FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 1
 
 

CHARLIE HARPER & THE SUB MACHINE - PANIC/POST WAR PUNKS

Charlie Harper and the Sub-Machine come to the fold and show that the Subs frontman is still willing to dabble here and there and keep a few others intrigued.  What we get here is two tracks that will no doubt be reviewed by people wanting to blow smoke up arses, stay in the popular zone and with a fear of offending - so much for honesty hey!  I go in fresh, unconcerned by expectations and what others have scribbled and give my own honest view - one has to be fair and be consistent.

The opening track for me is crucially important as regards the lyrical content and not who the creators are.  A recent push of the lyrics on-line, with a picture of Mr Harper, brought gushing over the said photo rather than the pertinent wordage (people hey, the ruddy arse-kissing bastards).  I read, considered and now listen to the verbals accentuated by noise.  The opening classical keyed strains set the stage, build a scenario of delicacy (think the wonders of nature) which are then cast aside by a trampling tonality (consider the advances of man).  This contrast hits home and my love of the natural and the fear of a world turning to shit is accentuated by the reverbed horror-laden warnings regarding the suffering that is destined to come.  The song switches from the threat, to a promise whilst giving one time to ponder - is there anyone really listening?  The arrangement is unorthodox, is an exposure of ad-hoc experimentation and somehow works - do not miss out and get off your idle, distracted rears.

'Post War Punks' is a stop and state affair with crisp wire pronunciations that come to the fore with great opening sanguinity.  Once the foundations are set we get the inimitable frontman's hollerings as added gumption with the unmistakeable oral donations adding a certain comfort to proceedings.  The content for me is indicative of a scene where the punks would rather idle and nibble catered fodder rather than spit back, get up and fuckin' do something (I like my version, it rings true don't ya know).  The drift of the song is accentuated with good stick clobber, bittersweet string manipulations, a bit of chuggery and some firm bassism.  The more I play the more the impact hits home and although there is a distinct repetition going on here the song sticks in the noggin like a burnt fried egg to a frying pan.  Cor blimey I could thrash an egg butty.

2 songs, not bad is the verdict.  Expectations are tested, a roaming from the regulation punk regime is had whilst still maintaining an underlying ethos and accent.  Take note - some folk are still aware, doing and striving to get a message out there - you have been warned. 

 

 

ALVIN GIBBS & THE DISOBEDIENT SERVANTS - STATE OF GRACE

The UK Subs bassist leads the way here with 2 vulnerable victims dragged along and packaged as Alvin Gibbs and the Disobedient Servants.  To be fair I would prefer the band just to be called The Disobedient Servants - tis far more balanced and fair methinks.  Anyway, to date I have reviewed a full length release by these buggers and here have just 3 songs to tackle, one being a very old number I have on an old Urban Dogs album.  You know my style by now, perhaps you are familiar with the bands output too, so when Fungal does is thing and the DS crew do theirs, the resultant scribblings are a matter of course.

And to 'State Of Grace', a familiar number deep-rooted in my long sonically sozzled psyche and one which takes me back to a certain time whilst sobering me up with the here and now.  The song has a deep-rooted charm and a certain inner suffering whilst all the while emanating a somewhat voyeuristic oddness.  The fresh and alive opening guitar soon gets brought into check with a reliable rhythmic verse that leads into a complimentary chorus cut thus contributing to a complete package.  Emotive troubles, adoration and strange desires all collide within a well-worked tune that takes time to self-indulge and explore textures new.  This is good song, it has me now reaching for the 'Wipeout Beach' album by the Urban Dogs (that I picked up on release 22 years ago - aaagghhh) - one has to keep stepping the mind-gap.

'Too Bad She's In Love' is a mentally disturbed number seemingly uttered through the sneering lips of the stalking obsessed, a peephole wanker sucking on life, on the outside and left to suffer.  The troubled tonsil tonality is sent into deeper turmoil via the whipping reactive waters of sound that eventually culminate into foaming spumes of suffocating destruction - a destruction that sees the sufferer die, the song meet the final terminal silence.  Several times I grapple with this tortured tune, the ice-cold pseudo-robotic statements, the grinding gears and the whole feel are no easy thing to grasp - I sit on a 50/50 verdict.

The closure of the trio is the worrisome weariness of 'Brother, Sister' a very thoughtful song and one with a pertinence to again, take heed of.  The structure comes as a natural product, woven with many influential points and consistencies.  The singing style is distinct and almost has a ring of something operatically mocking.  The chemical reaction between the noise and the verbals works, I don't know why and am left flummoxed but one thing is for sure, the angles and accents combine to create and intriguing number and one that rounds off a quick hat-trick to keep you on your musical tootsies.

The band have their own style here, it does help maintain the interest level and has one struggling for obvious comparison – this is always a wonderful thing, especially if you are so immersed in many vibrations and have a skull full of resonating gunk.

   

GIRLS ARE LOUD - PUNK 4 THE HOMELESS COMPILATION VOL 2

That bastard Eagle Spits knows I am busy and knows my lugs are leathered from many angles.  He is a grooming devil though and despite my thrashing protestations I have been duly backed into a corner and have agreed to review another 22-track compilation.  I tried to get out of it, blackmail and sinister threats came my way as well as several photos of Mr Eagling’s rather exotic todger - ooh I am a sucker for all things disturbing.  And so here I am, tapping away at the keyboard whilst the music flows through the aural orifices and bounces around the cranial gunk.  Despite my mind drifting to the aforementioned 'boner of the bizarre', I get a grip on matters and wank off the following appraisal.

Janine Booth is the first lady to post lilts my way.  The wordage that seeps forth under the banner of 'Wherefore Art Thou Capitalism' is an acidic dig at the state of play where the corrupted controllers are nailed and a call for solidarity is had.  The plea may fall on many deaf ears as the masses chase the coin, the commercial dream and the overall con - the spirit and approach is worth the effort though.  From here we move into the dramatic dirt fuzz delight of 'Park Bench Creep', a song that deals with the deviant eyes of the ogler who gets his kicks eyeing up the lasses who just wanna have a jog or an exercising jaunt.  The unsettling situation sees eyes and underpants bulge over what should be an innocent outing not done for the pleasure of the perverse.  Alas these wanking watchers are everywhere in all manner of guises, from the greasy to the pretty boys, all getting off in their own foul way.  The delivery of the song has muscle and is done in a simple and direct way - the message is obvious and the arrangement of a good earthy DIY song - I like it.

An homage to all the superheroes out there comes next via 'Wonderwoman'.  The donator of the ditty is 'L'Doris', the construct tympanically tumbles in, jazz jerks all ways before taking up a cool and controlled first verse route followed by an imitation moment that takes us back to the 1970's TV arena where Diana Prince was brandishing her golden lasso and stopping a barrage of bullets via her Amazonian bracelets.  These may be nostalgic detours when in fact the song is more concerned with the women multitasking in the modern age and being sorely overlooked.  Onwards and fat-heavy tribalism comes via a dance drum beat that is soothed by some semi-whispered vocals that eventually get overly aroused by the intent and duly...go for it.  'Souldigger' by Blow-Up is a neat construction that includes grey-fading sound suggestions and much on-the-cusp sexuality to get one’s attentive juices flowing.  The pulse, the grind, the overall visage of the song works well.

The cathedral soundscape of 'Ghost' by Angie Niccals harks back to cheesed bouffant 80's time-traps that saw minstrels overreach and indulge.  This is strictly not my bag, it is a pop-song overly ornamented but I can see the quality of the creation, can easily make comparisons and see the ability of the artiste and her offering and how it would hold its own with many creations held in high regard.  Almost a literary escort for some classical script, I may not be a fan but I am no fool - well played that lady.  The Webb I know only too well and have been ensnared in the cacophonic cobwebbery far too often for my own good.  The duo play out their strange and unsettling art-form here with the usual great effect that slowly transfixes the cerebral soup and cooks up a cranial dish that doesn't taste half bad.  'Don't Trust You' is woven with care, is a deliberate synthed-electro mule that trots its own walkway – walking behind admiring the dropped dung is sincerely my pleasure.

The Yoghurt Weavers surprise with a rap-twat-attack that is done with delicate guitar touches and sedate tympanics that offer the bare-basic foundations.  'The Party Dunt Stop' is a mix of the excited and the soporific and deals with dropping out, partying on and making sure the end never comes.  We have all been in sozzled situations when one wants to continue getting wrecked and talking shite with the only full stop needed being the one that comes in the form of a black out.  This is a sharp song, one for the modern day zone-out brigade methinks.

Cloying, crap loaded, confounded and clattering - but what a reward comes via 'When UR Dead, UR Done' with the Nurse On Duty dissecting decency and exposing a dirty dog sound style that travels with haste and splatters the attentive walls with a certain visceral blatancy that shows the potential to waste life is still prevalent and too many are going through the motions and doing 'fuck all'.  The acceptance is rife, the imbalance obvious, the irritation shown during this song utterly heartfelt.  A fine inclusion.  'Bloodsports' by Choked' is a song I am familiar with and comes from a band with a conscience and a determination to let the passionate spillage fall.  The spacey angles, the hollowed out affects and the cooled psychedelic surgings come with inner intentions to raise the plight of the suffering, the ones hunted and ravaged.  Reggae-fied touches, great movements of passion and some groovy bassism all copulate whilst the skins are scatter-splattered in a most off-the cuff manner.  All is needed is a little more rigidity methinks and a little work on the clarity of components - just personal thoughts.

Cosmic Slop are a darn good unit, play out the unaffected sounds with a raw reality that is gratifying in the extreme and with a throwback innocence that is startlingly refreshing.  'Cytotoxic' has cathedralised essences, realises on a plug in and play approach, keeps things wonderfully uncluttered and waltzes along wondering where to go to next.  Simple, with sublime beauty and one of those the old Do It Yourself heads must surely applaud.  A delicious slab of dabbling!  To follow up this stripped-down gen we get the full-on parading beauty of 'Desensitized' by Emily - wow, what a delicious fresh and soul-lifting pop snippet laden with pertinent pointers and stunning executions built on clarity, attention to detail and a focus of what the band want to achieve.  I am making sub-suggestive notes and consider something akin to a more commercialised offering (which may or may not be a compliment) albeit with more angular content and with a streak of sincerity whilst looking at those made up and those natural.  A real magical moment this and what the self-appointed sad-sac purists will call - 'unpunk' - bonus!

Dixie Riot opt for a cover version, they take on the somewhat cheesy 'Country Road' and in truth, they do things mighty well.  I prefer this to the puke-inducing original but, as my verbals may suggest, I'll never be a fan of the corned crapulence.  This is a refreshed version though, with vocals akin to something by Belinda Carlisle which is definitely a compliment.  All areas are lucid, there is a good skip in the step and I may be changing my original mind here - please forgive me but one has to be honest.  Next and mirror-fractured, multifaceted keyed poetry is the disorder of the day with the weird and frustrated snippet called 'Austerity Measure'.  The artist, one Jessemy Selwyn, donates a haunted shatter-image of kick-back angst in gentle yet tetchy tones and although the arrangement is laden with unclear tonality this is still an absorbing treat.  'Sydney Jones' comes next, drifts along with tones too languid and idle for me, I find that the overall campfire feeling paradoxically leaves me a little cold.  I am not 'In Tune' at all here and struggle to gain a foothold of positivity.  Tis all too mushy and wallowing for me with vibes that don't hit the Fungal hotspot - hey, this is a long compilation and I can't like everything.  Grace and Elliot take the stage next, tip-tap in with the delicate orchestration of 'Beauty Queen'.  Again I am in the shadows and not fully embracing this slow and soporific effort.  I find the verbals a trifle too limp, the affect too dreamy and the lack of instant snag leaving me somewhat frosty and disinterested.  I hate not being in the groove with tunes but the option of lying to stay in favour is poison to my soul.  There are a few folk who will love the chilled approach and self-belief - and I say good on em'.

I travel further and see the end of the assortment in sight.  I am taken down a rap-happy avenue by the hand of a quirky deliverer who weaves a verbal pathway and refuses to piss off before many points are made.  I am not a rap fan, I don't mind the poetical and political effort poured forth here and the fact that Loudspeka are happy to invade the collective with the ditty known as 'Pump and Dump' is all positive stuff.  I listen over and reckon this is a decent mix, more time is needed to fully decipher the multi-message avalanche.  Monica and The Explosion' add a frisky number built on quality tremblings and great sanguine surges that win focused attention and considered applause from the off.  Alive, kicking, tattooed through with animated restless gumption this impressive assault on the senses may shout 'Shut Up' but really it wants us to shout loud many praises.  The lead lady holds more than her own with the upbeat accents, heels-dug approach and quick-flick sunshine strums - a quite dazzling moment. 

Rebecca Radical hops to the fore next and for me, having followed this lass since her embryonic pluckings, what we have here is a coming of age snippet that at last sees the artiste push, explore and give birth to something justifying her potential.  'Frustration (Funk Off)' embraces the young rapscallion’s lovely lilts and fucked off distemper whilst escorting the sub-spoken observations with a quite lovely pseudo-reggae trance trundle.  Hypnotising, warm and politically arousing, take a bow ye 'Have A Go Doofer' - it has been a pleasure waiting for this.

Hotwired cum next, and ejaculate the erotic obviousness of 'Orgasm Enthusiasm' a bold and horned-up escapade that moistens itself into a state of almost begging need whilst thrusting along to a decent rhythm.  The lead lady always has convincing tones, the back-line is reliably solid and although a somewhat vulgar approach has been adopted here and one could be critical regarding the lack of subtlety, the song hits the eavesdropping erogenous zones and shows a lass with, paradoxically, big self-believing bollocks.  I just hope the greasy perverts stay contained.  From the blatantly reckless to the more controlled 'Nobody Here Cares About You'.  Gentle tones commence, the soothing continues with the space-laden first verse even though the words contain a certain acidity.  An almost bedroom-recorded effort with lo-fi trappings and an uncomplicated motif.  The song may just go on a little too long but it is still a pertinent effort and a right old ear-worm – wriggle, wriggle, wank, wank! 

Roadkiller wallop forth some mean and dirty sub-metal sleaziness via their typical sub-scene rock and ravage coined 'Dead Or Alive'.  A frisky sexed up assault of rhythmic thrashing that has machine-grind undertones, heavy duty effort and an overlay of cock-rock exhibitionism.  The front lady grooves, moves and reacts to the rattle.  One for the long haired head-banging louts and those who like things with a metallic and rocked up tint.  We finally meet the end silence via the wonderful 'Superball' by Ugli.  What a finale – with crusty, musty and grungey opening clenches finally releasing a joyous pop-infected spurt of music making all built on a joyous upbeat bounce of infecting rhythm that punctuates the CD in a much needed way.  It is always good to sign off confidently and with a tune bouncing around the listener's noggin - this is the case here.  Feel the bass, absorbed the chug-bursts, let the tonsil work charm you - and then...replay!

Wallop - and there ya go.  Fungal has survived another downfall of music, scribbled his thoughts and hopefully maintained a clarity and got people considering.  A ruddy good compilation again, laden with a manifold of musical components that will certainly appeal to many tastes.  You can fuck nutmeg, piss on cinnamon and shove a fistful of fennel up yer arse - the only true spice is variety - enhance your listening dishes folks.

   

IRMANS - HERMANO

A two-track outpouring via the Dirty Water label and No Front Teeth Records featuring a 3-piece who are a conglomeration of ideas and backgrounds and who are based in the Big Smoke.  I know nowt, will do a bit and hopefully have something good to scribble about.  The labels suggest promise, I suppress any expectations though and go with the flow. 

'I Wanna See You' and the initial lick is very rewarding, relaxed, bouncing without vulgarity and very easy on the lugs.  The string manipulations are fresh, the lower cable movements leak-proof and fluent with the sticks happy to reside in the mix and keep things in line and tidy.  A break, guitar glistens unfold, the vocals stay shadowed and unobtrusive and then we duly fade.  The emotive content of the song is well-blown and drifts through the porous noise with great complimentary effect - I am finding this a jangling and soothing song in one decent burst.

'Hermano' has all the trinkets and adornments of that beautiful product I fondly refer to as 'bargain basement garage'.  The soundscape is alive with residual motes and essences and the tin-can scooped-out affect is indicative of this sub-scene shit-hole.  The rise is industrial and takes us into a machine-like fuzz wangle that has many Euro-touches and for some reason has me making comparisons with the cleaner cut crew from Sweden known as Zoo Party - how strange!  Big pronouncements invade, an off kilter route taken and as a result the arrangement, as a complete entity, is difficult to encapsulate in few words.  The style, the resonance though, has me intrigued and I am liking what I am hearing.  No gripes.

A brace of songs, and doing what they set out to do - get one intrigued and wondering what will come next.  I am more than happy with the output here and suggest the band go for a 4 tracker next and tease my lugs a little more - here's waiting, anticipating and hopefully, musically masturbating. 

   

BEFORE THEY ARE HANGED - THESE TIMES ALONE

5 tracks via a punk quartet from Derbyshire.  The band are named after a book that was written by Joe Abercrombie.  It is part of a trilogy and may be worth investigating further - if only these ruddy bands would give me a break and stop asking for reviews (he says with tongue in cheek and ears tingling for another dose of dinnage).  I know little of what to expect here; this is a lovely fresh sensation that may leave me feeling utterly joyous or as flat as eunuchs sex urge.  I will do my bit and scrawl some sincere words to capture the gist and to give a personal incite - here we go...again!

'DIY' is the first expulsion I grapple with and find my sonic mitts laden. The opening assuredness of vocal-work and gritty noise moves with a mid-paced determination and pushes to the fore a distinct confidence of sound that is both impacting and resonating.  I make instant comparisons to a band I used to deal with, namely The Kings of the Delmar - the same strength and sanguinity shines bright with a hot-roasted drive had.  The compact and hard-edge arrangement carries weight, strays from the orthodox route which adds to the all-important longevity factory.  The engine is well-oiled and I am up for the journey - a bold commencement.  'Ground Down' continues the meaty approach with a no-nonsense rectum-rattling rumble that hollers from scorched wastelands and delivers the goods in fine vibrating style.  The sizzling approach works well, the tight and tetchy chordage amid the shit-kicking angst takes us along with great intrigue with an inner moment to consider matters and ride a chug change with ease.  The flow to the finale is power-laden, irregular in its make-up and with many layers to peel away and dissect.  Again this is not an instant hit, not a throwaway chunk of noise to take lightly - there is more happening, stick with it ya bastards.

'Nowhere Without You' is a liquid splash of energy and focus with a certain hybridisation of noise both home-based and from across the pond with a definite throwback feeling as well as a modern-day tattooing.  The blend is bang on the mark; the force of the delivery is awash with a determination to post home the product with good clout.  The initial radio-fied vocals are soon banished via a forward push of needy emotion and chug-o-rama efficiency.  A very simplistic song tossed off the wrist and left for us to enjoy - as I say, simple hey!  'Story Of My Life' has good texture and a theme one can easily relate to.  The open-hearted transparency, the uncomplicated approach and the exactitude of the tonal components can be perhaps overlooked due to the incessant tumble of the racket but here, the band have worked hard to produce a sinewy and persistently moving song with clobber and culture neatly combined.  The song includes some impressive heave-ho's, the muscular movements really do shift the undergrowth - I am rating this the best song of the lot.

And finally, 'These Times Alone'. A steady drift, controlled and with little fuss.  The opening verse is consistent with previous outflowings, the chorus perhaps too fleeting for its own good and lacking a true defining wallop factor.  As a result, we get a number of one level, a high level at that, but one that needs a few tonal trinkets added and a few slam-bam fuckin' have it moments.  This may be another hefty tune but it does need to bring something extra to the turntable and just needs a few flash-jack injections - as per, personal and honest thoughts, there is no other way!

5 tracks, a decent do but...and here we have the nub of the matter, the band have more to offer and must not be afraid of serving up their discordance with more flamboyance and extra 'outside the circle' risk taking.  To review is to push, to review is to appreciate, to review is to be critical and fair.  This is a small package packed with much goodness, next time though, Fungal wants more (cue Mr Bumble and a state of shock). 

   
1

VICE SQUAD - BATTLE OF BRITAIN

The art of perseverance is one of the few aspects of the human condition that I can genuinely applaud and encourage in others.  It emanates a defiant passion, it exudes belief and it cultivates hope in many who are thinking of abandoning their efforts.  Vice Squad have stuck at it, from the days when my pimpled arse waggled to the local Record Exchange and came home with a copy of the 'Last Rockers' release to the present day when I have received this latest album to assess via the WWW (Wank Wired Webbery). The band have ridden the rollercoaster of acclaim, been praised, overlooked and let down.  They have had success in various measure but by simply 'sticking at it' is the greatest triumph of all.  And so here is my take on the latest offering, a view that will be sincere, candid, genuine and I hope, critically considerate.  If you have stuck with the band for this long, a little extra time reading some Fungalised spillage will do you no harm...then again! 

The key to starting any is to open with a clatter and 'Ruination' does just that.  An instantaneous hurtler that travels with relish, controlled clout and tight and compact rock and roll minstrelisation.  A skid, a heavy bass support rib-rattle, a slap eager time-keeper and the salivated thirst of the she-lead leaves us enlivened, foaming and ready to ping.  The acute intent radiated shows a crew keen to make a statement and to get things rolling without any thought of 'tossing off'.  The thrust cuts through the airspace with power, swoops and soars in an unorthodox style and shoots down any doubting doodlebugs with determined accuracy - kaboom.

'I Dare To Breathe' drum seizures, focuses with white-light attention before the she-gob hollers off and gets many frustrations and irritations off her chest.  The travelling tonality is persuasive, all-action and radiates a desire to make the sonic flames as intense and as searing as possible.  The impact of the DIY mix is spot on and shows what can be accomplished with dedication and an attention to detail.  Pace aplenty, a sure-fire hunger and a restless defiance still alive and kicking, this fast-running mongrel of music has a certain pedigree born only of many a year humping with passion and doing things for the love of it.  This is not an orthodox arrangement but still has solid wallop.  'When You Were 17' looks back with nostalgic bitterness and sees a state of misdirected passion and anger through shit-stained specs of reality rather than those rose coloured bins too many comfortably adopt.  The opening thrust is neat and observant, plays things cool and says what it sees.  The underscore of the backline is well-weighted and leaves room for the fore-strings to react, strum and provide a good dose of power.  Lead lass Becky warbles in that fine distinctive semi-smoked, semi-gravelled way with the usual vixen tones clear and effective.  The end result is of a song that is rock solid and watertight and all parcelled and packaged in a very gratifying way.  3 down, things are looking good. 

'Ignored To Death' permeates the sensors from darkened recesses of noir-esque sinisterism.  A creepy kind of song that moves with a sublime shiftiness and so, as a result, takes a little adjusting to.  Patience becomes the virtue has the tendrils of the song slowly reach out, clutch and squeeze out an affirmation of positivity.  The band are not following the tick-box punk route here (thank fuck) and throwing forth styles and sonic situations that keep the CD breathing.  The content deals with the overlooked and left behind (always applaudable) and does so with anger kept on a leash.  I play the first 4 songs over again and consider all my thoughts and the whole group as a batch - I am finding no blemishes or disappointments and reckon this latter song is a nice extra ingredient.

Visceral meat-mincing riffery opens up 'Born In A War' with the following assault the most salivated and brow-furrowed fling out so far.  A seething relish to deliver the goods is blatant, the mauled and molested cable work glows with white heat, the fiery thrust and utter disgust at humanities seeming penchant for disaster is spat forward and left for us to contemplate further.  Never just listen to the racket, always try and see what the content involves.  I am bomb-blasted here, I fly from the crater of cacophony with a smile on my face and conveniently fall 'arse first' on the 'replay' button.

Further into the noise I go.  That old composing minstrel Elgar takes us into the attack known as 'Battle Of Britain' with much ceremonious pomp that certainly sets a stage.  The VS brigade soon take the reins and throb with a thirst whilst laying down their heavyweight observations of a country turned to shit.  Imbalance, corruption, selfish 'take, take' behaviour and suffering for the one's not granted luck-based privileges - it is a real mire that sees the band foaming.  If I was grading songs so far this would be the least favoured with the chuggery taking time to adjust to and the flow needing a little work via the lugs - this doesn't make it a duff do though and it has a strong essence for sure.

I snatch at the next two outpourings, 'Poverty Face' is a grim-faced affair, rolling in like a distant thunder ready to pour forth many damning needles of icy factual rain and hopefully leave us soaked through with realisation and forethought.   The rigidity of the song is stable, the drive without any off-road veering and the substrate under the travelling tonal tyres founded on many good nutrients of noise.  As the sonic skies open, the band continue their excursion and leave one impressed - a hard hitting number for sure and I am happy to be splattered and battered.  'How The Other Half Lives' comes from a dust-laden DIY wasteland, fights its way through the plumes of cloying filth and finds light enough to see how the leeches, parasites and power-wanking maniacs thrive.  Served up on our ever-waiting platters is a dish well-calculated and blended here with no outlandish spices present or persuasive sugars that are easily digested and forgotten about.  The chefs have taken their time, gone for a low-simmer option and made sure all ingredients are well-balanced.  Not the most savoury dish, but avoiding a dreaded blandness that may cause the indulger to pass on to the next course.  Take your time here, toss things around your palette and consider the intent - you may be more impressed than you think.

Slamming headlong into the last 4 and the chug devilment of 'No Evil' comes from the heart with a ditty for the diluted and diluters splashed with venomous angst borne from the idiocy of the blinkered.  The heavy-duty clobberin' time throb is akin to the genital pangs of a horned up Ben Grimm (Marvel Readers take note) who is ready to clout out his worth with no nonsense taken.  Our Bondaged lady at the front seethes with passion whilst her partners in crime flex muscle and make for an unapologetic hard-rocked number.  The Fantastic Four are striving to save their sonic world - do not be a Doc Doom and bring forth your ignorance and eyes-wide shut madness - there is enough of that already in this world as the band so readily point out.

'Mainstream Media' deals with the info mockery and the insecurity it creates.  The tension emanated from the strings and the slapping skin work all focus and zone-in to add weight to a finger-pointing intention aimed at the pseudo-reality disjointing enterprise of the damning tale tellers and distorters of fact.  The spurious filth is passed forth, the masses gorge, the result is a nation of bloated apathy.  The band radiate seething emotion here, there is every reason to.  The song is sinewy, hard-fought and neatly imposing - at such a late stage the CD is still keeping things tight and controlled, but very fiery.

The last two, and oh what a brace upon which to finish.  'You Can't Fool All Of The People' begins with considered orchestration and a certain exactitude in the approach.  The measured ascension comes with great looming prowess and shows a band exploring and with a determination not to remain in the strict generic grooves so many stupidly expect.  Here the band stretch, adopt a slower a pace and bring out the best in themselves.  Brooding, politically pertinent, showcasing the lead lasses’ quality lilts and making for one really impressive donation.  The CD needed this, almost like a penultimate shadowed punctuation mark and leaving only one way to go...!

'Pulling Teeth' needs to be a contrast, needs to oppose its predecessor and yet compliment it in the same gasping breath.  It does just that!  The metallic start, the salivating, acute and revved up vocals are all slapped into our expectant mush with great effulgent gumption that releases a distinct frustration with the idlers, disorganised and time-wasting twats who make the simple things in life so ruddy tortuous.  To play a gig, to deliver one's noise should be, in theory, pretty straight forward, but like in all areas of life, the best way to do things is your own way and use as few external elements as possible.  DIY is the way, without it one can end up in huge gnarled knots of disgruntlement which is no good at all.  A fine kick-out to finish this, powerful and in yer face – magic.

As said, Vice Squad are producing their best music to date and are worthy of good praise here.  I have never been one to kiss arse, blow smoke up rectums or try to win favour with anyone.  All I can do is play things straight and acknowledge good noise and be critical when the need arises (as many will testify to).  This is good wholesome racket-making that has life, thought and gusto - and some moments are just ruddy exemplary.  Mind you, after so many years of dabbling, things really shouldn't be any other way. 

   

MAINFRAME - EMPLOYEE/RIP

Lunatic interstellar mania with a band I know nothing about making a noise I know even less about.  In a world where the sonic spectrum is bent and buggered all ways I find myself faced with two tracks that confound the senses and obliterate any ideas of the orthodox.  I jump in and jump out and as a result, now suffer from vertigo, paranoia and a deep-rooted mistrust of the musical realm.

'Employee' is simply bamboozling flashpoint japery with all nuances and characteristics jumbled and jangled and splashed against the membrane of attention without a care in the world.  Amid the jamboree of jollity comes a submerged waffle-mania borne from lunatics with a design to delight and offend in one cloying mix of psychotic experimentalisation and space-age head-wanking.  This is pure nerd-noise involving too much self-abuse borne from the dark side (ooh me black seeds). I don't know what the band are up to but something within... intrigues - now that's scary.

I duly flip, and let 'RIP' course through my attentive veins with opening carousels of sub-nostalgic sweet-pie sugariness before the tin-foil crumpled garage hollers come, throw one off kilter and make for another episode of crackpot fiddling.  As the song plays out the under-harmony holds true, the feeling of being trapped in an early 80's digitised video game becomes increasingly real and as I jump and pogo I am joined by a myriad of Manic Miners and Willie's from the Jet-Set age.  Despite my fears and waffling wankery there is a tune to be appreciated here, although if you are on a heavy dose of nerve medication I suggest you pick your moments.

I now unplug and assess.  What I have aurally witnessed is a band that may end up anywhere on their musical journey.  I am not one for bands following procedure and sub-scene regulations - my advice here - just fuckin' do what feels good. 

   

GHOULIES - REPROGRAM

From Perth in Australia comes a glorious idiot overspill of frantic musical masturbation that sees seven splashes of sonic semen attempt to impregnate our minds and get some of us duly giving birth to a review of some merit.  Thankfully I am not easily groomed and my assessing orifices remain guarded against predatory minstrels and wannabe acoustic invaders.  I see the entire running time here is less than 10 minutes, it looks like a case of 'wham, bam, thank you ma'am' - sometimes it is the best way and I may be prone to a humping after all (it is in my spiky nature).  So, wary and a little bit willing, I go for it. I think sometimes I am a little too old for all this. 

'B. O.' comes first, a brief spasmoid avalanche borne from killer gnomes hepped up on whizz and then thrown around a carousel of whirring synthoid speedery that leaves one wondering - 'what the fuck just happened man'.  The replay button is a necessity, it is pushed with baited breath and the underparts clenched (feels good).  Again the opening attack surprises and leaves one's testicles striving to rise into the pelvis and away from the racket.  I stick with it, start to feel the essence and get to build up a good sweat - I am liking this more and more, what the fuck do my conkers know anyway!  'American Stut-ty' pulses and trembles before spluttering out a cracked automaton noise interspersed with freaky keyed invasions that throw one off balance and out of one's unnecessary comfort zone.  A lyric sheet is a crucial requirement to dissect the full depth of the song but without one, I am left to manage as best as I can.  The words gallop by and become a garish indecipherable gushing, the suggestions of Aborted Tortoises are prevalent, the obvious madness and flea-fucking feeling is inescapable - get your nerve tablets ready and... have it.  A fairground fruit fling - and with great juicy goodness. 

'Petey Jones's Locker' is a superb Devo-dabbled ditty that has been frivolously fucked over and spat back out in a globule of bubbling insanity.  I have not a clue what the band are saying or aiming for here but am utterly gratified by the goonish pseudo-space age spilling that gets one up, hopping and eager for more.  The tongue-tingling starburst flavour is spot on, and from the off, until the keyed fruit-loopery and to the final flop out, this is keen and eager foaming I for one, adore.  'The Wig' taps in, scoots along, shoots a load from an overly tight thong and in truth, doesn't last long.  Utter youthful zest is splashed and sprayed over the dead-nippled breasts of boredom (excuse me, it has been a long week) and leaves behind a moment to almost be unaware of.  It becomes increasingly crucial to reinvestigate and as I do so I feel as though I am undergoing an amphetamine-based abduction with a million-zillion micro-aliens invading every orifice of my framework and making for one great big internal fidget fiasco.  Every nerve ending and fibre is ravaged and I am left in a quiver state of disrepair - I am of the opinion that this is no bad thing! 

'NPC' is a choice pip, a real juicy eruption showcasing all the finest aspects of this appealing unit and a song that real raises my spirits.  Angular, jerky-quirky and fun, this alive and happening number has so many gushing elements to keep one utterly absorbed from the first to the last.  Spyro-gyro twirlings, undulating hop-frogs and such pimpled zest all copulate and sprog-splat forth a quite mesmeric number that I for one utterly adore.  The band have talent and a stubbornness to keep things in their own style - this is an apex of production thus far. 

'No More Bands' comes on quick stampings and wire-stutters before developing into a manic burst of agitated energy that gallops along and ensnares the neurones.  One expects something orthodox to be posted through ones gaping sonic letter box, instead one gets a parcel and packaged living entity of great agitation labelled with 'destination uncertain.  When opened the all-explosive catastrophe of hurricane endeavour really blows one off their feet and takes them into head-flashing, mind crashing mania.  The band do this kind of psychoactive shit so ruddy well and the 100mph pace, the pubescent hunger and penetrating manic barbs all get me reeling in more ways than one - fuckin' delightful. 

We piss off to the final silence on the interstellar transport system known as 'E. T. Gnome'.  We travel through sonic space age realms with a fun and solar bright song mashed up in the usual 'Ghoulie-fied' way.  I feel as though we have one choice at this late juncture - and that is to just rack up the volume and just enjoy the lunatic-fringe warblings.  The keyed soup is swallow in glugs, it flows with ease and I enjoy the general essence even though I get a trifle scorched.   

I sign off in haste, this mood-moment offering has done the business for me, it is well-timed, tight and crackpot stuff with a certain feel-good factor one can't really label.  You do have to be in a certain frame of mind to fully appreciate but when you are, by heck the resonations work a treat. 

   

THE SENTENCE - BROKEN WORLD

A group of good fellows spew forth 12 tracks of unassuming DIY noise here done without pretension, profound disguise or great sinister scheming.  The music is as expected, earthy, traditional, up-front and as the players like it. The crew have graced the Fungal stage - I was like a pig in shit in their company and enjoyed their puke-up of many familiar songs - here this myco-git expects and expects big time - the pressure is now on.  Rather than be a spiteful old twat though I will keep to my ethos and be fair and critical when needs be, but all the while considerate of the effort - I be the verbal juggler in danger of dropping the odd clanger - stupid but still as keen as mustard!

The simplicity of the opening track strikes me as a chance missed although there are no flaws to uncover and no real niggles but 'Coppers' is a flat-lined number ideal for the deadheads who have a ACAB mentality and perhaps in danger of missing the point of this doubled-edged opener.  The music is crisp, the vocals clear and recognisable and the general recurring motif instantaneously grabbing and effective with the blue-light touches par for the course.   The longevity factor is low though but this will be a decent sing-a-long piss-pot pleaser so all is not lost.  'Rise 'N' Shine' trundles in, plays its cards straight on the table and has a good lick.  A corned pseudo-English string twist has me reminded of that sugar coated Cocksparrer shittery which I hope the band don't get too mesmerised by.  The crew have enough wallop and nouse to avoid mimicry and I think that they trespass a little too far into the grounds of 'obvious' here.  Having said my critical but honest bit I have to say the simplicity and catchy snag of the serenade is easy to join in with and has no grounds for any steel-capped complaint.  The purpose is to encourage, to keep one motivated and to get the arse moving - one would be a twat to have a problem with that.

'Line Of Fire' is straight ahead DIY noise making.  The head is focused, the musical instruments are given a good going over with all players in the mood to get things nailed and buried into your eager bonse.  No nonsense here, no frills and no fuckin' about either - a level drive that gets on with the task and takes no prisoners.  Not a bad effort but outdone by the CD's best track thus far, namely the soppy sloppy sincerity of 'One More Time'.  A quite lovely song this sang by a gent one can easily believe in.  The sentiments are of love, regrets and a determination to crack on and hope in the impossible.  The textures suit the strain, the lyrical content is transparent and touching and delivered with heartfelt weight.   Tight, true and a tonic this one - a tune to play when the spirits are sinking and the hazy impediments of this lunacy called life get a little too much - thanks fellars.

'When Will You Rest' asks a question, my response is 'never' - have that!  I like this song, the gritty earthiness, the direct and no-nonsense meanness of the drive and of course, the level zero reality that deals with those almost beaten whilst still giving a suggestion of hope.  The structure of the sonic overflow is sound and the band keep things well-screwed down and without on blips – one to play on a loop to fully absorb the strain.  'Blame It On The Kids' is a somewhat uncomplicated affair that dispels the myth that the youth are to blame for all the worlds ills.  The fuckers who cast accusations need to look closer to home and be aware that they are part of the ongoing downward spiral that has seen us end up at Junction 'Shit'.  A bass twiddle, a wire jangle, orthodox verse and chorus with a scripted essence borne of obvious Oi traits and the job is par for a certain niche'd course.  The band play it easy here, and have a ditty the punters in the pack will easily join in with. I would have preferred a few embellishments here and there with the players working outside the box.  There is more potential than the players perhaps realise - fuck the in-built and external dictations, be more expressive chaps.

'Riot' has more flesh on the bone, more gumption in the engine and certainly more appeal.  The rusted bars, the barbed angles and the gobby shout-outs are good enough to inflame the heart of the upstart and make them ever-more resistant to the political elements that cause frustration, disgruntlement and utter misery.  The sharp-shooting gutter snipers are out and mowing down resistance here with a strong surge of animated action inducing music that really does need to be played very loud.  Go forth, defy, deny and damn those bastards who rule and tear apart.  As per - keep warm, throw a brick!

'Your Society' has too many mirror reflections of the previous song and will no doubt appeal to those in the pit who have had a tipple too many and couldn't care less about the depth and content as long as they can stagger and sway and nod along to some easily digestible noise.  Again, the band are playing things a little too blatantly with too many clichés used.  I am not hoofing the output but just putting on the usual Fungalised squeeze to get the best out of a band with far more in the tank.  This is decent but I desire more!  'Bored Teenagers' is a dance-inducing cornball of noisy nutrients designed for nostalgia nuts looking too far back rather than thinking of the now and the future.  Very old school music, played with a magnetic lick and an ideal ditty for when the head is not in the mood to overthink matters or get drawn into a complex cacophony of confounding intricacy.  The creation captures an era seemingly gone - when kids got fed up, under feet and generally 'in the way'.  The blend of the fore and back gobwork, the tuneful riffery and the 'off the street' transparency highlight a unit not ashamed of their roots and the music they want to play - there ain't nowt wrong with that!

The title track leads into the final throes of the album.  'Broken World' gets a serious head down and sets out its stall with a very reliable chug before the vocalists joins the fray and delivers a brow-furrowed verbalisation with no frills and no spills whatsoever.  The song finds its level from the off, adheres to the position and keeps all angles and affects to a minimum.  This is good-to-honest earthy noise-making, not looking to flash one’s bollocks or seduce with unnecessary danglings - have it.  'Little People' is a song in accordance with the views of those who love the young un's and their free and easy ways.  The sprogs of tomorrow begin unblemished and remind us what it is to have an outlook untainted and with very few cares in the world.  Despite the early goonery that invades the first verse this is a fun song that pays homage to the short-arsed gits that wake, pootle, get into mischief and then retire.  Oh the joys of shitting in one's pants and not giving a toss!  An easy tune to devour and leading into the closure, namely 'The Sentence'.  This punctuation mark vies for the pick of the crop and is surely a must to open and start a gig by this quality band.  I love the straight ahead no-nonsense approach here and the solid style of the song.  For me, if this is used in the 'live' pit as a rising intro and a slam dunk finale the set in-between would be highly accentuated.  The offering leaves choice at your door, make mistakes and pay, reap the rewards of having a go, stay strong and proud and, as ever, 'Don't Let The Bastards Grind Ya Down' - what a fine message on which to end this latest CD.

I have invested good time here, have exuded perspiration listening in and reckon the crew have cemented their place as a leak-proof DIY band who have yet to still tap their full-potential, have many avenues to explore and have, on their hands here, a CD that is so easy to pick up, play and enjoy.  I am not convinced by every track, in some respects the band need to push harder and avoid the obvious but, for a bunch of decent folk this is a good effort and they will get an abundance of pleasing feedback which will be well-deserved. The fact is though - Fungal wants more, Fungal always goes for the honest approach (with respect of course) and Fungal still demands.  Think on chaps. 

 

EYE SCREAM MEN - THE RETURN TO GYNN VIDEO

A trio of twiddling deviants and a scenario where psychedelia freely copulates with the ever-spilling jacksie of grubby chewing gum pop punk. Add in a fuck-up of diverse influences and what you get is some throwback/throw forward music done in a style very much the bands own.  The Eye Scream Men fouled a Fungal showcase whilst in their embryonic stages, I was aroused and have them booked once again.  Here is a full-length release laden with horror/sci-fi tones and some sinister wavelengths it is advisable not to get too close to - alas I am a passionate and foolish man, music matters, I jump in and come out...transformed.

The opening credits come in a strange and submerged kind of way before, 'Judy Jetson' is paid homage to as the guys at the helm of the noise pay a flying visit to Orbit City and serenade the animated darling of the space-age skies.   The ticking clock of metronomical rhythm has an unstoppable focus whilst the pluckers and syntho-strainers move with decent pace and create one solid opening gambit.  The repeat chants inter-fuck with salivating warbles and smitten lip spurts come above a groovy underscore that never lets up.  I duly hop in a spaceship, give Astro the Dog a kick up the anus and zip across the galaxies to meet the girl in question.  'Donald And The Gorilla' takes a cartoon pseudo-Poe-esque horror situation that sees a zoo escapee on the loose and a quacking nut job get all of a flutter.  The heavens open, a radio-warning comes, the souped-up sonica that follows is frisky and takes us into a drama that is neatly unfolded.  Whizzed up circus spirals turn with interchanging colours whilst the momentum is maintained with nothing more than lunatic enthusiasm and a desire to deliver ditties that delight and uphold a certain fun-time B-grade beauty.  No fuckin' about here - a quick quack off and nothing more.

'Grapes Of Death' hammers home the wonders of the crushed fruit and the fermented outcome.  As a sherry swiller I can relate to the hazards of gulping toxic trouble and the resultant head-hammered feeling that usually ensues after a glug too many.  The relentless irritation at the damage of the drink never lets up here with stated facts interspersed with enraged title bursts that give the song that extra boot in the alco-swollen bollocks.  I am sure this song will create a reversal of the message relayed and many will be overdoing the Vino and tasting the consequences - and why the Hell not?  Next up and woodpecker drums, a quick question, a driving thumbscrew nag and 'Nasty' debilitates with its incessant push and indulgence into the world of video terror where the tape rapes the realms of decency and turns one into a walking murder zone.  A unhinged relish is exposed here, a journey into hearts blackened by cinematic overdosing and having a desire to do some damage.  I should be appalled, instead I am aroused - fuckin' hell.

'Catwomen Of The Moon' break the stratosphere, enter our worldly arena and are duly paid homage too.  A bewitching takes place, from the stars a sexual encounter shines with effulgent erotica whilst gently disrobing one’s resistance with sinister digits of thermally invasive oddness.  What we encounter is an intergalactic acid trip vision that bounds along and keeps one utterly enthralled, especially if they are a lover of cheap thrills and pseudo-sultry spills.  I examine further, feel the saturated vibes pervade, I skip on beautifully unsettled.  'Santo' is a really spunky villain, a masqued grappler from darn Mexico way.  We bound along here, the head-grip of the song is strong as the tribute paid to the silver masked saviour is laden with upbeat enthusiasm, nerdy adoration and just a fizzing joyousness that really is inescapable.  The motif of the movement is almost singular and repetitive but interest is held by the goonish gumption and obvious insight into minds absorbed by pure wasteful distractions that more of the world should indulge in.  Fine comic book cacophony if you ask me.

'Wolf In Me' is a lycanthropic lilt that sees a man cursed, bewitched and eventually with lipstick aroused.  The claws are sharpened in double-quick time, the metamorphosis from a rational thinking man to a prowling horned-up beast of lust is rapid, the band refuse to cower in the woodlands but come forth and strut their stuff in garish style with no holds barred.   The chorus is the zenith of the vibration and shows a snarling passion for the job at hand - lock up yer daughters folks, and keep yer pussies secure.  'Satan Is An Acid Head' is a fuckin' peach, a veritable damning trip into the darkside where eerie emanations permeate the innocence and long-haired converts wank off in a world of deviant dabblings where no-one is safe.  The rabid impaling madness is all-consuming, with the masses we become infected and join the blood-drinking throng - here the blood is the noise, the blood is the shady going's-on from minds disturbed by too many visual wallowings.  I play over and over, I feel a need to eat a dead rat, to sever a limb, nay to kiss the embossed anus of the dark one himself - help meeeeeeeeee!

Onwards and down the uncertain backstretch.  'Veronica' is a tale of a lady hell-bent on mischief and chemical highs.  She sounds like a right feisty bugger!  The construct of the song is built on a perpetual bounce that continues from first to last, akin to a humping imp juiced up on very strong hormonal injections.  The reflections created are of a stable snippet that courses with good endeavour and has a leak-proof design that this pernickety fucker can't find fault with - oh darn it!  'Psychomania' is a song that deals with a film I saw when I was an horror-saturated nipper and really didn't rate.  I watched again in my teens and remained unimpressed, especially as Beryl Reid didn't add the true horror touch and flash her leathery nipples (cor blimey, what a shocker).  After playing this delightful track that reminds me of the death-seeking bikers I am gonna seek out the said flick and re-indulge my efforts.  This tuneful effort is regularised ESM output with nothing new splashed onto the eavesdropping table although it is an easy ditty to embrace and just join in with.  The problem is the follow-on track takes all the back-end plaudits with 'Teenage Cannibal' a certain speciality that clubs its way to the fore of your attention and has one instantly singing along with and pondering hairy arsed Neanderthals with a penchant for human flesh.  The charming lilt, the 'ooga booga' injections and the general idiocy of dealing with such fantastical subject matter is right up my street and the contributions from each player, the tub-thump sub-layers and the relish of the chorus make this a cult-classic from the vaults of time-wasting titteration where many a fine bugger is found dreaming of things not of this earth - magic!

'The Return To Gynn Video' is nostalgic pop-shit longing, a creation that harks back to the days of video rental when all sorts of dubious cinematic creations sat on buckling shelves awaiting the grubby mitts of some eager pimpled terror seeker.  The array of titles and vision inducing wordage all tempted one to rent and indulge in worlds of torn flesh, tit-glimpsing Heaven and shabby ham acting.  Here, the purveyor of these escapist articles brings further vibrations down below - we are taken to a realm where a sensation-seeker is in his sordid element.  This is another great ditty, one so gorgeously unpretty (paradoxical hey) and one that really does hark back to simpler times - where did we go so wrong?

Interruption - crazed phone call, pseudo-frog belches and sinister utterances - what the fuck!

At the bottom of the pile we finally pick up the closing number known as 'Budweiser Drunk' - you can guess what this one is about.  The band bid us farewell with a straight-ahead trudge into the drunken state of languidness.  The roll over the rhythm is soaked with anticipation of a thirst-quenching blow-out,, the theremin quivers with intrigue and is akin to a pre-binge buzz, the trio of twiddling twats are on it and bidding us farewell in a safe and steady manner - and breathe...!

I think the Eye Scream Men have done a ruddy good job here and this album alone will put them in good stead for a fair while yet and hopefully get them a few gigs here and there.   There is an opportunity for peddlers and promoters to spice up their offerings and throw in a new angle here, they would be darn fools to miss the chance.  I await my next fix and have them booked for the Blackpool Bastards Invasion No 5 - I am in for another treat it seems.

   
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