FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 92
CHERRY POPPIN' DADDIES - WHITE TEETH, BLACK THOUGHTS
US swing-time elegance posturing and posing in flamboyant acoustic attire whilst maintaining a definite improv fashion stance that is in keep with several eras. The following silky song writing has pizzazz, a celebratory classiness that glides across the sonic room with every eye and ear in the room utterly enthralled. The whole shebang smacks of grade A excellence and has a superior sophistication that at times leaves one looking moronically agape and standing in respectful appreciation. I am a pig in a foul sty, I love it there but sometimes this swine likes to spruce up his bacon loaded ass and go swing with the other animals in the ever growing farmyard of discordance - here's my opinion from several stances and hopefully it will highlight what makes my curly wurly willy hard and my snuffling snout excited - oinky doinky doo!
The first acoustic egg to be cracked open and spill its smooth melodic contents over my cerebral lap is coined 'The Babooch', a real yummy jaunt with a good tail swagger and sterling clarity that ideally assists the well washed sound and highly oxygenated feel of the whole liquid content. From the initial brass lead toe tap, via the nervous bob along of the first verse that is keyed in and tinkled, via the harmonised tones and the greater splashed cutlets this is an exultant bout of upmarket tomfoolery with many spontaneous additions to keep you intrigued. It is the overall hygiene that mostly captivates and with a delicious joviality throughout we are off on our CPD journey with all heels twitching. Delightful. 'I Love American Music' has more zing than a real zing thing and sets about charming its way into your vulnerable zones and duly prepares a full on bodily take over. The groomed composite is one smart cat and is a lucid episode of high articulation and masterful musical manipulation, with all flowing attire of assorted colours and duly catching the eyes and ears of the beholder. Many moments could be accused of being out of sync, especially if scrutinised as lone elements, but the way the Daddies blend and execute the said segments is mesmerising and we get a full on liquid jaunt loaded with innocence and accuracy. The sub-generic style is kept to, the flamboyance levels are sweet - this is one good unit.
'Whiskey Jack' has foot tapping dynamism, perpetuates a jitterbug interest within the sonic soul and so, as agitated as you get, all your dancing desires will be met. The tuned treasure is poured at our feet, all components glisten and shimmer and this is another rapturous snippet from a crew in control. The brass loops, the keys add sun-kissed touches and the vocals are a smooth as required. The pep and punch are rewarding, I just don't know what else to add. Smart dressed sonic shizzle for the connoisseur and of course, the uninitiated like myself (it needs doing). 'Doug The Jitterbug' is tomfoolery done with acoustic articulation and a precision to be gushed over. The music has soul, healthy vitality and that oh so natural liquidity that somehow holds all melodic molecules together that creates an end pouring cascade to admire. The sub-jumping bean affect, released brassage, grasshopper nervousness and slip into jazzoid jaunts all combine to concoct a wealth of dreamy moments - good stuff even though not usually in the range of my ragged radar. 'White Teeth, Black Thoughts' has me thinking, for some reason, of a spruced up and well disguised strip tease number with its flaunty and flouncy ways and semi-submerged posturing vulgarity. It is a close up and personal bout of foreplay with oily innuendo and sinister subversion on the cusp of occurrence and seemingly borne from well groomed repeater cheaters who I find to my distaste. The tune invigorates the vibe set, propels it slowly along with chat-up line cheekiness but, thank goodness, the ring is flashed, a deviant liaison is avoided and the song remains unsoiled - I like that!
A flourish of the Fungal sword - 4 swift swishes...
Hybrid jerkiness begins, the rhythmic ruffles are ironed out, a cool waft of war is blown our way via 'Brown Flight Jacket', another upbeat tune with ascending and descending tones, finger clicking verses, toned down but effective sub-chorus chunks and superb niggling underscores of sonic encouragement. 'Bloodshot Eyes' invokes images of old school blue boys infected with something akin to Gospelised insight into the perils of the booze and whipped up on the drug called music. Listen to the perpetually rebounding bass wobble, the delighted hand claps, the weaving brass and the simply semi-croaked mouth offerings - polished stuff. 'Jake's Frilly Panties' is more cock-sure tomfoolery with the ebony and ivory tinkles fighting for air amid the scratch and sniff 78rpm crackle. In truth the song is a decent do but with equal honesty that encrusted under layer does get on ones tits and this one almost has touches of that mediocre twat Shakin' Stevens, which, as I hope you can imagine, puts the kybosh on any enjoyment I may squeeze from this frosted fruit. If I was forced at the end of a sword to label any song as a duff experience this would be my vote - sorry dudes and don't blame Fungal, blame that bugger Shakey. 'Huffin Muggles' is a creeping sly old dog with angular lyrics that confound, a train of toneage that tickles rather than strokes, an amateur detective style theme running throughout. A real oddity and one to keep on playing to get to grips with - I am many rotations in and still none the wiser - good luck people!
Last 2 and 'I Want A Bow Legged Woman' is creamy perversion with a natural desire in the discharge, a thoroughly believable lust in the urged words and a nice todge tickling delight in the overall delivery with the keys being a trifle flirtatious, the drums keeping all things cool and jazzed and with the brass attack providing aphrodisiac encouragement - a spicy affair with the hoop hipped lady sought and I presume, duly jumped (through). 'Concrete Man Blues' is florid and robust with a smoky edge to the general stealth. This 'hand under the covers' number glides up the inner thigh of resistance, grooms with determined persuasion and swaggers with a natural borne sanguinity. Full bloodied escalations come, meandering moments are plentiful, the whole mix emanates with the stench of professionalism - lush indeed.
The Cherry Poppin' Daddies are a top notch outfit with many genres chased, caught, tamed and re-delivered in their own classy way. Hey and you get extra filling in the cacophonic cake and, of course, extra cherries on top. If you are of a persuasion to delve outside your chosen pit and try something different or if you already have an inkling for the sounds on show here then step forth, part with thy cash, purchase and... bugger off and play - the joy will be all yours.
GUMS/CALLUM BAIRD - SOMETHING ROTTEN EP
This collaboration between Glaswegian indie band Gums and song writing social commentator Callum Baird comes loaded with talent, insight, adventure and many musical miles on the clock. Gums I am familiar with, Callum Baird is a new entity - it all adds to the excitement. This is poppoid gloss with care taken with each application and as the coats build up we are left with a rhythmic room to...well let us wait til' the end verdict shall we?
The first citrus fresh droplet of sound to splash the bowl of insipid silence is entitled 'Me Plus You', a fragile invite that comes on a fragrant whim and posted into your receptive cerebral mailbox with tenderness and caution. The song floats on a wafted charm, is gracefully undulant with a soft seashore splash somewhat looping throughout. The vocal style is delicately accented, lucid and in ideal time with the soothing swish of the sonica. This is a massaging moment to indulge in and switch all stress alerts to. Onwards and 'Bonfire' injects a familiar quirkiness whilst retaining a certain delicate thread throughout with the opening cut wierdo utterances done in a contrasting icy style when compared with the pursuing oral lilt. The song seems a construct from several jigsaw pieces and comes forth and ends up creating a decent picture. The female croons, the keyed oddness all make for a unique listening experience with one never quite sure where the song will finish. 2 down and 2 thumbs raised.
'Something Rotten' comes from an empty warehouse, a place that overlooks the local area, a place where life bustles and passes by and remains almost unseen. The vocal style here is home-made, well rehearsed in a bedroom of hope, you can see the one light on in a street of darkness where this player practices his tuneage - well that's how I am seeing it. A real documentary feel given via lived in words that are professionally delivered and done straight from the strawberry tart! The overall stripped out sound is kept appealing because the composer knows what do to, knows what is needed - pure quality with a warmth radiated with conviction. Next a song with all the familiarity of a Gums induced moment, enter the tissue paper lilt of 'Grangemouth At The Dawn', a soft, strolling track that harmonises, states and occasionally soars higher with the crew unflustered, quite happy to fall into their own acoustic waters and float wherever the desire takes them. What we find is a fully resplendent moment of relaxing thoughtfulness with a somewhat accursed memory coming to the fore - quite wonderful.
The remaining 2 songs are scarred with the appellations of 'Haunted House' and 'Chatelherault' respectively. The first is a spunky little serving that, despite the spectral suggestion of the title, is upbeat and sprightly with an endearing quality all of its own. The countrified elements, the absorbing love story, the blending of the sexes vocals and the downright classy edge is all testament to players in league with their style and at one with their roles - a quite lovely track. The latter song regards an area in Hamilton I presume and comes at the listener with very sobered tones that emit from the lass and laddie with such iced deliberateness. There is a brooding within the web, the sonic spider creeps around, bides its time, we feel as though we can escape but we have just got to reach for that replay button just to be certain what this one is about and so...we get bitten, wrapped in the acoustic arachnids fibre and utterly trapped within the delicately trambled tonality. Think about it!
We are done, outta here, over the finish line and the winner is...well I reckon this is a fair offering with the bands own style delivered with disregard for certain generic rules and done with such substance, such certainty. Another collaboration would be fully advised and another 6 track outpouring thoroughly welcome - maybe vary the emotion a bit but I for one ain't moaning at this stage.
MOST LIKELY TO FAIL - THE REAPER DEMOS VOL 1
Most Likely To Fail - what can I say - boy have I stuck by this crew - through thick, thin and thinner but, after a 2 year absence they are back, gigging again and spreading their melodic and honest word. And so, to get their name back out there and do my usual assessing duties I am here with hopefully my melodic and honest wordage to accentuate the properties of this band, the one I have faith in, the one whom it has been a delight to deal with, the one who have their feet on the ground and go unintentionally, against the polluted flow. In for a penny in for a pound, let us have a dabble at the forthcoming sound...
From the tumbled inception of the first song through the pursuing guitar sequence it is more than blatant that the crew are still sticking to their own admirable ethos and adhering to rhythm and melody laden numbers that are accurately played and have an easily embracing winning essence. 'One For The Kids' also keeps the crews questioning and unsettled theme, this time putting a poser under the noses of the many sell-out shit dealers who, one minute talk one way and then when getting a sniff of success, sell their souls to the sonic devil and do it for the masses. What MLTF are very accomplished at is masking their anger behind the watershed of tight fluid music and only when one scratches deeper does one uncover the articulate angst and unsettled feeling within the ranks. This emotion propels the motors, turns the cogs and with a heartfelt construct and numerous accomplished switches this opening gambit is another classy feather in the ruffled and well worn cap of the cacophoneers.
'Bankrupt' is another one straight from the ticker with a prominent stated start, a drum fluttered follow up with guitars panging and then the first over spilling verse. Vocals contain the desperate and disbelieving edge with more well thought wordage that lyrically falls to the floor of bewilderment. The musicianship remains tight and forever rolling with a switch off to sub-skankage/sub-reggae cruising an excellent inclusion and dissecting this quality soaked beauty right down the central score. The final power punch flurry full stops this as a finer masterstroke from a band way too neglected by the seekers of more kudos, more 'I was there' moments - cunts!
'Waiting' is my favourite song of this penta-sonic offering, although I am still trying hard to find a duff one. This effort is an immediate sweet necessity that is drunk, swallowed and contemplated in a gratifying manner. A grandiose opening is chased by a carefully shuffled segment that sets out its stall before more pondering and more looking backward is had. The crew brood on what is to come and of course, add a tinge of regret, a tattooed layer beneath the upper acoustic epidermis that signifies a need not met, an anxious period in one’s life where the outlook is scarred with uncertainty. Mid-paced, controlled and with a tonality that is captured with perfection - another choice cut people. 'Bitter Sweet' maintains the classy angle and spirit the band so reliably infuse into the acoustic herbale. The essences soothe and yet confound the senses with their disgruntled edge and yet well planed melodic flow. The band gush out their produce with a reality, an insight into what really ticks in this warped world and this for me is one of the bands most winning aspects. The sugar sprinkling is minimal but done in such a quantity so as to avoid the end concoction becoming too acidic although the tonal tang is still obvious and contributes no end to that significant familiarity we know MLTF are so consistent in creating. Another wonderful piece.
'So Much' has the band asking questions, highlights them as the true outsiders peering through the window at the fraudulent fakery and ass-kissing mania which of course results in a disgusted outlook. Loyalty, truth, friendships and such like are put under the spotlight after the military marched intro and the skipping rhythm of the song proper. The in-crowd get picked out, the application of strings, skins and exact gobbage all do the business and again I am left impressed, determined to keep helping these buggers and firmly of the belief that to do a small humble bit for these wondrous crews who get overlooked way too often is the only way to operate. Fantastic.
I love this band as people and players and they are a fine example of why I do what I do. Each brushstroke is considered, each swish given extra passion due to the inner realisation that everything doesn’t smell of roses and this scene, that scene and every fuckin’ scene is full of bullshit but...within all the murk and political mayhem thrives a micro world to adore, to nurture and to enthuse – the job is in our hands and why not start here.
BOY - DARKEST VISIONS
Well this one came and had me wondering of another band I had heard of with the same name, or is my head playing tricks? I listen to way too many sounds but such is the hunger of the Fungal melodic mycelium. Anyway, what I expected and what I got were two different things with the heavy duty Czech Republic band really fuelling their own flames and producing a CD that most definitely leaves a bold impression and somewhat sears the soul with its thriving thermal energy. The mix is a hybrid of many spices, spices that have individual bite and are easily located within the final dish and prove their very worth and necessity - it all makes for an interesting mouthful. Anyway, enough of the introductory preamble, let us delve in with unsoiled digits and do the dirty lowdown you are so eager to read - bah.
The first spread of the sonic butt cheeks expels an opening draught that is entitled 'Darkest Visions', an instrumental that generates a tuned up tableau of war torn intensity with the inner embers noticeably aglow and radiating a passion not to be underestimated. From the flashing light warning, the pronounced strums and the piercing drive through the stirring string twists and mighty drum slaps to the last flicker, this is a brief grenade with radioed utterances that paves the way for the hell driven power of 'I Need Your Hate'. Thunderous galloping persistence is tympanically applied and provides a foothold for all other contributors to keep pace with and to rip out their own complimentary and power laden rhythms to. The desire for external detestation and fiery animosity is consuming and the roared vociferation that is bellowed with convincing spirit caps a real riotous bout of controlled noise. Looming and unstoppable!
'Never Break Us Down' has an emboldened inner beat surfacing via strong versed pulsations that push all through to the stunning and somewhat unifying defiance of the chorus. The confident persuasion of the verse is meated up with the perspired gob style and fine production values thus making a perfect lead into an outpouring that simply, but greatly effectively, compliments and accentuates the impact of all components. It seems that this belligerent Boy has his eye on the target and is determined to nail as many bull-eye's as possible - worthwhile fodder for we addicts of discordance. 'Back For More' rocks, cracks its whip, twinges the nervous system into attentive mode before burrowing away and crawling around within your noisy neurones and creating a head-banging response. Once more all nitro input is carefully managed and emanating an absorbing stench you need to inhale over and over just to be sure the intoxication has longevity. At the point of putting digit to keyboard it seems to be the case - nice one chaps.
Side A terminates with the slightly orientalised chops of 'Stay Free', a smooth beast that contains the usual close fisted musicianship, unblinking single mindedness and brimmed cup of dinnage. The band coast through this without straining the undercarriage and yet still produce a highly listenable burst with fair weight - looks like a decent punctuation mark to shut up this first five track blow out.
On to the flip side, 'Stop Talking To Me' is a screwed up bout of taut temper fusing its own wires with the overload of electro activity and nasty, noxious venom poured in. Stared with a mean pulse, pulverising its way into higher levels of intensity and writhing with kick back angst - a real admirable bout of strangulating sonica. Next up and 'Drop The Bomb', a easy burning threat that throbs with stable riffage and hefty acoustic muscle. The song reminds me, in part, to an Urban Dogs release that I just can't pinpoint, but this is a more trim and effective offering that forces one against the ropes and just pummels away with relentless consistency. The inner tick hypnotises, the external life exuded by the simmering style taken is dense, dirty and debilitating - you will do well to shut down from this behemoth-like banger - another stunning favourite.
3 left beginning with the age old excuse 'It Was The Alcohol', a groovy swine that finds its hook-line, struts its arse and then goes for a more stricter verse/chorus route with all the bands strength and rocked up talent coming to the fore in an overspill of booze based noise. A set finishing number for sure that will get the wanton pit moving and looking towards the next pint (or two). An easy song to get to grips with and onward we fly with all sanguinity high. 'Fashion Police', a mid way grind out, a comfortable unswerving progression throughout, more embracing chant moment that remains harmonious and with a complete uniformity without leakage - big baby, big! We close with the slightly patchwork dabbling known as 'Just A Number'. A routine chuggery opens, the expected speed injection comes, Boy are moving through the gears without breaking sweat, these fuckers perspire blood instead - nothing more, nothing less. The chorus is liquid and forceful, the cruise continues with the tail pipe exuding flame - we wind out with an instrumental addition to savour - full fuckin' stop.
Boy slam it right in yer face, you shouldn't take it, you should offer up critical bite back but...you can't, simply because this lot know how to throw out their produce and do it with remarkable accuracy. I am taken, I am certainly convinced, the question is - are you? Go seek, go play, go enjoy!
DISCHARGER/THE UPRISERS - SPLIT CD
2 new bands for me with both having a quality streak running throughout and really making that oh so crucial choice first impression. The Uprisers promote themselves as a working class band and hail for Portsmouth, NH - don't be misled, this is no bog standard Oi crew, this unit as a stylish edge. Discharger also have a fine finish to their output although are more close to the street rooted side of noise and come in with more deliberate fist fucks. These are Dutch discordants who go at it with spirit and utter gusto - they complete the pairing, we may be in for a treat.
First tune from The Uprisers to tackle is the strong and sub-sexualised swagger of 'Everybody's Got A Reason' a sturdy structure that initially knocks on the tympanic door, enters on sassy sanguine heels and glides around with the focus on catching your attention. The creamed vocal style is liquid within prepared concrete confines with the crash, stagger and roll elegantly smoothed over with the oral application. We ascend into a chorus with the lead lass growing in stature alongside the forceful Pistolian chants of 'Reason' - great moment for sure. The song glides forth with pace held in check and is reflective of the bands belief and ability, this excellent composite drives to the last twinge with all glory intact. Almost immediately thoughts are of a genre crossing band which for me, is always a most rewarding angle any outfit can hold onto provided they are staying true to their ethics and playing it for themselves rather than the masses - it seems to be the case here. Next upchuck is the promisingly entitled 'Ghetto Blaster', a song with many choice facets that provesthe opening onslaught was no lucky occurrence. This one bites into the flesh with more bitched up determination and displays the band as a power laden beast with an incendiary streak running throughout and a determination to make a sonic scar from the first inception of each song. Again the front lady thrives, arouses herself to new oral heights and drags along with her a backdrop of assaulting riffage and he-man holler outs. The combination or may be it said, coupling, of the his and hers mouth work is almost of a 'fucking' nature with multiple erogenous successes achieved throughout this ass slamming affair. The pleas and necessity become intense and torrid - the sensations rise, catapulting us into an all out end victory of pulsating consequence - granite stuff!
Discharger have the unenviable task of following The Uprisers overspill of quality and set about doing so with 'Every Time We Drink', a song that carefully caresses before classily turning up the heat and gushing along with a nicely roasted style that is pure unadulterated US sounding skin shizzle. The song shines further due to its overall texture, beefy approach and unifying holler outs that deal with the perils of alcohol and violence. It is a tough tune despite the clean cut finish and really follows on well from its neighbour’s two power blasts. 'No Place For Our Kind' has a western cum Spanish feel to the quickly strummed strings that open and I am wondering if the pursuing shoot-out will be as exciting as expected. The notches get moved up, the band slot into a head down stance and go at this one with the lone and all together gobbage leading the way and taking most applause. The players keep it tidy, the skins especially provide the impetus on which to flow - this is energetic and once more of a sing-a-long essence many a big bruiser will not be ashamed to shout out to.
That's it, a brace of bands under Fungal's ever searching radar and 2 bands contributing some fine tuneage. Opposing, embracing, apart and yet unified - it is a good example of a split single and the options offered - take it and chomp, stomp, romp!
CONCRETE - SUBCULTURE STREET TROOPERS
From Austin, Texas these bulldozing bastards come and give it to you and describe it as 'Brick Wall' music which is a pretty sound description if you ask me. The style is obvious, you know what influences are being called upon and you can't help recognise the undercurrent of disgruntlement and rage. Without further ado...
Side A, 'Subculture Street Troopers' a song of two halves with the first segment a steady slog of simmering tension that begins with a twinged guitar and a cymbal shuffle that progresses into an ominous march overlain with a threatening gob holler that chants away and adds to the taut tones. At the midway point the band throw off these restraining shackles and go at it with a power laden smashed up where strings gnaw, skins crack fuck and the mouth roars. This upsurge in the sonic flames is done comfortably and the blisters that arise will all ooze infecting interest and spores of stinking violence.
Side B, 'Born To Never Lose' a raw undercut piece of loutish racketology, straight from the flesh pit where beer and perspiration steam in unison and many a spiked and shaved nut jumps to the grim rhythm of this bleak sounding track. If you are after anything pretty, intricate or well thought out then get the fuck well away from this - this is all guts, balls and boiled hairy arsed belligerence and makes no apology at all - like it or lump it. Pure screwing Oi from the gutter into yer face - the band kick shit, make of that what you will.
Solid, impacting, of the specific generic ilk one would expect. Some hate this, some love it, for me it is all part of the joy of noise and adds its own unique flavour into a very volatile melting pot. The only question I would have is if whether over a longer distance the band can thrill and offer up enough variety of noise to keep one entertained. Check this, see if you agree. One thing you can't question is the effort poured in and the muscularity if the music!
MICKY DEY - ROAM EP
Hey, hey, hey - who the fuck is Micky Dey, what style does he play and will it make my day? Micky Dey is a musician, he plays things in the lonesome acoustic style and he has some talent to investigate further which I may well find pleasure in - you will have to read on to find out more! Intro over!
The first dissection of the sonic flesh is taken and 'Keep Your Eyes On Your Own Desk, approaches with liquid key twinkles and lightly misted guitar strokes. The spectral voice comes from within the suggestive miasma of somewhat minimalistic melody and we have a carefully chilled tale unfold before our ears, with emphasis placed on mellow ambience and monochrome drama. Occasionally the inner winds are whipped up and the motes of emotion are enticed outwards so as to provocate further interest and further shaded tonality. We are taken to galed moors, shown a landscape where high energy and thrashing anger is avoided - a place where subdued phantoms roam and exhale their eerie breath. Mr Dey is a player who considers, carefully constructs and slowly wanders over the acoustic landscape with attention to detail at level maximum. This first soporific moment is produced exactly and captures the essence sought - we shan't complain. 'High Times (Get Low)' has a similar aspect to what has just transpired and despite those initial focused strums and promised string shimmers we end up in yet another greyed and uniformed area where a tinge of blue invades and accentuates a sub-suffering of the donating artiste. The words that fall from the lips of the playing poet accentuate a sensation of uncertainty, a remote hesitancy within the overall thread and so give the entire song an indeterminate edge that creates an almost musical score effect. Towards the latter end this slow moving ocean moves with underestimated power - I am left undecided and all at sea.
'Floorboards On Rooftops' is the shortest song so far but refuses to up the pace. We move in almost Garfunkelised territory here with a caution within the tenderness, fragility within the strung application. The intonation is almost whispered, cooled down with mild drones of anguish, the intensity is kept under wraps - we are delivered a lilt that is lazed not blazed - is this good enough? This is very mood specific output and laden with an intonation that will leave the desirous of something angry, raging and with pace, left behind. I appreciate what is occurring here, it is no easy thing to cradle in ones hands the precious sound made - take care oh dear listener.
'Roam' is more perpetual drifting with the keyed commencement completely cautious, the initial lyrics gently encouraging one to get up, float farther afield, to join the lonely wanderers. The sadness within the sea of sound is tangible, the hypnotic movement of the rhythmic wave is hypnotic, the overall sensation given is yet again low in colour, high in emotion - not a chosen highpoint but one to consider further. 'Southern Fire' grows, sends out initial tongues of thermality that lick at our consciousness before the pillow soft lilt comes and seemingly ponders when ones time is up. The thoughts are somewhat abstract, the voice wavers with a controlled warble, steadily the pulse rate quickens, a nervous anxiety effervesces below the primary melodic epidermal layer - goosbumps rise along with the intent, Mr Dey manipulates his noised niche, holds the reins of rhythm and keeps everything on the cusp of dreamland, it is a very specific mode, with a full on explosion of emotion to come? We draw proceedings to a close with 'Dirty Tables And Empty Glasses', a panging tale that deals with using and abusing the booze to deal with everyday problems and hang-ups. Friendship is put under the sonic spotlight, it is done in the usual unflustered way, this time with a desire to help, assist and understand. As per, there is a vulnerability running deep within the veins of the song, perhaps this is what makes it so enchanting.
That's it, I hope I have passed on the general gist of this weary, dreary but expertly produced 6 track CD. It is all done under a cloud that never blows away and for this certain sojourn it will do very nicely but...next time I wanna seen those great threatening sky borne behemoths crack, I desire the sun to break through and I expect this artiste to play something in direct opposition to the emotions displayed here. A good CD nonetheless, 6 tracks to play at length!
SNIPER 66 - SELF TITLED
A four piece from Austin, Texas who proclaim 'Clench your teeth, raise a pint, and prepare to scream' - could be worse, many a time I have been held at cock point and heard the words 'Unclench yer arse cheeks, raise an erection, and prepare to be shafted' - oooh errr - of course this only came about due to financial difficulties and I always came off unmolested but tha' never knows - one day I may get lucky ha, ha (why do I do this - more pills please). I digress, back to the job at hand - the band blend the old and the new, run it through and give it to you with well worked precision. Once more Fungal prods and pokes (no not that way) and comes out with a fistful of textual turdage (I mean wordage) to smear on your manky monitors. Read on, let us plunge into the clunge of cacophony (oh dear it's gonna be one of those days).
The first spasm to shudder the silence is tattooed with the designated name of 'Doesn't Matter Anymore', a stomach griping flutter that won’t calm down no matter what melodic medication you apply. An almost stripped down effort is given with an overcoat of palpitated skin work, hard shuffled strings and a slightly abrasive mouth mess that is dusty and driving. The composite is simplistic in essence and kept as tight as you like, with few frills, without too many thrills. A safe opener kept on a low boil and held in check by players not looking to risk all at this early stage. 'Spotted And Rotted' follows the same route with the band adopting a formula, focused on a complete drenching of sound and travelling their own laid tracks with pace and in a fairly straight line. There are no flaws to be had which is down to the lack of gambling, is this a good thing? As per I request a bigger push on the precipice of noise - let us delve deeper.
I part the grumbling butt cheek, insert my head up the awaiting ring, the third vibration to hit me is named 'Emergency', a song with a subdued Exploited-esque vibe that tears the flesh from its own angered carcass and throws it deliberately at you with no grace, utter disgrace. A jarring thrash along forced by temper and a determination to produce frictional sensations - nasty. 'My Brother' is similar, keeps that low brow application and high brow intensity. Again the refusal to adopt frills or unexpected breaks along the thread of impetus are there for all to witness and Sniper 66 seem to know their style and just chug along regardless. This song I can take or leave and much prefer the much consuming burst known as 'Rise Up'. This one scuffs harder, abrades the surface of the consciousness and has a rapidity that is well suited to the song structure. More scorched and torched output with little leaning towards the end of the spectrum where variation is found - at this moment I can overlook that as all songs have value, it is only as a complete package do the songs fall into each other’s shadows a little too much.
4 quickies, ooh aaagh, me privates. 'Firecracker' duels, skin hops, sizzles on the griddle and spits consistently with an underlying riffed up groove, 'What'd You Say' rolls with the set flow and drenches itself in the same shroud of sub-hardcore urgency - one easily overlooked if you ain't careful or in fact, ain't bothered. 'I Know It's True' stands higher due to the melodic bounce and more easily digested drive. This one has a more blatant heartfelt effect, rumbles with a thirst and provides its own impetus - I like that and this perhaps is my hotspot of the CD. The last of the mad dash quartet is entitled 'Hope For Tomorrow', more usual spillage with drum attacks, hard fought consistency and a necessity to have the listener play it loud, jump in and drown in the pressure point urgency. Play this lot as a bunch, blast the rooftops off, go for it.
The penultimate track, 'All Dressed Up' begins with dirty rugged chuggery then slips into the tail of the usual flow and gets on with things regardless of what has transpired. The construct of this one is once more simple but if you overlook that factor you get a decent enough blast that fails to truly excite but ticks several generic boxes. We close with 'Let's Go Have A Drink' and what we get is a booze encouraging burst that completes the circle of familiarity - I am done, yeah let me get that drink.
So, in fear of repeating myself, good but too much repetition, too many songs that are fine efforts but merge into one blanket of comfort zone noise which duly sees the band not stretching themselves and taking any risks - I don't like that. This is regular chuggery and nothing more and it frustrates me to a certain extent because the band obviously have so much to offer. A vote of average is given as a result and I'll be keen to see what the band produce next - fuckin' unbuckle yer belts, loosen yer breeches and bloody well go for it!
DOG COMPANY - WAR STORIES
Texas Oi with songs about everyday living and the problems that arise. Released on Cadre Records/Rebel Sound Music this isn't anything new under the brow beaten sun, nothing original this way blows but...it is traditional, expected and of a standard that...well, if you read on you may just find out a bit more.
An 'Intro', scene setting with deliberate thumps of the tubs, ascending on homely tones where hope reins supreme, the impetus builds, we move on with optimism at the max. 'Elected Enemy' opens with well tumbled drums, a punctuated guitar move and then the onrush of the song hits us. Bass provides the concrete foundations and the vocal tones are slightly accented, gently scuffed and utterly lucid. The verse is stabilised and comfortably delivered with the shift into the chorus smooth and the ascension to a good sing-a-long cut nicely done. The gist is of a song that is carefully bristled, groomed to an exact extent so as to keep the believability within the weave - it is a good basis on which to build, let us see if the band can uphold the output. 'For Our Friends', has a subdued strung start, with vocals almost abandoned. Drums enter in a similar mode to the first track and when the bass blooms the whole concoction moves with identifiable strides that make good rhythmic ground. Many songs of this ilk turn up on CD's of this style with a homage paid to good friends, faithful followers, like minded warriors and although it is highly cheesed and clichéd stuff it has to be taken as an individual snippet and with regard to the players who are doing it from the heart. Tidy stuff without definite sub-sections but a straight through cruise from first to last. Not my favourite but one that will go down well with the crowds after a few ales has made them all soppy and chilled - daft buggers.
Onto the smash and tumble start of 'Printed Word', a hungrier track with an almost desperate feel running throughout, there is an inner hunger that make this band thrive and gives them a greater appeal all round. The skittle toppling clatter, the robust and salivating gobbage and decent mix of all components keeps the flag flying high - this is a tidy band. 'De-Evolution' has a nice taut twist to the opening thrust, before getting the blinkers on and charging along via the first verse. The move into the chorus is precise and this segment is a checked episode of masterful music that, instead of mugging the listener with gratuitous blow-outs, relies on a superbly oiled and well planed approach that I find quite fuckin' applaudable. One of the moments that signifies the band isn't all bare arse and bollocks but has something more profound within the acoustic arsenal. Military style swinging next with 'Combat Zone', running and pausing to mow down the resistance with Tommy Gun attacks that blend into the flow and uphold the charge - no easy task. There is something highly likeable going on with these tunes and, other than the relaxed and well produced angles, I am wondering whether or not if the main winning asset is the general earthiness of each delivery - a puzzle but I ain't bitching.
If any wayward thoughts were sneaking in as regards switching off and reaching for one of your old faves that you have spun to insulting buggery then take my advice 'don't you fuckin' dare'. The next song moves things up another notch with 'Not Dead Yet' a revitalising bout of immovable sonica that is spilled for you with spicy zest, thorough tuned up passion and bounce and bop melody. The refusal to lie down and die is there, the upbeat promise of never giving in is delightful and the all round pep in the thrust of the players is a joy. If you are down, feeling that all you do is pointless then get up, dig in deep and use this as a motivating theme tune - you won't go far wrong - stunner! 'Last Call' still retains the vigour, goes through the high excellence with muscle stress at the minimum but impact at the max. Just good, well salted everyday tuneage this with a very rewarding rhythm and a quite ideal production level that accentuates the bands obvious qualities. Not much to say about this - another fine song. We shut down with more heel digging via 'Can't Keep Me Down', a well planed movement that considers the everyday struggle, that faces head on the highs and lows of this existence where emotions are battered and problems arise with regular rhythm. The tune is fresh, well soaked through, moves with gratifying deliberateness and is delicately adorned with necessary touches that embolden the slightly abraded edge as well as the more classier side of the sonic shizzle. A flourish and we are done - a replay over and over - this is more than a little appealing.
Invigorating stuff this, a lively affair with much gumption. The key is in the attitude, the decisive swish of the sonic blade will either leave you slightly scarred or deeply wounded - Dog Company certainly don't hold back and have a finesse with their assault that loses any ugliness and keeps the slashing assault on the senses clean and memorable. Yet again, I feel a recommendation coming on - I am overwhelmed by the quality out there!
DEATH BU UNGA BUNGA - YOU'RE AN ANIMAL
Garaged style sounds from Norway but this time not done in the absorbing and foul lo-fi style I sincerely enjoy but given a full on production boost of clarifying excellence and a generic injection of 60's vibration with many an influence obvious and some others having hinted at accents that are not so blatant. As we travel this well mastered rollercoaster we rise high and duly plunge into many sub-pools of sound with additional flavours such as pop, psychedelia, soul and beat amongst others - a right old mix or what? Anyway, as for this abraded acoustic reviewer, I go in as I would with any other offering and with my eclectic tastes and upfront textual wordage I hope I can achieve something close to a balanced, well thought out end review.
The beaded and flower coated curtains are cast aside, we step outside and are gently requested to 'Stare At The Sun'. The golden orb rises, the band bring in the new day with accurate tones, the relaxed and unflustered vocal approach is immediately enchanting and the feeling that this is an embracing moment of alfresco celebration is more than a little obvious. When the chorus flies we are treated to a well planed, softly rolling panorama of carefully attended toneage – absorb, hold back your protestations. Verdant noise done with an insight into catching that en plein air sensation - a rewarding start. Up next and the more demanding 'Lesson Learned The Hard Way', with its stripped down 'Kinked' strums, punctuated feel throughout and crescendo soar that comes via the refreshed harmonised moments. The song is primarily made up of two distinct elements, the restrained and the off the leash releases - these cutlets clash, bounce against one another, have a potential to mar each other’s effect but indeed come together to create another admirable chunk of tuned pleasure.
Sweeping past on clouds of purity is the self assured tune known as 'How Far Can I Go', an episode of noise built on a vibrating murmur, carefully chopped guitar and drifting oral utterances all swirled in a secure panorama of thoughtful sonica. The song threatens to overspill in to heady delights, it never really does but remains in its own safety net - slightly disappointing to be honest but the beautiful sunshine of 'Nothing To Lose' makes up for it with youthful zest poured into the verses and rising to a quite ecstatic climax during the chorus smashes. Innocence seeps from every pore, a retro charm enchants, that ascension to sonica solarity where the world glows, confidence grows and belief in the application shows. A truly rewarding moment capturing the flavour we must definitely savour. 'Tambourine' sits back, reclines in the unavoidable sun splash of the previous ditty - it creates its own tune, tranquilly glides around the cerebral sedation, fulfils its own promise. Like a moment when one is basking in the sun, opens one’s eyes and looks at a leafy canopy dappled by watery lemon rays and whispered with breezed kisses - the world is at peace, the accompanying sound is ideal - let us not get over-indulgent - switch off and take this snippet of unadulterated pleasure!
Out of the greenery comes the next song, the comfort of the title track 'You're An Animal', a safety belt dose of the bands signature sound with all lucidity and well grounded toneage there to appreciate. Not the most impacting song and one I could kick up the arse for being restrained and playing a little to safely despite the award winning vibes but, I feel generous, the band have me won over already and at this stage I am happy to go with the flow and just laze around on the boughs of the swaying tuned tree. As you can imagine, the chill is within, I am at ease, the CD pleasure is all mine and 'I'm Not The One' only increases this warm inertia that washes this way - and more than welcome it is. This lethargic swirl of positive shades spirals downwards into our souls and creates visions of psychedelic tranquillity and kaleidoscopic mesmerism which is done to a gratifying and knowledgeable degree. Sub-lullaby, dreamy pillow persuasion, caressed tones of pastel liquidity that immerses our complete being in a womb-like security that is gently magnificent and sufficient.
'Open Your Eyes' effervesces with a slowly simmered tempo that has groovy bass roots, tinned string leafage and organising tympanic twigs, the vocal breeze that blows through is a charm. Verse is a controlled trunk tremble, a mere preparation for the refreshing gust that comes via the chorus - bright, well blown, fully appealing in both an aural and mentally visual way. Twirl beneath the canopy, look upwards, enjoy the life within the lush tones. We wrap up the entire escapade with 'Abba', a celebration of the CD's success, a self applause I feel and a superb exclamation mark at the close of a beauty. This is pure 60's gushing and reflects the many influences the band throw into the mix. A stunning track with the climaxes coming thick and fast via the remarkably textured chorus chunks that explode with positivity, extreme delight and sonic excellence. The band blow it out of their multi-coloured ass - big time, I applaud with sincerity.
What an excellent CD, a veritable bout of stunning noise to wash away the blues and over splash the negative motes that invade the whole musical arena. This has been a good challenge of my musical nouse, a welcome change from the more toxic terror that comes my way. Good on the Unga Bunga buggers and thank you to Prescription Press for asking - now go and buy!