FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 1
SHIT HOUSE - NIGHTLIFE EP
Get several bastards from Basingstoke, inject them with sheer amphetamine based energy, stir in a fiery passion and some deep hardcore artistry, blend accordingly with electricity levels at the max and blades severely sharpened, pour into a bag and throw deliberately against the ever-resistant brick wall and examine the resultant mess. What you will get is a visceral dirty mix of wild abandon that is lavishly dripping with pure talent, wild freedom and an exact underscore of structure on which the disarray can find its footing and duly...arouse. In the flesh these guys are fuckin' massive, on CD...well you better read on and prepare to witness more shitness.
The initial track is as it says on the very battered tin 'Punk Rock Freight Train'. An out of control locomotive of lunacy aiming to derail at the nearest station and destroy all and sundry in one bloody unbridled collision of cacophonic mania. Wheels turn with hectic pace, the fires are stoked with perspired intention, the toxic emissions given are sheer plumes of invasive choking filth we must inhale to capture the maximum 'hit' factor. Immediately the band make the impact a delight and plough forward with charring unstoppable riffage that captures the attention. Regular drums begin the evil that is 'Pissing Blood', before the burning pain intensifies via deep grinding string work. For a song with such a title we need violence and disgust by the bucketload and that is what we get - a real stampeding vocal thrust that assists the breakdown of the vital organs and so encourages that haemoglobin based torrent to begin. With such rhythmic radiation as given off here it won't be just the one orifice to bleed - no - many will rupture and leak the life giving liquid. It may sound revolting, it is our pleasure - Shit House capture their chaotic methodology and nail it quite superbly. 'Santa Maria' hot foots it next and is another swifter cut to the flesh, this time with a rustier blade, a more bassed up swipe that has a deeper target in mind. The roughshod gobbage is a livid conflagration rising from the smouldering sonic ash heap and what ignites is not only our attention but the soul of punk rock passion. The drums here are provoked into terrorising intensity, the guitars war amongst them and create fine kindling on which flames can rise. No sooner has the heat seared our skin than all is over and we are immediately shot down via the purist cacophony known as 'Nightlife'. This one is a relentless horror, a crazed acoustic axe man that just cannot be stopped, a harbinger of doom that wants to hack all refusing meat to individual hurtful pieces. From the opening rattle, through the accelerated avalanche swing, the blazing chops, the freewheeling break, to the last verbal eruption this is brutality without regret - a wonderful moment.
Just as we are thinking that this six track sentence will be one punishing course without time to realise what the fuck it is all about an anthem comes entitled 'DIY'. A theme close to my heart with wordage to warm the cockles - ah yes there are others who want to keep this noise under cooked, unaffected and 100% lucid and real. A sing-a-long piece that captures the theme and the belief system - really well delivered in a readily raw way and surely a song to have blaring at any gig with the intent there for all to hear. Have it, dance along, punch the air - DIY is the only way. The last blast is utter sonic violence that scorches all before it and leaves the listening landscape utterly devoid of life. A nuclear blast dealing with the ego, mania and destructive ways of man - 'Terrorizer' is totally unforgiving and H-bombs its way forth and brings one to their knees. Black noise with a Motorhead homage towards the latter end - terrifyingly effective all round and showcasing the sheer horror this lot can throw your way.
Stunned, absolutely stunned. The ethos, the approach, the quality both in the flesh and on CD have me beaming with appreciation. The band clobber and clobber fuckin' hard and when that heavy duty beating is dealt you cannot do anything less than submit - you would be a fool not too. Check out this lot - far outweighing a lot of the more processed, pretentious and so called 'named' garbage out there.
BLACK EYE FRIDAY - DEMO
Very exciting off the cuff hardcore with a yelled and yanked soundscape that has a certain orderly fashion hidden away beneath the wild up front urgency. Hailing from Leicester this lot play most gigs in another sub-generic pool of punk and for me it is about time a few more trapped and self tortured spiky tops got around to hearing this lot as well as seeing them in the 'live' dust basin of swirling discordance. I have been mighty impressed with the bands 'live' songs thus far and I reckon they can mix it up and hold their own far and beyond their current circle - here is a CD review to whet yer appetite.
'Refuse To Die' kicks off and is 56 seconds of thundering trebled up clatter led by a flurrying frontman who propels himself with hollered assertiveness and relentless gumption. The backdrop of musicianship travels along on stable tracks without too much wavering off course. An adequate scene setter loaded with that signature impetus the band carry with them at all times. Swiftly on and into the crackin' crusade labelled 'Run Fascist Run'. Straight at ya, burying its teeth in your indolent arse and shaking out some life (and shit) for sure. The first verse is high energy and packed up with irresistible relish. The slip into the slashing chorus is exact and we are only given a brief guitar twinge before we are straight back into the zest of this fine song. Hardcore needs its foundations injected with breathless passion and fuckin' thriving fervour - both qualities are found here. The song threatens to close several times but thankfully doesn't and travels onwards to create a wonderful moment. 'I Found Nothing' exposes more of the bass and excels as a result. Another excitable number buzzing with DIY riffage and air raid warning necessity. The vocals are pushed to the max, the strings intrude and powerpunch within reason, the sticks never cease until...that last unexpected scream is had and we complete a hat-trick of songs that has me convinced - just like the 'live' viewing I recently had.
'All Empires Fall' is half a minute of H/C scarcity, a real bare arsed number that sets out to get the job done as soon as fuckin' possible - it is too quick to kick - too swift to slaughter - it maintains the urgency. 'Heroin' is a chasing gem that stutters beautifully at the start, surges forth with perhaps the most considered construct thus far, showcases all components with generosity and provides the most accomplished combination of sounds. The alteration of gobbage, the threat of utter breakdown, the ride on the cusp, the vimmed up delivery all make this a tip top treat to throw off many a sonic shackle to. The last blur of acoustic fists full stops a beauty. 'Mouthpieces' has a built in repetition that hum-dings along on a buffeting underlay of noise. The neat switch off to some crisp and cultured stringwork is choice and fractures this song right down the middle and gives the second half a more flavoured and fighting quality - lovely stuff. 'Their State' closes this respectable upchuck of breathless angst and is a ditty with a classy tin can alley start, a straight forward (well for this band at least) scuttle that has distinct verse and chorus cuts - almost like a retro machine going through its industrious duty. Aa midway pressure drop typical of the scene is had and is just a preparatory contrast moment before the final downpour (that we know must come). If I was choosing a runt of the pack I would hesitantly pick this - much prefer the swift, short, sharp attacks - this ain't crud though.
At the end of this all out attack, and taking into consideration a 'live' showdown, I reckon this is a fuckin' fantastic crew who can only get better and better if pushed really hard. Again we have another example if the Do It Yourself ideal and again it proves that this hungry and hard hitting style can pay huge dividends if time is given to get out there and consider. I have this lot already booked for a gig and reckon there could be a few more coming too if all goes to plan. Carry on bursting the core the only way - the hard way.
4 PAST MIDNIGHT - LIFE ON THE INSIDE
Look, 4 Past Midnight are a sound band who know how to knock out a hefty tune or two and keep all punk rock perverts happy. Having said this, even I wasn't prepared for this latest episode of galvanic power that not only gets the noggin wide awake and fully alert but encourages one to repeatedly smash the old skull into a immovable brick wall in utter noise-laden madness - again and again and again and...again. There has been a shift in the line-up, a break seems to have re-energised this Glaswegian force, the whole crew seem to have come back like men on a mission to new melodic levels of mayhem - and why the hell not? The fuel is in the rocket, blast off is imminent - here is my take on what distant sonic stratospheres and lands this noise may reach.
5...4...3...2....fuckin' have it!
The initial take off is aided by the steady upthrust of 'Broken', an episode that commences with crisp, clean shaven strings and is boosted by the strength of the opening verse. Steady as she goes Captain with those flesh-ripped vocals relating a tale of an insult to womanhood and the bastards who make their lives so damn hard. The rise is perfectly controlled, the exhaust clouds given off wonderfully toxic and the production found therein exact for the band. There are many better songs to come but for that first zoom upwards this is more than adequate and has an increasing strength - hop on board quick, this is promising to be a fine journey. A sharp injection of stretched guitar, a rattling rumble of bass and drums, we are reaching new zeniths so soon and the extra fuel blast leads us into the hard and direct zone where rage statements are given and a pure simplistic double ended boost is had via a chorus that makes impact. The sonic skies blur in a frenzy, overload already seems imminent, the band take a neat free-float option and reggae things up before switching back on and absolutely surging through the ozone with a torrent of discordance energy. A quick pause to assess the situation and wham - the final tumult - a magnificence surge – no way a ‘Nightmare’. The Heavens have been reached, we need to go further and what better way to do it than with the assistance of an ignition firing anthem known as 'Any Other Way'. The verse is built of concrete foundations with an exoskeleton of productive acoustic values that give pure strength to the whole vessel. We need this strength to gain higher altitudes of respect and appreciation and from the first utterances the riffs and gobbage combine to make this an irresistible force and thus the applause follows. The chorus is all embracing, it takes us through the clouds, beyond the atmospheric layers of the average and exceeds its own progressive nature. At last we are in to deep space - what a fine moment to be had - what a way to reach such plateaus.
Chaos comes as the aggressive asteroid belt known has 'Riot' rattles the ship and we hold on for dear life. The initial drive is drum driven with a tympanic terror indenting the outer shell of resistance. Verse and chorus blend and hurtle bigger boulders of resonance before flat-lining out and giving one steady batter clatter. Sparks fly, a drift through a more spaced out moment arrives and is well timed, we are heading for safer flying room - one last hammering - done - we made it - not a bad wake up call (as if we needed it). The glory of surviving the upheaval is had by a stunning surge known as 'Justified'. A blossom of flame roars from the rear, the visual blur is created by hard, hitting pace and delightful accuracy, the ultra sonic zest fractures new barriers of time and we are whipped along by a crew laden with new found relish and desire to reach certain interstellar highs. One of my favourite moments here and a really uplifting effort that gets us into the whole meat of the journey. A port of call, a time to consider what this racket rocketeering is all about - the flashlight flicker intro welcomes us - we refuel, we bid you re-welcome.
Beacons glimmer, celebrations are prepared for 'Punk Rock Noise', the bands new signature tune, the sing-a-long gem we knew was coming, the call for all fans to rally round and slurp, sing, stagger and swirl. The band come off board, play a crackerjack and throw in many clichéd touches that should be enjoyed rather than dissected too hard. There is a something almost professional here (which isn't necessarily what I prefer) which should take the band on to new levels of praise - not my favourite but certainly a decent moment. 'Story Of My Life' sees a frog march across the dusty plains with a subtle bout of confidence giving a kick up the arse of all weary warriors and well worn rockers. It is the least effective episode of this entire journey and is a midway junction to pop in at only now and again. It is played well, ascends and exhibits in good measure but lacks the rocket juice that has brought us this far. Time to hop back on board and go for it methinks. Enter, strap in and prepare for the reckless runner that is 'Nothing Has Changed', a DIY number that lacks the production prowess of the more 'grab and smash' numbers but a number that is worthy of its place on this CD. It leaves a plume of dross behind, shoots off with pace aplenty and focus set at the max - why not? All seems to be smooth, without danger and then 'boom', a stray meteorite rattles our aural vessel for six and the impacting holler known as 'Hollie' really makes us sit up and take note. The subject matter is of such magnitude many would steer clear let alone deal with it in the forthright way that the 4PM boys do. The creeping malevolence of the aftershock sends us reeling, the inflection is vicious, the song is not for the weak of will. Red alert - help is needed - lets maintain this music and stop the deed in question - nice work lads.
We fly on, we have an inkling (whether it be about the answer to the previous song or the whole thing known as life in general), maybe 'The Truth Is Out There'. The view from the portal shows a nearby satellite station indicating a sign of life, that life comes from the core of this song - a rampant devil in appreciation of a TV show. The halo around the presence of this effort is bright, the inner zonings well crafted and built of punked primitive instinct that won't sit still until all nearby stars are blown out. One, two, three - triumph - foot down, we are already homeward bound, the vortex of passing time is to be avoided - 'Trapped' by the system many may be but not this lot - a fast fuck runaway number reliant on sanguine skill and an in built hunger to do the job and do it well. The midway rumble arouses fear that the whole eruption may implode - no chance - impetus is had – let us give closure to this CD with the last 4 nailed in one mighty swoop.
'The Fight' helps us glide, aids us in free-floating along with this successful bunch and gives us promise that giving in is never an option. The instrumental cut is sublime and perfect for the job at hand, the final closure is unifying and will fill the pits with pogoing zealots - spicy. 'What You Gonna Do' is potentially a last minute crisis and is a song that wraps around itself a little to often for comfort. The players control the repeatoid cum spinning sensation and level the ship via slamming pushes of various pedals, dogmatic stubbornness and hard-fought musicianship. Not my favourite moment of this trip to be honest and one easily forgotten - thanks goodness for 'Who Takes The Blame', a gritty affair recapturing the violence, intrusive aggression, up front and blasting desire. All components burst us back into fresher skies where colours are more sharp, unified and in full focus. The bass is given time to rumble, the drums still shudder, the guitar careens and organises in equal measure - the vocal work is turning black with the radiating heat - will we hold up to the final landing spot. Chutes open, we ease up on the terror, yet tension is still high as the guitar twinges with intensity. 'How Does It Feel' - well quite fuckin' splendid - whoa hoa's are triumphant, the home base is missed, this one is gonna crash in spectacular style into an ocean of praise. 'Nobody Knows, Nobody Cares' the band state in almost defeated manner - I fuckin' know, I care - this is massive, monumental music and the spray that rises from the impact, the foaming whirlpool that is created is all down to the players talent and refusal to take the easy option. The break comes, we wonder what next, bubbles ascend to the surface - the throats rise from the depths for one last burst of victory - great stuff all round. The end stomp says 'have it' - dare you refuse?
Journey done, mission accomplished, verdict registered high - this lot know how to rock it, know how to blaze a severe trail and what you get here is a taste of just how good this band are both on and off stage and on and off the silver circle. Their best stuff to date? I think so - why - because this explosion has maturity, thought with the end sheen and is the most consistent cut thus far. They can ride high on this offering for a while but as always that niggling twitch to get out there and travel once more will soon be apparent again - I personally cannot wait!
VIKI VORTEX & THE CUMSHOTS - BITTERSWEET TWISTED DREAMS
The knicker draw of riotous rhythm is opened once again and I am forced to sniff around and see what untold pleasures I can textually cum across. I rifle around and find that the said container of all acoustic knick-knacks was first open in 2008 whereupon these Spanish thrusters set about filling a few orifices with their own brand of throb. Based in Brighton and with some good contacts the band have a few dedicated followers and knock out something more than the expected sleaze the name suggests (although I may just trickle down that route with the review - oops pardon). So here we go, 9 titivators to uncover, plunge!
The first pair of acoustic panties to be held aloft are emblazoned with the name 'Hold On' - ooh sounds promising. The initial impression is of a sturdy feminine driven construct with ribbed gussets of bassism providing the most important aspect as regards support. Stickwork is brisk, guitar scuttling and the overall appearance is without frills and instead built to fuck rather than fuck about. The intimation is of a quickie and that is what we get with verbals kept strong and necessary girlie in parts. The odd squeal shows relish, the humping impetus is effective and a midway shuffle of the ass to create a deeper resonance assists the end sensation. Nice start with a good close-up and personal eye to eye defiance. A shuffle about and lo and behold a brace of vibrating duo balls are examined further. 'Big Mouth' and 'Give Us A Reason' are scrutinised and each vibromatic pulse considered. The former track is of a loose tongued twat (which could be sexually pleasing but in this instance is nothing of the sort) who can't keep a secret. The billow and bite has a gusto and the vibes are attracting with a consistent flow of the inner juices created. Cuntrified (deliberate miss of the 'o' to keep the theme), hip-swaggering and deeply rattling - ooh me orifice. The latter number quakes with greater nervous inducing necessity and really shakes up the internal erogenous zone. The electric shimmering sends an electrified tongue deep inside the listener and there merry devilment is concocted. You will do well not to twitch to this pepped up piece and the six and four string weapons that provide the main zest of the song only add to the thrill. Don't underestimate those tympanic titbits though - the whole masturbation of melody needs these incessant tickles of the skin.
All a tingle I delve deeper with hungered digits. The 'Plastic Fantastic' that is gripped is phallic and full of promise. 'Play Loud' is etched down the sides and that may be a signal to groan with pleasure, indulge with leisure - who am I to sway such an innocent passer by? Penetration is had, the buzz is heavy, the whole lead up to the climax routine and perhaps less titivating than other thrills but the rattle of the inner implement gets the job done and the end vibromatic experience ain't too bad. Ooh another pair of sonic panties - this time neatly embroidered with the suggestive message of 'Easy Come, Easy Go' - wow - talk about throwing it about. My pecker is up now and after the previous track I am making sure I get a good snifter here. The aromatic flavours are consistent with the last song and in truth I am getting nothing extra in the dingle dangle department of discordance. The back rattle is as you were, the fast wire whipping also without variety, the gobbage still sucking out the appreciation with usual hunger. Again the experience is fast, slightly rough (don't ya just like it that way) and will not take 'no' for an answer and is in keeping with the rest of this tucked away collection. I shan't complain but there is room for something crotchless, something peephole, something more lubed.
'Burn Today' repeatedly slaps the face with a wake up desire before trundling along the juddering lines of noise and just about keeping on track. The band seem to be racing to an unseen climax and the sonic steam train known as Her Royal Highness Clitty Clitty Chuff Chuff is stoked, well driven and giving off much pollutant smoke - cough, splutter no tutter! What happened there then. ‘Angel Or Devil' is a sexual shriveller that is just too much of the same for me and is one of those that if presented earlier in the CD would sound a whole lot more convincing. It has the bands idiosyncrasies and shuffling attacks as well as the same irresistible tempo but just lacks that final magnetism...or does it? Repeat, shuffle, mental scuffle...reconsider...nah I be wrong - this is equal to any track so far but is just forced to sit in the wrong chosen chair.
A bra and two cups of noise to ponder. 'Rats In A Cage' rattles with vicious intent, is once more built of rib rattling rhythm and straight ahead focus. Words and a statement of the song title come and go, the inner spice and spite combine to add an edge although this song has the unenviable task of preceding the best of the lot and so is soon forgotten. 'Twisted And Sick' is mid-tempo, has more feeling to the gob work, eases along into a delightfully basic chorus that gently undulates with emotive encouragement and artistic accuracy. The bass heightens the tactile presence of the song and the general liquidity makes this step forth and out compete all of its near relatives. A fine closure. One bra – one titty, ditty small, the other a whopper with a nipple of noise like a discus – thanks for the mammory!
So in summing up I am going have to be honest and say I am please yet a little frustrated. The band have much to adore here with the final masterpiece showcasing why, in the main, I am still on edge. It is blatantly obvious this lot have more to offer and until they do I think I can reserve full judgement. I like this neat package and the overall essence but...oh but they could have done so much more. Again I find myself squeezing hard (in all vulgar and sonic areas) and if they produce the goods then all and sundry will be more than happy. Watch this sonic space.
PEDAGREE SKUM - NIGHTMARES AND SCREAM ESCAPES
From the ravaging embrace of reality comes a grimed and very honest shard of focused product that is seeped in life, its curses and its challenges. Pedagree Skum are a gathering of cultured punkers who are doused in the blood, sweat and tears of the scene and therefore have much self grown shit to pour into the overflowing melting pot. They play gigs anywhere they can and are led by a sweet lead lass who has no pretence, no piss-arse angles and yet has an eye for a good tune and a good spirit. Each player contributes his weight in scum and this entire collection of scratched, scathed and scuffed sonica is one that will tickle the already well worn taste buds of those lovers of hygienic filth - the oxymoron is beautifully exact - never doubt, the revelation will appear.
'Numbers' defies authority and then tub-thumps before racing along with an hot-wired engine spitting initial fuel everywhere and making the way for many better offerings This is a straight ahead snip of punkage with sub-radioed ravings, a middle slice of chopped stringwork and some witch-esque sniping. Primarily bass and drum driven before a final gear shift is had - it ain't bad but, when the CD is reflected on, this one comes across as one of the most tamest and orthodox tracks. A middling start! And so the ante is upped. 'Autistic Song' powders the granules of sonica and the ensuing discordant dust is blindingly effective with guitars throbbing, pulsating with a gnawing life and giving this one a vitality to be reckoned with. Beneath these two wired up components we have the drums scatter attacking the scuzz and only splashing when required - ideal. At the fore comes the varied vocals of the front lass - wow - even after seeing this lot perform 'live' several times I never believed the textures of the tonsilised deliveries could undulate and weave so darn bloody well. The subject matter is close to the heart of this gobby vixen and the passion, lyrical insight of a different reality, cute word play, pertinent point making capitalise this whole construct and make it an overall bold and blazing song to reckon with. The band have found their strength. As an extra thought - if you doubt the content then consider this question - 'isn't everyone on the autistic spectrum'? Think about it!
'Big Band Theory' begins on tight bass and tempered taps before a playground taunt is thrown into the melting pot. Strings stir up the punky porridge and each and every player takes their turn to spit in the end mix before offering up for the bigger bands to partake of. A real fighting talk underdog outburst that is a short sharp shock of reality. The construct may be tame in truth but the bite is hard and that, in the main, carries the song. 'Con 'Dem-Nation' works its way steadily through the resistant undergrowth with a scything inflection and acute stubbornness before a clearing is eventually found and the band surge along as though a leopard of criticism is hot on their heels. The anti-political walk and run style resumes with a nasty underlying spite overflowing with a double repeat attack of the title wrap-around another bout of energy filled raving. The final scream is welcome and this is a swift inclusion to keep the chomping jaws at bay.
'Futility Of The Human Condition' is a questioning curio with many subtle angles thrown in and thus making for an intriguing listen that has plenty of life. Very much a song built on the disbelief of anyone with a brain. The whole approach and idiocy of the masses is put under the spotlight via a statemented style interspersed with high flown glidings and swooping bouts of taloned aggression. The strung thermals and maintaining tympanics create a good airspace in which to fly and the Phoenix at the fore does just that with convincing muscular style. The Skummers with a DIY Pedagree are turning my head and I expect many more to follow as they pick up this CD and duly appreciate. 'Meat Hook' glistens with bass before fanning the electrical flames with hot roasted guitar. The intensity becomes harsher as the biting bitch chips in with her viciously stated bellows and lets the listener have it right up the jacksie and right down the gullet. This one is akin to a thumbscrew being slowly turned with the only intent in causing severe displeasure - the band fail - what they create is a deep, dark pleasure that is done with such conviction and focussed spite one cannot help but submit to the decadence. An inner radioed repeat chant is almost mocking and heightens the experience no end - a sizzling slab of sound. 'New Generation' begins with a haunting pluck, twinges with a pang for more energy, tick tocks and then splashes in anticipation. A pause, you know what to expect - a full on flow spouting off about a new breed to be reckoned with. The old school could be washed up in the main, the new school lacking the true ethos and spirit - this is gonna separate the wheat from the chaff - do you want it? It is a typical sub-rally call, self-confident chant - it rises and carries itself on its own enthusiasm - not bad ladies and gentlemen.
'Reality' once more uses a bassed up intro and is soon assisted by lightly touched guitar strings and deftly tapped drums. The mouth work is floating, lightly spread, evenly dispersed and utterly convincing and the sable sub-suggestions that are obviously promised come as the throat gets gently torn up with all held in adequate check. The repetition of the chorus and ensuing pulse of the players gives this thriving beast new life and as we gulp air and drink in the final expulsion where all facets are repeated we have a sense of complete satisfaction. The concoction has clarity and a classy edge but remains DIY, crummy and of the street. 'Relationshit' double strums, runs, double strums again and then jogs along on rhythmic feet with an in-built confidence and sage advice to boot. The corrugated underflow gives strength, the delivery changes its epidermal layer from smooth and shiny to something scaly and matted - the juxtaposition is careful and works quite nicely and something beneath gives a general uplifting feel. The vibe is to open up, don't be afraid - let somebody in and place your trust therein. And still the lowbrow overflow comes - phew - and bloody glad of it we should be! 'Stronger' is a puncturing piece that slams titled nails into place amid a brandishing style of sonic warfare. The opening rise and reveal is preparatory and makes way for the duplicated statement of the songs name and the bass roll that is full stopped with guitar and drum strikes. After an abrasive charge where dust flies and controlled, drilling discordance reigns we refold back on ourselves and carry on this way to the last strike. This is a subtle change and adds a bit of chomp to the CD - as though there ain't enough already. 'We end with a 'Virus', an infecting scourge that screeches in and duly sets about its debilitating work. The first verse is coldly stated amid the tribal underlay and scouring guitar. Whack up the volume, the hollowed hollers of the chorus need to make full impact and with an increase in sound levels they do just this. Another abrasive number that is only lightened by the front lasses pseudo-delicacies, a very nice way to finish this whole sonic shebang if you ask me.
So Pedagree Skum finally get it together and produced a CD with many contemplative moments, many justified highs and many fulfilments of the obvious promise. A couple of numbers are pretty regular but overall this is quality product from another band below the shitty commercial radar. I hope this hasn't come too late in the day and the kafuffle of the grapevine can be kaboomed into the great unknown leaving this lot to rise on the quality found here. Either way - collectors of purism - this is thy moment to indulge.
GUMS - ANTIPATHY
From a dental stance I have perused these exposed gums before and found them to be not utterly to my liking but, I reckon I was wary and insightful enough to recognise the potential for bigger and better chomps. The last exposure convinced me of an orifice of acoustica that was capable of belching out more convincing filth and I felt I came away slightly deflated. Alas I am requested to conduct another routine check-up of this Glaswegian collective and I am looking to find a new and refreshing gob of discordance fitted with sharp and healthy dentures of dinnage that are ready to nibble away at any doubts. Let's hope I don't touch too many nerves along the way either - I always have care in mind but I won't shy away from the job at hand - one has to be direct and determined to squeeze the best out of all concerned.
The first tooth of tonegae to be hummed and aahed at is known as 'The Willow Cafe', - hum, aah! A very retroed piece initially harking back to a 'Monkee'ish innocence before wobbling away into a harmonised cum sub-spoken journey via an enthusiastic guitar squelch, a foundation providing bass and some hoppity drum work. This one is seemingly over quite quickly (well that's the impression I get) despite the 2 minute running time which, as it turns out, gives hint at a decent ditty. The usual flavoured plaque is scraped off to reveal a sturdy opening offering.
'New Year' needs a closer look and out comes the magnifying mirror to just check the main root of the song and the overall structure. A crisp strum, a suggestion of weariness, the inclusion of he/she murmurs and then we break out into a blossoming moment that is nothing less than well scrubbed hygiene. The edges are neatly flossed and no superfluous sonic food remains and so any impediment is avoided. The clarity of the delivery, the floating harmonies that reassure, the opposition between the sub-triumphant, sub-defeated, the general professionalism of the song - when these gums produce acoustic enamel such as this there can be no fault found. Charming. 'Luckless Days' is 'Marr'ed in a true Smithsonian way and is a gorgeous flaunt of solid musicianship that captures an air fresh aroma built on sunny styles and lyrics done so simply and yet so accurately. The lead lass has a voice dipped in accented honesty and glazes over the whole sharpened canine of cacophony quite perfectly. A filling of glinting gold exhibits the effort gone into making this a stand out ivory and each and every player does the business - skittled drums, twinkle guitars, bounced bass - oh yes!
And swill and spit please.
'Are You Still Cruel' teases with Hawaiian-esque idiocy squirming away in a backdrop of morose mutterings and madhouse 'whoo hoo's'. A really uncomfortable and decaying plug in a line of pearly whites. I just don't get this and although the arrangement alters the stance of the CD as a whole it is a right old dreary dangler. The pliers are reached for, out it comes, aaaggghhhhh! The saliva that dribbles forth is not from relish but from a numb sensation that this one has brought about - sorry people - you gotta clean things up a little.
Gargle, the pain and lack of sensation subsides, the treatment is over...and so…
Let's see you 'Dancing In Your Room'. The drill is now applied to the nervous system and a higgledy piggledly bout of sonic hop scotch is forced via a jerky verse that eventually leads into the encouraging spunk of the chorus - move ya bastard, move. The fidgety, spasmodic burst is most welcome, the not stop flutter of all components most relieving and this one is a fair toon to get yer ass shifted to. And so into the 'Function Suite', a party it seems, after all that has transpired. A harmonised opening, a spoken segment assisted by minimal touches, a combo of the two styles and a switch into a more emotive cutlet that takes us by the dreamy hand into a liquid chorus of choice simplicity. The Gums are healed, the day is rescued, the potential nightmare avoided - the band send us homeward bound with a cultured tap on the shoulder and a rhythmic kick up the arse in, ultimately, progressive style.
Gums offer a whole heap to consider, they give their tuneage forethought, they are capable of producing good classy material (examples given here) and I feel, given the right break, could be moved on up into the higher echelons of this murky musical shitheap. You can sense the insight and precision - it just needs an open lug or two and a bit of effort on the listeners part - for fucks sake - get the message, get the CD - tear open your punky strait jacket and liberate tha' lugs. OPEN WIDE!
CSOD - BEGINNING OF THE END
From the realms of times past I recall, in this bewildered slab of aging grey matter, reviewing a CD by the band in question and being slightly pleased with the emitting disturbance. I may be wrong, it could indeed have been a pile of excrescence dropped my the most fatal farting orifice ever known to man - but I think not (either way - you can check it out on the Fungal site as per). That CD, appropriately enough, was entitled 'Shove It Up Your Arse', a statement that kind of sums up the approach of this band (in a none gay way of course - but you just never know) - do it, do it ones own way and fuck the rest - I like that! After many attempts I finally caught up with these Blackpool Bastards of Noise at one of my gigs in Bradford, were they duly played and duly impressed with both output and attitude - I can't ask for more than that can I? A CD was gained, a review requested and you should know the rest - the tickle of the keys comes this way, the pixelated digits appear and this is how it all ends up looking.
Devilish music from a catacomb rumbles before the main sonic thrust of 'Burnt Bridges' shoots its heady infection into the expectant vein and creates a metallic adrenalin rush built on rage and rhythm - nothing more, nothing less. A conflagration is started, the energy intent is responsible for the increase in the flame and those damned souls desirous of something hybridised between two melodic mules ready to be burnt to a crisp will be satisfied with the sound spilling forth. Bass and guitar wrap around each other and pulsate as one with the 4 strung sword providing resonate underlay, the 6 wired weapon donating an ornate pattern of solid tension. Drums beef it up, pound and roll with total focus and the gob resides in his own puked filth and is raw, gruff and consistently wound up with fury. This is hefty output and is a powerful opening gambit - boom. 'Dayruiner' initially tortures and teases as the quadro cables are wanked off with relish. Straight ahead and an ensnaring cut of saturated spillage floods the atmosphere via a crew very much wanting to kick down doors and leave footprints on your already pulverised skull. The riffs are incessant and this is a volatile track constantly exploding - a bag of hand grenades that will not be suppressed. One expects a short running time and it doesn't transpire which surprisingly doesn't matter and as a startling consequence the song only thrives. As ye know I have a penchant for short sharp bursts but am loving this prolonged beating and so can only offer up my humble applause to a band cutting a fine groove.
'Born Victim' definitely leans more towards the long haired brigade with a necessary plod, a decisive hammering, a more routine method in the madness. The verses are grinding, the chorus simple, all adorned with the odd strung elaboration. Despite this rather orthodox style the song convinces and in part is needed within the midst of its more flamboyant cousins so as to provide variation and contrast. An inner segment of showmanship and final unrushed punishment full stops in strong style. 'Hate Thing' is straight at you, feeding on your visceral desires, pulling apart your resistance and splattering it all over the shitbowl of sound. Carving guitar slices with intent, drums slam nails into the more vulnerable areas, the bass keeps kicking the bollocks and maintaining that dull throb of pleasure. The frontman is still snarling and dripping insane saliva from a grimace borne in the bowels of Hades. This is dark, reverberating metallica posing in punked spikes and getting away with it. The crossover could be termed as blasphemy but I can't help finding perverse delight within the searing din - intense man, intense!
'Devil Beside Me' pulsates, booms whilst on a leash, then...gallops along via a certainty and deliberation that intrigues. We are now becoming more and more immersed in the blood of the rocker and wallowing with a bleak triumph. The final drenching that the song (and its brethren) has undertaken in the studio is complimentary to the bands style and they are really getting the best out of themselves and just a leaving a little room for more. Energy is poured in, the song reflects this by radiating a black light that dazzles, the influx of perpetual riffage power pounds the flatulent doubts that may arise - even if this isn't your thing, even if this isn't nothing new under the sun please, yes indeed please - hold your calloused and warted hands up ye merry masturbator of music and accept it as a darn good effort.
We close with 'No Way Out' - boom, hard wire, boom, fast twang, boom, boom, fuck it. The opening oral hand is scathing and wears away disbelief and replaces with a heavy fisted slam of conviction. The roar through the first verse showcases the band at their best and into the merging chorus we are plunged with, it seems, no escape. Onwards and the hefty kicking being dished out as a farewell and fuck you is well appreciated and every bruise, abrasion, broken bone is well worth it. The band rise and go for it and right up until that last expulsion we get absolutely hammered.
CSOD come, they do not fuck about, they forcefully breed two genres and swing the acoustic afterbirth this way and that whilst compelling the offspring to make one hell of a howling discordance. This is knuckle-dusting stuff to attract a diverse brigade of rhythmic rockers and hopefully will unify many head rattling bastards and make their ears, balls and bowels bleed. Next instalment of crushing exhibitionism please...NOW!
FREEDOM FACTION - ANOTHER QUALITY CAPER
First formed in 1984 this crew are literally purist old school and after a long pause popped back up on the scene 20 years later with new line-up (the only original member being that loveable rapscallion Nick Grant of bass duties) and somewhat new sound. The initial releases of the comeback had a lass on lead who, for me, underestimated her own punky talent and contributed mightily to a sound that really rocked my rhythmic rafters. The band suddenly went into another diapause, things became silent, would a new beast emerge and would they hold and maintain the levels set - far from easy. The overall presumed ecdysis is now over it seems and the next instar is upon us - the question is as to what this next development stage will bring - success, failure, more of the same - like I say - it won't be easy!
And so to the CD - initial impressions and all that. For me the first thoughts are of a band in slight panic and in a rush to get back out there and create an impact on the back of the set impetus (which in truth has fizzled) and so slip into a groove all up and running. I say this because each track on this CD has a distinct similarity in both output and construction which, in this instance, impedes the potential and pre-created opportunities. The whole angle of the band and where they come from drips with a greater variation than included here and that is a very basic error I feel. As a result I am not going to deliberate too long on each track, I refuse to pluck the wings off individual beasts and give a false reading when in truth the end swarm of songs has a certain captivation. Here we go then - up front, the advancement of the band the utmost priority and hopefully keeping all areas motivated.
The first 3 tracks are simplistic enough with all proceedings beginning with a sub-Pistolonian vibe that develops into a fair tickling number. 'On The Fiddle' is a decent intro with an ensnaring vibe and as a stand alone is worthy of attention, despite the simplified construct. 'Rip Duty Free' follows and continues the vibe set but has more speeded up spunk in the shaft of noise. The guitar once again cuts with a rusty edge, the bass bubbles with life, the sticks maintain regularity and splash when needed. The gob is a style that is odd and easily recognisable and I suggest it could be of quite a Marmite flavour. Either way this second song outstrips the first due to the higher zest factor and the zipped up fast track to the last blast. 'Can't Beat A Quality Caper' suffers as a consequence of following 2 tracks that are almost the same (a theme to continue) and so has its impact well and truly impeded. The style is fine but the wrap and repeat chorus is overly done and this one lacks any general finesse that is very much needed at this early stage.
'Under The Thumb' comes next and is a song ruined by too much repetition - simple as. The atmosphere and darkened mood is a solid move and executed well with hints towards early 80's punkage that tried to advance the noise. The only gripe is that the darn chorus line is fuckin' stated over and over again to an almost soul sapping degree. What a shame and a real gem scratched and marred as a result - boo! 'Out On Your Ear' chugs inward, builds a platform, strolls on lazed feet and then moves into a chorus that is soaked with failing familiarity. The frustration that arises from this one really grinds and we have a band surely culpable of being overrun by urgency rather than dictated by care and punky preciseness. Again the song is half decent as a lone ditty but within this pack it gets crowded out and becomes a different beast. The last song of this second batch of 3 is entitled 'Paparazzi Nazi', a scuffling effort rising on rolled drums and scuzzed strings. 'Ditto' is the only word to use and that can be taken as both a slight and a sign of utter bewilderment. The fact that an inner skanking segment showcases so many options the band could have used only backs up my feeling that the band have yet again committed a major faux pas. I bail out and take a break.
'Sleepy City' cuts a dash, cymbals tinkle, guitars corrode and then the gob takes up where it left off. Good energy throughout the first verse and then a crazed chorus that becomes almost comedic in its attempt to really screw things up. Again the drive is healthy, the grind effective, the instrumental blast fuckin' headbanging' but...the band refuse to alter their stance. Not bad though this one and a definite piss and pogo rattler with oodles of well tempered pace. 'Five Litres A Day' takes hold of things and care is had via a verse in no rush to slam home its point and instead relies on a firm grip of rhythm that slides perfectly into a real cultured chorus. The delivery however is one you just can't pull out of an orthodox hat and wear – it just doesn’t fit right – that can be a good thing. There is a certain relaxed approach and without trying too hard the band let it flow and come out with the best song of the lot. 'Shipwrecked' appeals far better than it would as a result of following the previous track thus backing up my point that these individual songs are not that bad but as an overall collection get a duff deal. This latter song has usual fizz but is shaken up at first and so helps the song stay afloat. It is the chorus that releases vital urgency and helps maintain interest and if the band take note of this high action chunk and the previously complimented relaxation method then variety and quality levels will rise like an erection loaded with the 70's arousal cream known as Endros! Nudge, nudge, wink, wank!
'Human Missile' slaps about in confident style, ascends on gruff strings, slinks it up a little via the main meat of the song, takes a break on a funked up Warheadian style cutlet and then ploughs on to the finale where it clatters out. 'Nuisance Neighbour' follows on with just way too many reminiscent moments of all that has gone before. The chorus is well blustered and neatly flustered with the released follow-on packing good rhythm but...well you know the rest.
The result - a real let down. The reasons as stated and I feel very deflated after this one. Freedom Faction had so much in their sweaty palms and have let it go and are currently stepping back up on the rung of this noisy ladder. They have much to do but, if you do indeed dig deep and take these songs as individuals, there is much foundation laid. They need to mix up the approach, believe in taking a chance and work hard at altering the structure. I think a 4 track EP is a must next with at least 4 flavours rattled in, varied lengths of song, caution with atmospherics had and from the utterly swift and raging to the more drawn out and dramatic thrown in. It can be done. In the meantime this is getting a mere lowly verdict and written off as a rushed error.
GROIN - A GOOD DAY FOR BANNING
Slam - a kick indeed to the Groin with this heavy, arduous slab of meandering experimental vulgarity really squeezing the sonic testes and bleeding them dry of almost any salvation. This is the dabbling of a deviant, the resultant acoustic excrement from a bowel laden with mischief, erudite frustration and a desire to kick against the fuckin' acceptance pricks. The toxic insular ocean known has punk drowns a few, tosses around many who are happy in the 'one way' waters but has a few leg kickers who just need to get away, to a distant land, and flex their artistic limbs. Here, I feel, we have such a case. Whether I like this or not is a matter to be discussed and whether I respect it or not is something else to come under scrutiny but the man at the helm is certainly no way frowned upon by me and is one of those people you meet within the masses and think 'yes' - he has it! The 'it' I talk of is insight (not genital pox) and is most welcome in what is best described as a primarily 'it-less not tit-less' arena. So to the review - fuckin' hell this is gonna be a tough one. Splat!
The initial transgression beyond the barbed wire fence of choking punkage comes in the misshapen acoustic hunchback known as 'If You're Not Going To Pay Us', a foundation piece, filled with disabling industrialisation, grinding relentless incandescence where the light that shines is searing, testing and ultimately without point. The laughter at the finale and the redneck utterances that segue us into the ensuing '100% Guaranteed' are both mocking and diseased - the space age is upon us. Satellite touches, Clanger-esque shadows, the shit stains of the Soup Dragon streak the jewel studded black velvet - we are left to float in a gravitational free void. What the absolute fuck! Still bewildered, still astounded we are greeted by the 'Admiral Of The Night', a sinister figure swallowed up in this fairy tale miasma of complete lunacy. Satanic to the core in a lulling style that will consume your soul let alone your loins of lethargy. The chimes are spartan, the delivery minimalistic - it has something - but it needs a super nova take over - nothing less will do.
'Nev And Benny' set off numerous fire works in a brief attempt at escapism but the direct fury of the laser light mania known as 'Shangri'La' has me more intrigued. Tym 'panic' electric warfare begins, plasma bolts excite, proton clatterbombs disrupt - too much, too much - we need a saviour - the light blossoms, the calm after the storm - are we saved, are we at last given hope or is this just a nervous system needing to exorcise a few demons? The keyed tranquillity suggests both possibilities - we get caught up in a conundrum - darn bastard! 'Doom Of Drillbunny' is a deathbed concerto (in reverse). Last embers of life flick and flash in the orbs of sight and an overtaking fusion of utter finality provides desperate horror, supreme unavoidable terror. Drink the sherry from the anus of the demon, pop the pills from the mouth of the shambler, feel your existence be transported into a new numbing void that is utterly frightening. We are plunged into the last torment 'A Big Can Of Fantasy Whoop Ass', a sanctity from the previous nightmare. Many in the scenes of noise drink deeply from such a can and are seemingly drugged up to their glazed eyeballs with ridiculous self pomposity and ego driven misdirection. This one could very well nullify their ‘know it all’ ways - we start at nowhere and finish up in the same place having successfully been...nowhere. The minions of Elvin shits squabble with delight.
A jaunt, a tickle abroad, a venture for the hell of it. Vacant slabs don't build houses but they can lay good foundations. Whatever construct this leads to I am sure many will not be welcome and the few that are will be prized sensation seekers, never at rest with the flatulent flat line. The banquet is yet to come, the shit we eat takes on many flavours - be afraid, be very afraid. Verdict - hatred and loathsomeness copulate with intrigue - thank goodness for my good health.
OLD RADIO - CONSUME AND KEEP SMILING
Old Radio come on Skacorian heels primarily constructed from roughshod DIY breezeblocks that are placed into position with an exactitude as regards the said ethic and end sound. All vibes truly hint at retro rumblings, avoidance of commercialism and keeping things quite approachable – hey that will do for starters. The tones from these Liverpublian clatterers are richly woven and blend many flavours so deeply as to make all influences quite indistinct (if one doesn't scratch hard enough). Formed in 2011 the band are making slow and steady progress and so’ if this CD does the business’ and a few more get off their arses and help push em' along I am sure we can get the flow gushing a little more. It is what we are here for - come hell or high water! So what does Fungal make of this one then?
'In Ignorance' opens with a cine clip I have heard before on a 4 Past Midnight CD - I love this little furious cum desperation plea that asks you to not take this shit anymore. Straight into the song proper and free-wheeling aggression and hunger takes us through the first verse with no arsing around. A rolling and stuttering snip of spirit and the chorus is nailed. A deep bass rumble abates the avalanche and then...more sonic ice cascades and crushes. Guitars throughout are grimed, drums knocked about with exact abandon, gob work accented and unaffected. Skids and rattles and then a switch out, a moment of skanky reggae repetition - sweet - and the final blast out comes. The first stone is laid, can the band build a tower block of succeeding toneage? 'Anarchists Anonymous' is a fuckin fine second slab to lay down with questions posed and pondered, an aggressive DIY rally call given via a superb chorus, more flavoured skankiness thrown in and an overall excitable desire to deliver an anthemic tune that will serve the band well over a long period of time. The resonant bass at the rear adds weight to this song and the screwed up boat race delivery heightens to the overall conviction. Good stuff!
'Our Contributions' makes a grand entrance on showcased strums before tickling along on speed skank twinkle toes that fail to prepare the way for the surging and opposing chorus (no bad thing - contrast factor had). We are initially teased before the outpouring of the said chorus hits us like a direct runaway train - slam. We repeat the formula and are given several more episodes of preparation and power surges and so get a real treat in keeping with the heady standard set and what has passed thus far. The band are impressing me! 'Them And Us' has the most ambience with a shadowglass backdrop overloaded with sidling bassism, tranquil strokes of the strings, just enough tympani and mouth work that is entirely real, working class and in need of answers. The mellowed tones work in conjunction with the restrained anger and this one is over way too soon - so much to toy with, so much potential to tap further - a pearler! 'Brain Haw' has a tribute paying slant, is a coasting jaunt and has me thinking that the band are rattling off these efforts without too much fuss. This is one of those numbers that one thinks 'yeah' and...nothing more. You get moments like that with some songs - they come, do the business, fuck off into the ether and leave one with not much to add - and why should we? A steady midway outpouring as is 'Drink Myself To Death', but this latter track nips the arse with a little more self destructive spite. The flavour is spiced up using ingredients such as speed and gusto and the band shine all the better for it. Tenderised, scuttling in parts, forever on the hectic go with an essence of something Tartanised - strange one that! I ain't gonna complain though - another safe and strapped in effort!
Time ticks on.
'You Call This A Democracy' ticks a little more on a rushing vocal driven reggae/skank up that metamorphs into a scuttle shuttle that finds a new track and fuckin' hammers it like hell to the next station where once more we switch out - phew. The song is a swap and change number with opposing/complimenting styles neatly mixed and thus highlighting the many facets of the band as well as their capabilities. The accent in the gob once more adds identifiability and I like that - kind of makes it approachable - a key factor for sure. 'Move Out' stamps petulant feet, demands you take note and then skanks it out with rapid lyrics pouring over the upstroked and stung strings whilst cymbalised tympanisation takes place at the rear. The bass is the foundation, the explosions that come are scatterbombs of great necessity, the climax to the final rage carefully staged - this is good stuff indeed and capable of capturing the attention of varied sub-genres. The pursuing tickle is much the same but has greater impetus, a more twinkled toed crustiness, a more acute attitude that punctures the eardrum of the listener and feeds on the resultant submissive blood. Glassy, abraded, corrosive with the acidic spittle flying in more wayward directions - I'll be to the point - Old Radio do what they do so well and this song, 'On Your Own', is a prime example to back up that statement.
The finale is fantastically played out with a sub-dramatic build-up leading into an adrenalin rampage that no sooner appears than fades into another classily delivered bout of skarred aggression. The bellow out of the power driven chorus is perfect and the thunderous drums and electric lightning speed make this, as well as the song in general, a delicious sliver of melodic meat. 'Fall Like Rome' is a fine full stop on a surprisingly good CD.
So Old Radio are another wondrous crew on the good ship Discordance and are contributing a healthy mixture of several genres and making their own merry, alco-laden waves. The scene is rippling with bands like this and one should bloody well appreciate it - I certainly do. Again another one for this shroomed scribbler to check out in the flesh and again another one I expect to tickle my testes of tone - oooh mother!