FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 2
PHYSICAL JERKS - SELF TITLED
Manc skank with educated attention and enough mixture in the melody to capture the obvious audience. I have seen these guys twice to date and have enjoyed both shows but really do need to catch up with them again. This is their debut release and it does just the job in so far as setting a good standard and pushing the talent of the band. I can't envision anyone within the two-tone groove having any really gripes with this but what will old Fungal think - ha, ha - have a read and find out you set of doubting swines!
'Don't Repair...Replace' is recyclable greenery with a fine message and nice jaunty jigaroonoid vibe. Celebratory brass opens with a splashed cymbalic escort for good measure. Addictive consumers run for cover as the 'that's how it is' cold initial verse snips and skips prior to the rebellionised chorus. We loop around and the inner instrumentalisation is effectively delivered and glues both ends of the song together with acceptable ease. All players get a chance to expose themselves (now, now you naughty people) and come across draped in success. The end is abrupt but the song is sweetly timed - one up, 5 more to nail. 'Slight Suspicion' is my pick of the lot with a sinuous approach apparent throughout and no pause taken from verse to chorus whatsoever. One long winding rhythmic pleasure and with a very silky outer skin to be caressed by. When hammered this is one you can sink deeper with into those cushions of inebriation and really lose yourself. The retro tinkling of keys is charming and perhaps should have been more self confident/indulgent but this song ain't gonna get a kickin' from me - good one!
'Fashion $lag' slinks and dinks its way forth like an investigatory snake probing the inner dirty dives of backstreet Label Babel. A swagger in the inflection as well as rhythm is well adopted and all victims of the dreaded designer can go fuck themselves as is spelt out here on numerous occasions. Brass thrives at midway, crushed guitar pursues and becomes metallic whilst the skank plod keeps on striding along. A multitude of flavoursome noises to unravel before a slow tirade builds in pressure and takes us to the closing beat with venom still dripping - albeit politely ha, ha. 'Ship To Shore' swoops in with screeching falcon effect. The eyes are left and not torn out as one could expect and what we have is a slow serene circling rather than an all out death plunge. Lazed, glazed, dope with hope - I hear much shit similar to this and it is part and parcel of the sub scene we are currently dwelling in. I prefer the monochrome melodies upbeat and skipping around but don't mind the odd tranquil tone thrown in. This is OK and I wouldn't venture further than that - it has its place but I am an impatient cunt and desire a bit more pace. Production wise though all is still good and albeit not my dish this ditty is still a nice added condiment.
'Swan Song' rolls around with kicking legs and has an inner vulgarity that will get many a deviants hips gyrating. The liquid sound is sloshed around the acoustic glass and holds up well in the assessing light. Upstrokes are many, vocals lucid, brass carefully included and drums light and not over intrusive. The fun fair breakdown doesn't hinder things and the highly strung instrumental is equally complimentary to its surrounding sound and so we move into the finale with pleasure. 'Hypocrites' rounds off a confident opening account most splendidly and it is more than obvious that the Physical Jerks have a lot more to offer. This is a more orthodox, 'follow the path' piece of product and is a secure way to full stop the preceding statement. I have no complaints and look forward to the PJ's following this one up with preferably another 6 tracker that reaches further afield and once more tries a few sub-recipes.
There ya go, another one done and still smiling - a pretty easy one to assess and all skankers please support - there is a bit of a lull at the mo but that is only in attendances and not quality - my point is reinforced by this release - now what are you waiting for?
FLAT BACK FOUR - WHO DARES PENGUINS
With pace, clarity and a definite Punk 'o' Rama/Epitath feel this recording is a study in musical excellence. Very polished and wonderfully mastered we have here an offering of carefully orchestrated music that instantaneously captures the admiration of one who deals with a wide and varied influx of efforts. The vocals are distinct and compliment the superb background cacophony quite accurately. To me this sounds like a band who know their music inside, outside, upside and back to front.
From the opening 'I Told You I Was Ill' (Milligan version me suspects) to the finale of 'The Wind Still Blows Down Webb Street' we have a considerable abundance of quality that reaches its zenith during tracks 5 (Psalm 23) and track 10 (English Civil War (Clash Cover)). In fact 'Psalm 23' could easily be found on the aforementioned Epitath label and no-one would question why, such is the brilliance of delivery. The Clash cover outdoes the original which I'm sure is compliment enough even though I was never a Clash fan.
To sum up - a refreshingly well thought out and executed piece of joy that comes from a band deserving of greater credit. The only criticism would be to suggest a more basic approach to some of the songs so as to appeal to a wider audience as the punk scene (especially in Britain) can be quite critical of busy, US sounding styles. Other than that - a treat to listen to.
ACID DROP - THE DROP ZONE
Acid Drop first came my way via the untrustable grapevine on the scene which gave suggestion of a very adequate band. A viewing and I was convinced but needed another taste so as to be assured of the flavour. A SAS gig later and I was quite chuffed at this eminent outfit and so anticipated this CD greatly. For me the best way to encapsulate the band within one terse statement is as 'honest punk rock'. There is nothing unnecessarily ornate within the sound of the AD output but a general expertise that irrepressibly impresses. Diversity of noise is ample and the end production on this CD is complimentary to the bands style thus setting them off on the right foot for what I hope will be a long successful journey.
The first flower to bloom in this mini-melodic meadow is christened 'Polly Piper'. A tale of beauty used, abused and left to rot in the rain of regret with a passing taking place thus no seeds left to flourish. A sad little story but the music holds back the tears with a gritty gumption liable to go down best in a beer sodden public house. I have heard this one before and from where I know not but it still does the business. An almost Irish jig and swig approach is had with a more direct punk undercurrent providing the general acoustic petrol. A segment of bold striding guitar escorts panging wordage before the main flow is briefly captured, interrupted by a gentle snippet of semi-acoustica and then the song closes with a final hurrah. Good stuff but 'Society's Rejects' is a notch up with a granite defiance, tumbling urgency and general accomplished punk construction giving it all the adornments many will be happy to aurally wear. Wallowing in their own punk rock no-mans land Acid Drop ask for no assistance and are delighted to be doing things on their own terms in their own way. A thoroughly spiked ethos and one I recommend you take on board you jolly slack-arsed buggers. Despite a sound scaffolding there is a rustiness to admire and that is how to keep things characteristic and real my good friend.
'The Next Dead Thing' starts with a spacious chorus assisted by a subdued guitar. The main thrust follows and all is regular and rhythmic within the AD zone with the band easily producing a simple piece of catchy poppy punk that has the necessary corrosion in all the right parts. Drums cascade and guitar screws deep and 'These Four Walls' surrounds us and is another consistent song that stays free from any nettled noise and sticks to the easily digestible output that has gone before. What I am noticing at this point is that this 4-piece is producing numbers that avoid the obstinate awkwardness and offensive edge that so many go for with no better reason than that it is supposedly 'punk'. The band I reckon, will gain credit through this approach and open up their sonic playpen for many to enter and enjoy! Pointless nastiness and spit and shit inclusions are commonplace within the community and it is good to see this unit avoid such a subliminal pitfall. 4 songs and nothing to criticise so far - told ya this was a good band!
'These Things Seem To Disappear' powers along from the off and has a snarly bite with an anti-governmental slant that despises lies. It really is straight ahead matter and played with aplomb. The band feels so accomplished I am wondering how indeed they can stretch themselves. Certainly not with the sweet attack on the police force with 'Coppers'. The drums tumble away, the bass is totally effective and the noise from the gob and guitar is added relish. The band are going to win many, many fans with punk puke such as this and so far the album is really hard to fault. I am stuck somewhat for words as each number doesn't need much wordy praise as the proof is in the pudding and Acid Drop are blatantly accomplished in what they do. Pleasing/annoying/frustrating all rolled into one but what a grand band.
'You're Gonna Fuckin' Pay' is sharp and bowls one over with the toxic temperament and general bite. The acoustic intro is poisoned play but the following rumble is efficient, all-consuming and so coherently put. Each player is lucid yet dwells amidst the cacophony without being noticeable. A paradoxical statement that is in fact true and the sign of class. The final run down to the closing tape is solid and once more I move on with the critical verbage still in me pockets. 'I Will Not Forget You' is a tale of loss and is yet another quality moment, and potentially the best! The emotion is felt and borne from the heart with regret, loyalty and a general determination all beautifully positioned to season an already tasty song. Life pours through the veins of this effort and its insistence to stick around says that it will not be ignored and has something it needs to get off its chest. Magnificent!
'All The Same' and 'Winston Smith' are poles apart yet borne of the same hands with the former a short, sharp heavyweight of a song that relies on bullying tactics to gain respect and soon has one backed into the corner duly submitting beneath the bombardment. Crafty uppercuts and body shots are sneaked in beneath the general avalanche with only little respite given via a jabbed out segment. The latter begins with hairline fractured skank and mellowed mouth that is glossed with a reggae sheen. I love this intro and am frustrated that Acid Drop haven't adopted a little more of this style into the final conglomeration (there ya go a minor criticism - got one in ha, ha - up the Fungal). Of course it is a miniscule gripe but worth mentioning as I think Acid Drop have massive potential in this area - take note boys and tap the well! The content of the song concerns us with feeling like Winston Smith, the hero of the Orwellian classic '1984'. Freedom is fucked and a reality check given. When the reggae subsides the boys produce the expected raucous and rhythmic excellence without losing control which is indeed top priority!
4 to go with 'For You' turning us in to the home stretch. A piss about at the starting line and the melodic legs soon get galloping albeit after an uncertainty in the stalls and a knee trembling pause. Not bad but I reckon if any song is going to crawl in last from the 14 nag run then this is the mucky mare. It is a decent runner but alongside some of the thoroughbreds found in this sonic stable it sounds a trifle runtish - make what you will of this one. Now 'Mothers Pride' is a different beast and struts at ya with a sanguine step and immediately catches the aural eye. With a smooth sing-a-long shine and a inner muscularity that exudes experience this is a definite front runner and whether it wins or not it will be a veritable close run thing for many a punter. The pace is well within itself and the Drop aren't even raising the whip - a double handful no less and the sign of definite professionalism. 'Last Man Standing' is a feisty number and kicks and flays like a good un' with a classy chorus one can't let go. When flowing the sleek movement is admirable but far from reassuring as you know things could change at any given moment. I am very fond of this one and an each way wager would be a very safe bet to say the least. As the line approaches is the hindquarter thrashed or are we going to canter with quality and pass the post with colours flashing? You guessed it and 'The Last March (You're Gonna Pay Reprise)' is a marvellous finish with a gentle acoustic drift tattooed with texture and fringed with deep felt fabric. Time crawls and we are left to admire the final fling of this quality event and I am utterly delighted by all that has transpired. This closure bodes well for the future and yet again exposes hidden levels in the AC storage rooms. If they play it right and don't get carried away with their own talent and enthusiasm the band could make productive strides and within a year or two could be running alongside the best. We are due an underdog band to win a big one and who is to say it won't be these guys. You'd be a fool to place your hard earned brass elsewhere.
Now you know the rest - check, buy, support, go and see etc. Acid Drop are the real deal and if you agree go tell em' so - building a bit of confidence is more important than you think. Mind you if you think they are shit then be as equally honest but remember Fungal thinks ya wrong!
NORTHERN GUNS – RADIO RIOT EP
5 songs here from Leeds rockers Northern Guns with emphasis placed on composition and style rather than an all out blast. The opener is classily contrived and expertly combines great melodies and rhythm with restrained vocals that really sets a good standard and promises much. ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ merges well and is again an adept creation that has all the trimmings of being delivered by a polished outfit. ‘Ruptured Encounters’ continues the tone but ‘Generation’ is let down by some ridiculous back-ground moaning and a few iffy moments in the final arrangement. The finale is ‘Suicide Dog’ which could be better and needs an overall angrier sound that would enhance the whole arrangement tremendously. In truth a pretty decent CD that is let down by the odd faux pas and lack of aggression in the final mix. More fuzz, more aggression and a removal of dodgy backings and this band could well produce an absolute belter. Still worth checking out and another that I suspect are a good live act.
A-MEEZKE - KANKERDRANG
A-Meezke like it backwards. It’s official. So that is what these demons of the deluge will get with my reviewing fingers totally in reverse mode. This filth is not for the faint hearted and is a totally cacophonous mix of evil acoustics hell-bent on rupturing your precious old earholes. I'm sure if you pour this foul rhythmic water forwards then a nasty message will be uncovered - oooh! Let’s have a Belgian Blitz then...
'Het Zaad Van Het Kwaad' is an evil seed of mean intent with an outer coating of fungal disease that will either infect your sonic stomach and make you immediately heave or arouse your acoustic horn and drop hint at a forthcoming orgasm. Your levels of depravity will decide the outcome so beware you don't reveal too much of your hidden character ha, ha. Drums tumble over shit-stained shoelaces, guitar burst at the seams with nervous irritation and the vocals come from the inner throat where darkness lies and blood is curdled. This is nothing more than smash and trash thrash so play it loud you bastards and enjoy the mayhem. Not bad with the previous track entitled 'Askarnan 2009', a 46 second assault of unrelenting fury. The swift intro scythes through the dwindling ropes of refusal and one is forced to eat big shit as this blast hits home. Short, secure stuff such as this is worthy of a place on any punk compilation CD amidst more regulated riffage and orthodox punkiness. I love it when this happens and reckon if and when I do a new compilation I will be asking these untamed 'erberts for a cut of the chaos. 'Rat 2009' is the 12th track out of 14 and is full on and driven to the max with a total headrush of minced might. From the first burst the closure is sought and with breathless mania it is reached. Pure, unadulterated lunacy - padded cell sonica - enjoy your treatment.
'Erger' is a solid track that has many epileptic seizures between chainsaw down strokes of effective menace. Totally vocal free this sonic blast is sharply attired in harsh cacophonous clothing and really does look the part. This is a glimpse into the ability of the A-Meezke pool and anyone who judges the thrash artistes as 'noisy bastards who can't really play' are surely corrected here. Things can only get worse from this point onwards - brilliant. 'Waanidee' almost reminisces with Discharged inflection before becoming a typical A-Meezke tirade. The end contraption surges and stutters and needs volume so as to create the end havoc the crew so desperately seek. Nice enough and definitely 'in the pit' noise! The title track 'Kankerdrang' pronounces and pleads before catapulting itself headlong into a world of warped wonder. Again the swiftness of the sonica is what wins the day with the brutality compressed into one wholesome thrash sandwich. Retch or relish as the poisoned bread crumbles.
'Hoofden Makken' is contorted excreta that abandons all musical modes of melody and rips it up in a 27 second assault. The bowel movement is baked so firmly that any longer in the cooker and a singed stool would have been the result. This efforts still smells mightily offensive and gets by on that fact alone. 'Ziek Grap Vuile Hoer' is indeed a dirty whore of a song and may be treated as the said sick joke. An almost melodramatic entrance as the belligerent bedroom is door opened and the awaiting legs are soon parted with the golden shower of noise immediately washing over ones innocence. More demonic than the rest and my least favourite fuck in this acoustic whore house with the pace too staggered to meet my rhythmic needs.
'Haatoverdaad' rolls over skins amidst machine-head string work. Bolts are jarred loose, screws tumble to the floor before the whole heaving production unit is dismantled and hefty tools are used to create yet more blundering chaos. The rich vein of violent thrash is tapped further and one thing is for sure - A-Meezke are taking no prisoners. Promises of being taken away from the madness are a certain lie and 'Weg Van De Waanzin' is composed in the asylum and fed upon by several crippled minds. The medication no longer works and the multi-coloured mish mash delivered forth so far continues unabated. Furious and meaningful - the band bowl more big boulders and at this juncture it is more than obvious that lovers of the sub-generic upheaval are going to have a field day mincing their minds to this racket.
'Vitriool' is bare and basic like the exposed inner wires of a simplistic killing machine - it means to do harm and the greater the volume the greater the end aural murder spree. 'Lijkstijf' is a continuation of the lunacy with some interesting drum and guitar combination rolls throughout. 'Ondraaglijk' is a half minute of cut and paste passion poured forth with the usual oppressive heat that has gone before. I love the short sharp bursts hardcore has to offer so am finding no gripes at all. Some would say this is utter shit which I can truly understand but without the mental needle in the grinding groove one cannot appreciate the riot.
The final opener (ha, ha) is 'Alleen En Bang' which starts with a brief sub-spurt before taking leave of all senses and closing/beginning in a style set over and over again - you should get the message by now.
So A-Meezke don't hold back and let you have it full fuckin' tilt. What you first hear is what you get and don't expect any tangents or unexpected prancing about. This is hard, brutal stuff and if you like a roughing up then come and get leathered. The crew play their chosen style with belief and come out with some darn exciting moments - yeah go on then - turn yer brains to shit.
PUMPKIN RECORDS - UK PUNKS VOL 1 COMPILATION
The second compilation I have been requested to review by DIY enthusiasts Pumpkin Records with the initial impact made by the wider variety on offer and the use of allegedly bigger names. Add to this a professionally packed product with a ‘to-the-point’ information based colour booklet and things look mighty promising.
The first port of call is a choice spot as Conflict produce one of their finer moments with the blazing aggression of ‘Mighty and Superior’. A more contained effort from this crusty crew and one which I am sure will arouse punters curiosity to other ditties.
The Pumpkin Express rattles forth with the next noteworthy destination at ‘The Blacksmiths Arms’ courtesy of the obviously unhinged Bus Station Loonies. A real bunch of crackpots here but a nice sing-a-long moment before a brief excursion to the land of Citizen Fish. ‘Getting Used To It’ is a typical cut from this outfit but continues the first class journey quite satisfactorily.
The picking up of 2 Sick Monkeys on the way shows good route planning and the song ‘24/7’ is one of the albums highs as it refuels the fire and lets rip – full steam ahead. Things nearly derail next as the crazed Rabies Babies and their wonderful screaming madhouse along with the Kamikaze Sperm brigade suffering from the effects of an ‘Identity Crisis’ both add a decadent charm to proceedings that will no doubt please many a subversive character loitering around the platforms after midnight.
Eastfield beautifully toy with the idea that ‘Burt Reynolds Rides Again’ but the all American meat head is promptly told to ‘Fuck Off’ and we are all saved an egocentric tirade from dreaded second rate actor. Carrying on regardless and irrespective of the odd hold-up along this turbulent track at the next station we meet 3CR who welcome us with toilets flushed and trousers down and the vulgar melody ‘Spit Roasted Groupies’. The comedic karsi brigade will love this and the ‘I Bummed Thomas The Tank Engine’ t-shirts will be worn by all fans who board the approaching 3 Cornered Rug Inter Titty Special to Clitsville.
The Hypocrites add some on-board entertainment with the excellent ‘Rave Ska’ before we race home in first-class style with a glorious bounty of top notch tunes. The Upstarts propel us ‘Off The Ground’ with the crescendo of sounds given a good stoking (no not by 3CR) by The Strait Jackets who dish out ‘Blood On My Hands’ in fervent style and The Dead Pets who sum up the DIY approach to this whole CD with ‘If It Sells It Sells’. Just enjoy and go with the flow – not entirely what the song is about but a title that can be read in a more appropriate sense.
Opposing platforms at the journeys end offer punters the ska-styled ‘Take The Blame’ by The Extinguishers and the rougher edged punk ‘n’ thunk explosion ‘Better Way’ by the excellent Filaments.
Several excursions along this route give the impression of a gradual build up in quality and speed after a somewhat hit and miss beginning. The home stretch is a real treat and leaves memories of an adventure well enjoyed. There’s time to trash the bogs and slash a few seats but if you like your tours both mysterious and magical then not too much mischief can be indulged in as you will be too preoccupied by all the choice moments. If you are a fan of Jones the Steam then take a chance on this but get that psychiatric help first. For £5 a ticket you would be hard pushed to get a better deal. Next stop ‘Volume 2’.
KREOSOTE - DIRTY PINT
As raw as the blistered eardrums you are likely to recieve when viewing this raucous crew on one of their live outings, this CD packs an adequate punch and is only restrained by the dubious production. Having said that, this is a journey into the more melodic side of hardcore you may find yourself enjoying especially after a shite day at work and a few beers (good to get rid of some of the angst you know). The 8 tracks on offer are similar in style and you can't help but wonder at whether or not there is a certain tongue-in-cheek approach here as some of the lyrical content does lean towards the deviantly comedic.
'Ratatat' opens up in hard edged style with 'Some Basic Do's etc' hurtling quickly behind and maintaining the rough and machine-like noise. Even at this point lovers of melodic retro punk and the headbanging brigade will be divided with 'Retail Cyst', Muppets and Fuckwits' etc only adding fuel to the debating fire. So what? This is not at all bad and the rapid firepower does the business.
'Pleasurable Discharge' is my personal fave with the fine ' Arrogant Wankers In Suits' being lyrically simple and to the point which will surely piss up the arses of the more allegedly literate and analytical music reviewers but which pleases this one just fine. The last 2 tracks 'Yeehaa We're All Going To Die' and 'Eight A Tribute' follow the set standard and if you are thinking of getting ballooned on booze and kneecapping your granny then listen to this assembly of melodies then go forth with your lump hammer. I guess its just one of those CD's.
MAFAFI - MON DOON THE DANCIN' DEMO
A hardcore offering here from North of the Border as Scottish powermongers jump straight out of the recording flat and into yer face with several outpourings of unchained aggression and misadventure. Like well sand papered flesh this raw and bleeding effort twangs every nerve. As with most rattling raucousness it is an acquired taste but you can't help but admire the basic urgency and uncontrolled angst that go into the overall composition of discordancy. 'Hold It', 'Soccer Mum' and 'Dirty Pillows' are the pick as each track brutally bleeds into the next. For me what we have here is a good CD of honest, low-budget, no-shit music that just lacks the final blow. A few more chant 'n' rant breaks mixed with some extensive simplistic guitar rhythms and solos and you have the finished article. Overall though this is a must for the hardcore brigade and definitely worthy of a listen by any lover of punk. By the way the energy and zeal also makes fantastic viewing as Mafafi show during their excellent live sets.
COPROLITE - TAKING DOWN TYRANTS
Well if you ask me a more apt title for this musical offering would be ' How To Play A Storming First Gig And Ruin The Good Vibes By Buying This...'. A tad lengthy but for me very, very accurate indeed and very disappointing. Having watched these guys on their debut gig I was quite taken aback at how good they actually were and therefore bought the CD which we have here under the spotlight. Having listened to the CD I was dramatically underwhelmed by the overall muffled sound and constipated vocal noise that seemed hardly bearable. Like a flashing fruit machine that pays out actual fruit instead of the promised and expected rewards this was a real deflating moment. Recorded in a bedroom I think and done in true, admirable DIY spirit the desire to get something 'out there' is in itself worthy of praise but when the end product is of this standard then you have to question what good it does. It is blatantly obvious here that urgency has overridden integrity and despite the CD having some promising moments these are lost in a maelstrom of injustice to the bands talents.
Musical ability and song construction are plain to hear but are hampered by sub-standard production. Not enough seasoning on an adequate dish and the potential flavour is lost.
The highs are the slow ska-style snippets that intercut well with the overly busy rants that again need more attention to detail. For music this intricate time and patience is required and the production has to be spot on. A real, real shame as this band are a lot better than this but for a nugget the CD is still worth a shot. The next one should be a hundred times better and if you get the chance go and give this lot a look.
Oh as a footnote I have played this CD a few more times and it does sound a bit better than initial feelings so there you go - maybe in a hundred years I may deem it a classic.
BEST OF BRITISH OI VOL 1 - COMPILATION
Typically British in sound and presentation this compilation is reminiscent of those collectable Oi albums every shaven headed 'erbert should have had in his festering record collection in the early 80's. Some familiar names are included here with each one banging out their own particular brand of street music. 'The Land of Hope and Glory' intro is unashamedly patriotic and typical of this genre with the ensuing eruption of Condemned 84's 'The Sound Of Oi' a perfect start to an all round decent CD. Hard and rough edged the approach is continued with T.M.F and the excellent ditty called 'Another Scar'.
The themes of violence, drinking, disgruntlement, law hating, and questioning continue with efforts by The Gonads, Scum and Churchill worthy of a mention.
For me the best track of the lot is the superb and darkly sinister offering from Superyob, namely 'Rough Justice'. A classic example of the zero-tolerance view of this musical mode and one that deserves more credit than it gets. This song is a gem both lyrically and musically and the cockney preaching of frontman Frankie Flame does his usual vocal delivery with a natural aplomb second to none. One of the most overlooked bands hopefully this quality CD will give them a bit more publicity.
This won't be everyone's cup of tea but I would recommend a few listens by all and sundrie. Personally as good as the early Oi offerings if not better.