FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 96
B-MOVIE BRITZ - TAKE NO MORE
Corby Cacophoneers enter the Fungalised realms of reviews and have me reaching out for a theme, a mode that would be apt or indeed be as unattached as possible just to be fuckin' awkward and force myself into not getting textually idle. I clutch at many straws and opt for no style at all because I am so fuckin' overload - aagghhh. Not easy but I hope to stretch my reviewing ringpiece and drop angular turdage and wordage that will accentuate the overall feel of the bands created froth. The band have supported numerous names that of course many other bands have so, in truth, it means jack all to me. They claim to mix elements of punk, horror and Oi - we shall see about that, the band have been on the road for 5 years - no excuses then. Right, let us have it, time to open the pages and invest my thoughts.
'Break Your Bones' rises from the silent ashes on resonant feedback before razor-slashing with frenzied abandon via the cheesewire trembling tension and mad arsed drum release. The grumbling bass fills in any gaps and we get treated to a fast thrash out speared through with raw, fuck-you vocalisation that never even attempts to be anything but run of the mill punkage done in traditional hardcore style - the question is - does it need to be anything more? At this early stage I suggest not! 'Take No More' eases up on the pace, increases the melody, hollers its bollocks off and goes for the jugular with usual restless disgruntlement built on tight wire work, furious focus and a strict regime that will adhere to sub-generic requirements and no-nonsense punkage. This is slash and stalk acoustic output that lacks the subtleties of more refined offerings but seems to not really give a toss and makes up for any tasteless failings by baring its soul on its arse. No matter what one thinks the spiked nucleus reacts - and for that I offer no apology. The fight back and kick up a stink honesty strikes a chord, it is just an in-built response I cannot quell.
'No' piles on the sonic pressure with more rail-roading forcefulness with the artistes keen on making an impact but not at the expense of the overall clarity. The band hammer home their point via a lucid hard-edge delivery that pummels away with punches in bunches that bowl over the resistance – pow! 'Its Who You Know' is a clattering affair done with foot to the floor and fist flying waywardness. The result is a bone-jarring trundle that is somewhat flat-lined when compared to its predecessors and wraps around itself a little too much thus becoming a repetitive irritant - bah. 'It's Who You Know' is a dig at the deviancy of the scene and life in general with the unfair door opening to those who shiftily keep in with the right faces and get the rewarding opportinities despite being outweighed by their competitors. It happens throughout every scene, every avenue of life and no matter how irate the band get, how much they spout off it ain't gonna change. It is a form of therapy though and if you feel the same way then get on this run of the mill cacophony done in rough-house punky style and scream your anger. 'Control' clouts yer lugs after a texturised start that makes way for a very convincing song that has the most progressive construct and sound of the lot. The band use stealth to creep up and then pounce with a very punishing and free punching chorus that is very effective indeed. Amid these moments are several eager rushes of the inner corpuscles that sees a galloping burst to jump around to. A quite decent song and one that gets the Fungal juices dripping - oooh me undies.
3 quick kicks of critique and out spills droplets of, I hope, a decisive nature. 'Sick' fizz bombs with vigour aplenty and hard groomed wire work with those rusted razor vocals hurrying along with a relish in the throat. The hollers release the tension, the overall rattle arse hoofing is fair fodder. 'I Hate You' is, as you can guess, unsettled spittle soaked gobbing off with the title holler amid an electro fever heightened by the overall incessancy. The band aren't thinking here, they are blasting forth with a natural ease that is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because, as said, it is real and done as a matter of course, bad because the band have other options to pour in and are not musically pushing themselves too hard. For an opening collection they can get away with this but the 2nd outburst must vary the muck spread. 'Hysteria' completes the hat-trick and is way too much of an overdose number that offers nothing new at all. It is almost like a doppelganger of so many other tracks and that indeed creates no interest whatsoever. As good as the other donations of dinnage but what is the point? No, I am becoming restless chaps, you won't charm Fungal so easily.
We are on the homeward stretch to Silent City, we need something to strike a chord and leave us with a blown out exhaust and an inner flame re-ignited. 'Shut It Out' is a fair bass driven racket, with all the early 80's inflection we are so used to by this stage. Razor sharp guitars, well fluttered skins, the expected scarred oral offerings - it is what it is, of a specific ilk and hitting certain zones we were born with - short and sharp too - just the way I like it. 'Victim Of War' is a brainwashed delivery suffering from Post Traumatic Stress via the cold, switched off verses before waking up and kicking back during the simply stated chorus chunks. A solid contrast is had and shows the band can vary it up a little if they prod and poke at their own acoustic sacs - not bad at all. We fire off into the distance with 'Youth Of Today', a mad clatter ranting and raving with all instruments brandished to the full and aiming to full stop this episode as soon as physically possible. An epileptic eruption bursting with the intrinsically basic riffology of the spiked pit - you can't squeeze blood from a stone and it would be pointless to try and squeeze further textual pips from this Fungal fruit - again it is what it is.
So, typical punkage, from a band who keep it tight, angry and very much within the boundaries set. They do what they do well and appeal to my primitive side and give me something to contemplate. The niggle is that the only place they can go with this is playing to the same old gits who will not aid them in stretching themselves and just bang their heads in accordance with the din. Nowt wrong with that but all musicians have gotta stretch, push and test the limits - I like this but I demand more next time around, come on, you know you want to - punk should never be about being static. PS - on the back of this though I would offer them a gig with a variety of other sounds to get the best out of their high impact energy - I reckon it would work a treat.
MARK JACKSON'S CWOT - WHAT'S THE SITUATION EP
A well worn and well versed performer back at it with a crew jumping in the same struggling and leaking boat and all together in producing the bleak comedy riddled titivations that a whole manner of aural eavesdroppers can relate to or chuckle along with (dependant on your levels of sobriety). This is DIY club music, harking back to yesteryear and dragging its pock-marked arse to the now and hopefully the morrow with all reality bared and all honesty and idiocy up front. The outlook is built on Northern angles, from a viewpoint were grey clouds smear the promising horizon and bring one's feet back down to the grimy earth. Clomp!
'Dumped By Text' is a cutely clawed DIY assault done in wrap-around repeater style dealing with today's cowardly occurrence of when one half of a relationship has had enough and decides to terminate proceedings with a shitty spineless text message - very honourable and such is the bilge laden society in which we reside. The song swings in with the sub-chorus and grabs the attention instantaneously before poetically revealing the tragic tale in many flavours and easily retained snippets of approachable wordage that is awash with modern cool phone speak and everyday lingo. The irate slant rises towards the latter end, especially after the seemingly soothing and therapeutic counselling session given via the placid string solo - hey ho, sometimes these things are hard to take. This is a fine opening gambit, a bitter sweet trembler to sympathise with or titter at (if ye be of such a persuasion) and one that sets the ball rolling in naked and revealing fashion.
'Real Men Have A Shed' is a slow dreaming drift of everyday life where one-upmanship, avarice and a certain inkling of macho-ism come into play whilst the slow waltzing music ripens and the rhythm tempts with time. The lyrically yearning is superb, the soft lilt at the rear simply ideal and the whole observational accuracy is what draws the attention. How many sheds do we know or can envisage like this, the end of the garden hideaway where who knows what goes on. The British shed is almost an institution, especially oop North, and this is another easily related gem to sing-a-long to.
'There's Always A Queue At Greggs' is a dreary factual documentary style commentary on a rotting society where no matter what, the fuckers still line up for the putrid pies and nasty pasties and fill their brow beaten heads. This bleak, heavy crowded trawl around stark and ill-used streets is a snapshot of harsh reality and an autopsy of a rotting concrete corpse with no trace of decency left. As stores close, the boards are shuttered up for good and the worn out workers breathe their last breath on the shop floor we feel an overwhelming sense of defeat and look on helpless as times change and memories are soon to be lost forever. I presume the title line regarding the bakers suggests a stubbornness, a safety line that shows survival can be had but can also be taken as no matter what shit happens around them the masses will still swallow their crud and take the blows with complete apathetic indifference. The nostalgic slant has a yearning, a rose-tinted look back at the high street, perhaps a time when reality was in fact...more real. This isn't a song, it is theatrical bout of acoustica, sub-poetry delivered on sobered notes lasting over 8 minutes 30 seconds - phew - take it that way and you'll find much to admire.
We close with a repeat of the first song, this time a full version (with fine true life utterances) - just as effective, just as pleasing - what can I add - oh yes - brilliant.
That is it - one viewing, on CD reviewed and I am taken. This kind of alternative stripped out simplicity that relies on cheap noise and cheeky lyricology has a place within many scenes and hopefully I can do my small part in circulating the word - I try tha' knows! Check em' out, don't expect anything, just dabble a few times and see what thoughts arise - positive ones I hope!
OFFICER DOWN - DEAD LANDS
A TNS release featuring a melodic hardcore band - now that seems about right! The intensity of Officer Down, a band who have been on the block for nearly a decade now, is what initially attracts the listener as well as the unpredictable edge thrown in with, of course, relentless energy. Over the years I think I have caught up with this Midlands based unit only twice and so in the meantime I will have to make do with a CD and do my usual bit. Inwards to the throbbing guts we go, the scalpel flashing, the maulers ready to truly disembowel the discordance - slop!
The first multi-faceted cut of cosmopolitan tuned in turdage is dragged out and scrawled with the name of the album title, 'Dead Lands'. After the one strum pronouncement, the drum thump, the skids, angles, smoked mouth work and tight packaged articulation unfolds with an avalanche of demanding sonic industry delivered with the expected high standards so commonly encountered in today’s varied pit of dinnage. The mix has crispness, a disturbing danger that dabbles with the precipice of disharmony but, as per, is dragged back into the realms of pseudo-safety, kicking and screaming most of the way. The blend of power and finesse is accomplished and Officer Down come out of this first melee with all guns blazing and all flags of sanguinity waving. 'Ghost Of Blackened Days' pounds, jars and has a greater sense of strung out conflict and 'at odds' danger. The tirade is flung, the venom spat with a passion, the vibes vehemently slapped on your lap. When soaring the band take some beating, when suppressing themselves they leave a trail of tension and give the listener a high sense of anticipation - never underestimate the effort. There is a lot going on within the discordant dust up and when the band bombard outwards you must surely reach for the replay button to get to grips with what has just transpired.
'You Can't Make An Action Movie Without Snapping A Few Necks' is one of those long-titled, short sharp explosions I come across now and again in this assessing mire. Here we have a band in volatile mode, fist fucking out a shit-strained streak of natural sonica that reeks of high tension and ball-bursting zeal. The fact that this episode trundles with focus, is as per, remarkably tight and gets the job done in one minute, all contributes to the end kick in the ball sack - ouch. 'Pull The Last Punch' pleas for peace, has had enough of all this disagreement and conflict - the ill-temper is frustrated and wants things sorted - now! The disconcerted din and festoon of frantic distress bursts the membrane of indifference within the listener and forces through many seething boils of molten reaction. The hollered garlands drape around the robust neck of noise and fall over a well tuned torso that ripples with a capacity to cause destruction! Beat me man, beat me. The power functions with a sublime ease, the fists thrown come from both orthodox and spontaneous angles - bob and weave as best you can, you'll still get nailed.
The dam is open, a few flicks is all it takes and the tumultuous cascade comes from 'Open Waters' with the band flapping their fins like possessed sticklebacks drugged up on nothing more than sonic steroids created to build up the muscular spirit and determined desires. Foam is sprayed hard as these feisty fish flap with zeal and head out into hopeful areas where liberation can only see them rise in greater stature. The headlong rush is focused, the inner elements all action and startlingly cohesive - you will find it difficult to hook these buggers on your line of negativity - honest and worthwhile stuff all round even Captain Birdseye would struggle to find fault with (why am I going all fishy for fucks sake). 'Light The Torches' is best compared, I feel, to an escapee kipper. Bought in a local shop, thrown in the pan ready to fry and 'wow' the fucker is alive, flapping and won't take this shit lying down. We release into a nearby pond and the bugger spits water in our eye and fucks off into darkened depths to hammer out a war-like racket that calls to arms all fellow fuckers on the run from procedure. Ignite, react, kick back - are you with me here or do my Piscean wanderings leave you high and dry? Don't be a landlubber, strip, leap and splash into these feisty waters where much transpires and even the minnows are welcome.
The runway is hit, we are ready to finish this journey, hold on, a re-injection of engine fire, a trundling burst of those well-juiced mechanisms, the band take back off and after an 'in sub-scene' predictable rattle they start to pound us with heavily stated verbal fists that pulverises the whole airspace within our bruised noggins. Lovely, and after another regular rumble of the sonic sensors the band pause in mid-flight and let the power surges build before swooping higher onto a glorious close down. 'Stray Dogs' is a heaving bastard that flies with utter zoned zeal. More pistons pump, the band drop back into a certain thump repetition again before eventually coming out flying with a gale blasted situation all raged and refreshingly brutal. The band use favoured elements as found elsewhere and trespass in several areas of sonic space using captured snippets from each. Oi that’s my riff – so what!
'Waiting On This' arises from the initial cloaked stringwork with a tumultuous attack that kicks out in many spontaneous directions whilst we are left to overdose on this excitement filled bloodrush. The more conspicuous and arresting piece is the midway riff up that dissects the main thrashing body of turbulence and gives the listener time to catch his rank breath - very much needed if you ask me as this is all-action soniceering and those snippets of slower noise assist us in appreciating every darn accurate aspect. I love this one, a cylinder screwing number that pumps like buggery - just how I like it. 'Stay Your Hand' is the penultimate trick and tumbles, pirouettes, pounces and propels itself with the by now expected gusto. The throat is still torn, the clatter attack still inspiring and absorbing and the unified mouth moments ideal for those 'in the pit' fanatics. You can see those low slung jeans being hitched up through the pogo moments, the hoodies thrown and the perspiration flying - am I being to sweeping in my judgement - ah piss off yer pricks, ya know what I mean. Delightful stuff and however ya want ya noise don't ignore these feisty new school flavours. Officer Down are in their own moment, on the crest of a wave that is easily fallen from - surf on, make the most of it - crackin'. We foam up and glide into the distance with 'Haunt These Streets', yes you guessed it, more flashing din served up with a trifle more spacious melody and with an in-built optimism that full stops proceedings on a veritable high. There isn't much to really add at this stage, it ticks the set criteria, is played wonderfully, holds up against all it predecessors - says it all I think.
Officer Down do the business here and draw me in to that swirling sonic pool were I am more than happy to be bathed, tossed about or even tossed off - yuk - nowt worse than floating sperm I think. This is a darn good do, with the TNS crew behind it and with many in their fold who will just salivate over the entire offering I reckon this will go down and treat and further enhance the bands reputation - go for it!
UNDERCLASS UK - NOT IN MY NAME
By heck these Underclass UK boys are busy buggers. Another CD to do of articulate working class noise that more often than not rises above the mass due to its careful and strict construct that maintains a good old rhythm in the rockin'. I ain't fucking about this time, you should know the score about these guys by now, wake up and get with it.
Straight out of the starting blocks comes 'Street Cleaner', a burst that has a dirtier, grimier edge than usual and really minces the membranes with its tense and crushing approach. Having listened to much produce from this heavyweight crew I was, at first, taken aback as I was expectant of more finesse within the assault rather than the all out raw brutality. Comparisons come, the best I can suggest is a pugilistic one - think of multi-world champion Thomas Hearns for previous outpourings, full of classy moves, potent jabs and powerful one punch vitality with many knock-outs to his name - that is how I would consider the bands primary donation. This time I am struck by the more deliberate and cruel approach and consider something akin to Sonny Liston. A dark underbelly, a thudding intent, an avoidance of frills to get the job done - are you with me, I hope so, I may maintain this fisticuffs thread. So opening song has a grim determination, a shuddering approach built on good training and inner power flesh pushed to the max - at this opening stage I'll give it a nod, it is a sweet hybrid. We follow up the opening bomb with 'Total Destruction', a song that gives suggestion of a young Mike Tyson mentality with an in-built savagery and undeniable forcefulness that has a rabid determination and utterly refuses to be beat. It is a mauling number only hindered by the built in commentary that is pertinent but not wholly necessary. The beating would have been far more effective as a non-stop assault but besides this niggle it has that bonecrushing slant to admire. 'Plight Of The Blind' is a somewhat untidy number, a molesting mover that gets the job just about done but lacks any flamboyance or flashy articulation. It is spoiling sonica, a messy affair that never shines bright enough to catch the main attention. Pondering the flat-lined rhythm I can only give similarities to Dennis Andreas, a plodder who got by on pure stubbornness alone - don't think it quite works here though. Primo Carnera springs to mind next with sonic visions of a juddering giant with awkwardness aplenty and with an underlying power that can explode but very rarely does. The plodding approach is uneasy, it lacks true fluidity and thus leaves itself open to swift attacks of criticism. It needs to open up, fling it fists with intent. No chance, one to receive a KO I reckon. 'Parasite' next, a barrel chested number with much potential but one that comes a cropper now and again when put into the main reviewing ring. Michael Dokes is my choice for this one, a fair fighting machine that just kept falling short of that true achievement. This one has bite but doesn't chomp just as hard as some of the more effective numbers. Nice string work, good overall movement but...ah but!
'I Am Somebody' is a rewarding effort and much more like it. It has an unpretentious entrance, nothing too elaborate but very earthy and street-based. The inside work is industrious, perspiring and honest and is a ditty to win many loyal fans. I like the passion and spirit, the get up and have a go drive that lacks sophistication but relies on inner grit and resolve whilst working away incessantly and displaying a sound strength of character. It is a unifying song, gets everyone involved - I'd be a fool not to give hint of a Tony Sibson style here, 'Sibboooo', 'Sibbooooo'. Next into the squaring up circle is 'Not In My Name', a very concrete and tenaciously unyielding force that bulldozes away with underestimated effect. It may lack a classy edge but it burrows deep and earns its respect with a hard graft and sinewy athleticism. There is a fixed and almost dependable obstinacy that is irresistible and this, and nothing more, has me reaching for a Bonecrusher Smith association.
'Insanity' a Tony Gallento ditty, a two ton number with much sinew stretched and much sweat thrown outwards and despite the lack of flamboyance and flashy touches the song digs in and gives a fair old account of itself. A gritty chug though that has many restricting styles and is slightly overweight with its own limited style - not as bad as it seems but not disciplined enough to take a chance and push on to new levels of sonic fitness. Not keen to be honest. 'My Right' is a better burst and like Roberta Duran is an almost hectic and out of control song but with much inside work that only the connoisseur can appreciate. The flurries have impact, the temperament behind each one is spiteful, the solidity hurtful, the relentlessness effective - an irresistible hunger thrives within the belly of this one, a hunger you will find it hard to withdraw from. Boom, bang, over and out. Jack Johnson springs to mind next with moments of careful pace, slow-motion control keeping the assessing opponent at arms length before positioned flurries come with unpredictable precision and power and leave one reeling backwards. The rawness of 'Whatever It Takes' is natural, the potential massive, the tight defence of the song admirable with the whole spectrum saturated and full to the brim of feisty desire. 'Hold On' is aptly tagged with a Carl Williams likeness - an ineffective number despite the gob off at the fore and the promise of some big weaponry. It moves at one pace, throws the odd angular punch and has a certain unorthodox suggestion but always goes back to the same mid-paced game plan. Not one to ponder over too much and lacking any finishing quality. That is indeed 'The Truth' of it.
'Empty Words' is an industrious workhouse without any real clout but with a fair punch rate and adequate rhythm in the sonic ring. The approach is busy without being out of sync and flaps and fails with a never say die undercurrent and a determination to stick at it and get the job done. One of those that holds its own but rarely gets highlighted when it comes to discussing the best - in fact not unlike 'The Pittsburgh Windmill ' Harry Greb in many ways, although a little more controlled.
'1984 or 2014' enters on flash heels, pummels hard throughout at a regular pace with some fair adequate work going on inside. Via the chorus the heave hos to the midriff increase and leave some fair bruising - would it be accurate to make a hint at that fine Body Snatcher 'Mike Macallum- I think that is a fair compliment as this was one tough cookie of a fighter. The hard-hitting words get in yer face, keep the pressure on and back you into a corner where one needs to reflect on what is actually happening. The world is turning to shit as indeed will yer guts if you hang on for a little too long. Next up and 'Get Out Of My Way' , a crackling burst of keyed retro footage it seems, as though awaiting the entrance of a champion. This and the title of the song as well as the thoroughly focused head down approach that has a determined strength and genuine street-grimed appeal fills my head with grained reels of Jack Dempsey, The Mannassa Mauler, and his persistent and punishing style. Underclass UK bring this to the table, as always, and when they get it right they don't half hurt. We fuck off with the long drawn out, slightly grandiose and overly tweaked 'Haters', a tune that goes on for too long and labours a dawdling point somewhat - the song doesn't work for me mainly down to the sought after emotive side needing a full on production assist with sound clips of swirling winds and apocalyptic machinery essential. You get my gist I hope. I can see what the band are aiming for but just reckon the atmospherics are sorely missing and so as a result, are any levels of true excitement - I'll make a relation to a Tim Witherspoon vs Greg Page fight - plodding and laboured desperate for an explosion or two - hey ho.
Despite the duff ending (in my opinion) this has been a fair old fiasco that shows the band trying to push themselves and vary the theme. It has much latent power and a streak of taut precision and even though the end production isn't as polished as it should be the band get by. Underclass UK are a concrete crew - go get ringside and listen in!
THOM BOWDEN - SEARCHING THE BRITTLE LIGHT
Sent via the Prescription Press machine this CD was received with no idea what to expect. Based in London the noise radiated is alternative with a low-down stripped out feel that plays its cards tight to the chest and with an angularity liable to throw off any assessing dealers. It is a two man affair, the influences thrown in are vastly varied, it will be a hard task for anyone wanting to truly pigeon-hole this sound, and so it should be - fuck all compartments, smash all restrictions. And so, yet again, I find myself in the middle of nowhere being bombarded with new sounds - I wouldn't want it any other way.
'Click' commences with crisp, clashy massages of the tinned strings before tympanics offer a structure on which to further progress. The sub-whispered vocals have a desire, split open with exposing zeal, coil and unleash with a fierce passion that has a rupturing elegance within the almost tantrumised fit throwing. There is an oral liberation here, wanting to escape the confines the lively and excellently tightened musicianship that is filled with an unpredictable slant to keep the front hollerer on his dancing feet. The outer kernel of this noised nut is rugged and yet slightly flash with the inner seed strengthened by the spirited fervour and toughened core - it is a more than adequate salutation of sound to consider and gets the CD immediately flowing with various options to take. 'So, So Long' multiple 2 strides with pomp and glory in between light flicks of the acoustic feet that compromise the chance to be overly grandiose. Our lead mans sung out/strung out wails permeate the set sonic layers and implant yet more desperation soaked accents and ticker flecked entreaties it seems. The pulse of the song gradually ascends and becomes a nerved up, anxiety riddled number that works due to these tensed filled emotions. The whole vista has an edgy look, the outline to each component well defined and almost threatening - it is a tasty morsel to chew on. 'My Arms' is overly whinged, dips further into the goblet of despondency and becomes self saturated with the created gloom. A heavy down-beating piece that pours slate grey rain on the epidermal layer of positivity and wears away with unremitting incessancy. A very emotional piece that should be swallowed as such, do not look for any sunlight glimpses within the clouds, this is heavy duty dismal droning but it has its place within the general mix and although not one I would rant and rave about and rush to throw onto the ever rotating turn-table I can appreciate the textures and moribund lilts. 'Control' offers an immediate counterpunch to the preceding lament with tinned guitars opening before souping up into a solid raw garage'd clatter and clash that revitalises the listener’s attention. Plenty of twist in the mechanical guts before an almost naked first verse comes with lightly touched strings and time-keeping skins the order of the day, whilst the head gob does his expressive duty. More colliding tones, a frustrated frenzy begins to lash out, a sub-current of disgruntlement adds an intrigue and an almost capricious streak of all tonal occurrences that, of course, captivates one further. Best song thus far and here's hoping the impulsive peril factor is kept high!
'How About It' is a creamy float along, another fragile meander but this time in the purist terms with all components barely touched and the need for love and companionship utterly desperate. I find this a real trial, a most sapping episode of weary musical straining and I move on before my foot gets too sucked in the musical mud created. We need an injection of angularity, a moment to get our arses back in a groove, a midway trickle prepares us, it goes by the name of four full stops in a box, is 44 seconds long and takes us into the dirty rubbish of 'With Pace', another urbanised tribal shovelful of grimy desire reminiscent of many upturned dustbins in a gale. The sonic trash blown is with seemingly haphazard spontaneity but there is almost something of a uniformity in the apparent mess. The juxtaposition of this and its surrounding, contrasting neighbours is beneficial to all and so this maybe gets a bigger nod than it deserves - then again, I do love things downright cheap and nasty and also applaud the fact that this artiste is mixing up the brew and keep one thinking.
'The Water Is Cold' is the longest track of the lot and is in no rush to get the job done. A ponderous and at first, scantily tinged number, that surreptitiously creeps from the silent undergrowth, becomes chaperoned by a tense string quiver and then develops into a confident free moving piece that enters open fields that are still slightly frosted but contain hopes of warmer sensations to come and, of course, positivity. The piece contains a constant thread of apprehension that even in the freer and more fluid moments raises its fretful, and somewhat burdened, head that keeps the listener concerned and involved. Again not a song I would necessarily seek out but one that has many valued virtues. The self imposed restraint is shunned during the next expulsion with 'In The Ground' a hybridised offering of contemplative preparation and primal scream escapism - a solid mush that retains a rewarding aspect of danger. Initially the fire is subdued despite the opening flickers and occasional tongues that lap at the attentive arse. Do not despair, the conflagration builds with some perilously singeing bursts achieved and much savoury smoke emitted. The construct relies on the clashing elements that both come together and disagree and yet work in some vulgarised harmony - yeah, one of the most flavoursome methinks.
The punctuation mark at the end of this sonic statement comes in the form of 'Sweet And Tender', a warming moment appearing like an idling rising moon on a crisp wintry morn. The frosted tones eventually melt, a liquidity appears with a morose meandering move to soak back into the substrate, we suddenly feel we have completed a circle. The sign off is in keeping with the theatrical sonic scenery set and although a tepid and somewhat insipid number it seems to come at just the right moment. There is something there that captivates, an underlying sensation we sonic seekers are forever scrounging around for - I propose to ponder further.
So Thom Bowden steps up, gets assessed, kicked forward and appreciated for the produce given. Indiefied garaged acoustica in all formats with a tendency to look on the bleaker side of the spectrum of noise and pluck out shades that are less than initially impressive. There is a cold comfort within the mix though, a perverse paradox of listening matter that collides with the senses, abuses them and comes away leaving stains of something satisfactory - darn that ruddy X factor.
HOSPITAL FOOD - INTERNET WARRIOR
Hospital Food have taken an Internet beating over the years and had their fair share of poisonous flack yet, they have ridden the storm and produced this new album. The band have seen several changes in personnel, have played a few Fungalised gigs (always a pleasure) and kept on strumming in the face of much adversity. I like the crews grit, refusal to lie back and let the shit soak through and infect their levels of motivation, the fact they are still ploughing away and in truth, improving all the time. The last 'live' viewing was by far the best and after receiving this CD from their ever-friendly guitarist (cheers Nathan) I expected a fair do indeed. So what does this West Yorkshire trio have to offer, can they up the ante and win a new host of neutralised fans who pay no heed to warped bollocks and shifty sub-suggestion? Hey ho, I am here to do my bit, I like these chaps but they'll get the usual unbiased treatment.
Kicking in and 'Jimmy' opens the door, an army victim who has been sold a war-torn deal and finds himself shot to pieces and lifeless. A mother's heart is broken, the same old tale is rehashed and yet these crimes go on! Hospital Food tackle their set task with an all new cleaned out sound and capture the exact essence here with a smart tale enhanced by crisp guitars, well restrained bassism and spicily splashed drums that signify the band on an elevation and doing their best stuff to date. The most noteworthy aspect of this song is the vocal harmonies that really do the business and have a freshness as well as a sharp dressed delivery - classy stuff. 'Burning City' bounces on the well-wired bass line that allows the skins to shuffle and the guitar to be manipulated with complimentary tones. Threats are amid the acoustic hunger, the pace is set to middling, the application of the pre-riot vibe is neatly kindled and so we have a nice simmering song to get taken by. Nothing overtly flamboyant comes, nothing ridiculously outrageous - what we get is a comfortable cruise from a band driving in their own lane, with the engine well oiled and the wheels turning on new fitted treads - it is working a treat. The vicious side, and stubbornly impressive facet to the bands character rises next with the title track, 'Internet Warrior', another unrushed episode that rather than go for the wild gob off instead builds on guitar glints, controlled wordage and solid chorus cuts! These chorus snips are easily captured and crooned along with and are injected with an overall slant that refuses to rise above the on-line slaggings built on very flimsy evidence and long lost mistakes that we all make. The whiter than white brigade appal with their twisted ravings, as do the right wing goons, and I just hope this song is a pertinent full stop to matters and the band can keep clear of such bilge and get some worthy praise for ditties such as this. A new found lease of life, played well and keeping the standard heady.
'Stalker' is another old trick reborn, I have heard many songs regarding this theme so originality marks go tumbling down the shitter with the first assessing flush - nay bother. The lilt of the effort has all the trademark sinisterism and seedy peephole perversity I have come to expect from such titled pieces but nonetheless the production values, the set drama sought for, and captured, as well as the all round fine execution make this a song not to sniff to lightly at. Make it four decent do’s thus far. 'Man U Haters' is football based nonsense of the highest order and sees a terraced chant unfold that will please those who hate the red scum I believe they are called and those who enjoy grown men chasing a spherical object for a large wad of cash. The song for me is neither here nor there as I hate the absorption of peoples minds by the game at the top but I can see many who will appreciate the basic wordage and tribal ranting. A simple ditty for simple folk - hey if that's yer thing then just enjoy.
'Oi For England' is a song that has helped boil the water beneath the bands feet and anyone looking for a miniscule excuse to make some trouble bubbles has found refuge here - silly sods. This song is the corned and clichéd effort you have most probably guessed it to be and opens with a 'God Save Our Gracious Queen' twinge (ooh err), is loaded with references to flag waving, the bulldog breed, the cigar sucking PM and the national pride I certainly have no interest in other than if its green and natural. The song is well worked though and as lucid as can be required with an end of party piss up theme to capture those in the patriotic circle. Having no allegiance to any country, no interested in these, or any divisions and distanced from songs of predictable political leanings I give this a thumbs down - - just not my cup of cha' tha' knows. 'Brazil' is more soccer soaked sonica with an itch in its arse regarding the recent World Cup and the cash ploughed in irrespective of what is going on in the land. The song is well rumbled, as honest as the day is long, blends all components tidily and never strays off the set course. Safe, reliable and lacking frills although the inner skanked up aspect is delightful and I reckon many future episodes are a must for the HF crew. They show they have an ear for such produce and nail this segment with a sub-soiled, ideally streetwise but affective edge that works wonderfully - zone in and do more.
'Too Young For Punk' deals with those that utter the said statement in a patronising and belittling manner without thought as to how difficult it is to be a DIY punker in this day and age rather than be one back in the 70's when it was a mere fashion parade. Being a long term stalwart myself since 1978 I take pride in the fact that the new breed are coming through and am always happy to defend their feisty corner. Too many hold the scene back by soaking themselves in nostalgia and using their longevity as a badge of one-upmanship based honour - nonsense indeed and hardly conducive to making this scene tight (hence the reason you can fuck the scene and should bloody well be who you are irrespective of some of this regulating bullshit). The song is a cracker, a real kick back bounce along with youthful spunky zest provided via a catchy tune that raises its two fingers to the doubters. The melody is magnetic, the chorus ensnaring, the venom controlled and this one is surely an anthem for all those who have had to listen to the self-appointed sages that curse the sonic pit in which we dwell - fuck em'. Black, white, young, old, nasty or nice - we should have open doors to all, share our views, likes, dislikes and hopefully make for a better situation - ah fuck it.
We close with a tirade against all the cunts who parade themselves on that perverse peephole into shitty self-made circumstances 'The Jeremy Kyle Show'. A modern day freak show built on the exploitation of a self-absorbed sub-society that seems more than happy to rot. The host of the show is a self-appointed God who feeds on the misery of others to enhance his own ego and to impress masses with little more intelligence than the guests. Like a zookeeper taunting the animals the scum at the helm showcases his authority and intellect and the crowd lap it up. It is indeed enthralling stuff that holds attention in a 'fuck me, this is unreal' kind of way and Hospital Food do a good job of highlighting what a disgusting heap of shit it is. A punctuated tune, sparse in part, lyrically accurate, dealing the glorified goon and tickling and kicking throughout, it captures HF's new found style and rounds off a decent CD that has me wondering what zeniths the band can attain.
Hospital Food are here to stay and are ascending with certainty and a hunger in their bellies. I like this CD, although it is a relatively simple collection of routine rhythms we can make many comparisons with. Now and again it is good to switch off with some regular noise and as long as the band are on an upward curve that is all we should really ask...isn't it?
THE JACKHAMMERS - SELF-TITLED EP
Low slung Scotched slagginess here with a band who love to wallow in the own filthy sonic excrement and who are happy to splash the said foul shite this way and that. The Jackhammers have an in-built streak to keep things on the cusp of disreputable noise but are highly desirous of upholding some good rhythm and roll, a charmed concoction I am sure you'll agree. If any genre was leant towards then surely it is the sub-pit of Garage where lo-fi reality is an exciting essential and where this crew will undoubtedly find most appeal. I have given these 3 fine gents 2 gigs thus far, the output was fantastic as was the dudes' attitudes - I am hoping for something similar here, so with bared balls I dip into another spillage from these hammer-jacking whores - cripes.
The first dose of soiled cheapness foams with criminal intent, is used to destroy boredom soaked senses and to get some veritable action into the mundane routine. 'Crime Spree' opens with accentuated showiness before 4 counting and getting down on its knees and crawling through the thriving mire of a verse that leads to the all out pock marked arse of a chorus. Blue lights flash in before tits are clattered off with a cloudburst of thrilling slack jointed sonica that pours from the speakers and into your lugs with an unstoppable viral hunger. These boys have an ear for the primitive throwback style of noise that grabs our basic sensors and smashes them to needy smithereens. This opening assault is everything good about a band who do it for me, do it for you and do it for themselves - a bruised peach to suck on from this small fruitbasket of din.
'Count Me Out' ponders before the punishment, it a hard whipped wank horse tossed off whilst galloping with its tail on fire. The jockeys aboard have a desire to hit the finishing line ahead of the pack and set about with tympanics and strings stressed to fuck and whacked and walloped with head down energy. The pace is relentless, the style shit stained bare back with cocked arses sweating mean and emanating a back trail of clogging effluence and punk stinking perverseness. If you are a deviant and like your equine acoustics pushed to the max then get yer money on this foaming free runner - oooh.
'Your Fault' suggests a moment of pretension with its bass and guitar quadro-twat duel intro but thank fuck it is soon discarded into the realms of nowhere as the frontman coughs up a grunt and the crew begin a crawling throbber that has a diseased temperament and virulent malevolence. The nagging element, the nut nobbing pulsation, the repetitive grind are all elevated to something extra due to nothing more then a poisoned production and trash can edge that is corroded, cutting and liable to cause a mental gangrene. The responding pus that leaks from this assessing reviewer is awash with praise, for some reason the Jackhammers are raising my bodily temperature for all the right reasons and the antibiotics of resistance are put to one side.
We shoot off into the distance with 'Used Rubber' for company. This is more filthy trash and spume washed up on the polluted noisy beach with The Jackhammers happy wallowing in their desired debris. This is a snotty affair flecked with cruddy hound-dog riff and rape rhythm escorted by slurry piss-arsed mouth work that aids in giving the whole delivery a decadent, careless and ultimately DIY to the bone, edge. The bands main winning aspect is the fluidity of their output and anyone attempting songs such as this would struggle to get that precipice as rusted, and at the same time, equally sharp. This song was an old favourite, now it's a new one - I remain convinced.
I love The Jackhammers despite a T-Shirt professing the complete opposite - bah, I gotta be awkward. The band need exposing more, the difficulty is that the buggers are oop Scotland which is hard for skint promoters further South but, we can keep on trying. This band are spot on, have a real affinity with the dirtier side of the sonic shit basin and are all the better for it. Go and get Jackhammered, you will not be disappointed.
GOOSEBALL BROWN - COYOTE, CROW, BUFFALO, BEAVER
Gooseball Brown is raw man, totally and utterly raw. This Brothers and Sisters release backs up my statement, this is no sweet dream music to get comfy with, this isn't a soothing bout of bland noise to fall into the Land of Nod with. No, this is coruscating cacophony to provoke, to niggle, to cause consternation and within the mush is something...something best left alone perhaps, best prodded and poked like a festering boil so the infection drives deeper and takes over the entire living framework - you are gonna be put on the line here – decisions to make are ours.
'Modest Intro' is a mangy dog, flea bitten with DIY disease donated and a resultant mania spillage falling from a tensed filled maw in lucid, nicotined droplets. Acousticised at first before hepping up the heat and radiating further poxyfied virulence built on bluegrass vitality and countrified sun strokes this initial cough and spluttered retch up moves from the stuttering to the smooth in one contrasting skip. The latter part of the song, when the ass is whipped ruddy, works far better then the initial scratchiness and we are left on a testing note that will keep rearing its head throughout this hand-made collection of corrosive din. 'Digital Life' is frustrated angst that is erected through the ill-temper arousing shit puked forth in this wired up world. The song has 'in the now' spontaneity and appears to be a 'one take' burst, chucked together and thrown on to tape for the sheer niggling necessity of it. Demon-bashing outpourings, natural dabblings at the hands of a chap who wants to chug on the overloaded train tracks of awkward rhythm - there is a place for the reality doused discordance and you just gotta shake off your shackles of expectation and get on down and roll in the grime to fully appreciate. Not bad at all.
Segment the third opens on tenderised string caresses before rising form nuclear grey ashes into a slow drifting swirl of melodic motes that are pained with searching angst. 'Breathe The Last' has a Joy Division undercurrent of grimy gothica and a hollowed out haunting within the acousticised vaults. The oral abrasions are spilled with a blood weary tendency, the slant towards some impending expiration is dealt forth in emotively exact terms and no matter how much the rain falls within this number there is still much to enjoy. 'No Bed Of Roses' is a raw-boned runt staggering on ricketed legs that have a certain degree of open sores to lick at. The taste is far from appealing, the attempt at something melodic ends up as a satanic barnyard jig with an underlying insanity that stirs the nerves of reason. Our artiste is reaching out, delving into Devilish caverns where insidious experimentation takes place - things are always destined to be hit or miss. 'Devil In My Kitchen' is a gathering of prehistoric tribalism, raved incantations, 'owl'ed overtones and unsettling fervour. The mesmeric rotation and chanted incessancy will captivate the dealer in the dark, will uncover inner characteristics and desires best kept hidden and bring forth an utter repulsion or a swayed positivity. This séance induced rhythm making finally levels out, adopts a more orthodox methodology and croons forth almost defeated whimperings from a mind fractured. The final asphyxiation is a matter of course!
'So Easy' next, a drawl in wanked up radio style where it seems only one speaker works. The cavernous home-made amateur tones that arise are shabby but realistic, are fumbling but firm, are of a definite ilk to divide. A laid back croon in countrified fashion - one I need to skip on from as it is poison to my soul and could warrant a whipping which I refuse to give as I appreciate that dirty dog 'up and at it' effort. The next donation is more to my preference with 'Johnny My Inuit Friend' a more funkily clattered moment with some sweet spunk racing through the shaft of sound and duly splashing with greater virility onto the laps of the surrounding eavesdroppers. The strings are twanged with a fruitier lust, there is more citrus desire squirting forth with all seeds lively and nutritious and so making for an offering to get down with and jig out too. Mr Brown swings his balls good, he relieves himself with gratifying absorption, he knocks off a tune to tickle the senses.
'The Shun' is lost soldier ghostliness as our spectral wanderer roams windswept war fields where carcasses look up blindly to the blood filled skies with a defeated mockery prevalent. These are the visions invoked amid this turgid and terrifying crawl of abstract madness. It is a chilling moment not designed for lovers of melody or rhythm - an atmospheric piece to unsettle, nothing more, nothing less. I move on, fear in my shadow, 'Colleen' comes, is garaged out clattering vulgarity that jangle clanks along a very shoddy pot-holed backstreet of spewed passion one can't help but applaud. The stark reality, the repetitive drive, the completely dishevelled approach is done from the pit of the ticker and played with jarring ease borne from unpretentious reality. I like this one although the chasing stodge of 'Miss Jones' fails to satisfy my desires. The opening sprawl of idled sound is far from comfortable and even when the twist and rhythm slightly rises from the impoverished state of play I fail to fully grasp any thread of excitement. Just a personal issue I feel and even though I am not convinced the awkward angularity and staggered sub-experimentation may do it for some, the lead guy seems as though he's getting off on it - dirty devil, but it all helps the cause. Ah those schoolboy crushes - sometimes they just got too much.
3 rapido rockin' reviews next to keep the flow liquid as they say. 'You Want The Truth' is front porch twanging, with rockin' chair swinging, shine awaiting the slurps and retro tape machine whirring. Utterly soiled sonica, with sub-calypsotic streaks and that 100% under-produced effect all make for a shabbily dressed offering you can take or leave - it is what the dude does. 'Prisoners Skirmish Line' is ambient weaving that rallies against conflict and prejudice in no uncertain terms and tribally progresses with shadowy echoed flavours that blur into a swirled collage of diarrhoea colours that are, I presume, enhanced by acid. The thriving hate, spite and general ill temper rise from the foul depths and strike a chord with their copulating eerie patterns and tension soaked tetchiness. The last of the 3 quick flings is entitled 'Black Elks Little Big Horn Victory Songs', a mountainous borne holler that tries to reach out over the far-stretching landscapes and cause due earthquakes with its fracturing vibrology. Almost like early Public Image Limited in effect with its boundary stretching, fuck the rhythmic rules and self-therapeutic roamings. A tune to curdle the comfort zones, a delivery to disease the healthy safety nets, a mustering of meandering restlessness - nowt wrong with that and the end cacophony almost disappears into the shadows of the spirit.
Referred to as Scarecrow Punk in parts the following song is a raggedy rogue swaying in the breeze and giving the settled crows the evil eye with its maize-molesting facets and dogmatic insistence on keeping all output sun-scorched and natural. 'Hard, Ain't It Hard When You Die' is crummy produce, be gone from my door ye crummy fear inducing witch of wankiness. This warbled and warped screw around is electric mockery of the Country and Western regime which I am all happy to hear. It is aurally abrading, totally off kilter and on the brink of a breakdown throughout but the spirit behind the schizzle is sincere - madness to frown upon and applaud. Do I like it? I have no fuckin' idea at this stage. 'Thank You For Supporting Me' fucks about, discovers a sub-riff, toys with the idea of professionalism before ravaged vocal produce spills inwards. We have something similar to an orthodox routine (shocking I know) and despite several tendencies to trespass out of bounds our plucking gent resists his in-built/self made temptation and sticks to a certain structure. Anxiety fuelled releases are abundant, angered questions put, fuelled courses run - the player keeps us alert. Here we have a glimpse of the talent that refuses to be neat and tidy and with an attempt made towards something more commercialised I am sure a greater success level can be had (however fraudulent that may be). I like the fact that our man at the helm keeps it DIY, stumbles on some solid sonic rocks and remains spiked throughout. We finish the entire collection with 'Five Years Old', a strange song (well which one isn't I hear you ask), that develops with innocence through child-like eyes but has a suspicious underscore I am definitely picking up on. Maybe I am paranoid at this stage, I know not, but this tinkling little charmer unsettles more than the most blatant discordant demons on the entire CD - time to bail methinks - aaagggghhhhhh!
That's it, what do you think? It is a really tumbling affair with danger levels high throughout and with the principles to keep it real maintained. My thoughts are of a stalwart determined to fight his corner and to do it his own way - I can't argue with that. The main gripe I have is that 16 tracks is a little too much and I would have preferred 4 EP's of 4 tracks each - small chunklets to chew on rather than a full plate of produce to almost choke on. Saying this there is stuff here to contemplate, to see through and to swing to - we all need to cultivate these cracked crooners and make sure they never give in - go on, get Gooseballed.
THE KNEEJERK REACTIONS - THE INDESTRUCTIBLE SOUNDS OF...
Lo-fi rock and roll freakoid innocence here delivered with a mustard vigour and retro polished accuracy, The Kneejerk Reactions do what they want to do and do it most excellently (so I am told). This CD was received via the Dirty Water machine and duly spun to buggery before putting digit to board - excuse me for being so swift with the intro, much to do, many songs to plough through, here is the main meat of the matter.
'Houdini' is the first escapee from the dangling blanket of silence and comes across as a pecking number that will not be deterred as it drives its key assisted pulsations to the core of your soul with magnetic fervour and chomping spirit. Pushing and gushing in equal measure with a good pronunciation of the skins and cymbals, a go-go instrumental groove down and a butt shaking incessancy this is the early alarm call we music vultures duly need to catch the early carcass. 'Want You To Love Me' is an hypnotising serpent that coils slowly around its chosen victim and uses nothing more than repeat beat throbs and ever swirling melodic mesmerism all spruced down in 60's acoustic attire and sonic string vest sparsity. A flickering sliver of flecked footage from yesteryear styled with precision so as to seduce the modern day listener and self appointed critic - watch yer step dear reviewer - this is an incognito pearl disguised as a roughened stone - crafty bastards.
'It's A Jungle Out There' is an utterly cavernous flea-infested creepy ghoul that feeds on your B-Movie desires and itches with clued in nouse that captures superb sub-generic trappings aplenty. A keyed in warning is delivered with an alley cat sagacity that sidles into your cerebral gunk with casual confidence. This is one tuned in Tom that purrs its presence with assured belief and a slightly unsettling intent, do not ignore the sly undertones that ensnare. 'Mover And Shaker' is tight trousered crotch thrusting desire with a semi lo-fi accent and a pure machine-like grind that resonates with an earth shaking power and unstoppable zest which we should bloody well appreciate. The instrumental cutlets exude a roasted relish and singe the pubic peripheries that have not been tucked tightly in - oh those burning follicles dude. Another lifting peach followed by 'Batgirl, I Love You' a staggering production that opens with a strum sequence I just can't grasp a comparison for (even though I can taste it on the tip of my tongue) - the pulse is obvious, what the buggery is this sought for song called. Never mind, back to the offering in question with the opening strut becoming an advanced stride of well honed shirtless DIY professionalism (spot the oxymoron) that ploughs forward with precise homage paid and equally accurate routines achieved. The vocals are clear but kept sweetly boned and the backdrop of sound is held in shadowy realms rather than chucked forth into garish pits liable to mar the end ambience. Another convincing sliver of Kneejerk induced noise!
Next up and 'If I Had My Way' is a song that has a stop and strum sub-current that merges with the more liquidised upper flow. The tinned garaged start tries to throw a detracting curve but the band are soon back on their set track with another tidy toon to shuffle along with. Remarkably fresh and breezed along with rustling integrity and insightful retrofied knowledge that makes this a solid bout of yesteryear joy transported to today's mix and match pit. The quality goes on and on....
'Give In To Temptation' slaps hard, pukes up another golden oldie intro before chicken strutting its fancy feathered arse around the psychedelic dance floor where go-go chicks gyrate and acidhead artisans search for sweet sonic solace. The fizzed vigour, the foaming key exaltations, the salivating gob work - we are propelled into a black and white world only enhanced by the flashing haloed lights that are etched in suggestive tints and so keep things magnetic - one you can’t take your lugs away from, dig that digit induced solo section man. 'Pounding' is generously crisped, gratifyingly basic and fruited up with a hound dog mode that circles around the listeners feet before jumping up on their lap and demanding further, up close attention. Fast tail wags are given in between episodes of tin can alley string assaults and ebony and ivory electrocutions. The band are thoroughly immersed during this schizophrenic expulsion and keep the nervous on the edge of their piss-soaked seats (excitable devils they be - ooh me bladder).
Horrorfied shimmers this way come as volatile bone rattles and graveyard jigs, with an added essence of Edgar Wallace TV cuts and voodoo laden hexes, are musically delivered through highly chilled digits. 'Volatile' is a captivating instrumental loaded with lightning flash/ghost train crash intentions. Skeletal fingertips tickle the spine, fleshless faces manically screech, dead eyed zombies get up and rot and reel to this freaky life-giving number - join in the fun folks, let down your defences, get terrorised. 'Out Of Reach' next and rumbling rhythm is had via quaked guitars that jar the neurones and duly judder out a response. We maintain a spookified style, we have more of a nagging persistence here and of course the vocals savour the situation and bring a pushing persuasion to involve the audience. However, no matter how much I enjoy this effort that previous vocal free offering is my pick of the two, just so fuckin' tasty it be. The curtain comes down to the finishing rapturous escapism known as 'Habanero', a decent enough ditty with all the bands trimmings blowing in a self-made gale. The lashings of hunger tones, the splashings of spirited gusto and the clashings of all metallic elements make this a confident exclamation mark and send us into the silence with thoughts only set to hit the darn repeat button.
I like this lot, the CD transcends several genres and the main mix of garage and horror is choice. The whole collection is grilled with retro homage and played with such invigorating effort as to convince this crusted old cacophoneer - go on, get reacting to the kneejerk offerings and let yer privates get well and truly bruised.
SKANK AGENDA - PARTLY POLITICAL BROADCAST
Skank Agenda have no pretensions, no delusions, no idiot thoughts of big time sell outs (literally) - this band have their plates of meat on the ground and crack out an earthy mix of rough and ready noise with numerous articulations and grimed delicacies. There is no reliance on top dollar productions, no conning via tweak and twang exhibitionism, no desire to stick to one routine and flog it - Skank Agenda do offer much to ponder. Hailing from Leeds, spilling their sonic seeds and producing more than just walked over weeds it is time my green-fingers dwelt a little deeper and had a good burrow in this band's acoustic undergrowth (now that's sex for ya).
The first leakage from the ruptured bag is enslaved with the name of 'Your Fist, My Face' a dog rough episode of indified skankage combined with scabbed assortments of sonic seepage that are insistently erumpent through the main stripped out epidermal layer of sound. The reins are held throughout, skins, bass and main guitar kept, for the most part, on a very restricting leash before caustic chorus cuts run wilder and give the whole shebang a juxtaposed juiciness. The politico acuteness, the intense anger that is simmering and the overall cutely tatty tune make this a plausible opening track for the DIY dogs to dwell upon. The madness that closes shouldn't detract from the sanity within...
'Horronation Street' kicks back against the governing pricks and is done in no uncertain terms despite the calm and thoughtful opening acousticised sequence. The song has the flea bitten style found in the first song and combines rinsed and rhythmic cuts that clatter and thrash bash with rage and are utterly dustbin DIY in flavour. We are on a 'fuck' frenzy here with a sweet orderly shambles (paradoxically so) displaying how well the band do to keep things aurally acceptable (to a certain degree thank goodness). You have to maintain a danger factor within your din sometimes, thank fuck the SA Squad are doing just that and adding a good dose of erudite lyricology too. Going in to 'Counter Culture' with a ponse about, 4 count and tumble trash tattooed with crusted sores that have dirty rust and dust perimeters many will raise their hooters at. The initial opening is lethargic but when the song opens up with its first flurry a junkyard whizzed up ramshackle rhythm takes us along nicely and gives us many complimentary tones to chew on. The target of the venom are the shopping shits who buy, buy, buy to keep up with the elusive Jones' and those that just like to make themselves feel better with allegedly therapeutic trinkets and fashionable accessories - cunts. I was unsure of this song at first due to the staggering segments but it is growing upon me and the agreeable wordage only helps matters further.
The penultimate track ‘Just Fuck Off ' and striding in with semi-heated heels, bassed bubbles and scuzzed troubles all slipping neatly into some swift and spicy upstrokes that helps us through the urgent verses to the spicy chorus chunks, this is a decent do all round with the crew nailing and bailing in good time and in between showing some good angst, rattling noise artistry and rough and ready enthusiasm. You can seek out your more polished and more fashionable noise but does it have that 'believable factor' - this does, so suck on it. We close with 'Out With The In Crowd’, and are welcomed by an unsettling DK-like wire wobble that escorts us into a punchy eruption of dogged violence where the band exorcise demons and exercise their instrumental intentions. The combo of wallop and wallow, clash and consider, push it and ponder works a treat and we roll out with arses kicked and plenty to think about - just the way I like it.
So this will be the first of many Skank Agenda reviews, which I will do here and there, amidst the piles of sonic products I duly plough through. This one is a 5 track taster and tickles the senses with its raw and underscrubbed affect that has many subtle hints at a band in the know. Stay tuned folks, this could be interesting.