FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 1
 
 

EYE LICKER - ONCE MORE INTO THE RABBIT HOLE

I have given Eye Licker a few gigs over the years and then they went on a hiatus.  Recently they have popped back up and I went and witnessed how things were going.  Lovely lads and worth the effort and man did I get a treat.  The show rocked hard, was delivered with an absorbing vitality and really impressed this 'stick in the mud' no end.  They threw themselves into the racket, did so with a strict adherence to the hardcore ways and made a deep impression on the few who took time to absorb.  I have booked them again and in the meantime have this CD to meddle with.  Come shit or shine you will get the truth, sway and bias is a disease in the musical world and is eating the goodness alive, from the inside out - blah, stick that rotten way.

'Schmintro' opens the gateway, a musical aperitif to whet your appetite and moisten parts perhaps previously unreached (you should call the local vicar, he'll sort you out).  This initial episode is brief and rocking but gives hint at the mix of matters and how the band have got things spot on the mark.  We are soon into the meat of the music proper with the sharp fangs of 'The Safeword Is Harder', a fuckin' rambunctious and ripping tune that skewers deep, turns with a spite and draws out visceral reaction from this reviewing git at least.  The tight application is down to each and every component within the string section being in unision, the drums indulging in some good old clobberin' time (In Grimm-esque style) and the throat abrasions searing with frightening fury of a fired up and unpredictable kind!  The inner strip down and brief spartan wire-wank is cute - it splits the song nicely in two. 

'In-Sanity' is a blister-inducing mind-fuck.  A proportionally large lump of lunatic discordance that is best calibrated by the incisive cut of the mental cloth, a material that is shredded to fuck and thrown around the rubberised room with shit-flinging abandon.  The output is obvious, a mere madhouse of vulgar aggression venting a spleen tattooed throughout with ravenous frustration - fuckin' enjoy it ya cunts!  'I Don't Fit In' is a serious shitter baby and clobbers away with Hulk-fisted brutality, making sure that the initial attack is fast, angled and of varied violence.  The mouth work is as expected, foaming with frustration and cutting deep within the consciousness.  The rapier thrusts of the noise are enhanced further by heavy bass lines and hefty sticks, all joining together to make one bowel moving blast worthy of its place on this CD.  We have a consistency, a clout, an exactitude in the mechanics of the noise that produces a hurtful product in a smooth and efficient manner.  Sometimes hardcore can be rough around the edges (no bad thing) but here we have a freshly stropped razor of sound as sharp as you could wish for.  The feeling of the outsider too many punks don't recognise anymore is well re-puked upward - nice.  'Choking Hazard' is a perpetually turning thumbscrew that applies a pressure with cool, confident ease.  The band have missed a trick here as this could have been an opening gambit and a closing sound that could have made the CD a complete, enclosed package of high octane explosives - surely a must for the 'live' set so as to add that oh so, polished touch.

'Death And Taxes' is a more prolonged bout (or so it seems), tidies up the hardcore act somewhat and comes across as a more orthodox and regulated song.  For me, an essence of recklessness is lost, a very essential ingredient in the Orb Licking mix and one that elevates songs from the decent to the delectable. Despite this, the song grows, has a good concrete foundation and cuts to the core with direct action.  The overall feel is as you were, that is not a thing to complain of.  Talking of complaints - my nuts are sweating like buggery in this hot weather, this darn sizzling music ain't helping either!  Next up, 'Clean Out The Way', and after a clinically-cut and well prepared opening sequence the madness pervades all areas (ooh, now that's arousing) and gets parts trembling I only recently discovered existed. The horses gallop against the numbness of the charge of the shite brigade and trample down any complaints beneath rattling hooves.  The musical gubbins exposed are good value, the band adhere to the strict arrangement and clobber ones knackers with worthy clout and that final scream...ooh the head doctor needs calling for sure!  'Dumbstruck' bass vibrates, skin skips and eventually erupts with guitar scarring boils.  The arse of the song is slapped hard, the tonal todge wobbled well and the nippled neurones tweaked with a rough-handed readiness.  No new sensations arise, they don't need to at this stage, the band are back at it, walloping away and laying new foundations - I have had a good aural walloping here, I take it in my stride, it feels mighty good.

So a fine band are back in business, I have said my bit - are ye intrigued?  I hope so, it would be a shame for you to miss out, then again, you can do what the fuck you want and kiss my arse in the process.  I think this is a decent dig by a strong punching band - go on, put your chin out there and get ready for the knockout blow.

   

VAMPILLIA - HAPPINESS BROUGHT BY ENDLESS SORROW

Self-described as 'brutal orchestra' this Japanese band throw caution to the wind and tear out a terrifying hot-bed of noise built on nothing more than nervous tension, passion and some niggling frustration.  The cut and thrust is decisive and I have 4 songs to get my assessing mitts around.  Time is spent, I avoid an error by preparing myself via a multi-spin routine - this ain't easy!

'Winter Ash' burns bright, so bright as to damage retinal fluid.  The song is built on a whipping sun-wind, laden with flying razorblades that hurtle in many directions and leave one shredded.  The intensity is tumour inducing and from these tumours maggots of cancerous evil crawl and spread a truly infecting disease one may take perverse delight in or one may hurry and seek serious treatment for.  For orthodox hardcore (an oxymoron therein lies) one can perhaps find a certain historical zeitgeist when the strain leached deeper into the substrate of many minds and sent them truly AWOL - here we have perhaps a snippet of that ilk, albeit in a more advanced and dangerous style.  This opening gambit is twisted, unsettling, but has an ugly beauty that appeals.  What it appeals to is the age old question...one day answers may be found.  'Back To...' is a follow on, perhaps with more drama, perhaps with further glass smashing fury added to the maelstrom.  It is a fuzz-ball of rotating ill-temper although a final pacification of ornate delicacy throws all potential assessments out of the broken window and leaves one...delightfully confused.  The merest touch of orchestration is a marvellous tease - I peel away...reeling.

To track the third, 'Ggggzzgggzzz', an experimentation that flies in on white heat shards of vehement hatred whilst an underscore of ivory-manipulation operates and keeps one guessing.  This is a sonic squabble that goes too far and involves a vicious gallery of demons akin to the followers of Pendragon, that nefarious ruler of all souls sable and lost and who were a persistent thorn in the side of the giant slaying hero, Jack.  Beasts tumble, curses flies, garish plumes erupt as magical decadency adds to the violent display, each burst a bloom built on focus and destructive desire - the band at the core are operating without slip - tis a form of madness.  We close and gasp with 'Hell PM', a tumult of gargantuan proportions that sees incessant piranhas feed in a white-eyed frenzy and shudder in a devouring mass of blood-splattered mania.  We are the victim, the one who has swam too far for our own good and from the first nip of the sonic teeth we should have known better.  Now, our last vestiges of humanity are being raped by maws of malevolent need, we feel the pain but the pain has now turned to a numbing pleasure - we are dazed, acceptant and sink to our destiny - beaten.

I am ambiguous here and for a very good reason.  Do I like this, do I loathe it, do I really give a fuck?  Well the latter poser is easy - of course I fuckin' do but the 2 former questions are up in their air.  I feel as though I should loathe it and know better, but I don't and yet I am unsure if I feel favourable towards the discharge given.  Tis a veritable boil on the bottom, one you keep reaching to squeeze and feel relief when the pus flows but one which nauseates all the while...but when it finally goes...oh and when!

   

LUCY AND THE RATS - SELF-TITLED

Approximately 3 years as a unit, a few releases achieved and gigs here and there under the belt and Lucy and the Rats are a moving and grooving outfit who play pop tunes to please and to lift the spirits.  They have a gentleness that has a resolute edge and once hooked you will do well to break free.  I am looking here for an upsurge on previous dabblings, progress is always the key.

'Pills' is a bright and buzzing opener loaded with happy-inducing sensations borne from players a little too boosted.  The harmonic delivery of the vocals is perfectly delicious, the persuasive pleasure cascaded over our eavesdropping bones is generous and juicy and this, if anything, is a pure uplifting summer-time special destined to make you think of all things cheerful, cuddly and comforting.  Tis pop punk played with precision, gently boiled up with a care not to overspill.  For me this is an absolutely stunning moment and I repeat, repeat and...repeat - thank ye!  PS - I have chosen this as Song of the Month - tis lovely!  'Make You Mine' is a droplet laden lilt of summer-dress charm, a tuned-touched raiment shot through with solar sincerity and wafted delicateness that both warms and cools in one soothing glance.  The tonality is gentle, a comforting arm goes around one's shoulders and gives a squeeze of reassurance in the most sincerest of sonic terms.  This isn't an instantaneous hit as found with the first track but man, it gets brighter with every rotation.

'Lose My Mind' is a perked little tinkle obviously swayed by 'silly billy' emotion that has a certain endorphin gush enhanced by a feel-good essence and carefree adoption of all things fancy free.  The chemical imbalance is obvious, the joy of a release very tangible as is the worry of something 'on the other side' of sanity.  Once again the winning formula is the light skip of the drums, the juicy fruit vocals and the solar-kissed guitar - I love it.  'So Simple' has dreary undertones I feel and a slant that is more sobered than what has tunefully transpired thus far.  The opening string strikes are idled and set a tone.  The impetus is picked up but all the while the previous colour scheme is subdued and one has to adjust.  The effort to retrain the lugs is worth it and this move into slightly more monochromatic avenues is well received.  A wariness, a suspicion, a deeper emotive carpet is trod - all the while consistency and clarity is maintained.   My least favoured number thus far but an adequate and crucial inclusion.

'Melody' is a combination of elements that rise from a sluggish depression and clutch at rainbow kissed sun dazzles whilst growing in sanguinity and inner belief.  The hope springs eternal as the glistened guitars, relished drums and honey-dripped vocals work in mesmerising union and bless our bonses with a tuneful gift of advancing happiness.  There is no need to fret, no need to dwell on things of yore - move on, embrace what comes and sit in the present with this fine tune as your only company!  'Night' is a distant glow that first radiates in crepuscular fashion.  The early bats of tonality take to the wing and a flutter builds with all in one accord and a direction achieved.  The full sable cloak is never truly thrown our way as the band, as per, provide their own source of light, a light that fractures all bleakness and keeps one chipper and moving.  Not the most 'in yer face' moment this, a song built on light suggestion and pre-planned orchestration but one, with time, that makes its own unassuming mark.

'Fall' is a smitten soaked tickle, a confessional from the arrow-struck heart that crawls along on submissive knees and almost pleads for your listening mercy.  Tender, tuneful but overly soppy, it is far from a manly tune and so I call upon my womanly side and get out the plastic tits from Blackpool and tape down my todge to give that much sought after 'fanny look'. It doesn't work, I get myself sorted and skip on.  Despite this being a sweetly played song I have heard better - sorry folks, and we were doing so well.  'Hold On Me' has a serious opening rumble, the bass playing with a furrowed brow and assisted by a drum grumble in suitable style.  The guitar touches remain subdued, the vocals wary but fear not, the song lifts up, moves with a honeyed grace and withheld flamboyance through a verse that wafts the curtains of your indifference and clears any in-head negativity.  A room swirling eddy of delight is generated and into the waft we must go - smiling, dancing, at one with the music.   The penultimate song, 'Girl' is a glacier kissed waterfall flowing against gravity and forming lofted mists were moments of thoughtfulness occur.  Amid tranquil female thoughts a concern appears and as a bloke I am outside the ponderings.  This doesn't stop me from appreciating the luscious lemon-drop lilts and cerebral ripples of worry that are played out with a certain sickly sweet accent - I do trip on though in fear of exposing too much of my femininity.  'Can't Surf' is a tale of carelessness and played out with the usual uplifting strain that is free from cloying chordage or ring-ripping riffery - which is no bad thing.  It is a simple popsicle of sound to lick or leave, there are no profound flavours to uncover, no inner surprises and no blatant angles - just a simplistic drift to close the door on a rather stimulating CD - and who can argue with that...well...!

I like this one, this kind of stuff sits well with me and adds a much needed variation in my listening material.  Hardcore, Oi, Ska, Northern Soul, Retro and New Punk, Pop Punk, Skater, Stoner, Rock and Roll etc. etc. all get thrown into the mix and make for a happy slab of cacophonous cake I am happy to munch on over and over again - that you to Lucy and the Rats for adding to my musical waistline - hey fatty bum, bum!

   

THE GET UP KIDS - KICKER EP

Forming in Kansas City in 1995 this lot play their brand of noise with a mix of the commercialised, the home-made and the Americanised all soaked into one hard-fought pot of saturation that, in the main, will appeal to those not entrenched in sub-scene mania and rut-forming rhythm.  Others will come, partake and go, scattering opinion to the wind upon which many may chew or, as is the norm, duly ignore.  There is nothing outrageous stepping out of the shadows of silence, no new-ground-breaking discordance to turn my innards to excitable mush, what we get is...this. 

A screw twist, a thump and a rhythm as sharp as a nail.  The first song 'Maybe' unfolds with a desert-blown cactus flow - sending pollen forth onto heat hazed dust-floors where heels are awaiting to kick up a storm.  The movement is sizzled from the inside out, the application of intensity is kept up throughout and the tympanic eagerness is the prime driving force.  The blend has a distinct US bleed that stains the soundscape and gives it an edge that many may find unappealing.  Saying that, I know a few who like this kind of move and groove accented noise and when all is said and done the band drive matters home with a certainty and effective dynamism.  Not bad, I travel into 'Better This Way'...expectant!  A machine-like pulse begins, takes us through the opening sequence where the vocals enter in lucid format, the drums skip along and the bass applies itself with strict discipline thus laying a substrate on which the rest of the movement can flow.  This flow is easy, accurate and of an accent to traverse the boundary between that which is DIY and that which is more commercialised.  Being a down and dirty dog I turn my nose up at the cleaner and perhaps more popularised elements but I ain't fool enough not to recognise the fresh execution and quite amiable sound emitted.  There is a place for this relaxed music, I can dip in and out and not get too hung up, others may be more ardent in their outlook.

'I’m Sorry' ponders the starting option, decides to hit a vein and carries on in magnetising style.  The opening verse is well posted, the band display a consistency and, may it be said, efficiency, that involves an erudite forethought and technical know-how.  The gist is of a well-shaven, spruced up package of sound given extra weight by a certain saturation factor.  The professionalism may not be my thing but it works mighty well and when comparisons are made to noises of a similar ilk I can really find no negative points.  The liquidity of this one gives it an edge - an edge soaked in sincerity, even this cantankerous pig can't argue with that!  'My Own Reflection' finalises this 4-tricked pony of tunery and begins with an attentive and considered delivery before gently simmering upward to a boiling point very much under control.  This one is perhaps the tamest tickle of the bunch and goes for a more dream-float style that is further away from that which appeals to the Fungalised sensors.  I re-spin and pick up the aural hand lens, thus scrutinising deeper.  The start promises, the promise dissolves and I walk away...unconvinced.

The circles have been crossed yet again, I have dipped into territory foreign and come away with vibrations anew swirling around the clattered bonse.  This is music I can easily pass by but not before I give a nod of appreciation and state that age old adage 'each to the own'.  The band are hygienic, without spite and very clinical - but they know their onions, like I say 'each to their own'.

   

PUNK 4 THE HOMELESS - COMPILATION VOL 1

I know a man called Eagle, he has a good soul and has a wayward edge to keep one guessing - two marvellous qualities I applaud and the fact that he cares not one jot for the idiot punk rules and regulations pleases me no end.  On his journey through this life he tries to raise money for street kids via his noisy dabblings.  The charitable machine operates under the banner of Punk 4 the Homeless, I have a T-shirt, have a done a couple of joint gigs, I am a fan of what transpires.  Here I have a showcase of bands that have pitched in to the cause, many familiar faces are in the mix and a few I am not closely acquainted with - I indulge and these are my thoughts!

When starting a compilation CD one needs to combine quality and clout in one impacting punch and what better way to do that than call upon the talents of Brocker, a band I have worked with many times, who never fail to impress and who are a genuine cut-above.  'Gimme, Gimme Rock N Roll' is a barnstormer, exuding an ear-snagging lucidity, high action relish and just an all-round alive and kicking confidence that exhibits a band who are just loving it.  The arrangement here has many angles, all in cahoots and contributing to one clean cut crackerjack.  The vocals are lucid, the switches throughout are well-oiled/well-boiled - massive man, massive! Born To Destruct are the next band to be plucked from the pack, they spill forth a superfluity of gushing lust for getting up and playing 'live' and keeping you, the merry fuckers...happy.  Here we see a less gruff approach, a simplistic technique to deliver the tonal goods and an overspill of earthy emotion get mauled, molested and mailed through your aural letterbox with sincere sanguine belief.  This snags interest, from the interest comes involvement and from the involvement comes gratification - to the point and no bullshit, not a bad do at all.  3 Stone Monkey kick 'Left To The Right' and CSOD follow up with the hefty face-fuck of 'Be Ready'.  The first track comes from a band I am still hit or miss about and this song keeps me in the same grey area whereas the second track rapes and pillages your mind and leaves nothing behind only an utter bloody mess.   CSOD are gut-twisting band who never fail to arouse both on CD and in the 'live' pit of punishment.  Both efforts have their own merits and the first is better than I first deemed and grows like a well-fed parasite on the arse of a nazzy reviewer - serves me right - good stuff chaps.

Luddite Bastard puke out the diseased and spiteful cacophony known as 'Hitler Youth'.  A song dealing with such a shower needs a dirty edge and a poison coursing through the veins full of seething contempt.  The band do just that, inject it with raw-assed energy and balls-out anger whilst creating a cruddy filth many old-schoolers will love to get smeared by - and why not?  Rich Gulag comes forth on his todd, after some wordery flows out a warped poetical electro-beat entitled 'Glory Of Yesterday'.  There is a certain thread of something familiar here but also something from outside of the norm - nifty.  The inner core of the tune is smooth and running with a message.  The dig at the pretenders and players is not lost, the sharp insight into what is and what is not is cute and beneath it all one detects a frustration with the ways things have gone, inside, outside, everywhere.  A decent chap this, worthy of time both on and off stage - listen in, shift thy rear!  Headsticks tease out the careful brilliance of 'You're Killing Me America', a choice song by a stunning band, a band I have worked with and hopefully, will do so again.  They provide a touch of utter class here in their own folk-punked way with all components pure, well-rehearsed and given that extra touch of heartfelt reality. I was a fan, I am a fan, I shall be a fan tomorrow - here is one reason why!  Lily Gaskell says 'Chin Up', and reveals a strong protest song of moving dimensions that tries its hardest to shift a couple of gears and get people thinking.  The plucker applies herself to the task with a heart full of thought, moves with great emotive passion and gives a cardinal-kissed tune that is working class, against the ruling mass and of an embracing slant many will surely sing along to.  Being a Nazi-Tory who gets off on poverty, capitalism and inequality I really can't get the gist of this - I have my tongue in my cheek when I say this, tis a shame many others don't.

Steve White And The Protest Family talk from the street and verbally send us 'Moving Target'.  A very pub-rock sound from vaults well-dusted but visited by those who appreciate some earthy and quite honest music.  This is a great tickle that takes into consideration the hazards of the cyclist and the cunts out there with no, or little, consideration.  I am a push-iron rider, I use the odd road here and there and recognise the stress involved - in fact on completing this review I have had a cussing today - fuck em', I shall cycle on and enjoy this number in the process - keep safe peeps.  'Ska Pete The Uplifter' is a street-credible reggae-tinted skank-along done in a jerky quirky kind of way and with an accented drawl.  I have heard this shizzle in various guises here and there over many years, it reminds me of something Do The Dog and has a certain aspect best suited to the 'live' pit.  I shall reserve judgement as I am, at this stage in my life, almost acoustically worn out!  UK Skunk offer up the foolish throwaway nonsense 'Hobnobs (The SAS of Dunkers)' a bout of misdirected tomfoolery that misses the true fact that Bourbons and Plain Digestives are the ultimate dip with those Special Stem Ginger Biscuits purchased at any reputable retailer being the purist zenith any biscuit devourer can reach.  The song creates a debate, the creation is too basic and lacks any real bite.  The mix is rusted which is a preference I have but here things appear to have not stood the test of the mixing room and I remain unprovoked.  Wonk Unit follow up next with an ever-inflating reputation that sees them go onto bigger and better things.  'Van' is typical fair, gets the blend spot on but doesn't have that ensnaring snap found elsewhere in the WU catalogue.  The last time I saw these guys they overdid things and sent me AWOL bored shitless, am I losing touch or are things growing in different ways - it does happen.  This has its charm but I am unmoved - tis a shame I suspect although I don't feel it.  

The Mispelt are a band I have done much with, they have some remarkable stuff out there and have entertained me no end over the years.  This is a track I have reviewed on previous occasions, here given a more 'live' treatment.  '99%' still has a good swing in its arse and shows the efficiency of the band as an 'in the flesh' unit.  The last few times I have seen em' I have been impressed, this is a good taster for the uninitiated - there is better waiting for you!  The Blissetts are the last unit to charm the airwaves with their usual sparse and very effective stripped-down style that is straight off-the-cuff, laden with believable lilts and as politically charged as ever.  This is a crisp upchuck of 'bloke off the street' gobbing, that is spat forth with a certain honesty that should not to be underestimated.  The inner crumple of the guitar and the 'fuck you' chant make 'Nothing To Lose (But Our Chains)' a good slap of earthy noise.  What a good way to end!

I have done, I have taken my time, I have ended up with quite a pleasurable sensation (ooh mother).  A good effort this and now I have been sent Volume 2 to tackle - by heck that Eagle is a bugger but hey, he is out there and doing - something that is an example to us all - now do your thing too - buy this, chase up the bands, put back!

 

THE PERFORMANCE ENHANCING SUPPOSITORIES - THE SEMI FINAL SOLUTION

The Performance Enhancing Suppositories are unsettled both musically and mentally.  They see things as they are, get wound up and react - that sounds pretty honest to me and after having several jabs up the sonic ring-piece via this four-fingered fuck of awkward spillage I feel as though I am now loose enough for my sphincter muscle to squeeze out a shit-stained review.  The band hail from North of the Border (fuck all borders), are obviously on strong prescription medicine and are people carrying a real problem on their shoulders - I like that!

We begin with 'Alienation', a groovy sounding song that moves on string-vest strings and sub-honky tonk wankings before slipping in with something akin to sham glam.  The band capture an early punk fuckery, move it on with a careful patchwork abstraction that is paraded with utter absorbed belief and razor-edged certainty.  There is a lot going on within the weft of the work, a veritable jazz and jizz jerk off of experimented masturbation that, after persistent rubbing of the shaft of sound, eventually spits seeds of angular success.  These seeds, once planted in your cerebral cunt, will give birth to visions of horror, horror that is perversely irresistible - I must be having a breakdown.  After a gum-induced explosion where one artist cracks and the other masticates hard in search of flavoured juices (ooh if only his mother knew) we travel on to the blatantly entitled 'Arsehole'.  A strict anti-people song, a vicious fist in the face of the masses with the band applying a musical gusto that grows like a tomato vine around the nuts of your consciousness and strangulates with a careless cruelty.  The opening sequence is relatively sane and melodic, a chant is thrown in with the main aim to enthuse rectal stuffing (cor blimey guvnor) but overall we get a delivery doused in fidgety frustration and inner belly angst that will not be doused anytime soon.  I request that you take time to dissect the noise here, listen to the neat touches that are almost a reaction to the rhythm, an ad hoc response to the feel of the foaming product....and then make your mind up!

'Ego Crusher' deals with one of my real pet hates, the all-consuming 'me, me me' attitude of the music scene and beyond.  Even people in the merest piss-pool squabble over the pecking order and backstab and betray in their feeble efforts to be on top of the pathetic, failing heap.  Over the years I have seen so much utter bullshit within the scene and met so many fakes who are only motivated by self-gain that I am at a stage where I am purely focused and undeterred by what anyone else does.  In the midst there are some fuckin' diamonds but finding those is hard work and the stink one has to go through is a real challenge.  This song deals with (and dishes) the dirt in forthright terms and comes on a thermal base that is loaded with threat and hateful venom.  The lass who joins in the invective is a fine touch and double-edges the brandished sonic sword - I hope it makes many bastards squirm.  I like this one, sometimes things need saying!  

After a bout of gigglemania we close with 'Hipster Plague (Acousdick)', a very pertinent song as these designer dullards are an extreme bore to my eyes and are a weak excuse in the name of fashion where an attempt at being an individual is almost laughable.  The kings of 'bespoke' and the mock antiquated these bearded bastards need to wake up and be themselves.  This song is a screwdriving twist of piss-taking and would surely be a fine accompaniment to a 'hipster bonfire' - mmm, smell that sizzling facial hair and those blazing flat caps.  The song in itself is a jerky jerk-off from Jerksville and comical in many ways, highlighting this sub-cultural farce in gratifying style.  To get to understand the 'hipster' style better I grow some facial hair, buy some expensive ripped jeans, don a generous coat of chequered pattern and hang around in the local coffee shop.  I feel a fool, my jokes about flash cars, high tech gadgetry and killing Ed Sheeran don't work - I am happy not to belong - thank you.

Job done, what a weird trip, what a bit of jolly nastiness and what an awkward slap of punk this is - right across the buttocks of complacency and predictability - just the way I like it.  Many will hate this, some will be offended, some may even use it to whip up emotions before they beat up a cross-eyed cretin, it doesn't matter, if it creates an emotion then that is a good job done.

 

SPLNTR - TRAILS, THEN AND NOW

Deadlamb Records are still at it folks, this is a blessing to all and you really should get out there and support em' - buy a CD, do a review, share their precious word.  These guys were the original and only sponsors of the SAS Tour, a showcase I ran with my good mate Andy NoizeAnoize, trying to get DIY a bit more notice in the 21st Century.  The label here offers up an 11 track CD from a band based in Orange County, California and after several rotations on the ever-rotating turntable I can hold my hands up and honestly say that some moments...inspire.  There is no need to over-indulge before the game is afoot, I go in and take things step by step and let you pick up on my feelings.

Bang - the title track is thrown out 'Trails' is a beauty and after a roll over the skins, a guitar twinge and a smooth, reined in first verse a hint of what is to come is given via a brief stimulating sub-chorus.  Textured and exhilarating the song grows in presence with all nooks and crannies free of cloying dust and polished up for you to admire.  The merging of the angles comes, a succinct message is hammered home via the aforementioned sections where the band rise high and apply their trade with pertinent passion.  The flare of the temperament is executed with consideration,  the eye of the storm draws one in and the final swirl of spirit is not lost as our senses get blasted.

'Grind' has addictive qualities in many ways and is a smartly executed and has more going for it that one first deems possible.  The gruff vocals are enthused by the reacting music that is a mere catalyst for continuous high energy that all the while has a natural flow and absorbing nature.  From the shout out and bass grumble to the high frequency electro bursts, the excitement levels remain lofted and we are thrown about a melting pot of bubbling action with gusto.  The band back up the initial impact made via their first tremendous song with a thoughtful and articulate second piece - lovely.  'Riot' moves up the ladder of success, wallops home a pile-driving fist of defiant musical aggression that makes one sit up and take note.  From the stable and focused to the more flamboyant and weaving there is a reliable solidity racing through each and every vein of this excellent outburst and all along the way, from the bass grumble and white-light guitar strains through the opening gravelled hollers to the all-absorbing soundscape set, this is a beauty - 3 down, the foundations have been set for Album of the Year already!

'Step Back' is a fuckin' blinder, one I use, as well as the rest of the album, to don the boxing gloves and knock seven bells out of the punch-bag or anyone who gets too close (I do get carried away tha' knows).  The band are on fire, they are nailing each and every song and doing so whilst exuding a prominent class that one cannot deny.  This song opens up with a salvo, pummels with pace before haymaking with a quality that refuses to bob and weave but stands its ground and lets you have it in no uncertain terms.  'Chinatown' is equal to the follow-on task but comes with a more controlled culture and erudite essence emanated from a band very much on the top of their game.  The heavy-duty application, sincere force and precise drive of all unified components is right in-line with my noisy ways.  This is another cracker, I think the band are something quite special on the evidence given so far.  'Needle Park' scampers in, travels with lofted energy and impetus and tells a tale of a murky world where the needy are in danger, the predator’s prowl and the gunslingers are happy to fire off their frustrations.  The songs skids along, slides in a bloodbath of effective presence whilst all the while being kept on its toes by the rattling tympanic energy that never abates.  A firm middle-ground song as is the chaser 'Stranger Than Fiction.  This slab of sound is one of the smoothest efforts and sails along in easy fashion but still has much weight within its inner core.  The cooled-down tones are a subtle alteration than what has gone before and although left salivating for another high-powered burst I can see the raison d'être of this song and also appreciate it capabilities.  A steady effort and one that easily keeps the interest - high!

The last 4 are upon us, 'Drive' is emotive chaos let from the leash and allowed to spit venom and tear chunks out of your inattentive arse.  A 1 minute 32 second eruption of spiteful kick-back that blows a chunk from the set-pattern of the CD and nicely leaves one staggering.  Fast, to the point and with guts exposed.  A quite scrumptious bass drive opens 'One Two, One Two' and is soon joined by a tension-inducing vibration that really sets the soul alight.  The band are foaming at the mouth, at the arse, at each and every pore - the perspired juices emanated are blood soaked, inspiring and full of fuckin' gumption.  The tightness and stress-laden intensity is only relieved by a brilliant moment of free-flown melody before the heat is turned back on and a knife is held to the throat.  A lovely explosion - now where's those knuckledusters?  'Automatic' is a zenith, a mere gold-tinted monolith of glorifying grandness that excites and ignites whilst moving with consummate quality through each and every discordant department.  The band are on the top of their game, the switch between blue-light encouragement to an easily delivered chorus of snagging proportions is sublime, this is a latter end beauty - do not overlook it and whilst you’re at it, admire a band on their way to making for one amazing CD - ah amazing, a shitty word used by the masses and diluted in the extreme, not so here, this collection of songs are bang on.  We close with 'Wonder Why', a hearty rip up full of abrasive guitar work, throbbing bassism, slap-happy sticks and vigorous gravel-splattered vocals that leave little room to put in a critical boot.  The band go out with a flourish, stop, start, slam with intent and screw and swerve before crashing into that final wall of silence in fine, blazing style.  The job is a fuckin' good un' folks, this has been one exciting journey, I am ecstatic.

And there, my perusing chum, is a CD done in stunning style and if the truth be known, is up there with some of the best.  Splintr have come from nowhere and registered themselves big-time on the Fungal Richter scale - the earthquake has left many an aftershock, be prepared to get knocked off your feet.

   

THE WEBB - TRUTH DELAY

Well what can I say about The Webb?  2 absolutely lovely people, playing music they like and not what the scene demands and chipping in whenever the need arises.  They have played several Fungal gigs, a couple of which were charity do's whereupon they came, played for nowt and made a sweet donation - this kind of attitude and behaviour far outweighs much of the bollocks that goes on out there and will sit with me in the most admired and respectable way possible.  This delightful positive aspects in no way will swing my verdict of the songs under the spotlight and as per, I would never insult decent people, with bullshit backslapping - it goes on far too much and is one of the worst human traits I know.  I go in, I take my time, I re-wire into the Webbery, I hope those arachnids are feeling kind today!

'Born Fed' glances in on compressed Webb-waves before pulsing on stark-naked sober tones that come from vaults of iced distance and mechanoid cruelty.  The statements about the situation of this existence may not be favourable in this Facebook happy-happy social scene but the fact remains the basic routines are all the same and this cold reality is yours to face.  Whether you choose to live your life taking heed of these spoints or keep your head up your arse is your call, this is a frosted tune and leads you through the gateway of the album on uncomplicated terms.  'First In My Book' is a slow beat of sedate exploration with the tendrils of tonality reaching out with a certain timidity and finding where is the most appropriate place to lay down new roots of rhythm.  The lead girls gothic utterances are dominant, have a prowess and magnificence that is both sultry , mysterious and...unsettling. The synthed soundscape operates in two ways - clockwork and without feeling and then panoramic, emotive and embracing - it is a comfortable design and works a treat - tis always marvellous to adopt these altered vibrations.

'Trust Me I Know' runs in light-snatching rivulets through computerised rivers of fidgeting affect.  The first verse is dominating and stark and moves into a neatly punctuated sub-chorus that sees us then merge into a brief retro ripple of sound akin to something almost Who-vian.  The mix is The Webb through and through and when we see a complete breakdown of the threads and an inner collapse of the structure I think we are witnessing a band still restless and looking to extend their acoustic arm.  This is well-blended song, it gets its job done and doesn't hang around for the sake of it - appreciations are mine!  A glass fractured alarm call rouses us, a crud chug chases and then a slide down internetted freeways were techno-toss and the life's pressures drain the brain in no uncertain terms.  'Get Up And Go' is a cool customer dealing a clean and clinical warning to all who pass by.  You may have empty gas tanks but do you stop and think?  This is a decent delivery with a purity borne of tended keys and care in the mixing room.  The energy via the plugged-in contraptions counterbalances the doom laden lyrics and we have song to digest further.  'School' is a horror show, a reminder of the time when each and every day of the week we were drilled into position by suited and booted operators of a regime gone wank and an educational system hell-bent on moulding the future man or woman.  Luckily many of us were able to scrape through with scars aplenty but come out the other end clued in and not willing to repeat the process.  The repetition was the biggest killer of creativity, a point re-emphasised here in a song that harrows the mind - I replay squeezing my sphincter muscle and expecting a rap on my bonse from a ghostly headmaster, brutalising beyond the grave.   

'Hell-Fire' is a slow roam through vaults of minimal light where subterranean sinisterism pulsates with glow-worm subtlety and straining determination.  The dull emanations take time to highlight ones sonic hot-spots but with consideration and time a languid but somewhat acute number is had with many toy room hauntings suggested.  The night time switch has been flicked, the implements of fun are up and the clockwork imps are applying deviancy - sometimes it is quite strange where the head is sent listening to these constructions.  'Questions' repeats, repeats and repeats before taking to the static-filled air and repeating some more.  A disco horror track flutters away beneath a cold upper layer where frost gathers on the synthoid feathers of  soaring mechanoid eagles that display with keyed in fascination.  I listen intently, I come away with a listless feeling and verdict of unconvinced - bugger it.

'Alice In Wonderland' is a strange blend of creamed key work, twisted vision creation and sub-spectrum pipings that make one's mind...wander.  If anyone has ever read the insane scribblings of Lewis Carroll then it may give a hint of the affect it has had on these wee vulnerable minds and the electro-output.  The poor buggers have roamed from the pages, pondered things cracked and come up with a creation that I very much enjoy.  It is strange but not overly so, it glides along and has a jaunted appeal this angular git likes - ahem!  'I Don't Need' is a denying cuss that throws back everything anyone offers and stands alone looking deep inside and seeking to find a certain hidden strength many don't know exists.  It is a very basic scaffold of sound from which very few ornamentations are hung and for this reason, and this reason alone, the longevity factor is a lost and the pleasure dome of interest not titivated enough - I move on, inappropriately enough, unmoved.  The last song, 'Raised On Dread', is a tortuous, suffering mind-frazzle of psychedelic jumblings given birth by Frankensteinian devotees destined to experimentally fuck when the most innocent chance arises.  The double act dissect, disengage and then deliberately patchwork to make a monster that staggers forth on sonically corrupt heels and perhaps turn the stomach of those with a fragile nature or indeed those who are 'punk' free.  Time given may pay dividends, it may empty the gut - one thing is - the players are walking their own path - I shall not complain.

The Webb weave, The Webb wander, The Webb warp the expectations.  There is a place for this music in many scenes, there is no need for this interesting unit to get pigeonholed and suffocated by many insular rules.  My advice to the peeps involved is to pootle afar, my advice to you, who have stuck with the review this far, is too investigate, enjoy and keep your listening matter...varied.

   

THE INFESTED - RAW ENSEMBLE

On EHC Records and Screenprints this latest release by The Infested seems long overdue or is it just me - it usually is!  Formed in 2004 this lot have been on the block for quite a while now and deliver up their own brand of ska-core, a sub-genre that seems to, of late, gone on the back-burner of the pseudo-fashion fuckery.  Who cares what is in and what is out, as long as the vibe feels good then bring it on.  So, what have these Leeds-based buggers brought to the tilted table of tunery this time, as per, there is only one way to find out!

'Believe' begins, it is a crumpled up countenance of cacophonic effort, forced fed through a tube of taut and testing tonality, quite ideal for the ska-corian troopers who like their upstrokes and down strikes intoxicated.   The fiery guts that are behind this construction are animate and hungry and the blend of many sub-fractured elements is foamed up with a certain excitement that sees the players play with a cluttered tightness one needs time to adjust to.  The main gist I am getting from this shizzle is of a youthful exuberance not to be denied.  I see many bands like this come and go, it seems age is a factor as well as many fizzing hormones.  I like the general gumption here, the song has vigour and a good twinkling melody - a grand start lad!  'Hoax' tympanically tumbles, gets bass bombed, fizzes up and catapults itself along in the same style as its predecessor.  The glistened edges prevail throughout, the skins are fluttered over like a million moths on the arse of a nervously hepped up rhinoceros and the strings are masturbated with an almost unthinking style.  Moments calm in some respects with skanked clanks taking over and adding something akin to the orthodox.  The true excitement comes when harmonies flourish, particularly at the latter end.  Not a song that fits as snugly over the attentive radar as the first, but one that slowly grows - how fruitful it will be in 6 months’ time is anyone's guess!

The next 2 songs are an accompanying brace with the instrumental vibes of 'Shackles' being a tidy Hors d'oeuvre for the appropriately named 'Shackles Part 2' - where do they get these titles from?  The first section is a shuffle-stagger string out that proceeds without rush on tones best regarded as slightly subdued.  It is a hesitant piece which can't be said for the screwed up and chomping chaser, a song that gallops with many skacorian fundamentals and much fluster and bluster within the heave ho.  Great patience and attention to detail needs to be had by the listener so as to get the best out of this one although I am sure those in the inner circle will lap it up.  'Fight Or Flight' has more convincing tones for me with a greater pronouncement had between each strum and a slightly greater clarity had in the vocal department.  The opening salvo is honest and effective, the crispness of the verse is tin foil pure and the desire shown as soon as things escalate is good enough for me - a tidy little snippet here, do not overlook it!

3 swift bites, 'Dopamine', 'Monsters' and 'SSRI OR Die' are all in the same vein as what has gone before us with the first a tuned up paper bag of happening noise entering the fray on a hot ascension of electric promise before scatter gunning between holler-offs and darn exciting cruises of high intensity noise.  I wasn't impressed by this one on first listen, now I love it!  The second slap down screams inward, goes straight for the jugular and creates a blasting miasma of textured horror that flits on black-diseased wings and pounces with a voracious spite.  Personally I find this not as effective as the previous blast but I gotta tip my titfer to players who know their artform and deliver it with belly-fire relish.  The inner skanky grimness is mean and on the mark - tidy man, tidy!  The last of the speeded 3 begins with a great admirable gusto and has an easy manner to join in with, a strain that continues throughout and makes for one winning end result.  Perhaps this is the simplest cut of the trio, perhaps it is the most orthodox in outer appearance but there are two factors that matter - longevity and crowd-involving catchiness - both elements are there, albeit in a subtle way but in a way that is mightily effective nonetheless - you can't argue with that!

Into the back stretch, 4 to go and 'Buy To Survive' is my least favoured song of the lot with a lengthy intro, general mushiness of sound and lack of any stark moments that really persuades my passion.  I listen, get lost in the midst of an uncomfortable melee and come out the other end.  It is a busy tune, played with a zeal and with one or two well-licked moments but, along the way, I am left behind and get duly lost.  'Another Life' is a breezy blow-out that gets tossed along and given extra life by the enthusiasm and general flimsy feel to the construct. There is nothing too deep or heavy going on here both in lyrical content and musical vibration - just a flitting tune wing-beating by and relating the requirements of music-drenched souls.  'Outro' is just that, a musical escort into the land of yonder silence via orchestrated machinations that offer an angle unexpected.  It is a sweet moment and only has the edge blunted by the chasing 'Demo-Bonus' - a song I am not dealing with as I like to leave these things to your imagination.

So, not a bad effort for this type of shit and one that shows the band have further avenues to explore.  There is a place for this kind of noise and even though I can take it or leave it I don't mind the odd dabble, and that is how I will deal with this - a listen here, a listen there and over and out - you may treat it otherwise!

   

THE JACK CADES - MUSIC FOR CHILDREN

'Are you still reviewing CD's' is a question I get asked now and again by people I presume to be on the ball.  Well, I am and am getting closer and closer to my target of 1500 reviews each and every day.  Here we have a band who have only been around since late 2017,  who drop back in time for their influences and who are releasing this sonic shit on the ever glorious Dirty Water label.  I haven't time to dawdle and look to honesty, careful pondering and off-the-cuff reactions to get me by as per, at this stage I am hoping the formula works and works darn fuckin' well but then again...all I can do is try and the rest is left to the masses.

'Big Fish’ is a relaxed and fruity number straight out of yesteryear onto the turntable of today.  The jerky feel, the basement psychedelia and the pseudo-radio accent that adds oodles of character to this initial cool cruise is all in keeping with my pre-conceived ideas.  The band are in no hurry here, they run the engine at their own pace and all the while provide a subtle gesture of uplifting delight.  'Identity Crisis' is a better effort, the swing is more deliberate and therefore hypnotic, the guitar touches blended with vocal tenderness all float above the careful manipulated skins.  Everything about this and the previous effort is cared for and very attentive with the arrangement almost shying away from any risk-taking or speed injection.  Luckily this second burst is ideally suited for the tempo and I am provoked with new intrigue...and it's only the 2nd track in.

'Two And Two Make Ten' is a stunner, a real laid-back croon that floats at its own leisurely pace and just shimmer-ripples the waters of attention so as to charmingly gratify the soul. The crisp guitar application, the languid laid back lilt and the easy swing of the verse are sublime and the sunshine glints and tambourine tickles make for a delicious treat to play on a summer day to increase that lazy feelgood factor - brilliant!  'Get A Life' shakes its ass and travels with a purpose with switches in the serenade done with exactitude and all contributing to a consistent end mix.  A clucking fuckery borne of the barnyard is never far away and as the song hopscotches through the first two verses and midway guitar wank a lather is eventually worked up and a staining is had of the most excitable kind.  The flourish is brief but well spunked - there is evidence!

'You've Seen It All' has surfy touches, pure rock and ready pluck-fucks and grooves along with a cool-cat snazz I get particularly mauled by.  The hollowness of movement is subtle, the increase in tempo nicely creeping and the ultimate swing very ensnaring.  This music can be foreground frivolity or background blending but all the while adds a certain uplift to the day.  'Head In Sand' is a more head down drive with a sombre edge that takes a little getting used to.  A certain languidness and almost lackadaisical approach gives one the sensation of a band playing a little too much within themselves.  Time is very much of the essence and care must be taken to use this consuming commodity and give the song much attention.  Eventually one discovers a hidden beauty, a beauty blessed by the charm of imperfection and approachable wonder.  The surreptitious attraction comes more to the forefront as the song progresses - I am happy with that!   'I'm Going' is a more jangle-juiced affair and cracks along in a certain ramshackle rust bucket kind of way that stays together, makes good advances and eventually judders to a pleasing halt.  The song, although not feeling a complete construct, knows its own direction and gets where it wants to in double-quick time, this could be a better asset than I suspect - ooh heck!  The last number and a good one to finish with 'Don't Let Them Bring You Down' a low-burning ditty that trickles in like a serpent intent on your soul.  The simmering coils take their time to squeeze out a verdict and slowly constrict with a purpose only fluttered by rippled skin and melodic sub-hisses.  The vocals are unrushed, the string work combined and counteracting, the message obvious.  Par for the course, a course I am happy to tread and a good way to finish - oh aye!

Yes, I am with this one, it is a nice counterbalancing weight of easy noise to play alongside more heftier chunks of discordance and more forthright executions.  I have a rock and roll basis to my punk existence, this one has much to gratify and the fact that it doesn't overcook the formula and keeps things exquisitely simple works for me also.

   
Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20,
21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40
41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50
51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60
61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70
71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80
81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90
91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100