FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 78
 
 

LABASHEEDA - BLUEPRINTS

The intro taken from Facefuck reads as thus:- 'Female fronted artrock, noise and post-punk band from Amsterdam' - well I am a sucker for the art of the impressionists, I like rock, post-punk dabblings can be a wonderful thing and Amsterdam does well for the cannabis industry - who am I not to be interested here (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).  The request came for me to tinker with the tonality and hopefully evacuate my cerebral bowels and shit forth an appraisal - I duly digested the noise and squatted like a good un' - this is the reeking end result. 

'Fossils' has a bass pulse to open with an escort of swirl and swish tympanics.  A regular route is found, strange wire warpings come along with a sub-psychedelic shadow serenade borne form an utterer on a tangent. A quick urgency, a gentle floating on clouds of barely touched cacophony.  The general essence of the material is very much as stated, an after-the-event sub-spike meandering with many hints at something almost experimental. There is a gossamer feel combined with something more sturdy - this is interesting and provoking tuneage. 'Closure' goes for a slightly darker edge with bleak dystopian guitars opening matters. The lighter flicks fail to add much light as this grim number plays out beneath stark skies of unearthly nakedness. We get moments where things are stripped further, keyed restlessness and vocal free dabblings that see the band fall in realms jazzoid.  This second snippet as a slightly eel-like leaning and can be difficult to grasp. There is too much hesitancy in parts and so the general ease of listening is impeded - this is a shame as it mars an effort with great potential. 

The next brace, 'Sparkles' begins with a serious pulse before matters are slightly lightened and a certain insouciance of affect comes, thus giving the whole scenario a looser and far more natural friendliness.  There is something deliciously warming here as well as being gently breeze-blown and may I add, slightly gothic. Heavier scud-scuzzes are a surprise and bring into play a suggestion of grunginess whilst the song still maintains a good balance of the cleansed and the slightly unwashed.  I like this one very much and move on to the next track uplifted. 'Homeless' comes to the fore with a blend of tiptoeing hesitancy conducted within semi-darkness and a more sanguine sonic striding done with a certain pseudo-operatic grandiosity.  Adjustments to the acoustic receptors are needed so as to fall in line with the graceful advance of many clashing tones and the uncertain thoroughfares taken.  I listen over and over and find many gratifying points and so keep in flow with a CD that gets better and better with each rotation. 

One of the competitors for the overall Fungalised highpoint comes via 'Curiosity' - a more forthright, unhygienic and perhaps obvious piece of noise with a certain pushing essence and a meaner drive to all areas.  The broken glass guitar grindings and the soothing vocal style that oozes a slightly haunted feel contributes to a final satisfaction when I come to the rather abrupt ending. 'Vanity' is the perfect partner to the preceding donation with limp and languid tones of surprised beauty and liquidity that slowly meander on a pathway of tender precision and careful, almost hesitant forethought.  We are dealing here with caresses and considerations dealt with a somewhat soothing passion that hints at something scarred and fractured.  A quite lovely piece that contrasts perfectly with its predecessor. 

Dustbin scrapings and post-punk angularity follow with an awkward shapeshifter crawling forth under the guise of 'Minus, Minus'.  Eventually a flow is found, it is oh so brief as further clumsy staggering takes hold and we are left hanging on for dear sonic life in the hope of coming up with a final verdict close to the truth.  Again what we have is a well-built number that is away from the orthodox routine and therefore one that has a certain longevity that may grow in appeal. A strange beast to be sure. 

The closing quartet begins with the nervous reluctance of 'Volatile'.  Instruments are barely touched before semi-taut wires are stroked with a reclined waltz unfolding before our blessed ears. Those open throes are gloomy yet uplifting and come from moorland scapes of bleakest winter where the wind blows and monochrome images dictate.  This is a fascinating piece of orchestral simplicity that has majesty and emotion - a splendid inclusion. 'Procedure' is a blend of the almost shackled and automated with a free and ghostly spirit.  This copulation of seemingly opposing forces is brought together in a marriage of cohesion by a pseudo-sub-operatic and pondering vocal style that is quite apt for the musical donations offered.  For me, this is winter's day music that can be used to enhance all ambiences. 'Tigre Royal' has a sensual needful commencement before a light pulse, a determined thrust and a greater abandonment of approach with the oral offerings hitting the highest zenith thus far and really appealing to my less studded and spiked attentions.  There is a great deep underlying strength to the tune with the bass being a commanding force that heaps on a wealth of robust scaffolding and keeps the overall construction... upright. The final number on this CD is entitled 'What Remains Is Love', an acoustically driven hybrid whose plugged in aspects are minimal.  The languid feel of the overspill and the tepid cascade of all tones makes for a soporific closure that maintains the strain sought and the unflustered modus operandi of the players. As a lover of things short, raw, quick and under-polished, I shouldn't really like stuff like this, but I am never shackled by generic rules and in-scene restrictions - this is a pleasurable listen. 

Labasheeda have come, tickled my senses, and done so in the most polite, passionate and subdued manner possible. I would like to see where they go from here and hope they don't rest on their laurels.  A short sharp shocker wouldn't go amiss and will keep folk guessing, for now though, what a sweet surprise indeed. 

   

THE PUNCTURISTS - EVERYBODY'S ON DRUGS/SPECTRE

A two song offering from a female-fronted band that hail from the rolling climes of Yorkshire.  The band label themselves as a 'garage' unit although the songs lack a little dustbin clatter and hollowed out rawness and in fact, progress over a running time that is quite longer than much of the 60's spillage I douse my ears with.  As per, my good to honest time was taken, I rolled the flavours over my palette during several musical sojourns and was eventually capable of dishing forth the following dissection.

'Everybody's On Drugs' is a long drawn out affair that tinkers, tampers and tonally trundles with a mid-paced affect that has a somewhat wraparound effect many will be ensnared by.  The winning aspects are the snagging hook, the crystal clear vocal application and the cheap and slightly scurfy acoustic qualities that give the song a really likeable earthy feel.  The running time though is severely overdone and a shaving off of a full minute would only help in giving the song a greater impact and a more 'replay' magnetism.  I am charmed and frustrated in one sonic sweep and if the band were to release an album of such lengthy numbers I would be the first to consider it a 'faux pas'.  A good song diluted methinks, ah the niggles of reviewing and being honest. 

The flip side is 'Spectre On My Back', a slightly more mystic movement with a gentle gothic under-suggestion and a retainment of the griminess of sound.  Here matters are called to a halt (albeit abruptly) at the 3 minute 28 second mark and for me, the impression made is far greater.  Again the flow is middling, the application sub-garage and the individual components well-blended and easily picked out.  If I was offering a harsh critique I would suggest that a little more impetus would help and an increase in the grubby factor would accentuate the overall output but, this is decent fodder that I am sure will be far more rewarding during an 'in the flesh' encounter. 

A brace done, digested and dealt with.  I am convinced in part, eager to encourage in others, this reviewing lark is a real test.  I have this band booked, I am keen to view the vibrations, I reckon the sonic spillage will be better than they are having me believe here – watch this space, I may do a ‘live’ review. 

   

AMBULANZ - II

Hailing from Leipzig this lot produce a desirable shabby rabble of riotous rhythm whilst capturing many essences of yore and dragging them, kicking and screaming, into the morrow.  Many elements I have heard a million times before but this should not be an excuse to undergo any diluting process of the appreciation.  So, into the rush I plunge, hopefully to be breath-blasted, thrown all ways and kept on my toes.  Here is another honest strip-down of sonica by the ever-willing Fungal git. 

Track one and 'Slipping' is a fine blend of the simply rhythmic, loose wristed and somewhat careless. Despite the latter element the crew keep things in line and the result is a snagging snippet of spicy noise that sets out the stall and lets you know what to expect from this slightly kooky and off kilter unit.  I listen closely, jack up the speakers and spasmodically jerk to the jangle-jive that leads me into the dangerous zones of being addlepated.  There are NY scene suggestions in the mix too - this is decent fare for raddled rhythm lovers.   

The second sonic surge to hit the tympanic membranes is entitled 'Hours', a potholed scamper with all players dashing in unison like a pack of rats round an unbleached u-bend.  There is a stench of something natural, a feeling of youthful urgency and a scuzzy crud cacophony that appeals to the dirty dog sensors.  Something slightly space-aged is the end result, a creation borne from the hands of creators with many influences methinks, it is all rather intriguing and liable to get one 'rushing' in many ways. 

A hullaballoo of liberation hollering follows with 'Labyrinths' being a fresh and kicking shitshow of solid energy and demon banishing discordance.  The opening recklessness gives way to a more strait-jacketed seizure of semi-controlled spasmodica with an underground tinkle creating something slightly disturbed.  The whole unorthodox approach and loose abandon is what ups the appeal factor of this feisty fuck-up. 

'Run, Run, Run' is a beautiful batter-clatter bout of rhythmic urgency that is delightfully garnished with keyed dressing thus bringing out the full flavour of the pandemonium that leaves one with senses reeling.  The sci-fi age is shot through, the modern day ravaged, tones of what was are hinted at in a number of many essences and a slapdash but highly accurate condition.  This is my fave track so far, from the crooked guitar tangents, the untamed gobbage and the jerk-breeze fidget movement - the life is tangible, the animation high, the end result, magnetic!

The next two episodes of tonal nipple-twists begins with the haunted oddity known as 'Missing C@t' - a really jazz and jizz ad-hoc patchwork piss-up of sound that is quite difficult to read.  The sub-verse incidents are cavernous, mentally crippled and only just capable of holding themselves upright.  A combo of the jarring and the smooth makes for something challenging, I fall out of the end orifice a trifle worse for wear and undecided.  Something intriguing has this way passed.  The chasing chunk of tuneage is 'Race Horse' - a number that opens with a sub-Spectrumised tickle, an easy 'on the ears drift' and a verse that has a 'dazed out' feel whilst retaining an awareness of the tunery that is being committed to the recording substrate.  I like the loose and relaxed ease with which the tremblings fall against the lug-skins and the way the charm of the song slowly develops over each and every listen - nice. 

With the digital dabblings of this 6 tracker I received an extra track known as 'O7' - an instrumental unwind that flows with a smoke-bombed lackadaisical idleness that is no bad thing at all - I shall leave this one for you to snooze with - my work here is done. 

I like what is on offer here, it mixes many flavours that I am always enchanted by as well as a feeling of something under-processed, lo-fi and approachable.  I am no fool though, the way Ambulanz deliver is liable to produce some great successes and some real disappointments - that state of play is always a pleasure to observe and to assess. 

   

NATHAN AND THE OUTPATIENTS - SELF-TITLED

Nathan Seaton has what can be loosely described as a 'musical kink'. He just can't stop twanging and tweaking and has an insatiable desire to get out there and play a gig.  This mental defect is dealt with via many exhibitionist formats so that the suffering gent can duly get his musical fix. Here he shoots up under a not-so-familiar guise and does so in the expected tuneful and honest way.  The band can take on different forms, I have seen them only once and I was tickled pink by the output - there is a certain honesty going-on with no bullshit or fuss and I like that.  Here goes the next review folks - please hang in there.

We commence with 'Bay Checker' - a smooth and honest number with recognisable tones the order of the day. The working man comes under scrutiny via an orthodox chorus and verse routine that is mid-paced, melodic and waterproof.  The chorus is a joyous sing-along release with well-aired and relieving tones the winning facets. A cool but worthy number to make the opening play, a final indulgence shows players loving what they do - smashing.  'Flesh From The Bones' is a meaner song with a more focused and gritty edge. String statements, flicks of the wire-manipulating wrist and a steady stick beat all provide the earthy foundations on which the intense vocalist can do his job.  At times things are stripped to the waist with the supportive bass exposed, other moments are fully clad and therefore satisfying the listener's noise needs - this is not a bad do at all.  'You're Not PC' moves with a prowess and defiance. The ones who want to keep you shackled, under the thumb and in a position of feeling 'lesser' are the fuckers creating as many problems as the opposite bunch who are straining to be outrageous and just being cunts. Too many know best when in truth ego is ruling and self-importance is out of control. This is a good kick-back done with an applaudable control.  This one completes a stable and expected opening trio - on we go to the next 3.

'Secrets' is a song that waltzes along with a good motif but is one that is not for me. The content is disagreeable - gimme honesty and faithfulness any day of the week. I am out of sync here but the tune is decent indeed.  'Goodbye Miss World' is a cracking number, it begins with a certain tranquil tonality before slowly moving along with an assured strength and impressing darkness. The opening verse relates a detail regarding a creature of the night, a creeping femme fatale that seems to devour all in her path.  The chorus is a release from the tension but only ever so slightly. The deep chuggery, the general weight, the under-complicated effect all combine to make this a tonal bone carrying much meat.

'For The People' is a thoughtful song, one for the ones who have sacrificed themselves for their cause and those willing to fight their corner. The movement is a little too treacly and travels with a perspired brow but if the mood is right and the frame of mind ready for certain reminiscences then this one will do the trick.  It is not a song to pogo to, not one to raise the hackles and get one pinging, just a steady anthem for the pondering.

'So Rock N Roll' has good spunk running through its shaft of sound whilst dealing with the dirty circuit many DIY doofers get dragged into. There is a relish in the rhythm and the throat work thrives whilst stating a situation that is not one for the faint hearted.  The premise of the orchestration is somewhat simple but the band have an insight, a nouse and experience and so post something that is relatable and easily enjoyed.  At occasional points it seems the players may suffer from an attack of premature ejaculation; thank goodness they are old enough to know better.  

Into the last 4, I am now in-line with all tunes and have no need to dilly and dally.  A pronouncement, a shifty chug and a sun-whispered opening verse.  'Eye Of The Storm' has mystery, a surreptitious sub-text and drifts along into a land where promise is had but hate rises.  The pertinence of this piece is blatant, the slow chug gives one time to consider - we are in a crooked world where tolerance and empathy are lacking. As a musical construct I find this one middling, as regards the content I recommend you take heed.

'Song For My Father' has a very 80's feel with tones from yore making for a quite rehearsed piece. The strings gently saw away, the drums skip with stable tidiness, the gob is left to enhance and bring depth.  A song with emotion running deep, a genuinely open and needful number with exactness taking precedence. I don't mind this one at all although I do think there is room to get more out of a number with huge potential.  The penultimate poke is labelled 'Woke World', a tickling that has a good bounce, highlights the delicate state of the world with many folk looking to be offended and many others walking on eggshells. In the midst we have hidden dictators sat in their ivory towers of self-righteous idiocy who decide what is right and wrong and duly make the rules. It is a fuckin' nuthouse and this song does well to avoid any unbridled rage and 'fuck you' spite. It is a solid offering that hits the mark and followed up by a song that hopefully hits the awaiting basin and gets flushed round the u-bend of oblivion. In truth 'I Need A Shit' is a catchy bout of idiocy with a repeat theme that reeks of a pending bowel movement liable to tear the owner of the turdage, a new ring.  The final descriptive spillage is enough to put one off one's chocolate nutty bar - unless of course one has a strong constitution.

So, nothing outstanding, nothing too shabby, just good to honest regular fare from good to honest chaps who like to make a tune or two.  I would happily book this lot after seeing them 'live' and indulging in an eavesdrop here - we gotta help the doofers tha' knows.

   

LEGLESS TRIALS - HUFFIN

2 more songs to keep the Fungal noggin well used and well abused.  The band offer up these tonal tangents with great fecundity, I am happy to indulge now and again and vomit up my humble take on matters slightly unhinged.

'Huffin' takes a look at the joys of the solvent and the bag, the time when the mind could go to the land of the 'Wah Wah' monster and appreciate something beyond this run-of-the-mill routine.  The music is akin to a head jarred by fumes, very apposite for the sniffing situation under the spotlight I must say. The song has a thirst and a good vitality, borne perhaps from the dangers of the vapours.  I like the general risk here and the post-punk fascinations that are thrown into the mix with solid abandon - very tasty.

'Sunny' chops, clangs, wanks and weaves with a good degree of offensive dis-tonality. The matter-of-fact vocal style clashes and compliments with the rear riot that ascends, descends, trembles sideways and then vulgarly intrudes from an unexpected tangent.  There is a harsh starkness thrown together with a disrupting rhythm that makes for something sonically appealing and charmingly aggravating - and why not indeed?

Like a pig drawn to a slutch-fest, akin to a rectal wasp magnetised towards the rasping rear of a flatulating cockerel, I am guilty of being drawn into a noise not for those with flimsy tickers or senses of orthodox decency. I am liking this two tracker and suggesting others should partake - I await your complaints with resigned expectations - you silly sods.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
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