FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 1
 
 

THE RED EYES - MAN AND BOY

If you want cultural punk noise, a sonic strain that has thought behind it and is delivered with an erudite expertise that really resonates deep within the appreciative soul then I suggest you look no further than the band we have on show here, namely The Red Eyes.  Over the years I have reviewed 5 releases by this reliable unit, have had them grace a Fungal stage on 2 occasions and caught up with them last year to see them maintain their quality standard.  Here we have the latest offering from these Glaswegian twangers and I go in anticipating a fine exhibition but will make sure I remain on the ball if I find anything untoward - you know the script!

The first donation to cascade my way is the classical ticker touch of 'Man And Boy', a gentle but emotively strong song that deals with abandonment, loneliness and a feeling of having to fight the good fight all on one’s own.  The rise is slow, the tension builds with care before the subdued and somewhat oppressed tone is overcome by a sudden relieving wash of energy, a vigour that has been pre-planned but is saturated with natural feeling and a bitterised sweetness one can't help be infected by.  The blend of strings, skins and throat expulsions is precision incarnate and the first step taken is spot on and totally balanced.  Up the ante and general pace is the frisky heel-nipper slapped down as 'Bullets'.  A machine-gun roll of drums, a fresh release of wire weaving and then the embracing vocal relish that wins the day time after ruddy time.  The energy and thirst to convince are what make this second instalment most noteworthy but the main winning feature is the attention to detail and the obvious desire to compose tunes that are far from chuck away commodities and are creations that have a careful balance of that which is uncomplicated and that which is tenderly treated with an underlay of depth.  The Red Eyes do it well and this second slice of sound keeps me interested to the hilt.  'It's Over (Before It Even Began)' follows and is more cultured and has a pace that both comforts and assists in the sing-a-long provocation of the listening victim. Unrushed, unflustered, moving with a grace of sanguine measure and showcasing that great songs can be created within this punk rock mire without using uncontrolled fire, an overspill of expletives and a 'fuck it all and see' approach.  The muscularity comes via the bands self-respect and determination not to get dragged down a musical path that would be far too easily to follow. For me the card trick is complete, the band have delivered what was promised - we should be ruddy grateful.

'Always The Bad Guy' begins with Clashed up enthusiasm before casually moving forth with a certain swagger and suited and booted authority that is impossible to knock.  The gist of the juice proffered regards duff advice and infecting doubters and down shouters who pervade every nook and cranny in this life and are quick to put one down.  The feeling is tangible, the finger-pointing fucks visible but through it all one must go with the gut and strive to be who you are and the best you can be.  Listen good to this, it is well delivered on many levels, is executed with crisp clarity and is as honest as the day is long - solid - the Blondified closure is cute.  A Subsy moment takes us into Track 5, and it is time to 'Face The Truth'.  A stabilised, firm-gripped tune on a medium simmer that only slightly boils up with a tepid chorus request that is simple to swallow. The truth is the only way, never shy away from it and use it as your only form of weapon folks.  This is the safest track yet and the one that leaves the least reverberation in my tattered eavesdropping drum.  

4 dashed dissections next and 'You Fade Away' is cultured excellence with a misted string arrangement floating lightly around the oral offerings that gradually rise above, flex muscle and walk with dominance through the theatrical soundscape that is quite absorbing.  The slow and self-assured ascension is subtly magnificent and this is one that will grow and grow as time passes and plays are had.  'Regrets' is a perfect follow on with a delightful draught blowing away any lingering clouds and clearing out the noggin with a tune many of us can relate to - oh we wasters, would we do it any differently?  Of course not!  The melody ridden construction here is once again crafted with educated hands and the flurry of agreeable animation is mightily masticated by aural jaws that are really being spoilt for choice.  The choicest noise continues with the stealthy certainty of 'Nowhere Boy', an outside creep that moves with pulsed steps that get from A to B with a resisting insistence.  Cerebral trouble comes, self-questioning arises, a certain simmer to the sonic thermality manifests itself and all the while there is no escape from a subtle thumbscrew of sound that applies pressure in the most indirect way - crafty hey!  The last of the flicked four is the sub-paranoid, completely sussed, frequently fussed 'The Man Who Thinks He's God'.  A good travelling number done with expected efficiency and this time with an expansive running time that threatens to induce a state of ennui but which passes with ease and surely shows what a listening joy we have under the spotlight here.  Very polished and for your extra pleasure you get a dose of Joy Division'ed repetition that adds a spice to the whole shenanigans.    Tis all grand work.

Into the home stretch, 'Friday Girl' and another soft start plucked song with gossamer fragility comes before pounding in with a yearning not to be denied. The first chunk of sound relies on strict verse/chorus switches before we meet with a stunning upshift of almost celebratory sound that elevates the CD to a fine zenith.  This moment is over too briefly and for some reason I find myself stepping away with frustration at my heels. I was tempted and teased,  I feel only 70% pleased - bah.  'Remember My Name' reflects solitude and introspection and quivers the inner membranes of emotion.  The gear shift that comes is reliable and without stressed perspiration and this latter end lilt is easy as you go sir, simple and effective, a comfortable massage striving to remain registered.  

The last two and 'Lie, Deflect And Spin' is a whipping pearler that has a pizzazz and vitality that froths up with refusing sincerity towards the stupid, stupid media machine which throws heads in many misdirected ways.  The ingredients of frustration and passion counterpunch against each other and are two catalysts for the upswinging chorus that bowls away any reservation one my ridiculously have.  If, for any reason, you are flagging whilst listening to the CD you will soon be roused and ready to rock with this cracking inclusion.  We close on a tough note, a real heart tugger that deals with the destruction and loss brought about by idiot power-games that go under the banner of 'war'.  The keyed up commencement is laden with lachrymal loss, the vocal purity is exact and loaded with heavy grief and questioning sensitivity.  The orchestrated strings add a frosted beauty and further enhance a final artistic swish of the Red Eyes brush that completes one impressive sonic portrait. This last song takes some noise-craft and I sign off totally and utterly convinced.  The last whisperings from the ghostly children reinforces the horror.

I have followed this lot for many a year now and the classy edge and cultured promise are blooming with fine shades and sincerity and I can only tip my hat to a band producing some mighty fine work.  I hope many are convinced by my textual ramblings and then will go out, buy the CD and be convinced by the music - it would be most worthwhile.

   

APOCALYPSE BABYS - SHOTGUN DIPLOMACY

The AB Squad are still here folks, they are hanging in by the skin of their teeth and trying, as best as they can, to gain some light in some of those cosy sub-circles that appear to have closed rank.  Again if your face doesn't fit it is still tough shit and if you don't play ball you can expect fuck all.  I know this first hand but shout out loud to all those trying to keep it pure that it is no reason to give in.  The Babys have put in their work, have some fine noise to their credit and I hope they dig in and persevere.  Here is another album for my Fungalised self to chomp on, and despite the need for some good promo-praise I can only upchuck my usual honesty as per.  In for a penny, in for a pounding, all is fair in love and proper punk!

Act 1, scene 1 - the CD begins with some bullshit waffle against a backdrop of the star wanked banner that promises much but delivers only doom.  To blow away the cobwebs of disillusionment and hopelessness there is an upchuckof a  good rock and roll Pistol-esque guitar run-through with familiar gob work soon joining the Anti-Yank attack.  The verses and chorus roll (with added liquid ease) whilst a power influence remains throughout before the band wander off track and add a few alternative textures to the discordant development.  It is a confident opening burst from a well versed band and if you add the spice of volume the resultant glory is increased.  To maintain the political pertinence and sharp-tongued slipstream the band offer 'Bonehead'.  The song comes after a This Is England snippet before going straight for the jugular of the skinhead goon who claims to fight for his nation's pride and all that is supposedly good in this green and septic land.  The antagonising, piss-taking acid-edge is marvellously delivered and really nails home a point against those knuckle-dragging dicks that bring down the name of a healthy scene that has many worthwhile points.  Being a non-believer in any flag and against all forms of moronic prejudice I can rock along without any problems at all.  The fact is that this is a sweet tinkle with an appealing snippet of playground name-calling that sinks to the childish level needed to make these inbreeds understand that what they represent is utter nonsense.  A grand ditty indeed.

'Trust Me, I'm A Doctor' deals with the cosmetic-based quacks who prey on our stupid vanities and who promise to roll back the years and make us younger and more acceptable to the thick prick society of judgement.  The Frankensteinian Docs of Deviancy fill your paps with pricey pulp and bloat your face with profit-making crud.  You too can look like a plastic Barbie doll or a cocked up Ken all for an extortionate fee to line the pockets of the ethically devoid.  The song doesn't fuck about, it gets its chest cleared and nails home what it wants to say with a friction-frazzle of sound that comes, goes, injects the arse and does no harm.  'Little Boys Playing Big Men's Games' is a crunching song, creased up with a heavy spite that jibes and jerks with riffing robustness that overspills into harsher realms and shows that this band still have clout and...a reason to get worked up.  A bold throbber this, one that bites into the flesh darn hard and shakes its jaw until meat of resistance is ripped away - be warned.

'Religion Is A Dangerous Thing' vies to be my favourite song of the pack, due to its pertinent point that deals with brain-bending lunacy committed by fanatics who are conned and, ultimately doomed.  The angle of the song perhaps needs a full on fuck roar but the AB team play it their way and used gentle tonality and rhythmic persuasion that is so neatly done, and so opposing to the theme that it is nothing less than a punk masterstroke.  Yeah I love this one - good work dudes.  'This Is War' is what it says on the tin and flies along at breakneck speed with crude and common focus that relives pent up emotion against the idiot occurrence the history of mankind has been scarred by.  It mows down all in its path with disregard for discordant decency - I am split down the middle on this - the band do it well but it is rather a routine punk affair.  'Assassin' follows up with the same kind of punch, sharp, well dug in and with pace - it gets on with matters and leaves me with a verdict similar to the previous.  No moulds are broken, the crew keep it tight and cutting and for those who like their noise obvious this latter double-fisted combo will suit.

'Mr Cab Driver' is a cool cucumber shoved up the attentive jacksie but lacks variation in the penetrating tonality and so eventually irritates my receptive ring instead of achieving a confident duffel bag tremble.  It is nicely inserted and has a general fluidity but the repeat thrust wears thin and doesn't float my bottom boat and leaves me...slightly frustrated.  'Motorhead' comes in with a big stage welcome, the band take over from the raspy gob and pay homage to band I fail to be aroused by and who, in all honesty bore me rigid.  I have never liked Motorhead, I thought Lemmy was a coarse shag-a-round wanker and even my bro, who is a long term metal fan, says they are not one of his faves.  Hey ho, it takes all sorts.  This song has no frills, no distractions, no outrageous delights - it races along, does what it sets out to do and gets the fuck out of there - I am not overly convinced.

2 mid-stream duffers are soon overcome by the funky fruitiness of 'Bored Housewife', a song that sees the band get back to the textured and tantalising tonality that invigorates the soul.  The charm is accentuated by the 'fly on the wall' glimpse into sapping suburbia and the melting pop vibes that drip with mouth-watering trills that capture the attention and are a catalyst for some free-wheeling jiggery.  The thrust to the finale may travel on for a little too long but hey, what the hell - just jump up and have it.  

Two drinking bursts next - 'The Apocalypse Babys Drinking Club' is a weakened wine to sip at and not over indulge in.  It starts well but the latter aftertaste is just a bit off the spectrum of sweet. The place of Boozedom is  where respite from life and where much jollity can be had and talking of 'jollity', this song is just that and one not to be taken too seriously - a piss-pot enthuser that perhaps lingers too long and causes a slight hangover.  The pub song, 'Let's Get Pissed Again' paradoxically says, in a sobered way, that it is time to sup up and visit the land of Alco-haze.   The route taken is via a Chubby Checker twist and allows one to hit the dance floor and let it all hang out (ooh err) and gyrate those arthritic hips to dust.  I likes it I do!

The last 2 songs are idiocy - 'I Love My Horse (but the judge said I should not)' is a tale of bestial shenanigans where a spot of equine erotica is indulged in and the county law makers say 'neigh' to the man/beast coupling. Having seem some rather attractive gallopers over the years and been a subscriber to 'Pony Dong Monthly' I can relate to this open and honest song and appreciate the bravery it takes to confess to having desires what many consider diseased. The song is simple, countrified and for the cracked - everyone must be catered for.  We finish with the toss off known as 'Hello'.  Coffee-table fuck funk and a telephone connection gone twat!  For escort is a series of answer-machine messages from a band member obviously operating in the twilight zone.  For some people there is no hope of progression or sticking to timetables - here we have one such lost soul.  This finale is a titter snip, nothing more, nothing less - make of it what you will.

I am done, the AB crew aren't.  They are pootling along in the face of new adversity and are trying to open many closed doors this shifting scene has now created.  The band are reliable and do what they do without conning nobs on - give them a spin people, give them a gig - it is all about helping each other along - honestly, purely and without looking what is in it for me.

   

THE KILLING VOLTS - WHY SHOULD I SAY YES

A 4 track EP from a Swedish crew who sprouted from the loins of tonal nowhere and came into existence at some time during 2013.  I am outside my comfort zone, in fact I don't know why I say that because I don't know what the fuck my comfort zone is and if one does exist I refuse to stop inside it - bah.  The band, according to some promotional bumph I was sent over the forever wobbling webwaves 'aim to keep live their rock 'n' roll and punk backgrounds with the main influence of soul/blues/rock voice such as Aretha Franklin, Alison Mosshart, Beth Ditto or Skin.'  Intriguing hey, and all good for the nosey gander who likes to peck at many bags of noisy fodder.  I honk away whilst the tables turn and the music filters forth, here is a review.

'Never Insecure' grinds its framework with suggestions of bigger riffery to come.  The suggestions bear fruit and the intro increases in power before cooling down and allowing the first verse to be orally dictated by rock chick vocal persuasions.  The arrangement is stripped down, the musical maestro's are kept on a leash until the sub-chorus opens new acoustic vistas in which all participants can fly.  The effect works and the more liberated and abandoned moments are emboldened due to the overall clashing and colliding structure.  The clarity levels remain high, the 80's Euro pseudo trashiness is always in the shadows and when the band fuck with passion they do it mighty well.

'Ponyhorn' gyrates with sexual hypnotica and uses the same formula as on the previous track.  Cool moments that are half naked moving into seizured thrusts of orgasmic release that see the emotional floodgates open and a general desire to make melodic nookie.  The construct fizzes in part, has a certain pizzazz laden urgency and foams over in a decent gratifying way to get a pulsing response.  The perspiration generated is honey sweet and dew drop clear and if one were to find gripes from this writhing movement one would have to be highly pedantic or...musically frigid.

'I Got A Somethin' is a serious ditty, has a refrigerated under-threat of cool assassin acuteness that may be masked behind a gentle mist of false tranquillity but which is always there, just visible, just holding promise of things to come.  I wait for an assault,  a barrage of big riffs and untamed din making but it never truly arrives and there is a vague flat-line held throughout this one that forces me to come out an uninterested aural spectator.  A shame, I expected more and the last flourish fails to salvage a lost chance.

'Tainted Love' is a cover of the song served out by Gloria Jones and, more obviously, Soft Cell. Here the upbeat vibes are initially dipped in treacle before being whipped up with rock prongs and poked with chorded weaponry.  The front girl rises to the tonsil-testing occasion and warbles with great authority whilst her fellow strummers and strikers offer good muscular assistance and keep this a quite successful song.  The foundations are there, all the band need do is applying their own streak of sound and make sure they avoid an insult to a classic - I think they manage to overcome both challenges.

A jaunt into another circle and for this spiked fucker 4 tracks is enough.  This is a tidy band of a specific sonic circle and those within the parameters of this area will no doubt get their kicks - good on em'.

   

HEADSTICKS - LIES, LIES, LIES

As many who know me I tipped Headsticks for bigger and (what many deem to be) better things (silly cunts) quite a while back now after seeing them strut their stuff at a Socialist All Dayer in Bolton.  Since that day they have gladly played a few Fungal shows and always done the business.  They are now moving on to the aforementioned platforms and getting due credit where credit is wholly deserved.  From my sunken position in the lovely pit of 'under the radar' awkwardness I get a more objective view of things and maintain my honesty with good intent and so go about this 4 tracker unswayed and without the arse kissed (which is just as well as I use it to cultivate many rare fungal species which thrive on good nutritious filth).  Here are my thoughts!

The initial dribbling from the prosperous rhythmic rear of this appealing crew is entitled 'Big Game Hunter' which is a pointed stick of pertinence poked in the idiotic eye of those crack-fuck cretins who think blowing the brains out of some endangered animal is a real, big shot achievement. I appreciate the target of the tirade as I am a lover of all things natural but must point out that the huff and puff made over showcase creatures is unfair when little is said about the mass murder of many everyday lives that are not so sexy - kill a whale be hung, drawn and quartered, spill concrete over a brownfield site where wildflowers strive and bugs scurry and no one gives a toss.  Last year I wrote a letter of complaint to my local councillor who gave the nod to have the sides of a cycle path trimmed a metre each side thus destroying life-giving vegetation and wiping out many insect homes - it made no difference, and a post on-line got very few likes - how warped!  Anyway I digress, punk passion does that but back to the track I must go!  This is a neat tune with a sound message, the bass is cooled as are the crisp guitar flicks that provide a nice escort to the scattered skin attention that jumps this way and that but somehow maintains a gratifying uniformity.  The gob duties are shared between the usual rankled git and another whom I first came across back in 1980 and who wound me up no end with his seething soul.  The double delivery is sharp and complimentary and both showcase a sincere belief in their warblings to magnetise anyone with a conscience.  The track is ideally produced and once again shows that the band are masters of the art.  Now get off your arse and do something for our natural neighbours who share this polluted orb.

Next and a soundbite that mentions the Labour filth Tony Blair, one of those peeps many who voted for but soon seem to forget about.  The song, 'Dying For A Lie' is worked on an excitable hepped up trampoline of bouncing noise that tumble runs without pausing for breath. Something Westernised creeps through the speakers as I listen to this outburst, visions of an anarchic cowboy running across a desert of indifference and hoping to whip up a sandstorm of positive thought! The enthusiasm and gusto hoofed out is incessant, the push for a reaction raging and this is a different tack taken by a band reaching further out.  Again sweetly composed, containing enough irritation but not a classic for me and not one that really appeals.  Too much of a one trick pony that needs a rocket of variation up its jacksie – I must be honest tha’ knows.

'Soaps And Costume Dramas' begins with poignant tones, weaves a tale about a waiting game that ends in a wasted life and time lost on fucked up fantasies.  The tonal balance and the thematics of the kitchen-sink sonic scenario are perfectly played out and the equilibrium of all facets is observed and keenly applauded.  The band are in their comfort zone here but they do it so well I would be a cruel cur to take a bite at their productive asses.  I am really taken by this one, it aches for a monochrome video that would hopefully push the cause further and perhaps register in more needy noggins.  Musically, orally and as a work of art this one does the business and is the best of the lot.

Last, and most definitely not least, a classic cut re-hashed.  This one starts with the insane ravings of the US President Donald Trump.  What a guy, what a country, what a fuckin' farce! The breeze blown warning signals come, the guitars are lightly touched, the voice drips with quality soaked passion and the song moves with majesty, good intent and much provocation.  The harmonica touches, the general underskip and the thirst of the chorus all combine to make this a sincere stunner that will embrace souls from across the scarred and divided sonic spectrum.  Not a lot more to add really, it is a ruddy good song and with its latest embellishments it will appeal to the masses even more (I do prefer the unwashed version though).

Headsticks are a choice unit, a band I have been proud to expose and to dabble with (oh how sexy).  The pastures they now move onto are away from the dirty dell of discordance in which I dwell but they will no doubt pop back now and again to do their bit and keep their heads out of the clouds (nudge, nudge).  I am a fan, they are good chaps and the success that comes is truly worthy.  If you haven't checked them out already then have a severe Fungalised kick up your arse and get moving - you will not be disappointed.

   

ANIMAL TRAIN - NOVO

Fuck man, how many Animal Train CD's have I reviewed so far?  A quick check shows that it is 8 to date and even I am surprised by that!  Here we have 3 tracks by the band from Austin, Texas who are keeping it DIY and, it seems, progressing at their own pace.  There is a lot to be said for just hanging in and doing your thing, it is no easy task in these throwaway times where many underdogs are cast underfoot and generally ignored. Anyway, my take on matters is as thus:-

'Immortal World' is a steaming push of restless discontent that runs on buzzing rails of rising passion.  The heat generated warps the tracks and one wonders if the crew will hold the sonic chugger steady or encounter a head on crash of confusing chaos.  The direction taken is without any harsh tuned turnings, the major enhancements are background accompaniments to the hoarse fury generated by the banshee at the fore.  The coals are stoked with pokers of sincerity, the blaze generated doesn't scorch but slowly sears and repeat journeys are needed to realise the full weight of the wanderings. A heavy duty song in some respects, ornamented with some good guitar work, the band are slowly moving in waters new methinks.

'Moral Decay' rumbles from the depths of the gut before trampling fast over many envisioned wastelands.  These deserts, that are primarily mental, are bringing the world to its knees as peoples sense of decency gets thrown out of the already cracked window. To resist the incessant overall one needs to cling on mighty hard and take solace in songs of encouragement – just like this one I reckon (nudge, nudge).  The smoked and frazzled throat overspills, the keen edge of the wires, the epileptic drums and the final flourish of defiance forces my voting hand – it is a X in the box of success.

We close with 'Dead Camp', a smothered and controlled escapade that takes a little time to fully smell the essence of.  I play and ponder several times and unveil considerations that indicate a band on a progressive path.  The unity of the noise is compact, the pace unhurried and the back hollers slightly cooled and of an accent that thoughtfully compliments - a very nice inclusion.  A few doorways are opened here and I wonder if the band will be brave enough to enter.

3 tracks to keep the river of rhythm moving and for me the band are at just the right stage to release an album that is used as a vehicle to test new ground.  A skanky track, a hardcore burst, the usual regular DIY-ism and a few experimental upchucks should all be tackled methinks.  I have followed Animal Train for some time now - I have no serious concerns as yet.  Now grab the bull by the bollocks peeps and shake it up big time!

   

CRIMINAL X - ERNIE ELSE IS A POLICE INMFORMANT

A Chesterfield based punk band here with no airs and graces just 4 noisy disgraces who have beaten around the block, plucked and fucked with gusto and are still at it...regardless.  Some may call it a form of madness, some may say it is a passion in the blood and there are even those that say (on the grapevine) that the fuckers need locking away at her majesties displeasure.  And so here I am with many tracks to textually molest and hopefully come out with something akin to the truth, the arthritic digits are still crossed.

We get started with a song known as 'Criminal Sex', a tasteless roll out that begins with a '5 Minute' tick threat before guitars peel and the mid-paced drive comes.  A tale of the disturbed, the sinister element in your social safety knickers, the fingers in your fanny pie of freedom - or something like that!  The abrasive gruffness and the direct drill of the ditty has the most basic spiked essences ideal for the aging punk noodle and the angry potent forthrightness has an appeal that needs little up-close and personal scrutiny.  This opening belt has no head-popping moments of originality and is far from the cream the cacophonic cat got and, after years of reviewing noise and having my head immersed in the genre, I couldn't care fuckin' less.  It does what it does, sometimes the frills are not needed.  '1984' cements the style of the CD, thumps and skids before ploughing forth with old school direction and uncomplicated lyrics then bangs the output right in yer mush.  The drum beat is incessant and drives the guts of the band into a full on fizz-bang of fired up tightness that is nothing short of frenzied fury - the crew are old enough to know better, thank fuck they don't!

'Feedback Problem' appropriately twinges in before sourcing a sonic pool of tonality that has few ripples and an average amount of cruddy cacophony.  This is the tamest song thus far and comes and goes with very little impact.  The acidic edge and general snap of the wanking wires is just not there and this is a definite motion meander that comes out neither stinking of shit or indeed roses - I class it as middling sir, middling.  'Drug Squad' bands another nail into the previous songs coffin by being a quite wound up number with a snagging chorus hook not to be easily freed from.  The tribal drums that open proceedings prepare the lugs, the slow ascension of string screws enthuse and the feisty delivery, when coupled with the swift running time, make this punk rock to roll around the palate many times over - if you choose to spit or swallow then that is your choice, just make sure you suck off the sonic shaft first!

Next up and 4 dashing dissections.  The assessing scalpel is flashed and 'America', is a song that pummels away at the half-baked head of the US of A and all those who voted in power the Satsuma-tinted twat as well as all those who believe the deviant dream.  A swift swinging number that has cuts of hard chopping and a middle plod detonation of foot-stamping authority amidst the general flow.  All usual stuff and as snarled and snotty as the bastards in the pit will want it - not bad.  'Gangster' whizzes along and operates on a repetitive routine that incessantly wraps around itself and builds up an impetus that is bog-standard and without alteration but which does the job at hand.  'English Schoolboy' creeps with malevolence and has a Sub-sy edge akin to something that told us 'You Don't Belong'.  This offering has deep resonations and shakes its ass with a groovy conviction.  The effort doesn't overstay its welcome and keeps the CD moving in the same confident direction.  The last of the fast four is just idiot bullshit done in the crudest style.  The song 'I Wanna Fuck' was originally a Screaching Weasel cold turd and here it stays just as chilled.  I suppose it lacks any shock value and has no depth or musical insight - it is what it is and hey, even though I rate this as 'shite' I know many goons with gonads on fire who'll love this - it's a man thing I think!

'Steal Yer Car' is  idiocy that repeat slaps with sound relish, easily gets beneath the attentive skin and is a cacophonic catalyst to get a decent reaction.  Again, the intrinsically basic elements are used and fused but done so with such passionate and head down fervour as well as a good level of adhesion that even this critical cunt enjoys it.  A stabbing song, one that cuts deep and wrenches the guts - lovely!  'Hell Of A Long Time Dead' is a bursting song that encourages you to get up and go for it and remember you won't be here forever and so best make the most of it.  If you can do this and harm no-one and leave a decent mark that enthuses others I reckon it is sound advice.  Mind you, if you are one of the massed selfish fucks in this life for your own experience and ego then go fuck ya.  The song jumps straight through the starting tape and thunders along the tuned turf with the ass whip forever brandished and a regular foamed up gallop maintained until the last push for the line that sees the juiced up jockeys gasp home - good on em' the feisty fuckers.

3 left and 'Prostitute' opens its legs, gets itself fucked with a rip roaring shag of sound and left in a heap to contemplate selling ones soul to the dirty devils for a bit of cash and, more than likely, a quick fix afterwards.  The song is in and out and shakes it all about, something akin to one of the dipped todgers the whore under the spotlight gets regularly shafted by - bah, it is a sad old world.  'Town Mentality' is another swift sizzler, it deals with the pin-sized minds who live and dwell in the insignificant land of nowhere where tiddling fish make minor waves whilst falling out with genital-challenged minnows in the same sloshing swill.  I have lived in some right shitholes and seen some real small-time shits make a mess of a situation that should be blissful - what the fuck is wrong with these folk?  The tub-thumping invokes rages here, the fuzzery niggles out frustration and this simplistically arranged song may lack depth, may lack experimentation but is bread and butter punk we will be chomping on forever more - and why that is I cannot explain - something in the blood I think!  The fuck off comes with a cover (not the most ideal way to finish in this DIY gits opinion) and is a well-known ditty we have all pinged and pogoed to over the years.  'Pills' has been done by many bands throughout the spiked ages and I have to hold my hands up that this is a decent effort and has the bouncing verve and general rock and roll gusto we have always been attracted to.  I should have a dig here but I would be going against the gut so I sign off, drop me trollies and waggle my privates to a fine, invigorating finish.

Look, this is a run of the mill punk CD and that isn't a bad thing.  I run my mental digits over much music these days and it is always a pleasure to get back to ground zero and appreciate the roots that have always turned me on.  Like I say, it is the liquid that runs in the veins that one must trust and for me you have to make up your own mind.  I hope I have been fair here, I hope that I have got many a point across and I hope you invest some time, have an aural peek and perhaps invest - it is all hope!

   

TERMINAL RAGE - WHERE'S OUR DEMOCRACY

Another band on the Fungal radar that has recently played a gig and stormed to a level of raging success to the great gratification of my irritated spiky soul.  The band gob off with political angst and are led by a frontman who has severe anger issus and a quite foul mouth - 2 qualities that should never be lacking in any worthwhile punk scene.  They hail from Hereford, are making a good impression wherever they blaze from and have a passion that certainly needs noting.  Here is my opinion on a six-track tickler I have been looking forward to with salivating jowls.

'Casual Racist' cuts no slack and jumps right up at the jugular and carves out a reaction.  A great machined fuzz function is oiled through with initial gobbage that finds comradeship and enthuses us to holler along.  The ethics and musical accent of the song are of a persuasive slant and that all-inclusive warning yell really resonates within the soul of reason and sanity.  The strait-jacketed rage is bursting at the straps and one can feel a seething despair build to something uncontrolled.  The band do well to drive this one with some authority and perhaps the final 'fuck em' sums up many peoples thinking out there.  A fine opening gambit and reinforced by the livid and blood-vessel bursting behemoth known as 'Class Crime'.  An incandescent blinding glare of tantrumised trauma ignited by a system gone wank and controlled by uncaring fucks on a power trip to hopeless Hell.  The points made suggest taking matters into your own hands and grabbing the bull by the horns and shaking out an attentive response that simply says 'wake up and fuckin' listen'.  From the opening spiral of tension the song never eases down and boils away with scalding ill-feeling and takes us to echelons of foaming disgust.  This is a fuckin' choice tune and is the sturdy backbone of socially aware punkism that really matters - excellent work.

I take a breather and replay the opening two gambits - oh man, hurtful for sure.

'Guilty' rusts up against an abrasive comb of corroding wire work that is worked along with a regular tympanic rhythm and a consistent word weave that stabilises the CD and takes us down a peg or two from the upper storey infernos.  The song here is composed and has the emotions on a fair leash but there is still a good nip at the ankles that keeps us fully alert and taking in all areas of the noise.  The song is concrete in the mix, aims to build sturdy spines of conviction and it alters the style of the CD quite subtly.  A signature tune next, Terminal Rage' has the same drilling essence but this time combines old school punkism, a quirky vocal style borne from pop punk quarters and a winning progression of tone that gratifies my sensors of the most basic noise.  The resistance within the lyrics and the yearning for change are encouraging and although, what this can be considered something of a flatline song, it does indeed work.  Similar in stance is the chasing ditty called 'Supposed To Be Upside Down' but this one has a magnetism I cannot escape but I don't know why!  There are no massive peaks, no discernible troughs, no great splashes of sonic brilliance - all we get is one steady piece of watertight, notably accented music that relies on street talk lyrics, a resolute standing that wants, demands and asks questions.  We get a final thrust for the line, a final snatch at your gonads of attention but other than that frills are minimal - somehow though I fuckin' love it!

The finale, a clobber clout called 'Where's Our Democracy'.  A skin skip, a 4 count, a forceful buzzsaw cuts through the vines of resistance and the question is asked about the fairness of the land and the consideration of what the people want.  A threat of refusal comes, the anger borne from a feeling of uselessness is blatant, the spiral to soaring fury is a matter of course.  The final hate holler out is necessary and leaves a footprint on your arse to admire - ouch!

I am done, I am taken, I have done my bit.  The question is now - are you fuckin' interested?  If not, I find it no reason to stop, nor should the band!

   

PAUL HENSHAW & THE SCIENTIFIC SIMPLETONS - FISHING FOR OWLS

I once went fishing for owls.  It was hard work and only when I disguised my penis as a Short Tailed Vole did I achieve anything resembling success. Mind you, the crown of my cock is still talon-scarred and I still have nightmares regarding homosexual Tawny Owls and large weaponed bats - I blame it on eating too many beetroots but there ya go!  Anyway to the review and the band under the spotlight are from the shit-stained shanks of Shrewsbury and plough out a sound they describe on their FB niche as 'DIY Riot Folk' - now that sounds intriguing.  There are 10 tracks of thoughtful produce to ponder here and so I down my hunting gear and set about shooting down some words of honesty and hopefully decent critique - it is a testing task as per.

The first flap of sonic wings is known as 'Middle Finger Thank You', a very professional sounding cutlet from the arse end of the acoustic carcass where many shit lumps of pointless gristle are had.  This is a progressive effort exuding forethought and a desire to create a construction that has depth and...a most important asset...longevity.  Many bands overlook this aspect of noise creation but here we seem to have a unit who are avoiding the quick and easy route and looking to test themselves and their listeners.  Perhaps in some respects overly done are the convolutions, in others definitely not the case - I wave a flag of initial success and feel firm in my opinion.  'Wild Turkey' folks it up and is a country pub fiddle of warming resonations that will appeal to the dreaming drifter who wants to crack on rather than dawdle and wants to shake of the shit-slaggers and concentrate on things that matter.  Life needs constant attention and the more you try there is always someone extra wanting to drag you back. My advice, take heed here, fuck the doubters and down-shouters and amble along doing your bit with a good heart.  I love this little fireside toe and ticker warmer and play in the belief that my arse is well and truly in gear.

'Stones' moves in with romantic textures borne of misted lochs and dusky glades.  The string skip comes, the vocal admission of weakness is defied by the robustness of the puritanical tones and from hopeless realms of wilderness comes tendrils of hope one may clutch on to.  This is a very articulate bout of musicianship that blends folk and DIY to a very exacting standard that puts the pressure on the rest of the CD.  'You Really Just Want To Be Me' is a beautifully written acoustic article concerning self-belief and the acceptance of ones warts, wrinkles and failings and just getting on with things and defying the fashion victims and those who must jump in line to trends and standards - silly fuckers.  A totally satisfying song this that glides over the aging framework and leaves a feeling of certainty that all is not lost and that if we cling on and never say die the future will feel a whole lot brighter.  Fuck them doubters and spineless down shouters - jealous jerks they be!

Next 2, 'Hometown King', and after appeasing a desire to count in colours and shapes a fuzzy thrust is kept brushed up and moves us along into a steady push of musical ease that has good weighty fuzzery and hygienic vocal accoutrements that adorn a solid tonal tree and help the whole structure sway with effective efficiency.  Nothing overly-elaborated here, nothing too convoluted and up its own rear orifice - just a straight forward moment that gets on with the task at hand.  'Fay's Song' is a touching beauty that deals with wrenching loss and facing yet another gap in life's jigsaw that leaves one emptier than before.  The band add a delicacy to proceedings and pour out a genuine river of respect to a lost gem who obviously meant so much.  As an outside observer it seems a fitting tribute and it is so honestly and articulately executed that I would be a fool to find flaw - quite lovely.

Next couplet and 'Quiet Bit/Loud Bit' swells high, moves with might and is akin to an oceanic movement that undulates in drawn out folds of liquid energy and slow persuasive mesmerism.  I am partly drawn in but strive to swim clear and judge from a distance as I am not fully convinced I want to be drowned by this sonic sea.  The song has moments to absorb, is crystal clean and lucid but I am just slipping out of sync with this one and for some reason that has me baffled I may be naming and shaming this as the least Fungally attractive of the lot  - even I am unconvinced by this verdict.  Onwards and funk bass and lyrical convolutions interspersed with acoustic respites and fresh breath air blasts is the modus operandi of the chasing construction slapped down under the moniker of 'Float Me'.  A boxed in moment of wordery comes, much of the usual quality meets expectations with added depth to maintain longevity and Bob's your uncle, this is decent enough (be warned though, Bob needs keeping an eye on and is indecent in the extreme).

The last 2, 'Kid On A Bridge', is a decisive acoustic moment touched by a personal sadness that sees the broken wreck of a boy return from beyond the grave and cause untold pain.  The tortured tracks on which the song progresses are stuck to for dear life and deal with sheer death in the most open way.  Visions of 'Stand By Me', the film that is, come to mind, when the dead kid is the centre of everyone's attention, albeit for different reasons.  Something unsettling resonates as it does within the song - quite odd.  This is a good creation though and I am intrigued. We have a bit of fun to finish, but fun that has a resounding message to be yourself, not follow the sheep and make sure you ruddy well believe in yourself every step of the way.  'I'll Never Be A Pirate' is a jolly way to close down and lightens the mood of what is generally a quite serious CD.  It waves a flag of leisure but still makes sure you don't recline too much and get complacent - oh aye Captain!

So the CD review is done and what a classy encounter it has been.  The crew apply themselves with thought and care and pour out many acoustic aromas to get your curious hooter around.  From a punk point of view this may be too mild, too clean cut and too gentle for some - personally it only proves there are some right silly cunts about with no sense of variation and, may I add, taste!

   

LOD - FOLDER

From the ashes of post-punk blew assorted debris and detritus that came to be piled up in various nooks and crannies where disconsolation, distress and a desire to rise against the grain seemed the only possible option.  Under pencil grey skies that leaked polluted needles of hopelessness many experimental creators were borne, here we have such a gathering.  A coming together of Danish minds with a need to stretch their own boundaries and that of anyone passing by with a cacophonic curiosity that is forever restless.  The accents are from industrial deserts where urbanity has devoured itself and left something naked and very cold.

We begin with the unrushed, unapologetic 9 minute 11 second loop of 'Så Blå', a persistent exposure of copulating and corrupting minimalism that beckons the listener forth and requests that the dusty plains of dereliction be trespassed upon and...considered.  From that which is ruined and left to neglect comes a glimmer of promise and the band do well to intertwine the limbs of the abandoned and that which resists temptation to curl up and die.  The components that crawl to mind whilst listening to this opening rotation are of sub-gothic innocence and a certain early 80's sub-alternativeness which was played out in smoke ranked back clubs to the generic underflow and pseudo-fashionable misfits.  There is much character here and when the final winds come we are left far from disappointed.  Don't misunderstand me, the band could do more and maybe embolden their output over a shorter running time but here they do just enough.

'Træder ind, bukker, bukker' is a shorter track and is an instrumental fountain set to pace 'average' and coming up with a spray of sound that is in some ways soothing, in others aching with ominous sub-texts that dampen any ray of cerebral sunshine one may have cultivated.  The accursed liquid plume turns from tantalisingly transparent to subtly threatening and for me the mix may appear quite simple but there is a certain amount of thoughtful craft poured in.  I skip on here with little else to add.

'Fælled' pseudo funks, repetition fucks before opening up oral airwaves and giving a worshipful chant to all things seemingly horrified, scarred and of a sable intent.  The spasms of idolisation become damaging, the muscle wrenches and hip thrusts screw more than just the mind of the bewitched and as sweat production is increased, grey matter devastation multiplies and severance of certain decencies is committed the end result is almost unholy.  Within the twirling coils of black silk we get enshrouded, and therein we may be converted and ultimately, suffocated.  The summons to the Satanic is created, the flesh creeps, your turn has come!  The final respite is an insult!

'Folder' hops into the line of mis-beat with a math rock wank off almost sending one into realms of suicidal contemplation.  This nerve shredding closure is 8 minutes 30 seconds of testing tonality sporadically whipped up and forever teasing one into the belief that dramatic change is afoot.  Change does come but it is gradual and far from sensational and although the musical application is clean, accurate and very efficient there is an overabundance of rhythmic replication that sends me down into the refuse tip of despair - a shame because there are many fine aspects to the input.  Ah well, there ya go folks.

A polished unit with a scrubbed up end product that is more art than pleasure, more theatre than quick musical masturbation.  There is a place for this kind of advanced experimentation but it won’t be making a regular appearance on my turntable anytime soon.  Each to their own as they say (whoever they are).

   

SAVE THE EMBERS - EMBERS AND ASHES

Melodic hardcore from Germany here, an accurate bout of blowing belligerence that needs much time from this Fungalised Fruit as it pounds with much fluster and bluster and has many layers that appear to need a good old peeling.  It is a CD I got from the kind bods at Deadlamb Records, a good label with a good ethos and an undying spirit (take note).  Right, no time to flap my wings, no time to scratch my sphincter - in I throw my all, striving to sum things up as best as I possibly can.

The CD opens with 'Let It Go' and 'Everett', and after a brief unified holler, a crunch of the wires and a stick military trundle the songs explode into pastures of power with a swift trenchant tonality borne of schools of sound from the more modern era.  What stops this opening double ended burst from becoming a technical convolution many twanging twats seem to get drawn into is the fact it has a direction based on focus, harsh heaving and with an 'all for one' aspect that real appeals to the punk ticker.  The band exhibit a cohesion and impermeable accent that will cross the cacophonic boards and draw in many sonically sozzled spiked heads to the overall foray.  The hungry gobbage, the barbed and tautly pulled weavings have me sitting up and preparing for what else is to come.  A good opening and into track 3 I plunge with 'From Red To Grey' starting with subdued tones before ascending higher, finding a balance and then letting go with a full throttle roar fest that blazes with an incandescent heat not to be denied.  The power arrangement is tight, the tangents subtle, the desire blatant and so, after many rotations I am erecting my thumbs here and appreciating the robust and talent-ridden offering that blows with good effective force.

'Day By Day' quickly tub rolls, twinges forth and then hot-roasts along with continued thermality borne from the previous ditty.  My concerns of another repeat trick are banished as the crew move through a more spacious moment that exposes contrast and takes us into different realms.  The vibe is positive, the lyrical content equally so and urges that you get up, do and avoid a life of idle apathetic pointlessness.  I appreciate that!  Onwards and '14th Of Five' follows the set trend, creates a storm and lets fly with many elements.  The collection of colliding and complimentary corruptions bounce around within a tight kernel of musical goodness with the inner nut of noise loaded with flavours that take time to be fully appreciated.  The animation within this offering and the unifying moments that are interspersed with soaring releases of majestic insight all reveal a unit very much on form and nailing what they set out to achieve.  Combustible, oozing potential and still with a chance of crossing the sub-scene bridges of restriction - here's hoping!

A fast batch of 3 sees me tackle 'Benchmarks', a song that skewers in, unravels with grace, set a scene and then gallop to the encouraging shouts and vigorous bounce of the commanders at the helm.  Again the recipe contains many acoustic herbs and a single toss around the palate will not suffice.  Over and over one must roll the rhythms and finally make a decision. Patience is tested and that may be the only drawback but, other than that...the band do what they do mighty well, albeit more of a particular ilk it seems. 'Crawl' follows the set route but doesn't seem to have any regularity and just wanders in to many directions for its own good.  Musically the band are testing themselves and that is no bad thing but they must understand that this will leave some eavesdropping 'erberts behind in their wake.  I am one of those and even though I sense the usual precision this one fails to tickle the chuff.  'The Infeasible' operates inside a box, kicks off the lid and eventually resonates with warning slant.  The pulsations wors, the harmonies live, the tweaks and twangs are non-too hindering and as the development of the discordant comes and the embryo blooms into a finished product one is applauding yet more clinical control - have it!

The last 3 and 'Associated Sidekicks (Friends For Life)', 'My Great Revelation' and 'Homecoming' all add cream to your hefty cake of yum-scrum cacophonic listening and if you have liked your episode of melodic mastication thus far you will finish on a veritable high here.  Personally I think the first song fucks around too much, flushes itself down too many U-Bends and delays the point it is trying to make.  I am sure many good comrades will embrace the sound and each other but I just ain't having this one. The second cut throws initial punches from all angles before finding its focus and jabbing and jarring in good equal measure.  The final fling is serious shit with uproar and belting riffage all throwing itself headlong into an already fractured wall that has taken a serious kicking over the length of this clinical CD.  At this stage you are either in or out, silent or ready to shout - I am a mere reviewer trying to capture something elusive.

A tidy band this who certainly put the hours into delivering their work. The touches of the Front that claim to be Agnostic are many, the strict skater essences and Epitath-esque nuances noticeable but hey, there ain't nowt original and if a band do it well you gotta tip your titfer - how's that!

   
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