FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 1
 
 

4 PAST MIDNIGHT - BATTLE SCARS & BROKEN HEARTS

The art of being overlooked, ignored and just placed on a backburner for one's convenience is a book the crew of 4 Past Midnight could very well compose and in the pages of which may be found many tales of toe-treading and non-arse kissing moments that have cost them dear - ooh tis a shit scene.  These Scottish gents though should hold their heads up high and remember, at the end of the weary day, it is sticking to ones ethics and doing things one’s own way that really matters.  To play the game is easy, any fool can do it but what is the point?  A few false friends, some insincere backslaps and reciprocated arse pecks that don't matter one jot - fuck that!  We live in shallow times of giving to receive and this happens nowhere more than in the murky music scene.  Seen it, experienced it, tasted it and spat it out - move on and fuck em' all I say - oh how digression is easy.  Anyway to the product under the spotlight - Fungal expects, there are 15 tracks to plough through - I best crack on.

I commence.  ‘Do It Now’ is constructed on a simple formula, a nagging recipe that is cooked on a blue flame that resonates deep within the DIY soul and encourages the feisty core to shine brighter and shift ones arse.  The call is for animation, a summons to rouse yourself into getting up off your complacent rear and rather than being a feeder be a producer instead.  The thirst in the delivery wins the day and at a punked pace of 1 minute 28 seconds this is the ideal eye-opener to get any soporific or half-arsed listener…alert!

The foot eases on the accelerator next and a showcase of a spiked pride is exuded as 4PM pay homage to a soul saving style of life that has served them well and many other outsiders.  Personally, with my cerebral nuances, social disgusts and into-the-wind walking I find this an appealing number and am more than happy to sing along with a heart booming with glory.  ‘For Life’ states the obvious to me but many, who don’t understand, need to listen in and realised that even though we have a fractured scene with many layers some of us within the sub-sonic strata are kicking as hard as ever.  The birds of passionate paradise take to the air here, ripple airwaves with accessible wings and create a thermal current that is easy to slipstream with.  Exact, accurate and lucid – a choice chaser to the opening nipper.  ‘Politician’ darkens the rhythmic panorama with provocative wings that highlight the control, corruption and cruelty of those in constricting charge.  The opening bars are dramatic and are escorted by rolling thunderclouds that soon give vent to a steady downpour of toxic invective.  The damning storm rumbles with persistent looming intent and all the while the creating crew throb out their noise with great clarity, much weight and a quite impressive production level that really indicates a band ready to blow themselves up and onto greater levels. This is another subtle turn of tonal events and I am still completely absorbed.  The final downpour of musical mania is lightning within the sky – I am duly struck.

‘Guilty’ is the most emotive delivery thus far with bass and guitar carefully attended to and in a unison that lets the flutter of the skins and the heartfelt questioning of the voice operate with exactitude.  The subject matter is carefully dealt with as we enter the head of a domestic violence victim and try and make some sense of a situation and cough up some crucial advice.  Too many women are trapped in a vice of controlling oppression and the more these situations are talked about the more hope can be offered to those with their heads in a noose.  4PM play this one with care and within the touching verses comes a simple but effective chorus that somehow vents spleen but offers a chance to relieve ones chest, point the finger, pick out the perpetrator and to finally smell the non-too distant roses of release.  Solid.  Before we get too far down in the substrates of everyday problems we are allowed to breathe via a frisky non-vocal spiced rip up known as ‘Tonight’.  A flying bout of instrumentalised brilliance that is liquid gold and merely adds a moment of respite but gets the hackles raised and allows you to pogo without thinking too hard – just what the bent doctor ordered (as well as another rectal examination, now what’s that about then).

A pinnacle next (yes another one in a mountain range of momentous melodies) with ‘4PM On Tour (4pm Crew Part 4)’ being a follow up to many superb songs and continuing the trend with a brilliant relatable tale of life on the road and the resistance to all the bother and hassle that gets thrown in along the way.  The lyrics are bare-arsed and gutterly honest, the catch of the song is strikingly inescapable and within no time at all one is reaching out for the nob of volume and tweaking it upwards like a arse on heat.  From the twat and twinkle opening through the earthy and rubicund verses right into the unifying chorus chunks this is a stunner and at this point I duly take time out and play this opening batch of belters over and over again.

Smash, bang, twat and wallop – there goes the kitchen sink and here’s another foot in the face of the doubters – go  on, fuck ya.

Back at it and ‘Hope, Fear, Pain, Love, Desire’ is the safest track thus far and has a homely feel that is tortured by a need to dabble with a darker side, an area where captivation reigns supreme and freedom from a curse is never going to be an option.  The power of adoration and need dictate the actions of a man obsessed and, as the ticker is poured, the musical accompaniment steers a straight and steady course with no real tidal highs hit and no oceanic lulls fallen into.  A middling moment for me but nicely executed and played with belief.  ‘Survive’ is a thrashing conger eel of activated restlessness and will not remain in the grip of the hooking fishermen who barb, reel in and attempt to net.  Once trapped you are taken to be frazzled and your freedom is forever lost.  This feisty swimmer is wriggling and flipping with zeal and will not be slapped on to the submissive shore anytime soon and all you need do, as a listener, is take note and make some ripples yourself.  A quick, highly energetic fucker – oh yeah.

Rough chug, scene setter, rabble rousing hollers – ‘Let’s Go’.  Here we have an escapade awash with deliberate defiance and a grim determination to stick in to the bitter end and not be trampled underfoot into realms of convenient obscurity.  To brush one under the carpet is the aim of the game for many and by keeping them happy and dumbed down with festival fuckery and social scene comforts I get the feeling the bastards at the commercialised end are winning the day.  This dog takes heed here and passes on a warning that if you smile too much you’ll lose all sense of defiance and get trawled in to complacency before you know it.  Listen up, regenerate your rebellious streak and do not let the bastards have you.  Use this fine chant-along number to re-inspire your niggling nature – tis a beauty to belt out! 

‘Alone’ is a salivating beauty that sweat bleeds pure foaming passion of a suffocating situation scripted from deep rooted insight and cerebral suffering.  The crushing walls that squeeze tighter and tighter are tangibly felt as is the hard-fought resistance that tears a soul asunder and creates extreme unapologetic stress.  From the panging guitars, through the hopeless encounters of versed emotion to the tail end glimpse of light that somehow signifies that all is not over.  The composure of the spirit that bristles and bursts from the compacted epidermal layer of this acoustic behemoth is superb and I whip out my loud hailer, climb onto a roof top and holler out for all to hear 'listen up fucks, the band are attaining plateau's new, zeniths that stun, pinnacles to admire – are you having it’.  ‘I Hate My Life’ follows on with convenience and clatters along in a more head-down way with honest punk rock bollocks exposed.  To admit to a hate of one’s existence is a rare commodity in this plastic world of on-line smiles and show-piece lifestyles that strive for affirmation from the disinterested mob.  Maybe a problem with punk is too many are conned in pseudo-happiness and there is no real hate anymore - worth a thought.  There is trouble aplenty here, a disgust, unsettled edge and a need to clear the pressurised chest.  I like and appreciate that and as patchwork sufferer I sing-a-long with venom.

‘Day After Day’ copulates the cruelty of the corrupted bass, the sincere acuteness of an amphetamined soaked guitar, the tremendous brutality of skin battering mania and, in many ways, a stylised accomplishment of tonal variation that transcends those blinkered limitations so many think this punk pit is tied too.  Proof here, and 100% at that, displays the fact that many of these overlooked and under-appreciated DIY mutts can fuckin’ bite with the best and do so with educated insight into making a musical molestation to stand the test of time.  Now that’s told you!

3 bonus tracks fuckers - here goes everything.  

The first error arises when I note that the next song is spelled wrong.  Bastard, I knew the fuckers would make a boo, boo - oh the whole CD is now under-threat of a hammering - what a shame!  Luckily 'Withered Roses' (one 'H') is a peach and evolves from a spartan bout of keyed and cultured acoustica were gob and Joanna escort one another with sublime beauty before metamorphing into a robust slap down of bass driven hunger that shows all dimensions to the mature and ready to sup 4PM vintage.  Taste the ticker pride. The exacting application and the fact that the band are pouring everything into the mix here and giving it one mighty go is why I simply love it and my thumbs turn upwards with genuine sanguinity!  'The Reason' is a tender piece in many ways and slightly falls short of the heady standard set.  A lack of gruffness, a certain planed out aspect takes off the street-rugged accents the band win most favour with. However, this is an alternate inclusion and displays another fine facet to the squad’s weaponry.  I am a little flat with this one and find it a tame affair - I skip to the last with the flag of honesty still in one piece.  'Can Anyone Hear Me' is a theatrical closure with all corners of cacophonic expertise thrown in with gusto and billowing up to make for one well-cemented shut-down.  The plea for a reaction is pertinent in many ways especially in a scene where so many voices are drowned in a stinking vat of nostalgia, social favour and back-slapping shittery.  To add to this you have the moments in life when despair builds and a feeling of confinement controls each and every waking hour – it makes for a hefty slab of sound.  An antidote is somehow  found within the melee of this melodic farewell, play it, grasp it, run with it.

Done, impressed and over and out.  Need I add more?  4PM represent the quality of the scene and how, if people don't prod and poke, bands such as this can get overlooked and something of a duff deal.  All this is set to change for this unit of trying tunesters and if it doesn't it is your fault - think on, do not let it happen, fling the fuckin’ muck.

   

JABBA - VICE

Jabba have been through turmoil and crawled through much personal debris to cough and splutter up their debut album.  It is an 8 track of turmoil, a catastrophe that is bred from heavy duty loins of varied acoustic angularity.  There is a pent up power surge loaded with sludgery and oppression and this internal to external kickback sees the band from Sørreisa try and make an initial impression with swollen authority.  I have listened, I have learned and now I scrawl my overview, you know the style my dear perusers.

'Final Form' slides through thick laden gloop and thrashes about in abandoned perversion.  Stoked with spirit borne from the loins of Hades this and the chasing runt scarred down as 'Smoke' kick up an opening inferno liable to scorch the testes of the toned out hippy-fuck or the heavy duty bong addict who wants to melt his mind further.  Very industrious and cloyingly dense this opening brace of globuled foulness are designed to offend, corrupt and confound.  The artistes are absorbed, nay possessed, and use their discordant devices to summon the bleakest of responding beasts from the blackest of hearts.  I know some real Godforsaken bastards who will get off on this - for them there is no hope.

'Drink' is the name of the next noxious bout but seems more like a command than a song title, maybe it is what we need to heighten this numbing experience.  The crew apply themselves here with a new sense of the chaotic and perhaps the perversely quixotic.  The attainment of a foul idealism is a paradox that can be unravelled and I feel the operators of the warped helm are striving for something uncomfortably perfect (in an imperfect way).  This clobber-cunt of unshaven appearance drips with spiteful juice, horribly squeezed from unwashed big fingered mitts - dare you drink the resultant liquid, or does your stomach churn motherfucker?  I leave you to 'ponder'.

A double ender again methinks 'Moon' and 'Mathlete' get digested as one and what we are dealt is more griping bassism, more Hellbound hollering and an intensity of noise not for those with palpitating tickers.  The dense and decadent arsenal exposed is scurfed and scathed with a trembling tension that gnaws at the bone.  The better of the two outbursts (for me at least) is the latter, due to the impetus and the more direct and tumble fuck approach. The riffery has more distinction and the hunger is more easily absorbed but hey man, these are tracks not to be taken lying down and are best prescribed in small doses.

And onwards into the depths.

'Prof' is deliberate, vulgar and without shame.  The pronouncements that open soon lead to tribal angles that see our artists fall one way, come back another and eventually find-equilibrium.  The song discovers a firm-footing and ploughs away with the most convincing resonations to date.  Composed throughout, not thrashing with foamed abandon and in some ways following something of an orthodox pattern - quite tidy methinks.  'Rat' is more abstract in arrangement and goes through sonic sewerage pipes with no direct aim in mind it seems and runs the loop with a frequency generated by much fervour.  Re-rotations of the spiralling sonica expose my initial thoughts to be wrong and this one does indeed have a tail to grasp and a maw that nips.  It does stagger though and that is where my concerns are founded.  There are some high-borne moments that elevate though - I admit I am flummoxed.

The fuckdown is nailed as 'Drugs', a slushy number that alters the modus operandi of this humping 8 track effort in no way whatsoever.  The songs starts with something akin to liquidity before deciding to spend time stamping its own intestinal contents to utter gunk.  At such a late stage I would have preferred something more 'outré' and more challenging but there ya go, the band are in charge and obviously enjoy their output.

A test and a tiptoe across unto the dark side.  Interesting but very cloying and this downpour of rhythmic rainfall is irresistibly persistent and will have the ones unable to cope running for cover.  I like to have a soaking now and again and although this is not my thing the odd track appeals and it is always healthy to see how the 'other side' live.

   

GEIST - DISREPAIR

From the North East of England explodes a six-track CD cultivated by the black and blue mitts of Geist, a hardcore unit who don't hold back and are more than happy to turn over the sonic soddery by the spadeful.  Noise of this ilk is always a scientifically confounding problem as it is of such a state has to be never appealing across the broad generic mass and will always be something of a compressed area.  Here goes a Fungal take on matters that will be read by the keen and already converted and ignored by the idle-headed and primary outsider - I suppose we are all niche markets.

'Painkiller' kicks the kidneys from the carcass of inertia and comes to the fore with lunatic aggression that, after only one listen, hits me as one of the best HC offerings of the year thus far.  The pace combined with the crushing cadence of unmitigated skull-sucking spite is combined with crud tumble brazenness and elephant stampeding extremes that both assassinates resistance as well as baptises ones soul in a waters of cruelty.  All the while a tangible tightness to the cunt muscles of cacophony is had and every last drop of our spunked attention is drained - oh the sexy bastards.

The follow-up punch, 'Dear World' bites clean through the bit and spits it in yer face.  A 1 minute 46 second avalanche of wicked cretinism pumped full of steroids and whizz wanking head mushers this is a threshing salmon of sound flipping like fuck to avoid the hooks of any vicious criticism.  I dip in my assessing maggot (it has been called worse), waggle it about (oh the porn of it all) and wonder what perverse idiocy leads me to do such a sinful thing.  I seek a sensation, a sensation is what I get - a black-balling thrill best described in the pages of a backstreet Penny Dreadful as a ‘cock-bender’  - am I getting through?  I skip on, ruined but smiling!  'Services Rendered' appropriately chases, the buggers are dealing the dirt as well as the hurt and as a guest I feel grateful.  This earthquake of evil rises in sporadic pulses, shifting shit-laden topsoil and overflowing with long-rotted sub-strata that stinks of nothing less that Hell's anus.  A nasty upturn this, slow and deliberate and drawn out over a painful stretch that sees the wheat and chaff of the listening scene - separated.  I feel stuck in the dividing mesh and am convinced in part but overly tested in others - I feel this is one for the true connoisseur who has given their entirety to the madness.  It is played well, orchestrated with damage in mind but...I am just on the outside looking in this time and as the souls get tortured perhaps, in some ways, I am happy for a brief respite.

I apply ointment to my carcass and wear a nut-box just in case - it is a violent experience don't ya know.

Into 'Eyeless Needle' we go with the maelstrom still all-consuming and roaring with expected vigour.  The strings are bent all ways, the drums ravaged with rabidity and the holler outs flowing with incessant need.  At this stage I need add little else, as is the case for the chasing 'Fiction' Souls', another slab of minced meat this time served with steadiness before the waiters of war get screwed up in the head, lose patience trying to meet our needs and throw all contents of the acoustic bowls this way and that.  Lick it up you pig dogs or leave the table - there are no other options.

We closedown with the harrowing and alarming account known as 'Inkblot Lives'.  A twinge, razor flashes, crud somersaults, head-banging fever gone viral and after 2 minutes and 30 seconds with little hope of respite we are left to bleed in the gutter and try and make sense of the chaos.  I remain bewildered.

Battered - you bet I am.  Fucked in the head - most certainly.  Overwhelmed - in part yes.  Beaten - no fuckin' way Jose.  This is a chunky slap down of granitised grinding that will shred the nerves of many but stiffen the shaft of those in the hothouse.  I am a passer-by asked for an opinion and I give it as requested.  Do not overdose on this, take in small quantities and remember - you only have one arsehole, do not attempt to tear yourself another one without taking advice first - I hope you take heed of the warning!

   

GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS - THE THIRSTY CAVE

Celtic Rockers The Greenland Whalefishers are still throwing the vibes and this is the 4th CD I have been requested to review over many a noise-laden year.  The Paddy Rock pulsations come and this is their 11th full length CD release to date - good on em'.  I have no need to fanny about further, these Norwegian noise makers are well-represented on-line so if you want to know more feel free to browse.  Oh, to add, it was Deadlamb Records who sent me the disc under the spotlight - jolly nice of em' too!

The rotations begin, the first emanations arise and, for a change, I don my acoustic harvest festivals and make sure all is safely gathered in and do the CD as a whole, picking out any highs, any lows and generally trying to tackle the mush in one wholesome chunk.  Not my usual style but that is what I need to do.

Initial impressions make note of the combination of the creeping to the cavorting, the whipped up to the suppressed and how the band seem to be determined to splash out their textured tones with a distinct emphasis on creating contrast.  The initial high is track two and the controversially entitled ‘None Of Us Are Faithful’.  A merry jaunt pouring in multiple rivulets of jade kissed waters down melodic mossed inclines that resonate with a certain purity and a wild, unabused clarity.  There is a flow here that is etched with en plein air breeziness and a swift application of tonal shadings that appeals throughout.  The only gripe is the lack of sectioned order with all parts on a level  and offering no exciting undulations – it would help the song no end.  ‘Nothing To Say’ is a fidget fuck of nervous energy and one of those to careen around to when pissed as a fart.  It is typical in-house weaving and shindig madness that sees foaming tankards spill, pipes puffed by bearded naer do wells and arthritic knees bend and bop with unadulterated fervour- you know the ones, those ones who like a drink and dance don’t ya know!

Many oceanic swells come, moments that fail to float my boat also occur but maintaining a positivity my firm and resolute finger points to moments such as the slow and seductive slant of 'Angel', the scatterdash compliment of 'Queen' and the comfortable trucking of 'Looney Tunes' all, in their own way, adding decent weight to a CD of one style but one that will elevate the soul of those feeling tinted blue and perhaps in need of some reclined, thoughtful moments.  The drift continues right up until the last hoorah with 'The Letter', a frisky desiring ditty that flutter-larks onto a green-gifted substrate that flows amid panoramic vistas where freedom is the greatest asset donated.  The 'close to nature' ambience and the brisk gallop is what will gain most applause and I leave this one to those in the know and who are prepared to jig til the day is done.

An alteration in style, a more caressing approach and I hope giving an insight into my personal thoughts on the CD and the way in which it may be viewed.  I am not a fan of this jiggery-pokery of emerald leaning but can see its appeal to those in the sub-scene and those who like a good session on the ale.  For me a 'no', for you perhaps something different - if you get off your arse to balance my viewpoint then that will be all the better for the scene and the players - think on. 

   

WAR WAVES - ALL THAT WE LACK

Ippo acoustic artists that have floated past the Fungal radar on one previous occasion and, if my knackered noggin remembers rightly, I was split down the middle with one half of the previous release winning favour and the other half not totally convincing me.  This release is on Backwater Records, was requested for review by a very nice and passionate e-mail and, although not in the usual punk line, I am more than happy to respond to a bit of politeness and spirited desire.  Of course truth dictates and that is what the band will get as well as a huge chuck of time and sincere consideration - here goes yet another assessment.

The curtains part, the parson doth fart (allegedly) and after the stench of silence has been wafted away we are gifted with the tune known as 'Spine'.  This is a slow and mellow drift that rolls out its rhythm over 4 minutes and 14 seconds, an operating time I suggest is too long for an initial gambit - that is my punk streak spitting don't ya know! I listen in and feel the pain and crawling trouble that is instilled within and distilled by many rotations.  It is a difficult track to cultivate any enthusiasm with and although widely spaced, precisely played and of a certain mood I find things too lethargic and drawn out to inspire a gift of positive praise - I pass on.  

Scuzzy guitar, soft bassism, slow methodical taps and then honest vocals appear and help the composition known as 'Jean Season' progress with an increasing ascension into musical pastures more verdant and certainly more vigorous.  The rise to the culminating pinnacle is slow and steady, the strength of the sanguinity is holistically uniform and all the while one feels a certain undercurrent of strain that exposes a band chomping at the bit and needing to let things go a little more.  Towards the latter end of this creation they do release the bit and I personally think the output is all the better for it.  Track 3 sees us greeted by 'Horse'.  A frisked up westernised number that runs across open plains and spacious panoramas.  Late 80's to early 90's indie-fied leanings that show a heart exposed and dripping along through verse and chorus sections with a lilt assisted shimmer-glass of sound that catches light in a quite subdued way.  The song seems hopelessly simple but in the overcoated background activity something is happening and all the while the band create highly digestible matter.

A batch of 3 and 'Stickwrist', ascends with planned restraint that sees the entity of acoustica fall short of my personal expectations.  I find the swirl too self-negating and ensnared in a snagging web of hindering languidness.  The band apply tonal touches with care, adorn with the merest brushstrokes of seeming reluctance and for me, never get the bit between their teeth. This is a personal niggle though and as counter-argument I recognise the fact that alternation of tone and tempo is crucial.  Oh this ruddy reviewing lark.  'With Hands The Size Of Giants' is a good number, it billows sails, ruffles the hair, sways trees.  The general push and manipulation of the airspace is gratifying and during the surging the band involve themselves  in a soaked through soundscape that gets a chance to dry out midway but is soon re-moistened by thoroughbred articulation and easy application - not a bad do at all.  The last of this inner 3 is 'Bedding' a featherlight floater that is a wispy wallow on a melodic mattress of idling sonica that induces me to drift into a soporific state that I really can't rouse myself from.  The swirl is casually majestic in many ways and moves with a simplistic but quite authoritative grace but I remain on the cusp of entering the Land of Nod and for that I really can't give an apology.  I think I best leave this one as it is.

'Don't Self Destruct' tinnily staggers in and to my ears at least, never truly finds a fluid methodology and drags its heels a little too long thus negating all areas of impact and magnetising melody.  I am not taken at all here and in spite of the clear blend of all components I turn my thumbs downward and wander forth into the last pack of 4.

'One' is a lazy stroll with the guitar still glistening, the bass still laying careful foundations and the sticks almost ad-libbing to the weavings.  The gob rises, keeps airborne and brings a pleasant freshness to the languorous fact-facing somnolence.  It is of the lilting fashion set so far and is better song than its predecessor.  The theme is quite depressing in some ways and don't expect to be lifted by 'The Black Dog', a very dreary song that is reclined on a mattress of introspective examination and ponders the nipping teeth of the hound of ill-feeling where dark clouds invade and all lights are dimmed.  The searching questions, the void of genuine answers all come from a place I know only too well - but do I need reminding of it.  A very dour inclusion.  The penultimate number and 'Our Parade' slips into the operational techniques of the pack when perhaps, at such a late stage, something outrageous and infectious was needed.  We have the same sub-drama tonality but those initial ominous strides grab interest and take us on a journey of two slopes - one graciously curving, the other more inclined and creating a greater sensation.  Although pace is lacking once more this number cultivates interest in other ways - not bad.  The closure comes via 'Let Us All In', a semi-lullaby that rocks the cradle with considerate hands and creates a settling coma-inducing sensation that will please many listeners who have enjoyed the CD thus far.  At this point I feel that those not fully wired in and tuned into the drift will be struggling and again there is not enough variety in the vibrational fodder to keep neutrals intrigued - it is a shame but there ya go, many may disagree.

Towards the latter end I feel as though I have been harsh on this crew, who have, to all intents and purposes, put together a subtly charming CD.  I must go with what is in the gut though and paint a picture that portrays the sound and how the senses react.  No easy task and one many shy away from - you can't blame em'.

   

PEOPLE LIKE YOU - VERSE

Indified jazzism splashing my way here from a shaft of sound rubbed up by a band bred out of Boston.  This is the crew’s sophomore album and chases the tail of much DIY work and hustle and bustle dabbling.  It comes my way via Topshelf Records and the textual bumph that escorted the listening matter laid claim to the music having many flavours and having a certain ethos close to my ticker. This of course means I need don my raiment’s of detection and investigate if this release meets the needs and desires of the Fungalised palette – it is all built on hope.

Firstly and tender tranquillity unwinds and develops itself into a multifaceted fascination of sand-shifting sonica that never appears to fully settle and so keeps the listener on the edge of the arse-numbing seat.  I open wide, take the first spoonful of sound and masticate the moment spiced and named as 'You Need A Visa'.  A softly scurried sensation that noses in through the merest crack and nudges forth with a tender persuasion.  The plucks of the strings are seemingly haphazard, the tympanic applications are uneven and the he and she vocal smatterings come in an almost ad-libbed fashion.  The end taste is one of a tossed together dish done by experimental sub-abstract artistes who throw in some creamed brass for the sheer hell of it and stutter to the finale unsure.  Somehow a song is created and semblance of order is not as far away as one thinks.  I class this as an interesting moment with many passages to keep on investigating. 'The Baker' tosses musical buns with quick juggling mitts and comes in all fresh and frisky with much animation.  Still a deliberate waywardness borne of the sub-scene is with us and one has to hold on tight to maintain cerebral balance. The band display their talent and knowledge of the art with a spasmed kaleidoscope of clatter that comes from many tangential planes and one needs to be prepared for a mental ruffling that will take a little time to fully comprehend.  The band offer the caressed with the crumpled, the sandpapered with the scurfy and although exhibiting in-scene artistry they leave me flat-footed and unable to keep up.

Soothed tones and ebbing and flowing featherlight touches caress with hesitancy before pleasure kissed lips part and utter the first syllables of innocent wonder.  The drift of 'Thumbnail' is scattered, it never truly settles and so stimulates a greater concentrative effort on behalf of the luggite.  I am befuddled at first but melodically massaged, I hang in and come out with a sensation of being somewhat teased, provoked and made to work for a verdict.  I don't mind this and as a long-termed punk bastard it does me no harm to venture into pools afresh.  I dip in, pop out, there is much to stimulate here but one must take precious time to understand.

A trio of flashing assessments now (gotta keep the flow moving) and 'Variations On An Aria' is fragile, leaning and in some respects, quite limp.  Like a semi-dead leaf clinging to a withering branch this semi-lifeless offering eventually falls to the attentive floor in slow unpredictable spirals that are very hard to capture.  Time in the elements is had, patience donated and at the very last I clutch and find something decipherable.  It is a tiny seed this one, I wonder if it will grow into something substantial - I leave thee hanging.  'Orchid Hunter' is bilge.  Nothing more, nothing less - a mere fuck-about that impedes any flow and is experimentation gone wrong - I jump forward!  'Eulita Terrace' calmly soothes frustrated nerves and after the last niggle I am thankful for that.  String cascades are tepid, exploration is tentative before a confidence is found and we advance.  The hesitancy persists throughout the core of the song with a constant need unmet and a growing sense of anguish never too far away.  The blessing brass eases any tension, the shift into a therapeutic instrumental is neatly done and the laying down onto a mattress of seduction is moved into without pause or uncertain thought.  The end result is of a complete creation built on sound faith and deliberate focus.

'On Rain And How It Reminds Me Of Glass' is onomatopoeic acoustica and musically describes an en plein air summer-kissing shower that graciously and tenderly awakens any subdued senses.  It is a timid serenade that barely breathes on the sensitive attentive epidermis and thus raises the merest goosebumps of appreciation.  Aim had, target achieved.  'Josephine Ave' emerges from the dampened substrate and urges itself to rise from the clogging weedery of the undergrowth were many tendrils attempt something akin to strangulation.  Moments of fervent straining come but overall the thrust is somewhat placid and under strict control.  The moments of brass add that extra life needed - please ponder further!

Next, and I run to the finishing tape.  'Hackensack Hospital' is a restless patient of sound that is in something of a hallucinatory state that throws in many tangents and uncomfortable undertakings of explorative rhythmic research.  There is almost a math-esque arrangement that, when coupled with the jazzed jauntiness, really takes some handling.  It is played with a resounding knowledge of the sub-art.  'This Apple Is Really Depressed (reprise)' is a further curio and the maggot of melody inches inward and outward at the same time through dew-kissed pith that is pastel shaded and yet of an intriguing style to attract the most curios cacophoneer.  It comes and goes in the glint of a languid eye - another moment to drift with.  And finally 'Sleeptalk' puts the senses into complete slumberland with one final caress of the coffee-cream tonality that subdues and imbues with...drowsiness.  I prepare to settle in and snore but an unexpected ruffling of the blankets comes, an upturn of the lounger is had and the band at the helm opt to go out on a high-flown moment of relieving desire.  It is a surprise, I have no room to complain, I was getting to be a quite lethargic bastard.

This is not my thing and far from what I would normally listen to but, like any reviewer with a curious conk, I have given due time and tackled as best as I can.  I would be a crude and self-tricking twat to claim an accurate verdict here but I would be totally fair in claiming it to be as honest as it can possibly be.  For those in the generic pool a better verdict would be granted and more pleasure gained but I am happy to have dabbled here as mixing and matching the melodies is always good for the soul.  I give this a 50/50 split decision with some sweet moments had against much that fails to turn me on - like I say, honesty is the way!

 

THE DOMESTICS - CHERRY BLOSSOM LIFE

The Domestics - hardcore from East Anglia.  I have witnessed this crew only once to date, such is the state of an active life.  They were good let me tell you, but they were of a specific acoustic ilk - is that a bad or a good thing?  The band dropped from the womb of restless creativity during the year 2011.  I was not at the birth!  The doctors claimed it was a mistake, the peephole perverts who peered through the steamed glass of the birthing room said it was a revelation - maybe this is indeed discordance for deviants!  I don my surgical gloves, I throw the placenta of idleness in your fuckin' complacent mug and do my bit in those usual terms.

Delve, rummage, pluck and fuck!  The opening spasm of spawn to be textually molested goes by the name of 'Dead In The Dirt'.  It is a typical start with that rugged bass line instantaneously snatching at my receptive antennae and getting my inner guts turning.  The drums hep up the promising impact and when the scream from Hell comes it is as no surprise.  Visceral and violent this is an immediate tidal wave crashing against your rocks of indolence.  It comes, it slaps with spirit, fuckin' have it or run for the hills. 'Snuffed Out' comes in like a rhythmic rapist sniffing the acoustic arsehole of promise and duly mad dashes forward to invest its entire raging framework in a 55 second bout of devilish mania. The strings stop, start and surge whilst the face is rumpled up in eternal rage and lets rip in one fiery flourish, whilst all the while the skin is getting slapped mighty hard - eat shit baby!

And...

Clobber, confuse, find aim!  'Don't Tell Me What Love Is' is a livid reaction, a self-propelled dust-bowl of active energy that clatter splatters with under-adorned focus and is beautifully torn asunder by sporadic vocal outbursts that project rabid mania and thus arouse the senses of the tensed kind.  I like this one, it is well-fuelled and bruises its own testicular sac of tonality with greedy abandon - thwack!  'Homegrown Violence' is a more strained affair and is delivered with such ambitious aggression that it loses something of an overall direction.  The first section of raving rhythm is akin to a crumpled paper bag with creases aplenty bur no real design to the screwed up patternization.  I get a trifled disappointed but suddenly, out of the fascinating yonder, the band discover true hardcore mesmerism and rattle home a good wholesome 22 seconds of bone-jarring sound - a salvation, a beating to buzz off - how nice!

So...

I move one, the next couplet of corruption slags off with 'No Deposit, No Return', a rumbling gyp fuck that trundles on warping tracks due to the careless neglect and downright brutality of the travellers.  This songs starts with a deeper spite, dissolves into one straight forward H/C assault that is typical of the bands, and sub-scene's, creations. It is what it is but nothing to get too excited about if ye be seeking something new.  Still a fair kick up the arse though.  A gutting next with poetical verbal’s frothing over with bloodletting disgruntlement as a digit is directed at those victims and self-suicidal volunteers who have copped for a beating and didn't pay heed to the early warning signs.  The fishmongers of control brandished their filleting knives, you laid yourself wide open, enjoying watching your innards spill onto the cold, white slab...of indifference. Tis only 'Human Ikizukur' after all!

'Punch In The Guts' is visceral, unapologetic and delivered with a mean intent striving to turn the innards to mush.  It is a punch that is doubled, trebled, quadrupled up and is an attack that many of us lowly listeners are quite prepared for.  The questions I pose here are as thus - Is the track damaging enough?  Does it stand out from a pack of similar melees?  Is there enough variation in the delivery to test the band and the lugs of the eavesdropper?  Answers on a postcard to...'Hell'.  'Authentic Arsehole' is a drilling and driving shitstorm of aggressive tantrumisation with many toys thrown from the kicked to fuck pram as well as some spitefully shitted nappies and projectile splats of reeking vomit.  The noise is thrown forth with a dazzling tightness and a roughened epidermal layer that feels mightily uncomfortable.  The raucousness and jackhammer mindlessness could almost make one incontinent - is it so wrong to piss your pants due to vibrant tremblings?  Oh another question left for you to dwell upon!

'Frustration' is a growing feeling and perhaps this song is well timed.  I am desirous of a change at this point but get belted by this unsubtle and quite vulgar parade of musical molestation.  Again I stand firm and recognise this as a watertight clatter twatter that cripples the senses with a short sharp reaction of irate gusto but, it is too much of the same and the impact is negated, the quality of the resonations somewhat diluted and although short, sharp shocks are a wonderful punk rock thing I suggest here that the band tread alternative tracks - a Northern Soul number perhaps (and why the fuck not)?

Onto a quick slick trio of take-downs.  'Guilty As Charged' spasm wanks, fidgets like a flea ridden rat and thunders along with balls bruised and on show for all to see.  Kiss those knackers with appreciation or swing a hefty boot and crush the spherical fuckers - tis your call.  'Self-Abuse' rubs the shaft of sound with calloused hands and causes numerous ruptures and bell-bleeds that show that these wankers of sound certainly mean what they do.  The dome is blown, the oriental eye placed under extreme pressure and the final fling of sonic semen stinks to ruddy buggery - I may be impregnated or then again, just masturbated.  'Stalinist Purge' has a reason to be, it forces home its edgy energy with a stretched out upswing of heavy fisted riffery that, for some reason, makes the biggest impression with my impatient self.  I like the regulations that rip me a new ring, the sense of order within the rambunctious rabidity hits a g-spot and I play this one several times after the assessing event to make sure I am on the well hoofed ball.

Fuck, the last port of call and with malnourished sub-radio waffling in a hailstorm of white-noise we are led by the bloodied hand into the crappy and self-conning realm of 'Happy' - whatever turns you on mate I am outta here.

Delight, disappointment and a desire to prod these bastards into pastures new.  This is what I expected it to be - beefy and unpredictable in part, underweight and too easily foreseen in others.  The Domestics do what they do and do it well but within the Fungalised noggin they are at a stage where they should be stretching themselves a little further - nudge, ruddy nudge.  

   

THE ARDENT - SELF-TITLED

The Ardent are a local-ish band to me and have played on one of my gigs thus far, hopefully there will be more.  The band were born from the ashes of Buddhist Anarchist, another fine outfit who played a few Fungalised fuck-ups as I fondly call them.  Here we get DIY grunge fucking with the rhythmic ring of metal and then sticking one up the shitter of the punk scene - I like that.  This is an embryonic release, unfertilised and unaffected - you can like it, lump it or kick it to kingdom come - wherever that might be!  I come, assess and piss off into the great wanked yonder, I know my place!

'Bobbles Out' opens with a brief greeting to the heads of iron before crunching up all cacophonic areas and delivering with a simmering intensity liable to defecate in its own under-kecks of noise.  The relaxing of the bowels comes, a devilish mess is made as the band intensifies the straining and allow the gut-fire to descend into one reeking heap.  The initial streak is mechanical before a gear shift is had and the conveyer belt of corruption rushes to Hell.  Luckily we are saved at the last by the safety valve being pulled - it is a diseased track to ponder.  'Pipers Revenge' fuck pumps with futurised application and torn-arse spasms.  The overcoat of discordant paintwork is applied with reckless abandon and the sunken impression of vocal texture is almost lost in a thick glutinous mass of dripping disarray.  One must look on with care and adopt a more eclectic stance than usually found in many self-obsessed and strangulating pits.  I care not for labels, social scenes and musical pigeon-holes so am happy to wallow in many craters of rhythmic shit.  Here I strip, plunge and come out infected. My verdict is that this noise is heavy-duty, tough to digest and hard on the senses but, within the melee there is power, hunger, confusion and a restless ambition to piss off those idlers who like things nice and easy and of a certain limited style.  The production fails to maximise the bands gnawing violence and inner blazings but hey, tis DIY and we are all not sticking our cocks in a fickle cash cow who takes, spits back and leaves one...ethically raped.  Not a bad effort this, the bruises given do last!

We flush away into the silence with 'Terra Incognita', a dirty runt of a song that crawls through sickening rivers of discordance diarrhoea and golden piss streaked filth.  All is played beneath a reeking upper surface were only the most depraved gulls of sound swoop to feed.  What little nutritious noise there is to chomp on needs focused mastication to get the best out of a delivery doused in ruining detritus.  If one pecks hard one can find salvation and a troublesome edge to consider further but let’s face it - how many are gonna make the effort?  For me the song needs work, especially in the production room - gotta be up front and transparent tha' knows.

3 tracks done, 3 polluting morsels chewed over and choked on.  This is a debut tinkering, watch this space there is more to come but for now the stall is set and the intent to offend and confound seems the theme adopted.  I shall give this lot another gig, I shall hopefully nudge them onto the next level!

   

SOFT FANGS - FRACTURES

Inclusion - 'Soft Fangs is the musical project of Brooklyn-based songwriter, John Lutkevich. Since his first EP (Soft Fangs | 2014) and subsequent full length (The Light | 2016), Lutkevich has been enticing audiences all over with his purposefully crafted dark pop'.  My own take is from nowhere as Soft Fangs have undulated down on featherlight mannerisms and landed in my lap whilst distracted with meatier affairs.  I am summoned to scribble a review and I listen in and tackle things head on, although this time with the 'Fragile - Handle With Care' warning taken heed of!

Sweet amber kissed lilts are masterminded and given a delivery of soft intent with all areas remaining positive and somewhat mystical.  An essence of 'white horses' silently galloping through pluming mists of yesteryear are envisioned as the first intricacy flown under the musical moniker of 'Elephant Girl'. A very light and disposable waft of wintry whispering that, for the sheer life of me, I can't help being tenderly hypnotised by.  The resource of musical charm is multi-dimensional, I am happy I flit around like a fly on heat and that my sensors uncover (and appreciate) a range of fascinations.  The chasing slant is called 'Honey Colony', a morose tale with lace-made mellifluence that secretively creeps into the cupboards of your consciousness and pervades the darkened atmosphere therein.  Silence that is presumed golden is darkened with sombre and disconsolate shadings that move like hopeless motes in a sub-vacuum of bleak wonder.  The swirl is languid, the soft-lip kisses a blessing and they somehow gently propagate an acknowledgement of something sincere.

On the sun-lounger I drift and further into this tranquilised CD.

'Folk Guitar' and 'Apple Picking' is the next brace of tricklet tunings with the former a somewhat roboticised advancement of unsure plucks and oral murmurs that eventually gets assisted by a slow sonic pulsation. The lazed hypnotica operates well and as a lullaby number I would certainly recommend.  The latter lilt is a more extended composition with all attributes floated on soft soporific clouds of talcum powder effect. Any harsher wind blowing on this distinct delicacy would produce plumes of dissolving disaster and it is just as well the artists barely breathes whilst delivering her whispers.  As per, idling, motion-minimal and best played in times of self-induced inertia.  It is very precise in all aspects but the effect sought is certainly achieved.

Onto the next 3, 'Songs From A Smoking Snail' moves along through a cloying mist and over an impeding ground that is only aided and encouraged via the sympathetic susurrations that keep the whole movement nudged.  Nothing more, nothing less...just nudged and done so with utter care and china-bone sensitivity.  The wind-out is awful and pointless though and, in some ways, mars all that precedes - what a faux pas!  'No Cops' is almost aped artistry and mimics its predecessor in an unabashed shameless style that keeps us on one flat-lined level that is a little too much for this lover of things opposing, mixed and clashing.  The slow stewing style that permeates the fabric of noiseless aggravation is in no rush to suggest its point and the entire framework of the delivery is soporific and somewhat stupefied thus leaving the message of the meander somewhat hidden.  I like the title of 'Weed Spiders' and expect a more fidgeted song - oh how wrong I am.  Instead of a scurrying inclusion we get an acoustic arachnid of sound doused in the essences of Mogadon-induced inertia and slumberous narcotics that have really knocked the steam out of anything akin to animated.  At this point I need to switch off and take stock - I do just that and then replay - I remain uninspired.

And to the last run in of 4.  Unlike the songs my sonic shorts are hitched up and I cut a dash through the offerings giving acute verdicts as I go.  'Cartoons' has a certain weight and throwback honesty but once again melts down into an overly soft cushion caress that is now pushing things too far.  To show how thin my patience has become I flit through the last 3, namely 'Jordan Jackson Elementary', 'Mistress' and 'We Don't Live Together Anymore' and fly a big fuck off flag that is violently daubed with the word 'bored'.  My interest has waned and it is one of those rare occasions that I bail out and run for the hills where more appealing vibes reside.

No, no, and no - I am at my wits end and after finding the band to have an angle that they do well I can state with firmness that towards the latter end a change of direction was desperately needed.  Whoever listens to this will need some serious rousing afterwards and the initially intriguing oral utterances soon become a trial not for the ones who like things short, shouted and animated.  I hate to be the bearer of bad vibes but as per, honesty is the only way.

   

HATERS - CHRONIC

The pea-pods of punk rock are forever popping and many new units ping forth and bounce with noise-laden energy.  In 2014 the fertile vegetable patch of sonica saw one such creation arise, this one under the appellation of Haters.  Here they have finally got around to tempting the onlooker with radiated vibrations and I chomp down deep on the core of cacophony and tackle the quartet of sounds on offer. My spade of criticism is ready, my hoe of honesty prepared too and my green fingers plunge in and see what melodic manipulations I am granted with.

'Stomach Ache' begins with the grumblings of the 4-wired weapon and the regulation slaps of the tympanics.  Tender tones squeeze forth from feminine lips and add deep texture before crisp guitar strokes add sugar sunshine and extra shimmers thus gently enhancing the initial acoustic brushstrokes.  The true gist of the song is eventually grasped and many well-breezed occurrences come, many swells of sand-shifting gracefulness are manipulated and all the while a certain fragility and holistic tenderness pervades.  This is a fluffed up but well ruffled pop pillow of sound to lazily digest over many plays, preferably in a sun-kissed field or on a summer blessed beach - you know the score I am sure.  It is a solar kissed start and one to warm the cockles - how dare I have any complaints.

Next and the waft of 'Brave' is beautifully introduced on panoramic guitars of the most simplest style.  The initial verse is slow to attract a deep investment of attention but when the donation of the delicious chorus comes I reach far into my reserves and offer up confident praise.  Of course this is a gentle lilt of an unspiked and uncrumpled kind but the massaging comfort it induces and the exactitude of each and every component all converge and hit a hotspot of pleasurable sweetness.  The use of the word 'pleasant' is sometimes insulting, weak and a cop-out, not so here, this is a pleasant gift from a band not aiming to clobber but from a crew looking to drift and attract any curious hitchhikers.  I am now on-board!

'Drinkin' Beers With Phil' is more tender tonality, moving with considerate care and wafted along on the merest zephyrs.  This one is more of the same but for me a flaw is found in the fact that it is a trifle looser and lacks a little of the inner direction that gave its predecessors an easier rhythmic rope to grasp.  All areas are tidily applied, the culmination comes albeit briefly and the song eventually signs off in good style but along the way a true path is not followed and I trip and fall trying to keep up and remain balanced.  Again, these personal instincts that are piqued by the merest alteration of acoustic output are awkward to explain but honesty must dictate and this is how I feel. No bad song though, just not for me this time around.

'Chronic' is the closure and after the low point more often than not, comes the paradoxical highpoint.  Such is the case yet again!  What a wonderful thermal blast to stand in the face of, what a quite gratifying sirocco of sand-blown sonica this is to get duly cleansed by.  The swirl of the sound is smooth and serenading and funnels its warm beauty into the core of your listening framework.  The foamed meringue of intoxicating vocals float on a body of comforting tonality that is nothing less than a pure delight.  To get these kind of gems tidy enough and liquid enough to create a perfect balance is no mean task but here we have a mastering of the art form and with its sobered outlook on life's niggles and nuances we have a song to ruddy well bask in.

I am now outta here and am going to recommend that all and sundry dip in here and take a punt on something quite user-friendly and with a gentle articulation not to be under-valued.  The last track alone is worth the effort alone and I reckon this one could very well end up a Song of the Month on my very own website.  And why not indeed?

   
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