FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 1
TEREX TITAN - THE TEMPEST
Another band from Aalborg, this one running on big fuck off wheels with a dumping mechanism at the back that, if you get too close, will cover you in thick, gruelling sludge - a thick and heavy sound you will struggle to shake free from. The tread on the tyres of toneage is rugged, very compact and just waiting to crush any resistance beneath it. The main chassis is industrial metal with elements of stoner and furious hardcore but don't just sit back and admire this beast has it hammers by - no - get up, jump in front of the on-coming behemoth and let it take you completely out of your comfort zone.
Gear shift, a rumble, here we go then...
Fucked floodgates finally give way, the waters of blinding havoc seep through, the residue of rhythm that has been settled for so long is tossed about - the lack of pace is instantaneously startling - foolishly I expected a torrent. 'Cruising Titan' is indeed cruising but equally crushing and the murderous intent towards your aural receptors is vulgarly apparent at so early a juncture. Time is taken to grasp the bleak bombardment of horror tones, careful moments cradled and given several viewings - this sonic gruel is no easy thing to digest. It is taken inwards and tossed about the palate - the taste is harsh but each ingredient is exact in proportion and effect with the end mix getting the best out of such corrupting flavours. I swallow - the verdict is adequate and highly toxic - next course please. 'Aalborg Sleepwalk Massacre' continues the offensive thread with all areas loaded with cacophonic condiments designed to blister and cause reactive spasms of disgust or appreciation - dependant on your perverse stance. The bludgeoning we take during the next mouthful of melodic mush is far more rewarding due to the increase in tempo and may it be said - ill temper. Throats stretch, wires wank, skins sear - here we go, this is more like it - are you ready to get your genitals jolted. Pure and utterly strict in its sub-generic positioning this will turn heads in all directions - one for the connoisseurs for sure and played with extensive muscularity.
I move on...
Track 3 and 'Armageddon' is here - a crippling combine harvester of flesh shredding rage shredding your fertile fields of indifference and creating a provocative green space ready to be planted with shimmering sable trees that are there to bear black fruit. The structure of the sonic substrate varies from that which is fine and free flowing between the assessing digits and that which is claggy and merely sticks to the mitts. The overwhelming take over of the whole cacophonic area is total - Terex Titan take no prisoners. 'Terex Tempest' is bleak Satanism of the lowliest order and creates blood clots within the brain, debilitating thrombal restrictions within the assaulted vessels. This one invokes visions of an idyllic woodland erupting with black clouds of beckoned Corvids, circling high in a maelstrom of plumes ready to dive and pluck the innocent eyes from those without faith - a faith in a sound that dissects opinion. The guitars rustle the leaves of the gathered verdant behemoths, the drums add dramatic stability, the vocals from the cavern demand a flocking, The ascending birds represent the tones within the havoc - the intent within every beak is to cause injury, to break the will - this is damning stuff.
3 speedbursts as regards the overviews.
'Rock Ass' is thumbscrew hardcore lunacy with a slow and steady method taken interspersed with wild throat tearing speed injections that collapse, climb back up and demobilise your senses. 'Rawk The Roadside' is now to similar to other explosions and this one leaves me cold - I love the regular chuggery that riffs to buggery but those staggering moments impede way too much - pace, I want full on pace and of course a bout of terse terror. Last of the breezed over trio is 'Towards The Sun', a song intent on self destruction and at this point I am wondering how the band can keep up such grimacing power. This is for the purist with a sweet clatter attack, a certain embracing quality of all that is minced with a fine pick up towards the latter end that grips the listener. There ya go - 3 quickies in a row - oh my poor assessing pecker. The salient points of these tracks (and all the others for that matter) is the raw consistency, the open wound honesty and the crushing focus - think on.
We close with the 'Shadows Of The Lost', another sub-licentious extravagance of all that is dark and decadent within the sonic realm. If this noise were an awaiting arse then the end result would be a vandalised rectum of the most tender kind due to nothing more than the bands pounding brutality and insistence to make the crimson circle bleed. Again we get juddered, jerked and disjointed via sonic waves of the most cruellest kind - whoosh - over and out.
Personally this onslaught is a little too much for my tastes but in small doses I am more than impressed. Those in the niche of nastiness will salivate thickly as these meaty chunks are set before them. That is how it is with this sticky stuff, but before you make up your mind - indulge your musical maw and get the bandages ready!
BILLY LIAR - ALL I'VE GOT
A cultured artiste who has subtle powers of provocation, gentle persuasions within his remit of rhythm and a distinct flair for not following the orthodox acoustic route. The previous CD I reviewed by this 'erbert left a pleasant taste and I was keen to hear more - now is my chance. Rather than dawdle and meander down textual lanes I will jump into the nearest assessing shrubbery and flash my opinion to the nearest passers by.
I produce my text loaded nuts – they bounce on the keyboard – the next songs letter based summary looks like this - 'Sleep' lifts its head from the pillow of silence on beautiful butterfly wing cadences that are in no rush to fly to free and happy to flutter ponderously over the place of rest and slumbered thought. Again the flow is assisted (and encouraged) by more feminine flavours and I am enchanted by the fragility and simplistic wonder of a song that has so little complexity yet carries so much weight. Clockwork in affect, so easily absorbed - wonderful.
I have no extra tackle to expose, fuck it – pants around the ankles, I turn around and vulgarly bounce my rear all over the alphabet pad, fuck me something similar to a review has occurred, it goes like thus - 'Change' is a song rehashed and regards the scene, lack of conviction and...as it says on the tin....change. Ruffled up a little more than in it was in its previous guise and with more overtones of a player pushing himself this one is still as effective as it was and shows the guy with the guitar has passion and spirit which, when assessing any form of music, are the two most basic ingredients to seek out - no shortage here - another quality number (this time very much expected). The titfer is tilted, I strip off completely and do a lap of celebration - take a bow Mr Liar Pants - thy be doing a fine job.
3 songs with which to whet thy appetite if ye be a virginal listener - I don't think you'll be disappointed provided you can drop any outside restrictions and aural limitations. Seek this dude out - a fine art work is being composed before thy very lugs and all done with the most tender brushstrokes. All I can add is…
‘Oh shit missus, where’s me clobber’ – such are the hazards of nude finales – whoosh – I’m outta here!
MENACE - TOO MANY PUNKS ARE DEAD
Formed in 1976 and split in 1979 due to frustration with the industry (sound familiar) - this lot had a couple of crackin' early songs that I loved sincerely 'GLC', 'Last Years Youth', 'Carry No Banners' and the impeccable 'Insane Society' - I played these songs to buggery tha' knows back in the day - fine and dandy. Now things are different, a lot of time has passed and the line-up ain't the same - add to this there are many, many fine underdog units who can play their balls off at the drop of an hat - I shall judge this CD with these thoughts in mind but, as per, try and maintain a neutral standpoint.
'Thank God I'm An Atheist' chops up the soup of silence and adopts a regular routine that has a sharp acoustic attire blending easily into the brief and simply catchy chorus scene setting cut. Strums are well drilled, the aroma that comes forth is steaming with retro molecules, the beefed up bog standardness is approachable and so Menace open their doorway with a more than adequate welcome that avoids too much pomposity and dramatic dinnage. 'I Don't Care' is a better track and completes a fine double whammy with a disaffected, disinterested punked stance where things that are deemed important are pushed to one side. Immediately the band sound nothing like the crew I am familiar with and I do wonder how many will feel the same but overlook due to the weight of the name. For me the name is by the by, the music matters and should be judged as it stands in the modern age. I am finding both composites thus far reliable, gobby, borne from aged punk tickers and with a transparency that has its own primitive charms. Sometimes you can expect much, get just enough and still moan - I am refusing to commit any concrete verdict as yet but so far, all is fairly swell.
A spicier feel to the riffs that open 'Too Many Punks Are Dead' before the lyrics pour forth duly paying homage to many peoples heroes within in anti-hero scene. I can see the slant from which the song is borne and the crowd that it is aimed at and no doubt many will be leaping about and thinking of their Gods and failing to notice the Dogs. I have never been fond of this kind of tribute twattology but don't mind the odd name drop to those who did their bit. The song itself lacks any 'ooomph', is too safe and orthodox and wraps around itself way too many times - the weakest of the 3 despite a good melodic vibe present throughout. 'United' has a more resonant aspect primarily down to the tympanic rumble. The first verse is light and lucid with cooled 'whoa hoas' aiding the professionalism. The title shouts that follow, between the stated gobbage, emphasise and highlight with the band maintaining full clarity and deliberately structured sonica that will not slip into anything resembling a full on tear up. Tidy stuff with a certain upright stance adopted and thus keeping these offerings well oiled and well drilled. 'My Very Good Friend' starts with a delicate female lilt that stutters and isn't as ghostly as I suggest it should have been (personal thoughts are what reviews are about) - hey ho. Into a lovely upstrung jig that shows the band have room to manoeuvre, can afford to fiddle with the directions set, must push themselves at every opportunity. The slips between the tones and general sonic shadings is done with care here and sometimes that over cautious approach hinders the potential but makes for another easy listen. The middle section where band members wander in almost solitary fashion is a fair attempt at sub-reggae atmospherics but will improve if the band indulge further in this sub-generic style. Not a bad attempt all round but I can't help expecting more.
.A fine tempo and strum begins 'Party Animal', the introductory verse is sing-a-long, I am loving this despite my reservations with the pre-chorus potter. The chorus itself is easy going and will attract the punters (especially the users and abusers) and a unifying chant will undoubtedly ensue. Guitars flash, a turn is taken to set atmosphere, questions are posed that we are all aware of - fuck that - we move on with the same get up and sup stance - why not. 'Get Out There' has a nice ethos but is quite laboured in approach and the name drop within is a little sickly to say the least. The point is a good un' though but I would have preferred more zip in the ditty and a lot more raging hunger and thirst for things to be done. Also it is all very well getting out there having fun but what about putting something back into the scene that gives us so much. Just a thought from your ever provoking Fungal twat! Not keen on this one to be honest - just out of sync with my character and too ponderous with an almost downbeat feel for a song that surely needs utter fuckin' zest.
'Busy' casually moves through the machinations of the song with a creeping style that is primarily built around the palpitating bass line and slightly smoked vocals. Ascensions to the chorus are slight, emphasis is placed on a consistent grind out rather than any untoward extravagance (although it may be welcome) and the band efficiently push through the motions of a song and create another cutlet of easily digestible noise. Excitement is at a minimum, so is the risk factor but the song has solidity and that alone can be worthwhile. 'Leave Me Alone' has a distinct thread of rebellion, a nice spiteful bite on the ass of conformity and a greater riffed up approach. Professionalistic touches abound, the retro 'punked' edge is apparent, the end production about 80% there - this one is in keeping with the set style - and yet again I can't help being niggled by a sensation that the band have more to offer. Is that missing 20% end sheen the cause of my reluctance to fully gush or are the songs just too routine and perhaps a trifle too restrained. I just don't know - this is Ok but again nothing outrageously impressive. The drum and gob section adds extra interest, the wind down is somewhat loutish - much to consider. 'We Are The Boy's is a typical title for a ditty in this pit - the song is not as expected. Delivered with gentleness, with regard for the fragility of the theme, with an attempt to create an embracing sing-a-long number built on natural emotion rather than forced affect. It works, no need to burst the clouds, just bide your time and let the liquid drops of tone free fall into their own pool of success. We get a bonus track to follow this penultimate track and if I am honest it is the best track of the lot. Stripped down punkage that is slung at ya without processed plasticity and overly thought out design - '1212' is jugular bursting noise as nature intended and from the first spin will have you pogoing along to the raucous and repeat offender rhythm. Menace - why have you neglected this style? No fuckology, no bullshit - a final full stop filled with spirit - yeah.
Overall I am split and somewhat unconvinced about this gathering of songs but the last burst gives me confidence that Menace have a lot more in the tank and maybe should stick to what they know best - playing music for the love of it and not over elaborating things. I won't knock a band for pushing themselves though (in fact I bloody encourage it) but this time I feel they just miss the true success level sought. Be interesting where they go next though!
NO FEALTY/KOLLAPSE - SPLIT SINGLE
2 Danish hardcore bands play a gig together back in 2012 and decide to collaborate their forces and produce a split single. No Fealty are borne from the residue of Thought Police Brutality and with a total aggressive and DIY approach win many fans in varied sub-generic circles. Kollapse hail from Aalborg and have a similar stance to No Fealty and use brutality and disgruntlement as their main musical forces. This is a no holds barred session of frustrated fuelled violence - a 2 song tear up exposing the throbbing tickers of the players in no uncertain terms!
No Fealty offer up 'Ravished', a reality based tirade against the true meaning behind war - it needs doing. The band do not fuck around and nail a very toxic bout of incendiary rage in less than 2 minutes with compromise not an option. The carnage opens via a feedback twinge before large looming strums overwhelm and cacophonic chaos erupts with venom sprayed all over the aural airspace without a care for any decency. To capture the best of a band like this the production team have to be in the grim and grimy groove with a inkling to capture the violence and insane technicalities that get shoved in. It looks like the band are well served here as all components cause severe impact borne pain and really fuck with the senses. Similar to a screwed up robot gone haywire with epileptic seizures, unexpected outbursts and bouts of headbanging self-destructive hate the norm this is one hell of a vicious mix. A massive number delivered with cannonball crushing idiocy - fuck all wars, the only blood to be shed is from the ear drums.
'Father' by Kollapse is built on the grief of the 2 lead singers and the loss of their respected fathers. From that alone rises harsh, looming and impressive torture - even before the cacophoneers apply their mammoth intent. Gut wrenching riffs get tossed around amid a cauldron of bitched up rage with the flames constantly fuelled by relentless application of toxicity and noise nausea. The plodding bouts that defy the fear of death are impressive and smash walls of indolence, break dams of apathy, scatterburst clouds of insensitivity. The open throats consume all the surrounding silence and vomit it back in a grey and wretched gloop that stinks to utter buggery. Midway and things are stripped bare, the haunted and accursed voice is from a desolate pit we all find ourselves in - the recovery is taken with gargantuan strides towards a place that will not be so easily bowled over. Life tests, it throws numerous diseased spanners in our personal workings - we have music as a weapon, an antidote, a veritable cure - this is a fine example of that.
So there we have it, 2 harmful bastards of black sonic vomit that are played with hard beating hearts from a sub-genre only the hardy (or extremely foolish) will dabble in long term. When done to such a standard I fuckin' love this stuff and I expect many a skull smashing merchant I know to have the same emotive response. Those on the outside may well find no vestige of salvation here but they gotta admit there is a whole heap of noise making to admire and turn to in times of necessary escapism.
CASHING IN ON CHRISTMAS VOLUME 5 - COMPILATION
A series of Christmas songs for a punk community who hate all things religious yet indulge themselves in the most hypocritical way possible each and every year - ooh mother the scent of controversy. This is a collection of quality tuneage however showing that bands who have the nouse can turn their grubby mitts to any themed tuneage if they so wish. There is a right mix of emotion here with some celebratory tunes, some hate-filled tunes and some ditties that are pure comical farce. Let us shove our greedy mitts into Sonic Santa's sack and ses what acoustic seeds of delight we can uncover shall we - yo, ho, fuckin' ho!
The Harrington Saints kick off with the excellent 'XMAS', a chomping song that chugs along with assisting twinkles and backing vocals and all round bollock kicking drive. The first of the 'just for the joy of it' songs with a surging approach built on a regular tympanic crack that beats away and helps all plough forth to the final 'Merry Christmas'. Suckered In puke up 'Whiskey & Kielbasy' , a fine shook up acoustic session that seems straight from the drunkard’s mouth who really doesn't give a toss for the fraudulent festivities. The gobbage is well-worn, the slant against greed worthy and the whole aroma has me make comparisons with something very 'Steptoe and Son' as regards reality. A convincing track from the dirty street where materialism matters not!
'Punk Rock Christmas' by Hooligan is a wide boy offering with some crafty tones coming at ya and highlighting the abundance of varied talent this lot have in reserve. A band never to offer the obvious and one who can switch styles with solid degrees of success - this is light, saccharined and very fluffy - I don't know if I should admit to liking it but it certainly deserves its place in this mix of more 'up yer arse' offerings. Lion's Law spill disappointment via the robust effort entitled 'He Never Came Around', a song that has streetpunk trimmings, a fine spark in the opening shadow glisten and some roast beef belligerence overflowed with musical gravy from the rear. A very European flavour with another good chug had and underlying footy style slant - a weighty do for sure. Immoral Discipline screw things upside down with 'Fuck Your Christmas' shoving your turkey drumstick right up yer jacksie. Harsh, muscular, no-nonsense this heave ho outpouring is right up front and has no worries as to being too abrasive - suck on it. Roadside Bombs next and 'Christmas In California’. Now come on, who gets the drift of Stiff Little Fingers when listening to the opening lines of this more than adequate song? The song is well sung, has a non-too offensive thrust and a simple sing-a-long chorus - what more do ya want for ya insincere festive fuckology (excuse the rage)? This is a swift poppoid cut and avoids any slushy nonsense so easily injected into these offerings. 'The 12 Steps Of Christmas' is gift wrapped via the artistic hands of Chem D, a very capable outfit who follow the pop route set but this time in a very traditional US sense. Ramones suggestions shine through as the ditty tackles the alcoholic problems of good old St Nicholas. Switches in pace, a consistent strum out, I love that opening sequence, a fair end result is had - no need to over analyse - it is Christmas time after all!
Cracking on, Maddog Surrender and their donation of 'All I Want For Christmas Is The Stanley Cup', a bully beef plod strengthened by the screwed up mouth worth and well twatted sticks. Strings are trembled with regularity throughout the verses and called into greater action via the pronounced build up to the chorus cuts. Hard b'OI'led, well 'OI'led, nicely delivered. Sniper 66 chase along with the swiftly shuffled deck of discordance known as '7 Years'. The door is opened a rapid-fire gale gushes in, the tree of toneage topples, the skirt of the fairy is billowed upwards (nasty) and the song thrives and flourishes with technical accuracy and speed demon intent. The tuned in Texans nail a rattling episode and add their own personal scorch mark to a very decent collection - good work I reckon. Torn tonsils operate well amid a well strung chug created by Stranglehold, a band who uphold good foundations and the basic principals of song construction. I love that harsh vocal style, the accompanying mix and the reality based gist of this effective song. Once more a compilation throws up a band (well several bands to be honest) to check further. No piss arse sentiments here, just a factual slant you all need to get clued into before yer jolly japes begin - ' Another Night Alone' - have it!
Boy walk forward, deliver 'Party Time', a Euro beer swilling piece to bounce around to and enjoy. Simple foot stomping music with a direction that is straight ahead and of little variance. Played well, bog standard, it keeps the CD moving. On The Job pounce with another corned slab of predictable noise that hits all the right festive spots for those interested - bah humbug. 'Merry Christmas And Short Cropped Hair' is a skinbo shindig that will have em' toppling over and strutting their boot supported stuff. Terraced in part, skidding in others - again it keeps the theme moving.
Oh this Christmas idiocy is hard on my nerves and despite many bands producing the goods they really should know better.
The Bad English wake me back up and provoke my interest with the acidic US Bombs-esque 'Ho, Ho, Oh, Noo', a happy enough jingle flying through the frosted air but brought crashing to earth with hard skinned reality that states what this commercialised claptrap time of year is all about. Breathless and hungry to get a sense of decency back to the raped and pillaged festivities - I like this crack because I can truly relate to it and the feeling of 'fuck it' is amazingly transparent throughout. Monkish are a bunch of loons I have seen in the pit and this reflects their idiot leanings. A very nasty piece banishing any dreams of innocence and imaginative escapism - 'Santa's On The Register' is as how it says on the tin - an exposé of the bearded bastard who empties his sack in kids stockings and 'yo, ho, ho's' with an alco-induced disregard. This mocking and sniping composite ends on an almost unhinged note that takes the piss out of many familiar tunes we hear every year - I take it this is another bunch with a gripe ha, ha. 'Christmas In New York' is a brilliant song and delivered with warm and believable emotion by 'Bishops Green'.
We tiptoe in before adopting a skank-like shuffle and then hitting the textured tone that has been rippled by bassism, encouraged with cymbalised urge, overlain with pronounced and well placed gobbage that slots into the musical slush quite ideally. Splodenessabounds - mmm - surely this is gonna be a peach - the ingredients are all there to be mixed. Cockneyfied, tinkled, vicious, totally bar room in style and a genuinely cracked jolly that is a drinkers delight - this one will tickle the ribs of the many who just want a good time. Say what you want, that Max and his crew can't be restrained and they do their manic shit so darn well - the attack on Cliff Richard is totally justified and if court proceedings go ahead just give us a call dudes to back the fight. Prins Carl next and a corrugated chunk known as 'Cut The Wire', a song settled in intent but itching like fuck with frustration as regards the ones on the outside, in the street and with nowhere to go. The gravelly vocals thrive whilst the noise created rushes along on nerve jangling tracks that await your response to the question put. This one gets stronger by the listen and really hits the mark it sets out to hit - Christmas ain't all about yourself, your fat gut and spending carelessly on throwaway pig shit. Big up for this one. Angry Snowmans 'North Pole' is a furious escapade built on Sham 69's tune of 'Borstal Break Out'. Absolutely idiotic stuff but hey, swallow it and jump - not much more I can suggest really. We finish with 'Evil Conduct' who chop up the riffs and rattle their 'Silver Bells' and pull out a jesting jingle with numerous clichéd overtones. A regular tune that embraces what has gone thus far, it is very difficult to judge a band by this tinsel town twattage but this is well constructed and has a certain streetpunk edge.
Done, over and out, up yours and may your skin crawl with hypocrisy during the season of goodwill. This is a nice collection with some good bands on show but if I am truthful and up front by the end of it I was pig sick of hearing about Christmas - it is bad enough with the foolish populace being conned and happy to play along but now it has even crept into my reviews - enough is enough. If you don't believe all year round don't start faking it for a few days just to suit your own ends - give it a break, check this and chase up the bands more relevant outbursts. Piss off!
ROASTER - 4 WAY SPLIT EP
Yes - a 4 way split, double Yes - it is on the Make That A label, Triple whammy wink wank nobbo Yes - 4 fine bands have joined forces - oh bugger - what if the whole shebang is a load of shit - such are the perils of an honest assessor. Anyway applause for this fine DIY label doing their but, more palm clashes for the bands chucking in their two-penneth worth, a big hoorah for Scottish East coast punkage. Right that is the gushings out the way - now what of the ensuing melodic mush - only one way to find out!
The melodica of Uniforms comes first with many clean cut emotions thrown in and a superfluence of sonic sub-strategies borne from the new-school campsite where attention to artistry and careful complexity is priority (as well as trying to knock out a fair toon). The first of the bands brace is entitled 'Keep On Keeping On' a crisp, harmonious song laden with a message to defy the mist nets of meanderers in the past and to get yer booty moving. Bold pronunciations welcome, a fine rhythmic rattle is adopted, all areas are polished and energetic. Vocals jump in and are lucid, slightly sizzled and interrupted with the odd shout out as well as the backing gobs that do their job exactly. The ensnaring impetus, the lust for life and progression is what attracts this weathered wanderer in the sea of noise and it is bands like this that need to be held onto, encouraged, criticised with forethought and fuckin' jumped around to. This is a steady and effective opener that encapsulates the labels intent - plush. Sink Alaska next and after a bass twang 'Hitless Wonder' wanks off in our eager to listen lugs. Wonderful string and skin work, crystal clear vocal cords vibrate - a new school flavour is catapulted our way. Drums regulate, scuffle, roll, energetically enthuse the pace - the rest of the band jump on board and contribute to a flashing song. Components of the ditty are merged with aplomb, the inner twinges dissect the track, the final run down is soaked through with little room to breathe - it is all over - we feel rewarded.
Question The Mark enter the fray with a lengthy intro to the fiery composite known as 'What Goes Around Comes Around', a song thrashed out on sturdy wire work, high tympanic temperament and spirited lyrics. This gruff punk band of Welsh noise makers take their time during this effort and rather than go for high impact riffage they bowl you over with relentless consistency and highly shimmered sonica that works most efficiently beneath the gobbage at the fore. The band insist we work together, this reflects their ideals and ethos - I shall not complain. The Walking Targets follow, an Edinburgh based band who I have only seen once and a band who play saccharine sweet pop punk with all thoughts of abrasive brutality and hammergun intent thrown aside for this much fluffier approach. As ye may know I have a soft spot for melodic poppology and this is right up my street. 'Count Me Out' is featherlight excellence that skates along on polished sonic wheels that are manipulated by young artistes doing it oh so well. The only warning is to watch those stop/start moments and the overall end mix - everything must be 100% on the ball with this stuff to maximise its charm and effect - and don't forget over a longer haul variation in tone is a must. I like this though, it embraces yet another niche of noise many people miss out on and I hope this goes someway to spreading the word - as I said in the 'live' review - keep ploughing away chaps.
And plough away they do with the next track by the same crew, this time with a song called 'Self Deprecating Evenings' a song that is not about stopping in and throwing one off the wrist I am sure (then again...) and a song that is seemingly more staggered in tempo and less liquid than the previous affair. It is the middle break that seems to impede the fluidity although, paradoxically, I feel this segment is essential - strange stuff this music making and reviewing. This does not take away any acuteness from the edge of the track but accentuates the aforementioned points I made regarding variety and that necessary glossy finish. Just slightly lacking that knock out punch this decent track flashes along at first, cruises through the verses and eventually reaches the final strum - not bad at all chaps. Question The Mark again and the forceful scuzz entitled 'Ignorance Is Piss'. Wealthy with dirty infection, abundant with ill temper, thriving on chopped guitar and enthused skin work this one is brought to further life as the grimed gob spouts off in many directions. Much strength is displayed throughout the romp and the grating wind up to the closure is hefty. Onwards and back to Sink Alaska and a ditty called 'Footnotes', one of those songs that has much meritorious work, some real tight and exact musicianship, a forceful wind blown aspect that ruffles feathers and a clean cut image that many will embrace so...why am I not really digging this one then? Hey it happens, many a tune comes along that is bang on the mark and leaves me somewhat cold with my spiked stance. Never mind, I can still sing the songs praises because this is far from shit - it has a well groomed characteristic and a sharp intelligence with an attractive shine - just still not my bag though - bugger it! And so to Uniforms and the finale called 'Father's Day'. Swept under sonica opens the way for more exposed noise - the gob enters on the usual rusted lung driven legs - it has mighty character. The power of the song escalates, once more production values squeeze the best out of a quality crew whom duly stand up and accept the gauntlet thrown at their feet. Strings are metallically plucked, power chords are slam dunked, the unified hollers overwhelm - we finish with a winner.
8 songs and even though 1 left me on the outside I am still convinced this is a faultless collection of modern edged noise from a certain stable where retro rhythms are avoided and lo-fi minimalism is shirked. My preference always lies with the undercut, underwashed, underproduced but, most importantly, with the underdog and so this wins my favour. Add to the argument that these bands are seeped in talent, the label admirable in ethos and work ethic and you really can't go wrong. It would be good to see a Make That A Take Invasion to a few places and get these bands exposed and leave new areas drooling - sounds tasty doesn't it? Meanwhile, in the interim, go grab hold of this one.
THE NINE TON PEANUT SMUGGLERS - DROP SOME LEG
Labels drain, cause pain, create strain and ultimately bring about and uneven plain where all and sundry get confused and wander with heads up twitching arses - so please avoid and fly free. This CD is of several certain styles and keeps itself out of any protective pigeonholes which is always a wonderful way to get Fungal favour. The band shuffle with varied modes of melody, these primarily being ska, reggae, rhythm and blues and a slight hint at something Jamaican. It makes for an interesting listen and gets my juices of noise really flowing (ooh pass me a mop and bucket). Without further ado...
'If The Coast Is Clear' is a jaunty cockerel meandering along with a smile on its acoustic mug, a flick in the toes and a swagger in the rear - utterly chilled to the bone and exuding a highly coloured confidence that avoids any ruffle of the feathers or loud and vulgar squawks. The resistance is pecked away at with gently swung brassage and deeply flavoured vocal grains that one could feed upon day after day and feel wonderfully satisfied. The chest is protruded and just highlights the convincing self-belief within and for me the whole scene is set in one tantalising cruise. 'The Elusive Mr Kaplan' is the first instrumental burst and radiates a thermal pleasure that can inject life and hope into the most deadbeat and seemingly lost soul. Weary shackles are instantaneously shook off, muscular tension eases away, a positivity is borne - the delicately applied instruments weave with serene strength with all the blown tubes offering a good clear out and a silky smooth massage of the senses.
Title track, a finely nervous calypsomatic stutter that again oozes ease-appeal, retro skankiness and tenderising tonality that will float into your cerebral receptors and duly tickle their individual fancies. 'Drop Some Leg' has a serene feel with harmonised qualities holding up the more obvious touches - this band are absolutely bang on their game and this is a purely classic CD thus far - maintain this and I feel an all time favourite within my midst. 'Bare Our Souls' slaps harder, shuffles and tweaks before frog-hopping around with lively ambition - it isn't long before the cacophony struts harder and with irresistible persuasiveness that has an overload of grooved and well moved styles flocking around your attentive area. A jiggling delight that carefully alters the tempo of the CD and even though no vocals are had this is a subtle gem. 'Throw A Stone, Hide Your Hand' is shaking and quaking bluesed up emotion driven with deft hands over a dramatic landscape of emotive realism. The players offer minimalistic contributions which, due to massive insight, is just enough to make the end cacophony perfectly mixed and of a production value to die for. Each component can easily be highlighted, assessed and enjoyed and, as a result, no garbage can be found. The passions rise, ass gets kicked with more zeal - yet again we bow down to the skill of the 9TPS brigade. 'Everybody Ska' is nothing more than a dance-a-long joy to just darn well join in with. Music is master, let your sonic souls be enslaved, the chorus cut will put its arm around your shoulder, lead you to the dance floor and good humouredly get ya booty swaying to the rhythm. Knowledgeable vibes are floated forth, accurate cadences thrill - move it baby!
'Hugh Mingus' is slinky sonica with numerous toned twitches and curved cadences that create a liberating river of rhythm to just bathe in. The foundation pulsates, provides the solid backbone for the other players to jam out their jazzy jive, gives a gentle persuasive touch to those inclined to go with the flow. Brass and bass take advantage of a situation set - you just know success is never far away. 'Baldhead' is an anthem for the follicle fucked fellows out there and is a bout of shiny domed pride and unadulterated laid back fun. The song tiptoes along, shakes its ass in many parts, is constructed with a determined focus to create a pleasurable piece to cover the sparse sonic landscape and is a sure-fire pip - yet again.
All songs thus far are mighty composites that have me drooling for more...but how can things get any better...enter the exemplary brilliance of 'Pempelem', a really groovy chick with balanced rhythmic hips, plenty of snazzy sass and a superb magnetic charisma that any music lover from any niche will fail to resist. Consistently bouncy, awash with a certain sonic joy de vivre, undulating with exciting essence and blown through with a coffee soaked vocal style that smoulders just enough. An absolutely fantastic cutlet of music and one to throw in to any compilation irrespective of generic style or targeted audience - no one should be denied excellence such as this - nuff said
.'Professor Moriarty, I Presume' is posturing instrumentalisation with a slinky dink casualness built on tortuous brassage gliding around the acoustic dance floor on very sanguine heels indeed. The inflection is suave, silver tongued and sleek and before you know it this one has its adventurous hands down yer undies and tickling your privates to new pleasurable highs - be warned - enjoy the foreplay or zip up tight! 'Shot Full Of Holes' is loose hipped, slack hipped jiggeroono with a bluesy delight springing eternal throughout this soul driven jaunt. The guitars are alive, the vocal chords masturbated carefully and thus forced to ejaculate fine levels of tonality, the bass and drums neatly applied in seemingly a marginal way and thus we uphold the ultra superb standards set so far. So fuckin' good this CD be, one to go folks for a classic!
The last track is almost a matter of course, who would doubt an easy effort at this stage that still finds new sensations of the most unperturbed kind. 'The Nine Ton Peanut Smugglers' is an offering that just says 'look we know we have nailed a good un' let us just sit back and relax in the thermal rays of this rotating silver sonic sun and...enjoy'! Key word that...enjoy, enjoy, enjoy...and I repeat...enjoy.
Marvellous stuff and no matter what is your chosen niche of noise you need to come out of your comfortable crevice and have a dabble with this. If your heart is spiked, metallic, skanked, two-toned, hardcorian or whatever get on this, wiggle yer wang and remember that keyword again, yes you know the one! Fantastic stuff and worthy of the numerous rotations it has been given.
RUST/KEYSIDE STRIKE - OLDE WORLDE/NEW WORLD SPLIT
An Aussie/Anglo split with 5 tracks dished up from opposite ends of the earth but from the same angry sub-scene that is capable of offering so darn much. I am familiar with both bands and have reviewed stuff from them before. Rust I have seen 'live' and have been duly absorbed, for some insane reason I still have to catch Keyside Strike in the flesh - that shall be corrected (I have seen em’ once but was too plastered to make sense of it). Both bands deliver their noise with swiftly swinging balls bared and aim to bowl over the listener with blasting intensity rather than subtlety. Between them both these units have clocked up some serious giggage with many 'named' bands and so as would only be decent, I expected much. Enough dilly dallying, let us crack on - I am a busy man and the bands are waiting in the wings for a textual appraisal.
The first offering from Rust and a tale at being at Rebellion and the delight so many feel. 'Send My Love' deals with matters that are not strictly my concern (you know me people - at the bottom shouting out for the overlooked) so having only attended this festival on a couple of times forgive my non-gushing slant - I'll stick to the song for that! A rolling bass, stop start guitar, comfortable riffage - the oral passion pours back before we dramatically sonically stagger and jump into the brief 'all join in chorus'. Well mixed, designed to encourage a clod-hopping pogo with arms flailing, feet flinging and the head getting hammered. A consistent tempo and level of intensity, a sound underscore of streetpunk spirit - hey it will do for openers. 'Concrete Jungle' is a far better track with a bustle/bother behaviour that is easily related to and a definitive reality for the outsiders within the urban sprawl. Paranoia creeps in, a deep rooted thread of an unsettled psyche, a pounding insistence to watch yer step. Verses are delivered through clenched teeth and come at you with a grim reality of a time in the past when the bovver boys were on the warpath. Originally this was a track by The Specials and penned by guitarist Roddy Radiation who spoke of his experiences growing up on a Coventry council estate when skinhead fashion was at its height - rough times indeed. Rust capture the flavour, rattle along with fuel well pumped and thrust in their own Oi based style - crackin' stomp of the sonic statement from the opening dustbin lid drum work to the final football style slam out. Oomph!
Keyside Strike next and much dirtier shit to examine. 'Back From Hell' is crummy scuzz reared up on foundations of hardcorian essence and galloped forth on a belly fire borne from ever hungry musicians. Right on the precipice of total discordance this is liable to topple into the Land of Toss at any time soon but the aggressive way in which the players hold the leash of the cacophonic dog just keeps matters in hand and on the right side of danger. A head slamming bout of primitive passion that any twat with a soul could do - but they don't - that is a very distinct and defining difference - very nice and a great holler out to finish. 'Knives' is malevolent, awash with threat, ejaculated from a deviant mind prone to episodes of terror. The stalking opening sequence ascends into an all consuming confrontation with the players reaching nauseating levels of arousal only those labelled 'mental cripples' could do. The emergence from the sonic shadows is dramatic, sub-theatrical and completely convincing - a short song for this emotive style but satisfying in the extreme - Keyside Strikes finest moment - worth considering! We close with the gristled unsophistication of 'Youth', a veritable old-school number of the B-Side standard (remember most B-Sides outshone their more puffed counterparts). This one has a dissimilarity to all that has transpired thus far and is thrown together with an almost back to basics elementary desire so as to keep things right in the gutter with the discarded bread and butter. I have heard, over many years, lots of songs of this ilk and although lacking any acoustic opulence, intricate technique and polished panache the song does have an unshaven character you can't help but warm to (just one of those things if you are a lover of the grime). This one gives visions of hefty, bare bellied beer swillers having a shindig and making merry after time has been called (on both the beer and their antics) - I need pills. Anyway it ain't a bad crack and if you like it old and well worn this boot of noise will feet snugly on your reeking feet.
I like split CD's - I like the ethos - it gets the word spread farther and wider for all concerned and makes for an interesting listen for us cantankerous old reviewers. A solid effort this, full marks to all for getting up, doing it and working together - best way, noise is for everyone.
BLACK LIGHT MUTANTS - BEDROOM TAX EP
Forceful futurism with an extravagance of noise and political screaming that will most certainly attract the lovers of all things advanced and utterly seared to the bone. Manchester based Black Light Mutants impressed me from the word go with their synthed up, hard driven beast of belligerence that seems to be fucked harder and harder with each passing release. This latest offering is white lightning stuff built on a condensed and fully soaked through soundscape that aches for a release from the usual punked rhythmic restrictions. First listen and I was taken, several more and I wanna put a brick in a politicians face - nowt new there then!
'Bedroom Tax' electronically twitches, screams itself up into an irate knot of despairing anguish and unfolds into a tenderised verse filled with acidic venom and harsh reality mouth work. An underpinning melody structured on venomous spirit is had and with the keyed pulsations, granite riffs and an overall viciously rammed blast against another financial con the band force a simplistic song to be brought to life with convincing energy. The mix of the members individual applications is exact and the louder this one is played - the better it be - which in truth is a basic requirement of all that is spiked and unsettled. 'Thatcher's Dead Mouth' is a thundering tumble of furious vitriol against a people bleeding leader who really brought many to their scathed knees. All areas blend into one with troughs and crests barely noticeable amid the consistent rolling waters of sound. Again an intrinsically basic composition but it is the belief and urgency the band inject as well as the obvious gnawing hunger to make merry hell - it makes all the difference.
A clawed hand creeps up the overly alert spine of the drugged, it teases the nape and provokes imagery of drooling zombies overdosed on 'Promazine' - an anti-psychotic that helps treat restless and agitated behaviour - no such luck here. The adrenalin rush that follows the initial subdued torture is resistant soaked, riffed up with pleading desire, rocked to hell on body weary vibes. We pulsate and laser blast, thrash out the struggle with increasing fervour, the taut electronic piercings heighten the flame - this is very convincing cacophony. The next gale blows, more flickers of life appear, an expected injection of anger comes very much in keeping with the whole quartet of noise and goes through the usual uncovered motions with hands seemingly indifferent to outside infection and doubting disease. The oral aggression is spot on, the layered rust in the rear choice - not much to add - the BLM crew are firing hard and ‘Beauty’ is a fine closure.
Since the opening viewing and the first CD I have been convinced about this lot and, to be brutal, there is no reason to change any of my initial enthused opinions. This is perhaps their most convincing outpouring thus far but again they leave little room for me to gripe so what can I say? One warning to the band would be to not rest on their laurels and make sure you add enough variation within the weave. Other than that - this is spot on - chomp!
KING PRAWN - DONE DAYS/A SOLEMN MAN
King Prawn exude class by the glutinous bucket load and the sticky sonic sap is hard to shake off once the lugs have been adhered by the glorious rhythm. Utterly polished, skarred in all the right places, a million miles from the gutter where my heart doth dwell this shouldn't be my bag but I'd be an utter fool not to appreciate and duly praise (well it wouldn't be the first time). I have to admit though that if the standards slip or I encounter a quality blip I will point the finger and keep these bastards on their toes - it would be vulgar to be any other way. So 2 tracks, where are the cracks, Fungal duly attacks.
Wham - Crisp wire work, an emboldening brass addition, hope springs eternal immediately as this polished composite rises. The verbals enter the fray and jump to the tympanic beat with utter clarity and advancing conviction. A sure footed stomp is given with all areas avoiding aggressive forcefulness and instead adopting the blood-filled persuasive technique that even the most ardent opposer of all things skankified will acknowledge as quality musicianship. King Prawn load up strong vitality, are eloquent in their deliveries and embrace all the finest virtues of their selected sub-genre whilst smoothly making their sound. 'Done Days' is sonic silk caressing the lobes of the lug before snaking inward and tranquilly encouraging the vibes to radiate from the tympanic membrane - the signals that travel along the auditory nerve are all positive and pleasurable - enjoy.
'Solemn Man' appears with more brassed up confidence before chilling out amid lucid utterances and barely touched tones. We melt into a sequence of liquid melody before returning back to the easy drift. The objective here is to be more meaningful with a contrast created between moments that are unsmiling and those that are slightly upbeat. The variance in the overall construct is almost imperceptible due to the shrewd and perceptive way it is done - no easy thing to take on. The band do this style so well, it oozes talent and overall this is a well grained and polished product - nice!
I expected the KP Crew to do the business, they have done just that. I expected this lot to impress me yet again despite having done so several times in the past, they have done just that. I expect the band to just keep on going to bigger and better things...could be 3 out of 3 for the clever cacophonic bastards - I begrudge them the victory not one jot!