FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 1
11A RECORDS - COMPILATION 2
So here we are again, the independent record label from Ipswich is once more spouting out some fine tonality from the overlooked underground and, no matter if it all doesn't hit my sonic hotspots, I can still say with sincere spirit that this is the way things should be fuckin' done. Wholeheartedly, with the betterment of the scene at heart, purely DIY to the core - that is all you can ask and if this second slop heap of sonica is anything like the first I'll be more than a trifle happy. Enough of the intro, in we go.
The first flavoured morsel to shatter the silent confines is known as 'Declaration Of My Disconnection' by the class soaked crew who fly by with the name of The Hook Line Riot. I have recently reviewed this anti wired-up/on-line beauty as part of their quality album and feel the same way about the song - what a cracker. Accurately executed, multi-faceted, highlighting the technical acuteness of the band and the commercial appeal - a real solid slice of approachable noise for sure. Next up and a fidgety fly flitter known as 'Backs Against The Wall'. This restless winged wonder weaves about and crosses many boundaries with its modern edged technicalities with the band at the helm, namely The Splash, showcasing themselves as very capable musicians indeed. This one needs a few listens by the uninitiated or sub-generic outsider and although lacking the instant melody many of us crave it does have numerous meritous points. Not for everyone but those in the know will lap it up like the dehydrated dogs that they be. The 4130's next (another song already given the Fungal treatment) and a super fluid knockout known as 'Hearts And Minds', a fuckin' crackin' cutlet of gushing brilliance with all members pouring in their entirety and contributing to a really exciting end product. Vocally this one comes from the heart, the strings provide the lifeblood and the sticks incessantly pump all components and make this a feel good song with much weight. The last of the songs to be reviewed by me on a prior occasion is the corrosive 'Mandy And Charlie' by the impressive Ill Gotten Gains. A swift surge of under nourished skankage with all private areas on fire and a distinct blue light urgency running throughout. The balls of the unit are blackened, the todge of temperamental tuneage glowing bright red - the band flap, flourish and win praise - a good burst with a watertight style that isn't so obvious as it seems.
Glistening string shimmers, a clatter attack, a tumult into modernised melodies with sharp angles and stop/start pulsations, 'Ignorance Is Bliss' is hammered by the more than capable limbs of Chairman Of The Bored, a fast and tight new breed who rumble up the rhythms and come forth with flurry after flurry and leave no room to breathe. An inclusion in keeping with the general theme - nice. Second In Line follow with the dumbed down production (watch them levels dear compiler) of 'Standard Generic Three Chord Punk Song', a raw underfed song that has all the basic qualities of shit basin punk and seems to want, or need, little else. It is straight ahead stuff given gumption via the hungry gob and repetitive riffage - not too bad. The Rocco Lampones have a chance to showcase their schizzle, they certainly don't 'Bottle It' but after an initial throat rant serve up a rapid moving cutlet of well sinewed sonica with florid sanguinity and pushing inner pride. Just short of the finished article (due primarily to the end production being about 10% short of the mark - you gotta be accurate with this shit for sure) but all the trimmings and attributes are there to make this crew an approachable commodity with chomp. You can predict the route they will take and the style will fit in perfectly - another very talented band. Bottler pronounce themselves with cool guitar slashes before moving into a sub-bouncing song that gives hints of fluffed up poppage that is all fine and dandy with the only pointer to be given in that I feel the band just need to emphasise certain components of the song and make more deliberate attacks on the melody and overall drive. This is only a small snip of Fungalised advice and in no way should deflect from a well played ditty with many fine aspects such as the adhesive bassism, well splashed skins and overall composure that oozes a touch of rehearsed class. We close this second sonic sampler with the hectic confusion of 'Cold Resistance' by the quality named crew The 5 String Drop Out band. This is a bastard to review, loaded with assorted flavours, crammed with oodles of fleeting acoustic angles, a song vandalised by the crews ever twitching temperaments. The opening strolls forward with a cold unhinged authority done in a most haunted fashion and with numerous chant and rant vibes to unsettle. The cymbals are abandoned, the bass belly grumbles, the impetus picks up and we seem to be into a different song all together - it somehow works. Acoustic awkwardness tossing about on self whipped waves and then...oblivion.
The 2nd CD in the series, a fine collection again with just the right amount of bands on show so no-one disappears into an overloaded pack (which happens way too often and which I have been guilty of contributing to in the past - tut fuckin' tut). All I ask upon hearing this is that the series continues, the noise is kept diverse, different bands are constantly in the mix and you, the reader of this review, gives each CD your time of day - thank you all!
THE WARRIORS - DEAD TO ME
Veterans of the Oi scene, old gits who should know better, passionate players who know their style - say what ya want, since 2007 the band have put behind them the hit and miss past and got some consistency going with a tighter, well groomed sound that sees the band putting more textures into their tuneage rather than relaying on raw, rough arsed clout. Originally this band first popped up in 1981 formed by Saxby, the original Last Resort singer and well versed noise man. After much on and off action this new lease of life is doing all fine and dandy and with 2 albums under their belts and a few split EP's this latest single has me in anticipatory mode. 2 songs, no fannying needed, let us see where this crew are at.
Side A and 'Dead To Me' has a great opening vibe that is loaded with threat, promise and a somewhat furtive streak that is slightly elusive, slightly ambiguous. As the song travels the sonic shooters are revealed and the band aim, fire and hit the sonic targets of favour. The metallic bass is well worked and wobbled hard so as to give a dominant lead role from which all other contributors can build on. The gobbage is sanguine, accented, well 'Oi'led, the strings sharply attired, the sticks hard slapped - this, along with the no-nonsense verses and sing-a-long chorus mode is what makes for a first rate song to bounce around to - concrete!
Flipping over and 'No One Provokes Me' is imposing hard-boiled noise that rushes along with a clobbering intent that will not be stalled. The 'don't fuck' tonsil tones are further spiked with the acute strings and bustling skin work with the lyrical content simple, repeat beaten and to the point. A final fist flying flurry and we are done with the aftertaste of a basic song done in traditional style and meeting the needs of those in the crews sonic circle.
There ya go, in, out, shaken all about, verdict - 1 gem, 1 I can take or leave. The Warriors though are worthy of your time if you like your Oi with a touch of something extra, please check out and keep the buggers rolling.
FAT ALBERT - USELESS GENERATION
Cumbrian cacophoneers Fat Albert come at you in typical punk style with no intent to be anything original, outrageous or overly ornate. Straight out of the sonic slop bucket this 4 piece, who formed in 2008, play it straight down the middle and if you want things with frilled edges and bangles of necessary flamboyance or unnecessary idiocy then you had better bail out of this honest and up front CD review now. I take all flavours in my stride, say what I feel and strive hard to blend careful criticism with salted positivity and well spiced sincerity - it ain't easy, I do more than I should, I still try my best though. On we go!
'Useless Generation' a song that could have been deemed routine, without bite, lacking a certain spice many surely desire - let me correct you. The drum rolls instantly excite, they add a bristling intent to wake the dead (you know the ones, empty eyed gapers they be), the general ensuing mix is sonically corrupted, as crummy as fuck but ultimately in a groove where most of my interest is found. The pace is rolling, the cut of the cloth ragged, the aftertaste of a decent bout of unflustered punkage - a fair start. The familiar tones of Frederic March next from that wonderful film concerned with separating the good and evil within. 'Dr Jekyll' has more thrills and spills than the opening surge and power punches in part as well as having a more scything quality. There are obvious touches of sub-horrified punk as well as the main overspill of obvious spikiness but the end potion feels good as it flows down our noise hungry guzzle tubes. An inner break where the mouth abandons the musical waters and lets the players wander is brief and simple and just does the adequate job it needs to do - not a bad jaunt. The best song of the opening trio is 'Just Another Day', an earthier feel and a more relaxed vibe is had with the inflection of the bands output seemingly more natural. The joints that hold this construct together are well oiled and as a result move more freely giving the offering a very convincing edge with the overall swing and maintained semi-corrosion an appealing combination. A corking little track.
'Stig Of The Car' has a loose chassis, a pop punk feel that has me wondering where this could lead to if the band pursued on hot wheels. It needs more polish to the framework and more lubrication within the inner engine if it was to turn into a fully fledged cruising beast of poppology and that is where the song comes slightly unstuck. It is caught between two modes and radiates an uncertainty that does hinder the end judgement. Nevertheless there is enough evidence here to suggest the crew should dabble a little more with this type of sub-generic style and I'll be certainly listening out for more. Opinion here is mixed but the drift is enjoyed. 'Infidel' is dirty surging with all areas under-produced and given a boost by the player’s enthusiasm and nothing more. A racket for the DIY scummers to ponder, a rattling bout of vim and vigour bursting through squalid sonic membranes - and guess what? I find it half decent - such is my love for the nasty noise.
'Andy (Friend To The Stars)' is a kind of pimple arsed rock and roll jaunt that has riffed trimmings but fails to present itself with any clean cut decisiveness. The song is easy to get into, it has that flavoursome thread of griminess and offers what I deem to be much 'live' potential but I feel the song just needs that extra drill factor from the band, a little extra determination in the delivery, a more full on thrash so as to get the band flowing more naturally. Hey it ain't shite but it isn't as bright as it could, and should, be. Next up and 'Full Throttle' sounds much more like it, sometimes that title can say so darn much. A tinned murkiness, a mid-paced drive, a more textured vocal spill, a chorus that has slightly more emotion - and yet I still want more. The song has a greater sensation, provokes more thought and has an adequate composure but, yes that 'but' word again, I feel the band are playing within themselves. As per, I won't settle until a band pushes harder and the potential is being grasped as firm as possible. This is decent punkage but there is so much more waiting to be spilled forth. A decent song despite the criticisms and one to re-work and make into a classic I am sure.
3 quick ones to close with 'Lost Your Disguise' is more of the same and not really challenging the band or the listener although the inner reggae cut is another example of the potential here and another route that must surely be tested further. 'Decay' submerges itself in the set mode, has a decent middle break but despite the loose sliding feel doesn’t really rise from the pack whilst 'Draw The Line' closes with a confidence boosting theme and insists we fight and dig in deep. It is a good old sing-a-long moment done in true FA bog brush style and ends the CD on a sweet, slightly corned moment - we mustn't grumble.
So my decision has been reach, the band are capable of more and although this CD is a fair effort there is so much to be worked upon to make it a complete, full hearted and rewarding effort. I like several tracks here and the rusty edge is fine and dandy throughout and of course, is my preferred mode of sonic fodder, but I gotta get the best out of these buggers and so insist they push on. Get this, offer up your thoughts, music is about progression, let us all do our bit!
THE HOOK-LINE RIOT - SIRENS
Music from the proud heart with an abundance of presence and obvious ensnaring hooks. This is big stage anthem-esque music that is clean shaven, tucked in and standing to spirited attention. Having been around for just a couple of years with experience aplenty from all players this lot look destined to make a decent splash with their very honest and processed form of noise. Based in the Cheltenham/Bristol areas and with an already good reputation, fine web presence and numerous contacts to call upon I am wondering how fast the escalation will be up the ladder of fortune or how long it will be before the band get fucked off with the apathy out there and wrap it up. It is a hard circle, a tough unforgiving scene but luck can play a big role as well as decent reviews - mmm - here comes Fungal - no favours for any flavours - shit!
We open with an embracing hope that is given via the well orchestrated pronunciation known as 'Calling All Cobras', a smooth moving song that tinkles in, has no inkling of being rushed and gradually washes over the empty silent landscape with rehearsed accuracy and spruced up cleanliness. The harmonised moments are a sweet delight and bring into play thoughts of a band not trying to tear up the rock and roll script or try and kick down any resistant barriers but of a unit who want to compose solid, noisily nutritious songs that have a long lasting flavour and exude an irresistible classiness that even the most ardent crustified soniceer cannot criticise. The band keep it spikily mellow with much to admire, but will this sonic schizzle hold up over the full course - read on.
More hope and confidence radiates from the improving 'Take No Time', a grower for sure whose initial refinements of well polished sonica and production room gloss are soon overthrown by the general composite and its well thought out arrangement and inner melodic machinations. The song has no direct pick up and play snags, no obvious hooks to instantaneously catch your attention upon but is a more complete effort with an entire ensnaring factor that grips and doesn't let go. As is blatantly obvious to anyone who reads the reviews I do, my preference is for raw, underwashed noise that is thrown off the wrist and splashed onto the lap of the listener but I am never one to frown on quality produce from a band with much nouse - hence the reason I ain't complaining here! 'Chances' is crisp and well cut with a floating opening verse that slips into a neat slipstream and metamorphs into a sanguine chorus that surely will assist in catapulting this band onto bigger and more commercialised things. Not my route of course, this dog salivates at the bottom, but if there is any justice then this lot are in for a major signing any time soon. So many CD's pass the Fungal radar and are borne from an arena where big attention is paid basically down to the unthreatening nature of the noise as well as the darn fine artistry - this is an example of such and is much better output for sure. The harmonies perhaps highlight the standard of sonica set and really rubber stamp what a fine band we are dealing with. 'She Will Never Know' is another chorus accentuated moment with the band reaching a super pinnacle that is lucid, uplifting and catchy - bastards. The opening strums and hallowed utterances are followed by a drum driven section that exudes energy and for me, squeezes out extra zing from the other participants and results in a splendid commitment from all to the end mush. It is as per, reliable, smut free, annoyingly precise - I repeat - bastards (in a complimentary kind of way).
To keep things moving, 4 quick ones, it is the best way - keeps me on my toes and hopefully you, the generous reader, too.
'Black Eyes And Broken Hearts' is a great title for a song in any genre, here we have an initial approach filled with caution before the empathetic surge that comes is filled with encouragement and consolation. An accomplished composite reinforcing the belief I have of a band on the cusp of something highly rewarding - watch this space. 'Fat Cats And Underdogs' is silky and another example of a band in a rich vein of form and embracing every vital element they have and parcelling and packaging in one glorious cutlet of artistry - it just slots in, does the business and leaves me little to say as does the easy listening piece known as 'I Can Say' although I do find this latter number a trifle mediocre and really not seeking out and destroying my sonic hotspots. It is played well, produced well, composed adequately but is one of those I can take or leave. The quartet under rapid review comes to a close with 'Sirens' a song soaked in casual aplomb, more mass appealing chordage and harmonised snips to get the sonically soft hearted all convinced and crooning. The second song to leave me standing but what a well written piece and perfectly delivered it is.
Back to the usual assessing with 'Declaration Of My Disconnection' a fine tune with an equally fine theme. A rage against the digital addiction out there and the way in which we have all become slaves to the computerised machines and feel a need to know all and see all. The band blend several approaches from the anthemic and thoughtful to the cleanly hollered and cutely executed. The yearn for the age when face to face meetings and personal contact were more prevalent and closeted solitary behaviour was frowned upon is donated with emotive accuracy and as a matter of course the Fungal fat digits go upwards. Alas I turn them straight back down with the awful drifting of 'Rely On Me', a song I find too sickly sweet and too pondering with a kind of disjointed meander really getting on my thre' penny bits. This is just a personal viewpoint of course and one of those moments that happen every so often when dealing with such masses of music. I would be a fool to say the song is shit, badly played and not an essential component of a very cohesive CD but I'd be a bigger fool to tell a lie and say this was one of my faves - it isn't, I loathe it - bah, sorry chaps.
'Waiting Room Exit' and 'Turn It Up' bring the curtain down on this quality CD with the former a wonderfully hygienic piece (what's new) with saccharine comfort and solid riffage wafting throughout and the usual combined gobs hitting all the right essences. The latter number is a well blasted song with the crew throwing in their all and coming out smelling of roses rather than some rotten nettles with a foul sting for the more perverse sonic scrutineer - bah, I'll get ya ye buggers.
Overall, despite my tastes tending towards all things unwashed I find this a really cracking piece of musical composing with the flair of the band highly applaudable and genuinely convincing. If this band doesn't move to the top of certain sub-generic trees than I am at a loss for words (a rare occurrence) and will wonder what bands have to do these days to convince the punters of their quality. A sound effort, let us watch this lot with care!
THE THANES - DISHIN' THE DIRT
So, the garage punk legends have a release on the equally legendary Dirty Water Records - what a combo to savour. First formed in 1980 the band went under the name of The Green Telescope until making the change to The Thanes in 1987 the reason being they wanted a title with a less psychedelic vibe and something that more accurately fit in with our sixties American teen-punk garage infatuation. Fair enough methinks. So here we have 2 taster tracks to get the jowls salivating once more and here is a Fungalised overview of what we actually get.
'Dishin' The Dirt' is a key driven gem with a super twinging leitmotiv running along in the background whilst strings bassily groove it up and the drums military thump along with a 60's tinned splash. The oral offerings is screwed up, loose jawed sleaze with a small sprinkling of vicious intent and 'up yours' attitude. As the song progresses we get hypnotised by the swirling cacophonic colours and with each loop the intensity of the contrast is increased. A fascinating beauty awash with the 60's feel we have in-built into our chronological sonic souls.
'I Don't Want You' is crisply delivered with heavily taut strings that glassily shimmer before sub-chugging behind the attentive bass, slightly rusted gob work and steady sticks. The inner break is acidic, burning with inner fire, used as a chance to fracture the regularity. We progress down the back stretch, repeat beat, all is over too soon, all areas are in tact though, all targets hit - we shall not be found bitching.
A classic cut, both A and B sides working together and contributing to a steady release. Like every single it does its job, it entertains and provokes interest into what a full length release will bring - nice, check out The Thanes brothers and sisters.
THE REVELLIONS - GIVE IT TIME
Yet more Dirty Water produce from a delightful bucket of discordance I am always happy to slurp from. The Revellions have been on the prowl since 2006 with a critically acclaimed album under their belts as well as numerous tours and festival appearances. The highlight, perhaps, was when they recorded a live studio session with television and radio personality Mark Lamaar which was aired during July 2008 on the BBC 2 show God's Jukebox. The band have took their time to release this second album and all I can do is wonder whether or not neutrals, new discoverers or hard baked fans will find the wait worthwhile. My toes dip into a bluesed, garaged soulful psychedelia and cling on to the usual upfront and transparent style that I adopt.
We commence with 'Bitter And Twisted', a cool sonic zephyr blown through with keyed textures from a time gone age that have been persuaded, through genuine artistry, to re-emerge in all new refinery but with the classic characteristics we know so well. The song simmers throughout with the occasional overspill a necessity to maintain the danger levels and listeners interest. The overall melody has a moody stance as well as a general upbeat flavour which duly combines around an inner thread where we find absorbing depth and numerous embracing acoustic elements that captivate with their complimentary cacophonic concurrence. The vocals show a sweet range and rise and fall with passion whenever needed - this is accomplished tuneage for sure. On to 'Sighs' - palpitating bass, calming keys, in the groove to move vocals, this rolling river of rhythm advances with class. We cascade over more intense beds of spirit, we swiftly meander down a naturalistic route and throughout the standard is wonderfully high. When the band are holding the reins tightly there is a feeling of distinct suppression (as can be expected) but this only heightens the impact when the band let everything go and gush with utter conviction. The only gripe - the brass is not let loose enough, because when it does what we get is sublime brilliance - hey ho. A fine offering nonetheless.
'Don't Wait For Me' is almost 70's soul with the harmonised moments loaded with street wise inflections and the overall gist of the tune quite a cool cat indeed. The main thrust of the music is, in parts, quite minimalistic but this only emphasises the tonal talent of the front gob whereas when the thermals rise within the players it provokes a responses from this warbling warrior. The backing vocals are choice, add to the warmth of the song and once more the swing in the tempo is precise and will get a rear end wiggle of appreciation for sure.
'Give It Time' pulsates with the strings then a warped psychedelic burst comes, like a misinformed 1970's alien invasion, all B-movie'd up and in need of some direction. The sinister piece that follows is an unsettling sub-tribal shuffle awash with schizophrenic uncertainty and it seems, slightly malfunctioning melodies. The tone is dark, on edge, creepingly malevolent with all input tailored to be grim, oppressive and slightly restless. I can grasp the angle, can appreciate the effect it makes but can easily walk away and give a vote of no confidence - just not what I was expecting and not really appealing to my personal sonic taste buds. Onwards, 'In vino veritas', hammer clank strums, pistonised skins, mechanical steps taken - we appear to be in stuttering mode, a hard time ahead, how the hell do the band turn this around then? With consummate ease it seems with coffee smoked vocals leading the way in exemplary style and creating a hazy acoustic atmosphere that enshrouds the attention and gradually draws one in with the layered sincerity and all absorbing depths. A back alley cruise in monochrome shades where all sombre hues swirl, merge and swirl into one slow turning rhythm in which to get delightfully lost. A coasting masterpiece with all touches contributing to the naked unflustered noise just so ideally. I like the under polished end glow, the avoidance of garish splashes and the commitment to a song striving to embolden its own distinct ambience.
Speeding onwards and nailing the last 4 in double quick time we have 'Somewhere In Between' is a slow sidewinding snake that has the tendencies of a sonic boa in that it slinky dinks down and slides its strong heaving sinuous body of noise around you and gradually squeezes tighter and tighter until you are fully encased in the flesh of the muscular melodic rhythm and have no choice but to....enjoy. A sub-sexual serpentine gem followed by 'Strung Out Bad', a sincere drift of semi-acousticised westernisation soaked with emotive blankets of ambience and warm embracing arms of intelligent artistry that apply just enough colour to a sombre looking delivery - nice rocking chair mellowness. 'The Waltz' is an instrumental and reminds me of a snake charmer on acid, she can weave a merry path, consume you with hypnotic rhythms, can tease out your todge of tuneage by merely playing her vibes. This is an odd moment, quite mysterious and underhand as is the finale known as 'Drip', a real slow and swaying piece awash with abandoned sensations and solitary moods of dramatic thoughtfulness - a very curious way to end a quite convincing CD.
So a collection of 9 songs with variation, high talent, emotive flavours and deep rooted influences all swirling together to create a full on listening experience that is a joy to wallow in. This kind of noise is a pleasure to be surrounded by and adds a nice complimentary spice to my usual listening matter that is more DIY, rougher edged and may it be said, spiked. A definite must for those who appreciate artists nailing their style!
SUBVISION - THE BONES OF CONTENTON
I receive a CD to review, no info, no promo material just a CD in a cover. I trawl on-line to find more - I come up with Punk band from Kincardine, Clackmannanshire. Fuck it - if that is how it is that is how it is - shortest intro ever - you bet.
I shall assess this CD in a new way - I will do the 8 tracks in groups of 2, I shall slap the arses of these twins of tuneage, bruise the ball sacks of these brothers of noise, carefully appraise what I deem to be corrosive cacophonic couplets. It seems apt!
The first 2 runts to rhythmically squirm from the underbelly of silence are known as 'The Abyss/In My Shell' and 'Manifesto'. Both sonic servings are harshly cooked and laden with slow burning spices that will undoubtedly not be to everyone’s tastes. The initial track relates a tale of introverted safety and an escapism from all that threatens ones comfort zone. The chugging grind rises, all components are set to slow simmer, the heat is consistent as is the restrained rage. A hard fought determination is found throughout the mid-paced machine-like grind with moody cogs and gnashed teeth all rotating together and contributing to an end product that is compact, factory-soiled and very weighty. Further inspection reveals a gloomy aspect, a shadowy unrest - the scene is set and the chasing chunk of bleak tuneage is adorned in the same packaging with a more scientific wrap, a more futuristic style. As soon as the gobbage comes forth these mental suggestions are banished and we are back to a gritty article that ploughs away with nagging regularity and corrosive purpose. The pebble-dashed aspect is fine for a full on, top volume blow out but for an easy listen there is no chance this one will meet anyone's needs. A strained and strenuous song with a lack of variation and may it be said...complimentary touches that are in sync with the bands requirements. It happens, tinkering, testing and pushing will sort this glitch out for sure - think on dudes!
'Empathetic Void' and 'Violation' come next with both tracks following the theme set and one that will continue (a mistake to my Fungal lugs as I truly believe variety is the spice of sound). The former track is a rubble rocking mush of heavy duty machinery that relies on bulldozing insistence rather than any cute touches or crafty switchbacks. It is a stodgy listen and already disappears into a mound of malevolent, mincing music many will find a little too repetitive and indigestible. There is no change with 'Violation' although the track does have more defined areas between verse and chorus and as a result is more easily swallowed. Both songs, especially this latter chunk, have a primitive and tribal overtone that takes them back to a time when punk first fractured and blatant melody and anarcho-politics became two distinct entities.
Next up and the galloping grimness of 'Withers And Dies', a harsh and reality based song with a none stop stampede that perhaps gets the best out of a band refusing to stray off course. The sinews are stretched, the pace quickened - there is a greater level of success - just. 'End Of The Lesson' whinges in, chugs with patience, rattles its arse with the most deliberate determination so far and swings into the simplistic but effective chorus with ease. The alteration of pace, the more relaxed stance, the free for all moments all show where Subvision's best options are found at the moment - best song of the lot.
Last two and named and shamed as 'Sad Situation' and 'Wake Up'. The opening song of this final brace is at first a dirty low down dog that sniffs around on crouched haunches and emanates a stinking presence that stays in the mind a long while after this cruddy cur has fucked off. A very numbing and wretched runt of rhythm this that flounders in its own discordant defecation a little too long. The excitement only comes when a shake down is had and the bastard runs for it with tail wagging, lipstick showing and tongue lolling. The closure is there to leave an aftertaste, what we get is the band going through all their usual motions and combining them in one end pile of punkage. Noxious, twisting, slogging, rushing, ponderous and with a running time that is just too long. It ain't bad but hangs around for too long and so I bail out before a big splash of negative text is given.
In brutal honesty I feel that this CD reflects a band who are being to stubborn for their own good and need to break their own sonic shackles and go for a swifter, sharper cut sound with numerous switches that push their talent to the max. This in small doses is fine and dandy but even at 8 tracks it becomes too repetitive and downright oppressive for its own good. I suspect 'live' the feeling is similar although a little less crushing - I do wonder! As per, I will be curious where the crew go next, if down a similar route then I wouldn't want to review but if squeezing their knackers hard and taking a punt then I am all up to praise the progression.
SYSTEM OF HATE - INSANITY EP
System of Hate offer sable sonic spillages from the raw and overlooked recesses of Barnsley and do it with a forthright and oppressing manner. The band bring much experience to the table, an assortment of punked influences and numerous other suggestive sonic experiences that all bode well for the overall future of the unit. Having reviewed one release thus far and appreciated the dinnage I do remember myself asking for a little more variance in sound, the question now remains as to whether or not my request has been met and the band are indeed pushing themselves harder and further. Only one way to find out...
The first explosion of intense dinnage is entitled 'Insanity', a fuckin' superb burst of raged abrasion smoothed throughout with a sax soaked streak that really drills its way into your consciousness. From the opening melee through the liquid aggression that freely pours from a tortured soul down to the last bastard blast this is a bruising affair that emphasises where the bands best elements are found and when they turn up the ill temperament levels fine skewering success is undoubtedly there to be had. A big hitting brute of a number that will beat you senseless and leave you perversely gagging for more. 'Ashes Of Divinity' is a less up front effort and relies on regular nagging bassism, tribal drums, carefully attended guitar and strong snatching gobbage. Atmosphere is high on the agenda as the creeping malevolence of the track unfolds and reveals a dark beating heart within. The production values enhance all and each component of this heavy duty outfit is given full complimentary consideration as well as room to expire and exhibit. A powerful song for sure and one that does well to stand in the shadows of the opening behemoth.
'The Dogs Of War' trundles in before futuristically sliding along on electric beams built with cutting intent. The verses are blistered, the chorus cutlets simple but forthright and effective. The saturation of the sonic landscape is entire, no area is left unmolested and what we get is a very intense listening experience not to be shied away from. Again the song thrives from first to last and all I can do is applaud the obvious upswing. 'Infected' thumps, scuffles, destroys the resistance with its malicious drive that has similarities to its predecessors but has a very toxic bite of its own. A bleak number ingrained with disgruntlement and diseased determination to dim the outlook, crush the optimism, defeat any chances of escape. Consuming cacophony for sure.
System of Hate move onwards, forwards, upwards and increase their effectiveness by simply pushing themselves and honing their set qualities - it has all proved to be a superb state of affairs. This music hits home and has impact, I come away impressed, the only question on my lips is can they maintain it? I reckon so as long as they don't settle on this winning thread and keep the fires stoked with new tuned timbers and inflammable hunger - do it!
THE TEAMSTERS - SELF TITLED EP
A Moody Monkey release from Hamburg finds a North London crew strutting their stuff and doing it with a shack load of influences poured in, from the likes of Mersey Beat to Punk, from R 'n' B to Indie. A heady mix that could so easily produce black sludgy melodic milk only the most ardent sub-generic connoisseur can swallow or a free flowing happy potion that the majority of music lovers can swill down in one go. I jump in with neutrality at the helm (what's new) and honesty in charge (what's new). So balls out, digits twitching and lugs cleared - what have we here then?
We open with 'A Girl Named Linda', a scuzzy skiffle tinted shebang with a ramshackle motor driving all melody and creating a nervous energy that carries the listener along and gets the old feet tapping. The band shuffle and shake and move in unison whilst the slightly roasted vocals provide further insistence amid the wrap-around style beat. During this opening gambit I somehow picked up on a thread that had me thinking along the lines of sub-horror punk and as if by magic the next song came along by the name of 'Digging An Early Grave'. I thought my suspicions of this distant hint were going to be confirmed - wrong! This cavernised groove is very much away from the spiked circle and instead goes right down the alleyway were 60's teen beat was bubbling and bands that were Beatle soaked were all the rage. The Teamsters project this honest sound into the present day and present a revitalising sound that embraces the radioed vibe, sub-minimalism and heavy reliance on the melody. Slightly harmonised throughout with an unashamedly approach that pays due homage this crew have their style cracked and all I can do is submit and swing my DIY ass.
'Don't Come Back Home' is the dirtiest brat in the pack with a rag flapping repeat offence that snaps, crackles and pops with self created fizzology which duly insists the nervous framework twitches with tempo and joins in the melee. It is a basic song, put together with the loosest sonic scaffolding, but the saturation levels and short sharp nudges given all ideal and of that specific mode - dig that middle break man and let it all hang loose as the impetus builds and yer mind melts into the music - yeah. We close with 'Girl (How Could Ya)', a more deliberate approach with cold stated lyrics that tell a tale of love gained, love lost and the resulting disbelief of being so let down. The icy lack of passion in the vocals is an odd choice of inflection but it works remarkably well and the glassed tinkle of the strings, the adhesive bass, the suitably precise stick work and overall feel of the song makes this my personal fave (which I really do question myself about). A fine closure methinks and all done in sweet time - have it.
Eclectic tastes will devour this tuneage, those who are not afraid to combine flavours on the turntable mixing bowl will love the different aspect this music brings. For me the band have captured what they want, manipulated and let it go with quite sincere accuracy - I am convinced, are you? Well go listen you doubting shouters and see what you think!
WONK UNIT - NERVOUS RACEHORSE
Have you ever had a flock of starlings burst from you rear end and fly around your nether regions for days on end without a care in the world except for a feast on rectal worms and a good old sing song within the boughs of the bowels. Troubling isn't it and very unpredictable! This occurrence is similar in fact to receiving a Wonk Unit CD - you don't know what to expect and what will happen next but you do know that certain feathers will fly and one hell of a racket will be made. This is my 4th Wonk Unit review and so far the curvature of appreciation has swelled each time, in fact the last release was a veritable gem of dysfunctional deviancy that cleared out the Starling roost and rocked my private areas in a most ardent way - chirp, squawk, peck! So onto the latest release, insane artwork, many abstract titles and expectations of more quirked and jerked energy! I should know better, I should give this a miss, my nerves jingle and jangle, but my assessing pecker I doth dangle - whoosh!
'Wood Pigeon' coos and woos us, crafty twat it be! It is a charmingly terse episode of melancholia that ponders what could be, what won't be and has a pang for that which is unattainable. Beautifully composed and delivered on downy acoustic feathers that increases the comfort zone. 'Lewisham' pounces with an earthy honest and the front dudes clear and friendly tones flowing amid a tidy scuzz of sound from the rear that has bite but keeps things clean and tidy. The impetus is liquid, the cut out drifts ideal and the natural wordage that relates a tale of waywardness and reality makes what could be an average tune a very accomplished end product with much character and idiosyncratic brilliance. 'Nan' is a ludicrous piece of throw away nonsense that should be confined to the filing tray of 'idiocy' but is a relatable tale with wrap around lyrics that do the fuckin' business. The obvious is stated but how many would dare pen a song about a fumbling OAP who takes a leak with the door open. It is insane that something so 'everyday', something so 'overlooked due to is normalcy' should be constructed into a cacophony that is such a delight. Only the Wonkers have the tenacity to get involved in such creations and I for one am fuckin' glad they do. This latter treat completes an opening trio that you will find hard to shake from yer discordant drenched dome - and why would you want to? We are all surely a great big bunch of wonkers at heart!
'Go Easy' and a full on plough out with the mania a priority and the angst relieving masturbation equally important. When the chest is stuck out and the band brandish their weapons with utter abandon we get moments like this - unhinged spillages that deal with subject matter in an angular kind of way. The old boiled eggs are indeed important and many a time has been had when the fuckers disobey when the ale has flowed too easily. The essence of the song is to blast along as the temper dictates - I am all enthralled. 'Siobhan' and in case you are feeling settled we get the soft delicacies of a pleading request to ease the stresses and strains of a lady close to ones heart. Light drum skips, plucked not fucked strings, cool caressing utterances - an end mix to soothe the beaten senses, the anxious muscles, the battered sonic brain - a turn about, a march in the way least expected, another fuckin' awkward option to keep you attentive - this is the only way to be. Lovely stuff.
'There's Me' and a distinctly more profound construct carefully blending the lighter aspects of the band and the persuasive riffs and chords that make them so darn convincing. Off the cuff wordage with heartfelt transparency, a sweet melody throughout that has an almost switched off naturalness and a flow that searches the soul, strives for nebulous answers and comes up with...almost none. Quite nearly too introspective and too self analytical to be comfortable - point to be made - comfort is not what we are here for. 'Kings Road Sporting Heroes' and a real nasty snipe at certain class systems and inner deviant circles found therein. A repeat beat, a grinding drill, a vicious onslaught based on fact - one of those moments when the jugular is ripped out and bare faced questions are put with a discomforting aspect onto out ignorant laps. Wake up, smell the disgust, taste the underhand goings on – a cracker. Next up and 'The Trail' is a calypsotic jaunt with retroed key tinkles that have charming skeletal delightfulness and quirked character. Our lead man harps on about an hypnotic arse he can't help but be enchanted by and is escorted by a sweet lasses tones who join in the buttock based bilge. It is a sweet, plump jingle that comes, goes and leaves a fond memory - a bit like the bum in the spotlight I presume.
'The Blonde' is grim punk with diseased temperament flaring in many directions. It is a minute long outburst that travels fast, nails it and bails out. In the 60 second rush we get desperate spillage that pleads against a backdrop of wrist slashing guitar work - far from a happy deal it seems. 'Heroin' is a head pecking piece that begins with extreme pill needing misery and a repetitive grind that annoys the senses - we open up the main vein and feed it with madness which at times spills over into relieving rage and at other times floats in the midst of a fix taken, absorbed and drifting within. The crew capture a sensation - it feels good, I try to avoid an addiction - pass me the needle of noise please! 'I Love My Nagging Wife' is a somewhat belittling song of a man trapped, who can't get away from a relationship, who seems happy to be verbally prodded and poked and who has some inner perversion to be constantly moaned at. I know many, many people within dead eyed relationships with the cause lost - this finger poking piss take is choice and built on a contradictory blissful tune that adds to the more than malicious mockery. The message for me is work at your relationships, have respect or fuck off, if not...the following outburst will let you know where things will end up. 'Depressed' is a pertinent song to me as I have numerous mental difficulties brought about by this shitty world and the fuck wits who make it harder to live in than necessary and set about bringing everything to its knees and revolving it around themselves. Many claim to be depressed and yet know fuck all about how that hopeless suicidal situation and how even the sunniest days are dark, oppressive and without promise. This blasting onslaught is a fuckin' peach and rails against the fashionably fed up or averagely browned off, the twats who claim it to be depression and so dilute the effect of those really suffering. The delivery is savage, self crushing, self motivating and tears out its own fucked off heart and slams it right in your indifferent mug. Suck on it you smiling bastards, let your empathy be provoked, listen and enjoy this musical primal scream.
3 left 'News Year Resolution' is smooth punkage, swift and getting on with things, it isn't a stand out track, it isn't a duff - my new years resolution is to give Wonk Unit a shit review - I thought I had a chance here but the more I play I see how it fits in. If alone as part of a compilation my boots could have hammered into the midriff of this one with glee but here - oh fuck it, I shall move on. 'Ghost Writer' is almost emotionless stuff that opens up, stays icy cold, calculated and sub-croons out another seeming plea for something more worthwhile. The burrowing guitar, the drifting periods that ponder, a bizarre feeling of cruelty and danger and the winky wonky gathering still provoke high intrigue. We close with a tired old song known as 'Take Me Home', an effort, in truth, I expected more from and although with the usual signature style and tuned trimmings I wanted something more vicious, more outlandish, and perhaps giving a glimpse into what may come on the next release. This is a decent closure I suppose and one many will be touched by but Fungal is unmoved - bah, what a crummy full stop to another wonderful paragraph of discordance.
So to the verdict - well, despite the last blip that I wasn't keen on I hope the prior wordage does enough to convince you of this bands pedigree, exciting style and continued production of top notch tuneage. This collection of tune bandits have had me enthralled since day one, it is still the same and now, on the TNS label, I am hoping a few more will be drawn into the fold and captivated by the din.