FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 94
TOTAL BLOODY CHAOS - EMBARRASSED TO BE HUMAN
Blackburn ballbags of belligerent dinnage step up to the mark again and give us a 3 track morsel to scrutinise. It is bare boned punk with its hairy arse on show and its political scrotum hanging free and daubed with many in yer face messages to admire - get T-bagging ya bastards. The people involved are decent street folk who have no illusions or delusions and get up, do it and...in the main...do it fuckin' well. At the time of writing their drum dude is on the mend after suffering a stroke and mine, and many other hearts, wish him the sincerest best but...would it be cruel and nasty to criticise this CD or would it be down right patronising to say its brilliant because of such circumstance - the band (including stickman Graham) know me better, I would waste your living and breathing hours with a falsehood - on we go.
'Embarrassed To Be Human' is a song that outlines in black the fact that TBC are not resting on their laurels and considering coughing up repetitive globules of expected acoustic phlegm. No these bronchial bastards are spitting forth more thoughtful lung butter and instead of randomising the aim are now picking out certain targets and duly firing with intent. This song once more has threat, cleans up the overall scuzz and brings in the his and hers flavours that duly niggle the interest levels and make the statement more holistic. The players get their heads down after the acousticised start and screw out a solid drive with the pacier thrash outs urged by well whacked membrane rolls and whipped up string urgency - very convincing output for definite.
'My War' envelopes the senses with its opening sinister threat and machine-gun ascension into territory ideal for mouthy angst riddled bastards to orate against. He hollers are from the gutter, full of stated facts, awash with bitter and hateful unrest, she shoot-offs are ejaculated with equal restlessness and rage and ideally compliment its counterpart with the less gruff approach. The cock and cunt coupling thrives with a strategic backdrop of sound that sees guitar controlled, bass a firm foundation and skins utterly strong and providing the punch in the pack. It is always refreshing to see a band, who lean towards the anarcho spectrum, move with thoughtful prowess rather than just puke up predictable episodes of monochromed schizzle.
We lock up and fuck off with the skimming pronunciation known as 'Lunatics', a tirade against the violent beer swilling macho wankers who can't hold their ale and enjoy trashing the joy of others. This song adopts the most intrinsically basic style and just shoots forth with the odd two-punch and incessant oral roars. It is a fine song nonetheless and drags one into the melee and creates a kick back. The production is spot on and highlights the bands ever-improving ability and belief and, I for one, applaud this as TBC have always convinced me and always had the potential to move up the sonic stratosphere - consider this a complete hat-trick.
Look, you get some bands that instantly strike a chord in your spiked and spunky heart and if they back this up with a friendly approachability, big hearted spirit and consistently good songs then you really should treasure the whole shebang and keep em' motivated. Total Bloody Chaos are in this bracket, tick all the right boxes, have much to say and do it with advancing quality - TBC - True Believable Cacophony!
THE CHEEKY KEYS - BASTARDISE EP
A Blackpool based Funk/Rock/Hip Hop 5 piece who shake the shit and throw in many acute corners of cacophony, angles of fanny splitting spite and ring rupturing rhythms of desire. Once more I feel my party sausage inflate and wonder if it will metamorph into a shrivelled skin of disappointment or into a stonking Cumberland of sizzling delight. I get out the Fungal frying pan, spray in a good splash of fat (oh I be such a virile beast) and turn up the heat with all focus at the ready. Let's cook some dinnage!
The first spitting tube of melodic meat is entitled 'Fight The Urge', a song that is tossed into the cooking arena and given warning of a 36 times beating that is coming its way. The thermals rise, initial reaction is of a bouncing splatter attack driven forth with scorched screeches, seizured flips and a kick back bass drives that ruffle the senses and force hard perspired, wicked fuck functioning’s to energetically fidget with. Skins are rhythmically fluttered over and double slapped for good measure whilst the strung out nervousness keeps everything aflame, active and almost violently aroused. The oral offerings are jacked up with cocky street arsed sanguinity and delivered with articulate spittle soaked wordology that bounds with accuracy. This is a wasp's nest of high activity that needs many prods, pokes and listenings but believe me this is sub-volatile, controlled and crazily attractive and tastes so sugar bugger sweet that I find myself dipping my fingers in more often than not.
'Local Celebrity' bubbles and scratches its sub-psychedelic arse before pseudo-rapping on the set epilepsy trail and producing a quite temperamental bucket of bang on boogiefied noise. Each moment is produced with high articulation with attention to tonality and timing at the fore of the thinking. The slapped bass, the tin can guitar scatters, the hop frog skin style and the general nervous agitation all create a foundation for the front gob to thrive upon. A song buzzed with life, a multi-coloured episode of sonic St Vitas Dance and one you will find irresistible. The solo cruise to the last is flamboyant icing on a delicious cake - this band know how to cook baby! 'Kid In A Box' stomps its acoustic feet a little harder, has an almost Beastie Boy essence but of course with a more serious edge. The deliberate high kicked march gains initial attention whilst the excellent standard of delivery captures the outside senses and so hypnotises in many modes, some obvious, some quite subtle. The stylish words deal with our view of ourselves and the outside world and the affect it has as well as the tattoo gun of the political world that stains all our cerebral skins and leaves us...dumbed and numbed without any self creativity within the thought system - shocking (well that's how I read it). The band, as per, flip (like an orgasm thrashing eel) but never flop (like a Stretch Armstrong penis extension) and chug, grind, scathe with their all consuming conflagration of passionate spontaneity. Sexy shit dude!
Testing quad cables, drowning gob scrapes, more hip grinding thrash and funk - The Cheeky keys are right back at you with another screwdriving attack of tortuous, hard driven dinnage that encapsulates every vital element and fine facet that the crew chuck into the air and catch on the downfall with feisty baseball bats to shatter any remnant of predictable coherence. Stand naked, stand proud and let the resultant debris splatter-twat your frame in garish vulgarity and Pollockonian abandon. Your flesh is the canvas, the tones added literal and quite natural - what these artistes create is sub-messy beauty via a happening energy loaded with electron bombs to aggravate the senses - switch on, switch off - the latter option would be a great loss.
We close with the sharpest number, a ditty driven in the usual customary style entitled 'Hindsight'. This one is sexed up with he/she tones colliding and copulating amid the expected frenzy. Hard hitting reality based output with a quite nasty undercurrent that is sobering and spiced with street honesty. Pistons pump in and out of sync, the spark plugs ignite with regular but unspecified routine and so, once more, absorb our attention and create a situation where we are, without really knowing it, hooked. The angst in the drive rises, the bitter rivalry compounds a fascinating situation before we slam fuck outta here - wham. The 5th pip in a row, need I add more?
A fantastic 5 song eruption that stretches the noisy labial lips and helps assist in giving birth to new hybridised bastards that are worthy of your time. Take note of the underlying afterbirths, the spilled vaginalisation that coats these writhing wretches - there is much to lick at, savour, swallow and get off to - nasty perhaps but this noise is of such a kind to create these mental reactions - do it, help deliver the rhythmic runts, make sure arses are slapped and the cries that come are of such quality - The Cheeky Keys have potential, the question is can they meet it and keep things varied enough to not stagnate in their own birthing pool of discordance - I reckon so!
END OF PIPE - KEEP RUNNING EP
Brazilian modern edged noise done in a meticulous way but still gripping the power laden nuts of noise and squeezing out many hefty pips to get impregnated by. The crew have done a few rounds with several so called 'big names', but for me it all counts for nowt if the music is shite and the attitude ain't right. This CD has been spun, as per, over several weeks and has really been put under the spotlight. This melodic sub-skater stuff has bite, I stick my noggin into the mouth of the hollering beast, you know what comes next.
Corrosive industry commences the furnace blast of 'Fall' a song that soon functions harshly with all systems go via a top notch production value that enhances the alertness and overall drive. The initial verse is held on the leash and comes with slightly abraded gobbage rising from an underflow of throbbing string and skin work. Ascension is slight before we tumble into the sinewy chorus chunk that is basic and without frill but does the job in hand and keeps the regular flow moving. There is an underlying power that is quite provocative and kindles interest as to what will come next. This song stays within its set boundaries and grows in stature with each spin as the players grind out in gratifying unison and thus create a well drilled thud of sonica to be hit by. It is a concrete start and pursued by the surge of 'Pollution', a song that sharply opens, pronounces and then cruises. The wings open, greater air is pushed inside and out, a straight ahead passage is taken before subtle swoops are had, hovering moments are used to observe, assess and gob off with and chances, to flick around and alter the main direction, chosen. Rugged and soaring this second offering takes some time to pin down and tame and leaves me eternally reaching for the replay button. Of a definite new-skool mode, with an elaborate plumage in part, but not vulgarly so, this is a wee tidy flutterer that deserves consideration - I move on confident of a decent ditty.
Third up and down falls the 'Rain' in exact style with the opening downpour sunnily drenching before turning into a soft trickle that splashes with care but just falls short of creating a memorable climactic cacophony. We gradually get more rocked up but almost in a ‘too absorbed way’ that forgets to lay on the more exhibitionist accents necessary to outbursts of this ilk. There is a generous amount of emotion poured in and the shimmering string burst accentuates all around but the slower, more thought-out moments somehow hinder the fluidity a little and make for angular moments to not be intrigued by but to be slightly disappointed by - a shame because End of Pipe have so much more potential. Onwards and 'Jack' is more like it, back in the bands comfort zone and saturating the soundscape with a rock steady song that fits into the more commercialised arenas of punk and goes for certain zeniths by using controlled noise riffs, stabilised construction and coffee table safety. This is far from noxious angst that spits and shits with ill temper, no, this is a somewhat calm, focused movement built in layers that combine to impress rather than shock. It is once more 'mood' music and output for the more 'muso' based noggins out there - not bad though but just in need of a bit of danger and off the cuff spontaneity.
'Slow Trip' is mid-paced and accomplished in so far as the production accentuates the inner machinations of a song that at first, seems a little too steady, but when given time and deeper scrutiny is a hard fought episode of saturated musicianship that breaks sweat throughout and burrows deep within itself to make a drawn out impact. The tendency to drift into the realms of commercialism may be deliberate or just a case an occurrence happening as a result of the bands chosen articulation and sonic methodology. Either way this one will not instantly grab you but will grow in strength with your donated time and rather than be a quick fix to a mood swing will be a reliable fixture to rock along to. We shut down with 'Keep Running', a sizzled number that has the heat kept consistent and the boundaries stretched so as to trespass into realms were things are more cocked and rocked. In fact this is middle ground music between the spiked and the metalised and with it’s smattering of technicalities and slightly moody encouragement this is an odd ball to kick. I leave on an indecisive moment, one I ain't sure about, I have a feeling the band aren't extending themselves enough to close this CD in wham bam style – I could be wrong, then again…
Overall this ain't a bad offering but would it prove just as effective as part of a larger collection of tuneage or would the similar styles used overcook themselves and highlight an abused routine. End of Pipe fit into a niche within a niche and if they don't flex their muscles they will get ensnared there which will be a tragic waste of obvious talent. Check this out and see if you think I am over critical - nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say!
THE VERMIN SUICIDES - YEAH MAN IT'S...
From the very talented Antipop stable come these capable artistes who ply their trade with a mix and match essence that avoids clichéd tick boxing and category jumping to suit the needs of the masses. They hail from Liverpool and as far as I know have no criminal records (unbelievable I know and I reckon it is only a matter of time before I unearth the inevitable) and seem there for the long term which is always applaudable. They first hit the scene in 2008 and over the time that has transpired between then and now the crew have clocked up a few good gigs and always been up for the crack. I like the sound of this lot, I have viewed them only once in the flesh, am I set to uncover a band who know how to do it on the silver disk - all I can do is what I do and seeing that I review so much and need to keep these reviews half decent for you the reader I shall adopt a medical complaints style approach. Hypochondriacs and sufferers of anal boils - enjoy!
An orthopteran specimen stridulates, I feel a dose of the anal crickets coming on - there go my nerves again. 'Um Bongo' has a Brazilian feel as well as many scabs of sonic madness encrusting the instrumental delivery and so I remain on the back foot as I apply assessing medication to the whole shebang. Fruity, funky, jingly and jungley this sub-tropical jig-out is a nasty infection that warbles, twinges and thrusts with mind-melting affect - I feel shattered already. A bout of delirious upchucks come, the virus has hit a cerebral chunk - don't give up, we now come to the first song proper. 'State Of The Art' is a beauty, a real clear cut tub of tuned cream to apply to those nasty blood stained bits which are dealt with due to the fantastic cooling radiance of the song and all round fresh and vitality laden passion that pings with good old rock and roll vibrations and just such ensnaring rhythm. A honest and classy song with all components spicy and bursting with gratifying joy de vivre - a great tonic. The encrustations have cleared, I see a spreading rash arise from my tapping feet, it has 'No Control', the only salvation is that this second exhibition of fine tuneage has good melody and perhaps, if I jig enough, the circulation will clearing the reddening. It isn't a problem as this song insists a pogo and ping stance is taken and with its revitalising clarity and salvation request I can feel myself already picking up. Reggaefied ripples are felt beneath my skin, the wired lesions that break out are raised and serious - I seek the help of a doctor of dinnage - he gives me another cream to apply several times a day. I listen and watch with greater scrutiny, the focused cream is smeared, the feeling I get is of a cooling drift that crawls beneath the epidermal layer and occasionally surges with virulent relish and so has one forever intrigued. The crew apply a deliberate sub-style, they vary the disease of noise and come up with a mellow moment to praise.
Onwards, is there no release from this malady attack. 'Banzai' sees me fall victim to the melody of something similar to Yellow Jack, although this strain increases the appetite albeit for all things toned and bouncing. The fever ignited is a delight and the only chills had are ones that tingle the sonic spine and cause great pleasure. This ditty has a galloping horse rather than a galloping arse effect (thank goodness, how I hate those Diarrhoea symptoms) and so as one up out of the sickbed and cloppity clopping around the room with the arse whipped and the spring in the heels rife with joy. A real westernised run around with all components lucid and in unison. All these infections are surely in need of a cure and 'The Antidote' is just the trick. Choppy strings reminiscent of something skankoid, a vocal tone lucid and convincing, the finer touches apt to the job at hand. I consider my ailments are all mentally induced, maybe I too am a victim of desire and that is placing me in these precarious positions. I swallow deeply of this song, the chorus is a lifting supplement to the contents passed thus far, I feel fighting fit. Back to the lightly wanked verses, the professional delivery I can't get enough of, the expected rise to the closing dose - a tuned tablet that can be used as a fine release from sonic sufferance. If you get overloaded with musical bilge then pop this one on the turntable - it will do just the job. 'All I Want' maintains the feel good feistiness this time with a well drilled construct that keeps it minimal via the verses before gradually rocking it up with a fine lustful chorus that repeat beats without being annoying. The band keep the variation of theme pouring and make for a very interesting listening experience indeed. This one is a more than decent ditty that itches in, twinges with dental cruelty, spirals with controlled passion with its only drawback in finding itself sandwiched between two absolute cripplers. 'Human Nature' is a bout of nervous sincerity awash with superb ensnaring bouts of laid back rhythm and sing-a-long beauty. The stop start chorus cutlets are a perfect partner for the preparatory verses and these two components go together as well as foot and mouth, the shits and sickness and, may I add, wobbling waps with weeping nipples. A stunner and the short playing time has that finger flicking that replay button over and over.
3 nippy overviews next and firstly to the headache insistent throb of 'Everything Is Everything' which should be unable to please and yet does a number on the doubtful decision maker and after a dreamy Euro-exotic touch the repeat chorus breaks the tranquillity with accuracy. The alteration of output is applauded and reinforced by the hybridised deliberate romp of 'Danger To Know' a song that combines Flamenco touches with Russian kicks and a tale of a betraying bitch who sack hops with unthinking idiocy and leaves the broken tickers of men in her wake. The song is sub-tetchy, caressed with dramatic drones from doom laden overseers and as we fall deeper into the downward draw we are tossed upwards with the punchy power and lively activity of the excitable 'Et Tu Brute'. A real rousing piece of self relief that jerks off the inner tension and splashes the crowd with infected seeds thus creating similar melodic masturbatory behaviour. A definite sup, shindig and fuck it moment made to be lapped up with a smile on yer face and a stain in yer undies (if you get so worked up that is).
Only 2 left on this fine collection of multi-faceted muck chucks and if you had any reservations as regards the impetus of the CD and the passion of the players then 'Keep The Beat' will banish them all with this rushing celebration for the love of noise that pleases those rockin' girls and those rockin' boys. In its penultimate position this one gets those jowls super juiced up all over again with the quick flow go, go, go spark and overall absorbing dance-a-long fervour. Vocally and musically the band still are on their game and I have to take my well worn titfer off and duly tilt in appreciation - corkin' work. We close with 'Utopia' a waltzing and questioning song that adopts sub-acoustic cuts interspersed with more pushing advances that are all swathed in choice production and puts a seeming nail in the coffin of hedonism whilst howling at the moon, standing outside the acceptable circle and strutting the sonic stuff. A fine closure that rounds off a quite accomplished CD that has many pleasurable components to uphold the longevity.
Vermin Suicides have, if they play it right, much room to manoeuvre within the labyrinthine tunnels of the music scene and in no way whatsoever should restrict themselves by adding misdirected labels or playing to the same old style of punter. We have here a conglomeration of multi-layered sounds that can be repeated, built upon, stripped down or slightly manipulated so as to become other exciting outpourings. This is a firm footing to open the doors with and will kick many off their hinges without much effort - let us hope many more swing wide, welcome and duly applaud what is a highly capable unit.
ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE/THE DAMN GARRISON - SPLIT SINGLE
Long term punkers, professional and deliberate dealers in controversy and ever reliable toe treaders the Anti Nowhere League rattle on this time sharing the CD stage with a new band to me, namely The Damn Garrison. We all know about the southern based ANL crew and the obnoxious ways and tongue in cheek vulgarity that makes many pertinent points whilst sniggering away but The DG crew need a brief intro I feel. Hailing from Dover, New Hampshire this is a band who formed in 2012 and are a 5 piece who have already clocked up a few decent support slots with bands such as Murphy’s Law and Evil Conduct. Their style is primarily Oi with that new edge slant that has much bollocks and boom appeal. The two tracks here follow a set route and I feel it only apt to start the review with both offerings.
'Pride And Honour' is typically titled in this sub-generic boot laden pit and whilst keeping a routine mode of operation the pace and added skip zest add to the conviction of the listener and perhaps if they are all Marvelised will give hint a pogoing Ben Grimm in his brickwork guise that shatters all around. The gruff vocals work, the belt lashing delivery, the meat on the bone is all indicative of the chosen sub-scene as is the belligerent stubbornness and inner self belief of 'Bloody Corner'. A clod-hopping burst of drilling muscle that avoids flamboyance and just goes straight ahead and pummels the senses. Drums rattle, strings cut a dash, the gob growls, the pace drags all along under a self-made steam - not bad but for further ventures the band need to stretch their sonic wings or get incarcerated within a restraining acoustic cell - don't do it chaps.
The ANL boys offer up the seedy splash of 'The Adventures Of Peter Vile', a yarn concerning a panty wearing computer voyeur who wanks off with varied creams and toys whilst looking, I presume, at material on the wrong of side of decency. The foul mouthed players do justice to the subject matter with a creepy lust loaded whispered verse attack followed by a sing-along chorus cut that is basic, unapologetic and says it how it is. This double edged sword rises in arousal and acidity and although a wrap-around routine it does have initial impact that gets one truly involved. It may be sticky subject matter (literally) but fades into comparison by the shock tactic apple cart wrecking nastiness of 'The Day The World Turned Gay', a song to cause severe upset with its no nonsense intolerance and prejudiced finger pointing. I have already seen a few on-line discussions with the expected stances taken, all of which have points to consider and of course, underlying sub-text that will not sway my review. The song rocks it up in fine style with crisp guitar, pounding drums and Animal's generous helping of gravelled vocals loaded with venomous spittle that is not held back for reasons of safety. Terms used such as 'puffs, faggots, dykes' and the lines concerning the 'sniffing of arses like dogs' will do the task set and rankle the skins of those right on the PC bandwagon. Punk has always been built on foundations that pushes boundaries, but also in the same breath has numerous ever growing in-built rules and standards that kind of contradict its own style and, in truth, makes a mockery of what it actually it sets out to be which, in turn, is more punk than what it should be. Confused - you should be and who fuckin' cares? If you don't like this then don't play, if you have something to say yourself then get up and fuckin' say it but make sure you know where certain outputs are coming from and where your chosen upchuck is going. I like this song and can see the kickback it makes against specific fashionable idiocy but I still hold firm that a world without prejudice is the best option and as long as people don't harm anyone else then let them live and die but...what is the definition of harm and if one man indents the fabric of society do we all feel the ripples - watch yer step, watch yer toes - the ANL are still at it again and I wonder if their moral sketchbooks are so clean and decent to back up the gobbology here - worth a ponder don't ya think?
There ya go, a CD many will hate, a release many will consider and have something to say about, a CD some will absolutely love. A hard review for yours truly due to the latter song and I hope in some way I have captured the zest, opened the floodgates and stated where I am at - stuck in the middle without a pot in which to piss. Your call this one, I am here to do my bit and throw in an opinion or two - and that is more than what most are willing to offer up? I hope it gets ya thinking and remember - fuck prejudice, fuck predictability and oh yes...fuck punk I presume - what a world - gimme love not hate any day of the week!
ELMO AND THE STYX - HAPPY
A layered cake is made, lots of flavours run in parallel and offer individual taste sensations until...the big stomping grunged boot of Elmo and the Styx comes crashing down and flattens all appetising areas into one mucky mush of talented yet vandalised discordance. The final mound is sliced, the served up portions are appearing messy with no delicacy and no insight but, if one digs in the assessing spoon deep enough, avoids the initial impact and takes respectful consideration, then a surprising aftertaste can be acquired. Sometimes presentation is everything, sometimes it is merely nothing and is a simple design to cover up many major weaknesses (the changing faces of people are a classic example of this) - one has to be wary. So, with their frantic and somewhat experimental edge Elmo and the Styx test the palate of the Fungal glutton - yummy.
Opening the cascade is electric eel frenzied cable stretching that soon penetrates the membrane of more visceral din-making which is abrasive, vivid and thoroughly naturalised in its own grimy environment. 'Blood Soup' is ladled, thrown with an intent to scald and repulse and is bubbling throughout with a greedy heat that will feed on your soul. Within this agitated noise the bass is the main activator and exudes such motivated life as to force all other components to whip to the rhythm and do as best as they can to stay is strict line. No easy task as this fizzing fucker is unpredictable and awash with a perspired sheen of danger. The gruff and slightly rasped vocal style has enough dirt within to be pleasurably unhealthy and effective and if you are looking for sonic shit that has a fair old stench then get ya snifter into this mucky pile - quite fragrant in a warped kind of way. 'Male Pride' is seemingly a tale of a tosser, a shagger, a so-called he-man loaded with hate and ale - you know the cunts! The band deliver the song with mid-paced salivating guts primarily built on energetic skin rape, abusive wire molestation and grimaced throat strains. All styles copulate and create in utter unity with the resultant obscenity a quite enthralling spillage. The crew are throwing themselves into the self made fracas and seemingly coming out the other side in glorious bruises and welcome scars - is there any other way to play this racket?
'2001' is happening, is a raging ball of embryonic fire throwing out searching tendrils of tension that is loaded with naturalised rage and off the cuff passion. The opening cymbalised one tap, the instantaneous guitar eruption, the laid back ease up of the first verse, the bold bass engravings and the spittle splattered urgency of the chorus all work a treat and make this colliding song a grabbing explosion of persuasive energy. The adjustment from composed to the ruffled is done to a high level of precision and makes for the most exciting song thus far. 'Skin' repeats this style in a more careful way with the clashing individual episodes kept on the taut leash and the temperament held in a sonic strait jacket that displays a new aspect to the bands approach. Less brutal, more meditative, refusing to stay on expected track and quite willing to change the rhythmic route. Grunged aspects come to the fore, riffed up moments are indulged in, funkiness inks the overall membrane - a fair delicacy that shines as part of the package.
'Incorrect' has wired seizured aggression spunked into your face, with much desire, before clamorous guitars twat fuck and funk with anxiety releasing hunger that pushes us into the opening verse violence. The vitality, angular vulgarity and suggested seam stretching restlessness may not be to everyone’s taste but the applause must surely rise with regards to the tight and tantrumised delivery and of course, the in-built urgency, that helps create that essential 'danger' factor. The tracks on which this engine of noise travel are rickety, well worn, unpredictable but Elmo and the Styx balance their wagon and make the journey from first to last with ass bruising brilliance. Next up and doom-soaked rumbles commence the troubled anguish of 'In Your Hole', a flea bitten pock mark of incendiary spontaneity that is ignited by the thermal rage thrust outward and the fist flying desperation to escape the bleak traps that life reliably offers up. Again the band are untrustable in their routine and at any moment may dash off on a tangent that leaves us standing. An abundance of vigorous lunacy is heaped higher and higher as another cacophonic blast abuses itself with testing fervour.
Catapulting forth and with any blinkers withered and worn (as per) we look into 'My True Face', a corrupted countenance of sound that rises from subdued ashes and technically flies around with much agitation and sexual frustration it seems. Drums find routine but roll and scuffle to maintain uncertainty whilst strings are masturbated, with mayhem always a nearby threat and with much Hornet's nest spite - the song is always going to keep this eavesdropper on his toes. 'Bearded Lady' is more suspicious, has a scummed upper surface filled with oily suggestion and creeping finger terror - will the digit merely caress or will it invade an orifice deemed private? The switch from the blatant to the more secretive is sweet and this song survives as a result. Next up and one of the best with 'Milk' being a nasty desirous number that buzzes with grasshopper activity, jumps around like an amphetamine loaded flea and pounds and pumps like a rabid dog on a viagra trip. Pint buckets of sweat are poured in, mood swinging Bi-Polar unpredictability comes at you with frightening flame thrower peril and the last holler off is surely the work of a tortured soul. A massive number indeed. We close with 'Dust', an almost indulgent moment that has lowly essences of new school punk, old style prog, experimental slapdash brushwork on a canvas that is uneven and torn. The offering gets more abstract as the weary vocals whine in and the guitar twinges with neuralgic venom. Eruptions come, they make for a relief, but overall I can take or leave this last blast of patchwork power. As is common in these sonically saturated times you get an extra dabbling on this CD - it is slightly tucked away at the back end and, as is the norm with me, I leave this for your own pleasure and for you to decide upon.
Overall Elmo and the Styx excite me and play a very perilous game that could so easily flop, fail and fuck up. It takes an abundance of know-how, a smattering of luck and some darn decent talent to avoid any drop into the pit of dud dinnage and this lot prove they have their fair share of the finer assets. Yeah, I like this edgy produce and it will be interesting to see where they go next. Get clued in, never avoid a chance to hear something angular.
JOHNNIE SQUIZZERCROW EXPERIMENT - GOD IS ON THE CASE
The Johnny Squizzercrow Experiment immediately invoke images of an avante garde outfit daubed in garish attire and puking up an abundance of multi-coloured sound chunks we may indeed digest with relish or choke on with disappointment. Then again the band may just offer run of the mill sonica I can take or leave and fail to create any mental delights and melodic arousals. They claim to come from 'Oop North' and play music for themselves with an aim to raise feeling and emotion - should there be any other way? It is all sounding good, can the tones deliver, can they nudge my senses into emitting a praiseworthy review - who knows, I go in stripped of any bias and as fair as tha' likes!
'God Is On The Case' is the first rabbit to be pulled from the hat of unexpectation and hey presto, as if by illusion, we have a Big Top roll up, roll up intro that sets a scene, welcomes the band and then moves to one side whilst we get thrown into the ensuing musical structure. Immersed in a warm liquid environment of soul searching thoughtfulness the band move with slo-mo effect and are only kept buoyant with an underscore of slow effervescence and relentless grinding vibrology that is subtly shadowed, eerie and unsettling. The vocal style is borne from haunted corners where inner demons propel angular thoughts and where spirits of spite cruelly comfort and yet obviously disturb. The end result is of a well-oiled piece of testing noise that actually erodes your resistance and gives glimpse of much promise to be had. Lick, like or loathe but applaud for the attitude please!
Groovy bass and shadowglass string work from a cavernous vault help begin a song that is the paradoxical old school futurised sound lost in a fracas of more commercialised pools - a tragedy indeed. The vocals come with almost mad scientist effect, the lyrical content swirls in sub-abstract cadences, the musicians absorb themselves deeper within the melodic mush and grind out a persistence that will reach out and, given time, embrace. The DIY thread and refusal to spill into regular straight-line routine is simply stated - I like that. 'And He Killed A Cyclist In Norwich' is the title – naughty bugger!
So The JSE brigade enthral with a 2 track taster that is laden with obscure smears and stinking awkward stains. Nothing wrong with that and as a small snippet this indeed offers much stinky promise. Dare I say the band need to stretch boundaries further for a longer release but it seems all the tools are there to do just that - watch out, something strange this way comes!
BLACK LIGHT MUTANTS - ACID BURN ALICE
Art soaked outcrops of disgruntled tuned-in terrain are borne from a saturated landscape where many vibes get annoyingly overlooked or just lost in the overall panorama of noise. Occasionally these vulgar growths are emphasised due to the attention of some passionate artisans desperate to be seen, heard and spread their messages from within their sonic souls. The Black Light Mutants are trying their best to sculpt out a prominent angle, to make themselves get noted, to make sure they protrude from the ranks with their anti-fied, disgruntled and questioning stance - it ain't easy but these guys try. The modus operandi of the unit is to be visually alert, musically experimental and to maintain a DIY ethos - again not easy. Enter Fungal, requested to do a review, armed with his usual forthright unbiased tools, required to be polite and praising - yet again I stress - not easy. I won't be swayed by shite music tha' knows. Onwards, enough of the introductory rambling, to the core of the matter - the noise.
A news reel, sound bites, vox pops to contemplate and then the first dreary and doom laden twinge that dissolves and is overtaken by a brief drum skip and synthoid surge imbued with anger via the front gob. 'Starving In The UK' confronts the problems that arise when one lives in a land of greed and misdirection whilst being led by a shit governmental regime. The incessant drive is electrocuted throughout and has much irked and worked output but never truly rises into a chorus based explosion so as to emphasise particular points - it is a decent start with an underlying decadence and political restlessness but the BLM boys have so much more to offer I feel. 'Northern Wasteland' is computerised dust kicking from a desolate landscape where hope seems to be lost. The plodding approach, the unwashed grind and mesmerising reverberations all burrow deeply into the sonic senses and drill away at your resistance albeit in a quite uncomfortable way. Music without make-up, without a mask but glaring at you from a stripped down countenance that will unsettle your stance and outlook. For me, a scene splitting noise that some will love, some will throw to one side and treat as occasional listening matter. 'Fascist Disease' is more straight forward ranting with the keyed aspects not used to the maximum potential and so letting the song become another flat-lined rave that would have been so much better with extra exaggeration of the hate against prejudice theme. The scuzzed and fuzzed approach is in danger of being overdone and the blatant lack of melody may be predictable but is essential in emphasising all around it. The sub Dr Who cheapo squeaks fail to raise the appetite for this one - bah. 3 tracks in, I am awaiting something to challenge the norm, something to cut out a new fracturing angle. 'Panic At The Party' is the best song yet and opens up new vistas for the band to get caught up in. More poppoid, more alive clashing emotions that, by chance it seems, accentuate each other. The spillage has a hint of more natural ingredients and a greater level of spontaneity which, of course, makes it the best track thus far. The easy delivery and back drones all intrigue and Joey at the fore seems more relaxed when allowed to turn down the irritability for a moment - a definite snippet for the band to consider further.
'Peaceful Protest' numbs, climbs up the rhythmic rung, dirtily smears the already shit covered walls with more noisy excrement, this time filled with flashlight fury and wired up angst. The main thrust is planed out and doesn't provide enough cutting slashes but rather abrades with continued persistence but the song has salvation in the form of the furious front gob who tears his tubes out and let's them spray venomous messages all ways. 'Laugh Out Loud' begins with an Urbanised Doggishness (Step the Mind Gap dudes) and flushes its own drains with a slow hyper-computerised war path wind along that pulsates with almost detached, dumbed down, disturbed monotony that has a odd edge built on a lyrical Bowie-esque gnome chorus. A strange one indeed and one used as a partition in the consistent flow of toxicity.
5 quick ones now, to keep the assessing bladder open and to relieve any tension. 'The Re-enactor' is a incessant slow waltz of aggravating machinery that flat-lines and has a production line to kill the senses. The invasive bout of 'I remember you' is small salvation from a real testing trial. 'Kali Chama Masala' has more melody, a slightly more appealing edge but I am getting frustrated at this point with this lethargic grind that places too much emphasis on creating apocalyptic atmosphere and sub-trance acoustic visuals - not for me and I move on into the 'Curiousor and Curiouser' a leaking drainpipe water torture that molests any sensor that seeks out something melodic. Experimental 'PIL'led up dabblings with nauseating repeat offensiveness that pushes one over the brink and forces them to throw this CD across the room (unless they are blessed with patience). The attempt made at something discomforting, something angular, something awkward is there, I usually like stuff borne from such stances - not so here. 'Acid Burn Alice' is more factory based roboticism but this time has fury in built and more electrocuting spite - as a result the song gets by. The vocals strain, the musical escort embraces and squeezes a response - it is devilishly dirty stuff - one lapse in concentration and this one will be up yer acoustic arse and infecting you. Last of the quick quintet is 'Promazine', a snide little fucker that hollers from the vault where minds are dumbed down by a freely prescribed drug designed for your healthy benefit (and if you believe that you need to get on some pills as soon as). The song crawls but eventually surges with the essences of the previous recording still in the air. This new updated version is not as good as the more DIY offering despite its added extra frills and I am still on the back foot with this CD that offered so much promise. Maybe that is my problem, I know the band, have seen and heard some stunning stuff and so am now in a greedy situation where I expect way too much. Sorry chaps but I am not enjoying this at all.
'Beauty' is more like it but again the production values are not encapsulating the full booming energy and screwed up psychotronica the crew spill so fuckin' well. The front gob is submerged within an ocean of sawing strings and wayward epileptic wires and despite this song, and the CD in general, receiving some fantastic feedback I feel utterly reluctant to join the gushings. Well played but without any ball grabbing energy. 'Wish' turns me on, is a visceral slab of mushed meat, retains a cruelty within the cacophonic crud and yeah, I like this but...oh yes indeedy...the previous version did more for me. It contained a more gut-exposing reality and avoided any techno trimmings that need a 100% production insight so as to maximise their potential - bah. Bombs of criticism I hear ya coming - kaboom.
The penultimate party piece if ya wanna go home with yer nether regions electrified and 'Make Up' is a brief and dirty old whoring nuclear disco scourge that opens its sonically scabbed legs and lets rip with a brief burst of vaginal flatulence that adds to the stench made. A foul number I like, terse and trashed without any cleaning agent in sight. 'Love Yourself' can be what it wants to be, the message is what makes the grade and with yet more corroded corruption, routine punk disease running throughout and the adopted fused and used modes I give this one a nod because it makes sense.
Over and out I be, a CD not to my overall favour and one that doesn't do a superb band justice. It will happen, here and there we will all get delighted and depressed with this lot because they won't rest on their laurels and produce easily digested material just for your pleasure. This is genuine success and the true kind to aim for. As I say, I may not be fully absorbed by this offering but I am old enough and wise enough to realise it is done for the right reasons. Now, get off yer chuff, listen, be honest, give the band your thoughts - thoughts that are devoid of bias, not made for gain, not done to win some profit points - it is the only way these bands can operate further.
HEADSTICKS - MUSTER
Folk and punk get a kick up the arse here and are duly forced into an embrace where they finally copulate and produce this very rewarding spillage of noise. Hailing from Stoke On Trent Headsticks are a band new to me and I hang my nut in shame at being so slow on the ball - I punctured it so long ago it is hard to keep up. Normally most CD's take a little adjusting to, especially if they are borne from spheres on the external side of the fence, but this lively gem had me magnetised with its first spin so was immediately put under the 'longevity test' and as a result comes at you with a well tuned in ear and a more than familiar stance taken as regard the end concoction. Headsticks have talent, of that there is no question, but do they have the nouse to make good songs with a lasting effect - read on, uncover the Fungal truth in all its unabashed glory.
'Flatline Town' has me considering a one word evaluation, a word that sums up my initial feelings as well as capturing the flavour of my emotions after several spins and various angular outlooks taken. It is never easy to be terse so, in truth, I won't bother, in fact I'll save that one word until I have given a little more detail about the song at hand. The persuasive opening ruffle of the well groomed feathers contains a certain fragility but has inner strength that takes us firmly by the hand into an absolutely stunning folked up melody that is blatantly tinctured with earthy acoustic honesty dripping from each strummed and skin peppered moment. The vocal style is remarkably accurate and intricately tattooed with pertinent emotion, pleading disenchanted rivulets flowing through the main gush of passion. The oral organ is blown (now, now) and adds a weary and melancholic strain that fades the song into further greying tones that are alive with utter character, total ticker based sentiments. The song never fails to please, from first to the last, the need to escape is always there, the verbal content poetically wonderful - a complete classic for me - oh and the one word - magnificent seems to suffice! Moving on and into the robust wire vibes of 'You're Killing Me America' (I know that feeling) with the opening salvo of vocal accented perfection, borne from wind blown landscapes and lifted from the gloom with encouraging strung and scuffled tones, that is done in such a delightfully charming way. The first verse is sub-wailed and takes us into a chorus that erupts with discernible blasted heath affect that soaks up our focus and give such real convincing edge to what is a tale of blinkered sheep following blinkered sheep. It has undertones of apocalyptic outcomes, overtones of disbelieving frustration - it comes across as another monochrome masterpiece done with erudite talent.
'Cold' comes on harvested tones from frosted family fields where countrified aspects are scattered via the scraped strings and tumbledown skins. The cluttering effect and the charming lilt of the lead all make for another interesting listen with time on the bands side and a well paced trot adopted. The fabric is deeply textured and somewhat comforting with a rolling low slung style that has inner confidence and a well saturated effect - lush. 'Two Sides' begins on lonesome musings with clouds of acoustic despondency building and offering a mesmerising panorama to be taken by. A stroll over wasted land with a life pondered gives the lead mouth the chance to show his fantastic range and to spout out about the opposite side of the coin that may not be the most popular but is just as relevant. An inner suffering is dealt with via the most fragile touches whilst the anguish in the oral offerings convinces over and over again. I move forth all juiced up!
'Wishing' is a marvellous emotive pearl with a sauntering strolling style that has you aching to join in and escort the melody with your relaxed and slow swinging hips. The yearning for unobtainable love is painful and the wasting of precious time is taken as mood laden thoughts rule the senses and the antagonistic offer is there to be taken up. Self pity enslaves, the band rise to the challenge and give the perfect musical backdrop with the harmonica a sincerely touching strain to pull many heartstrings - a wonderful snippet once more. 'Fanatics' adopts an emerald isle jig after a rumbled start with a radioed vocal injection and a plucky perkiness thrown in for good measure. The construct is perhaps the most routine of the lot but has that complete professionalism and well buttered inner workings that donate to a consuming song. There is a veritable cleanliness to the fabric of this, and all other songs, but daubed across the outer surface are strong and time worthy messages done in articulate lyrical modes. I dance forth - immersed.
A thunder gripe, the clouds break and the grey lacrymation descends, the intonations are alive with faint yet impacting simplicity with the utterances true and well targeted and the sonic assistance fluent, enshrouding and appealing. The bass is minimalised but does the tidy job so as others are insisted to move with relish. The song is spirited, concocts more fine mental imagery, this time with a hybridised blend of Dickensian monochrome and Turner-ised oppression. Take note 'Ghosts' smacks of sheer class that is shining bright and followed by the equally quality laden 'World Away', a light, aerated song that deals with a country at war, a land in turmoil. The pang in the oral tones is sincere, gorgeously soaked in incendiary intent and of course the tripping melodica that escorts is understated and effective as per. In the midst of the main gush of the emotively tense song we have a switched off portion of chanted, ranted spiciness sprinkled with galloping desire - a smart move and once again accentuating the brilliance of the band under the spotlight.
4 left, socks pulled up, come on lad. 'Teenage Widow' is of course drenched in dreary emotion, touching tonality borne from lightly dusted strings and panging oral offerings that lyrically lacrymate (despite the dried eyes) and flow with involved sincerity. The crew immerse themselves in the necessary mode and come out of another melancholic moment with this reviewer paradoxically, and may it be added inappropriately, smiling. The shadowy she touches behind the lead lad are not missed and show the band are deeply tonally tattooed and know their noise inside and out. We oppose the feelings risen here with the upbeat joy of 'Every Dog Will Have Its Day', a song that I feel like stealing and using as a signature tune for the approach I take to all I do and the gigs and bands I get involved with. Up the Underdogs is a motto close to my ticker and of course this kickback, never say die construction does the job for me. The skipping guitar, the relentless passion, the cut out and chant cutlet that will see anyone with their arse in gear up and happening are all fine adornments on a tuneful tree that will not be blown over any time soon. A verdant and vivid burst of feisty brilliance - I am loving this CD.
Last two - 'Paper Flowers' aches with articulated restlessness and tense tones daubed by melodic players intent on creating more than just a picture to peer at and pass by. The structure is considered, each stroke done with care, each applied shade from the sonic spectrum placed with consideration to its neighbouring colour. These are bold gatherings of skin shredding emotion and if one takes time to assess from different angles, distances and positions the full impact of the quality involved may be understood. I may be gushing, I am fully licensed to - this is marvellous. The finale, 'I Love The Way' emerges from the undergrowth, flaps crisp wings with fluttering energy, finds inner strength and takes up a repeat beat style amid the flurry and feistiness. The vibe overspills, the crew are clashing with vitality – they close the whole collection very much alive and kicking – at this point I need not go on.
Quite simply this is the 97th CD reviewed this year and is the best of the lot so far. Don’t get carried away, I’ll get through many more and this may not be the pick of the annual pops but my money is on it for sure. A sheer stunner that reaches for a style and tames it 110%. Totally brilliant and a fine example, once more, of the quality out there we can all be guilty of missing out on. Do not lose out here – get on it as swiftly as you can – a crackerjack.
IMMORAL DISCIPLINE/DEAD ON THE STREETS - SPLIT CD
Immoral Discipline - long term Oi based brutalists formed in1986 in the US confines of Washington DC. The band have seen some upheaval with one band member being stabbed to death (RIP), numerous line-up changes and the usual argy bargy here and there. They are still around, plodding away with their street sound and hardcore spirit and dishing out their dynamite along the noise polluted East Coast - it keeps the buggers busy! Dead On The Streets - short term Oi bashing pigs spilling their guts out with pounding deliberateness from the pit of, appropriately, Pittsburgh. No frills here, just smash and grab working class overspill with much strength in the bone and plenty of foot stomping sincerity. Now to the 2 offerings that each band pukes up, I shall dig in, avoid fucking about and do the job as best I can.
Immoral Discipline first - 'Riff RAF' is a hefty song with a sheepish intro that is soon overtook by scuffling skidded stringwork and then OI'ed up stomping done in the most traditional way but here with a fine end production to enhance the kicking given. The verse is grimaced, the chorus unified and hollered with all components intent on making a crushing mush to bowl over the senses. An inner solo shows the band have more to offer than just following set rules within the sub-genre and so this one gets a vote of confidence and taken for what it is - unapologetic street filth done with an added acuteness. 'Stay At Home Skinhead' whinges, boom blasts, pauses and then gets its arse in gear and furrows its wrinkled brow and goes for a sound once more underscored with a violent tonality and overlain with a choice production value. The spillages from the gob at the fore are almost fanatical and collide with the rear guard in superb style creating a solid fuck off shout out that really hoofs the noisy knackers. Short, no bullshit, have it - I ain't fuckin' around neither.
Dead on the Streets offer up 'Early Grave' with a more melodic approach taken and a distinct leaning towards familiar flavours that keep their output crisp and filled with vitality. The strings cut with buzz saw effect, the drums plough away with deliberate desire, the bass is a tidying adhesive element easily overlooked and the mouth is passionate and up for it. Combine all this with the working class pride and we have a number that breaks no boundaries but is a smart affair easily joined in with. 'America Today' pounces, wobbles the 4 wires, screeches briefly and then hammers away with pace the essential component and the class war angle in built and providing the incandescent spirit with extra fuel. No nonsense straight ahead noise here with frills minimal and output almost predictable. It may be of a certain ilk, it may not ruffle the feathers of originality but it is played well and does what it sets out to do - please the ones in the pit.
So 2 bands sticking to their style, not compromising and getting on with it. I could ask for more, indeed I do, but I ain't knocking artists with ability for knocking out 4 decent tracks that don't aim to be anything outrageous or testing. Street angst for the ones who want it no other way - you could hear worse. Hopefully the bands don't get too wrapped up in their circles and kick a few holes in the perimeter and crack on for a few new styles that test their talent - here's hoping!