit a shit review - I thought I had a chance here but the more I play I see how it fits in. If alone as part of a compilation my boots could have hammered into the midriff of this one with glee but here - oh fuck it, I shall move on. 'Ghost Writer' is almost emotionless stuff that opens up, stays icy cold, calculated and sub-croons out another seeming plea for something more worthwhile. The burrowing guitar, the drifting periods that ponder, a bizarre feeling of cruelty and danger and the winky wonky gathering still provoke high intrigue. We close with a tired old song known as 'Take Me Home', an effort, in truth, I expected more from and although with the usual signature style and tuned trimmings I wanted something more vicious, more outlandish, and perhaps giving a glimpse into what may come on the next release. This is a decent closure I suppose and one many will be touched by but Fungal is unmoved - bah, what a crummy full stop to another wonderful paragraph of discordance.
So to the verdict - well, despite the last blip that I wasn't keen on I hope the prior wordage does enough to convince you of this bands pedigree, exciting style and continued production of top notch tuneage. This collection of tune bandits have had me enthralled since day one, it is still the same and now, on the TNS label, I am hoping a few more will be drawn into the fold and captivated by the din.
THE TEAMSTERS - SELF TITLED EP
A Moody Monkey release from Hamburg finds a North London crew strutting their stuff and doing it with a shack load of influences poured in, from the likes of Mersey Beat to Punk, from R 'n' B to Indie. A heady mix that could so easily produce black sludgy melodic milk only the most ardent sub-generic connoisseur can swallow or a free flowing happy potion that the majority of music lovers can swill down in one go. I jump in with neutrality at the helm (what's new) and honesty in charge (what's new). So balls out, digits twitching and lugs cleared - what have we here then?
We open with 'A Girl Named Linda', a scuzzy skiffle tinted shebang with a ramshackle motor driving all melody and creating a nervous energy that carries the listener along and gets the old feet tapping. The band shuffle and shake and move in unison whilst the slightly roasted vocals provide further insistence amid the wrap-around style beat. During this opening gambit I somehow picked up on a thread that had me thinking along the lines of sub-horror punk and as if by magic the next song came along by the name of 'Digging An Early Grave'. I thought my suspicions of this distant hint were going to be confirmed - wrong! This cavernised groove is very much away from the spiked circle and instead goes right down the alleyway were 60's teen beat was bubbling and bands that were Beatle soaked were all the rage. The Teamsters project this honest sound into the present day and present a revitalising sound that embraces the radioed vibe, sub-minimalism and heavy reliance on the melody. Slightly harmonised throughout with an unashamedly approach that pays due homage this crew have their style cracked and all I can do is submit and swing my DIY ass.
'Don't Come Back Home' is the dirtiest brat in the pack with a rag flapping repeat offence that snaps, crackles and pops with self created fizzology which duly insists the nervous framework twitches with tempo and joins in the melee. It is a basic song, put together with the loosest sonic scaffolding, but the saturation levels and short sharp nudges given all ideal and of that specific mode - dig that middle break man and let it all hang loose as the impetus builds and yer mind melts into the music - yeah. We close with 'Girl (How Could Ya)', a more deliberate approach with cold stated lyrics that tell a tale of love gained, love lost and the resulting disbelief of being so let down. The icy lack of passion in the vocals is an odd choice of inflection but it works remarkably well and the glassed tinkle of the strings, the adhesive bass, the suitably precise stick work and overall feel of the song makes this my personal fave (which I really do question myself about). A fine closure methinks and all done in sweet time - have it.
Eclectic tastes will devour this tuneage, those who are not afraid to combine flavours on the turntable mixing bowl will love the different aspect this music brings. For me the band have captured what they want, manipulated and let it go with quite sincere accuracy - I am convinced, are you? Well go listen you doubting shouters and see what you think!