FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 1
THE COMMITTED - OLDER AND FASTER
Formed originally in 1978 and hailing from the Isle of Sheppey this lot play traditional punkage that is built on nothing more than energy, anger and determination. Many vibes that seep in have all been heard before but, as should be the most crucial aspect of making this sub-generic racket, the attitude that spills over is what should be of utmost importance. The whole scene is awash with wanked off bands who have shot their bolt and are going round and round in circles playing to the senseless herds who have nothing to say and nothing that they want to particularly hear - only the same old shit. I don't hold back if I find spirit lacking, I will be fair as the music goes and will come up with an end verdict as honest as the day is long - you have been warned, the certificate as per is X and if your stomach is weak you may want to fuck right off…now!.
The whelp of silence is jerked, the first globule of yellowing sonic spunkage to splat on the lap of the listener is the gruff and heavily molested 'Mental', a song of robust upfront stature with a primitive punked streak raging through and grabbing your attentive knackers. The song has an indispensable raw, angry and 'fuck you' edge with the band creating something without originality but with much inherent honesty that saturated spikers will not be able to resist. This is one of those moments when something externally tells you that you should know better but that inner spirit insists you just fuckin' have it and enjoy. Again I feel it important to re-emphasise that if this produce was pissed forth back in the so-called day it would have been absolutely lapped up by the raw hungry dogs on the street and yet today gets sniffed at by those oh so self appointed progressive punks and those new school techno twats who think they have more credibility because they are more clued in with their instruments. Look, it is all noise and if it has a good rhythm, a good spirit and some real passion then what more do you want - up yours, this is a decent bog brush start and certainly cleans out my clogged sonic shitter. 'Lazy Hacks' goes at it with crust down, peepers looking ahead and those musical limbs speeding away on volcanic bassism and shit streaked guitar whilst slap ass drums redden the output and enhance the flash light desire. The gob at the fore is gravelled and highly diseased and despite this being an undistinguished tune it is still tolerable due to its diseased temper. Not great but 'Last Night Out' is more like it and is a more substantial affair with sinews pulled taut, muscles flexed to fuck and eyes bulging with brain blistering desire. One can feel the animated frenzy within the weave and the ungarnished recipe is highly rewarding to anyone with a thriving palate. The chunks of nutritious noise offered are laden with hard endeavour and what we get here is a good wholesome gutful of dinnage to digest many times over. Next, and a 4 count, a good old clatter and a kickback against the sable monster that invades the mind and blocks out the sun of positivity. The bass here snakes around with a searching eagerness, the skins and cymbals are knocked about with delectable ardour and the six strung asp spits out the rhythm with necessity whilst that front cunt rips it up and screams out with 'Depression' the last emotion on our minds. That tendency to fuck it all is cultivated through a darn decent upchuck and my advice with this one is to leap in headfirst and forget every stress and strain that comes your way – why the fuck not?
'Brezhnevs To You' is a well-bolted piece with all components tight and sturdy. No change in the style, more boisterous bother bollocks that inflate with the abundant sonic spunk found within the general sac of disgruntlement. A short hammer blow to the head, no frills, few skills - just a thump in the goolies and into the follow up. 'Wake Up! Get Up! Play Up!' is a rousing grenade that detonates your manic side and insists that you let your anger fly free and make yourself known. The initial twist gets beneath the skin, the pursuing throb creates direction, the lyrical forcefulness kicks out all lethargy - are you ready to fly in the face of your oppressors? Well you fuckin' well should be? This ebullient overspill of cock solidity has a good rampaging ethos and hopefully results in unsettling consequences - noise isn't a fuckin' game tha' knows. Crackin' moment and one built, yet again, on the most fundamental tones and red raw lust - sometimes that is all that is needed.
'Got It All Wrong' is to the point, churns up its own guts, tirades with sordid shades, spouts off from a rickety platform built on spit, shit and bollocks and all finalised with a Crassite statement twisted into a finger poke at the apathy out there within these septic shores. Bog standard stuff but listenable and followed by the more effective 'Hate (Police State)', a charged up song that seems destined to lose control via the livid opening puke ups. Disgruntlement rules the roost here with a hefty whack of temper thrown into our faces. The restraint is too much to bear, the toned strait jacket is shredded via a maniacal tear up that sees the band almost lost their minds. The song crashes into oblivion which paves the way for the exciting bass intro of 'Lets Build A Factory', a vicious paced up chug out with the sword of fury brandished with the usual irritation and cutting intent. The Committed have many bugbears on their chest and froth up the sonic scene with tempestuous savagery borne from natural rage. The songs are flying by, numerous points are made, much therapy is had, an abundance of provocation spilled. Again this is quick and without fuss, just like the chasing 'Whose War', a questioning gruff grumble with all areas boorish and nicely grouchy - nowt wrong with a blaze in ya belly. There is no change of style here, and to be vulgarly honest, there doesn't need to be, this is nothing more than an unsettled collection of big booted blast-outs with hairy arses bared, wrinkled old knackers dangling and tickers rattling with all out rhythm. Harsh, robust, rockin' and raw - I know some who will fuckin' hate this, I know some who will fuckin' love it - such is the scene.
6 left, would it be fruitless to labour the point? I reckon so! So get off my back and let me tear ahead, I gotta try and keep up with these insuppressible buggers.
'Losers' is flustered chaos whipped back into a semblance of order within a very austere running time. The slapdash edginess finds the crew taking a fair risk with all output liable to collapse at any given moment. The cloud burst, the rumble of thunder and the gale blown storm all come, saturate and leave a taste of things marvellously overcooked and ornately shabby. I like the crummier side of sound and love this acute eruption. 'Big Pharma' is a steadier offering with a regularity within the construct and a complete lack of tuned trespassing that stays with set bounds and sees the band coasting. What rescues the song is the gruff weight and easily picked up and played style that has a tempo even the fussiest can't complain over. Very commonplace cacophony holding no threat but with a decent message against the pharmaceutical bandits who create and make ‘ad infinatum’ at our expense.
'Free Speech' gets stuck in a loop, chugs up its innards before hightailing its own arse with double quick gusto that sees things get heavily nailed with admirable accuracy. A juggernaut effect is reached for and the band make a good effort to fully capture that melodic methodology with this head bashing blunt instrument of sound. The swift running times work and keep ennui at bay. 'Social Spies' is over in similar time, this time with the foot off the gas and a more moderated mode taken. A crispness combines with the abrasive gobbage and that 'get outta my face' rage is a winning element that will have the lovers of 77 punk salivating - it is what it is - don't except no ground breaking dinnage here. The last 2 slam out with 'Fuck Conscription' being another fast fucker with prolonged tails to each versed statement and a chorus clutter to admire and with 'Fast Lane' a full on punctuating gem that makes me wanna drink big, pogo in a crowd and put my addled head through a door - it seems most apt. A good one two combo that leaves me little else to say and if I added any more and tried to explain what this CD is all about (which you should fuckin' well get by now) then I could be accused of producing to much verbal padding (and we don't want that now do we).
Typical punk (in robust brackets) with all sub-generic criteria met and no outside the box gambles taken - is that enough for ya, well you tell me! Personally I like it all ways (oh baby) and no matter how much diversity of din comes my way I still have a lot of time for spiked shizzle such as this. I know I should perhaps be a trifle more critical in my report but this noisy style of shittery is in my blood and from day one, to the day I die, I will I guess always be infected – hey ho, it ain’t a bad way to be!
RED LUCY - SUBHUMAN
The opening spillage from new dudes on the block known as Red Lucy. Hailing from New York the band offer this DIY recording which was done in a bedroom/live session in a 3 storey house with emphasis laid on a honest and 'this is what we are approach'. The band chuck in varied flavours such as punk, surf, garage, grunge and other such underground vibes. The attitude is to make earthy noise filled with a 90's punk attitude and with a laid back bong loading mentality it seems - now this sounds intriguing. The spliff of sound is lit, now it is time to take a few critical draws - oh man.
The first flavour to be inhaled is scrawled as 'Crucify Me', a song with a rusted tin can approach and a blasted smokiness that invades each chug, pollutes each oral utterance and makes this a quite fouled up crawl along built on strained guts and equally stretched unease that pervades all aspects and makes for a quite uneven and coruscated wall of sound. The essence is unwashed, the flavour harsh, the ones intrigued will be connoisseurs, the DIY sniffers and the encouragers of natural flow and hungry chompers like yours truly. Not the most free flowing track but a mere scene setter. 'Hit Me With Everything' clogs the aural lungs with a toxic intake of creeping filth loaded with homemade dustiness and unaffected hands-on attention. The song threatens to collapse at any time and after a semi-crippled stretch we finally crumble in a heap only to rise from the lifeless ashes and be taken on a surging track that shadow echoes, finds more focus and counterpunches the opening segment. The plod is re-adopted, clotting and infection comes and what we are left with is a discombobulating discordance found on deaths door and awaiting a final kick in the non-too rhythmic ribs - bear with me, judgement is withheld as I examine the track further and as part of this whole dismembered offering.
'Wearing An Apron' is initially more sonically scant in its approach before moving into a semi-terraced gob off that alternates proceedings quite nicely. The loose and skimpy guitar cutlets, the choppy undulations and the overall cruddy style may, in some instances, nauseate the eavesdropper, in others (those who like things puked up without expectation and arrogance) will appreciate the stench. The negligence of piss arse sonic posturing and the desire to keep all things warted is noted and Fungal, despite the many who say they know better, gives this one a firm nod - so fuck ya. 'Never Coming Back' is disillusioned and almost detached with an opening sequence ready to give in and let it all fall apart. A tightness of the tonality comes and we have a scarring terror interrupting the disconnected style - a subtle mix. A time to fight back is pondered, emotive wirework is contemplative and we take a brief pause to summon up some inner fire. Oral flames reach high, lick the rear of lethargy, feed themselves with a petrol of passion which smoulders away and destroys all that has gone before. A final roar finishes the job and what we are left with is a good residue of alternating rhythm that radiates decent thermals.
'Wristwatch Switchblade' haunts, shimmers, lurks - what damned bastard of malevolent music awaits? A crushing step comes forth, a bleak shadowed foot smashes all in its path, rocks the rafters with a deliberate slo-mo push. Our rickety resistances fights back, refuse to be overwhelmed by the sable presence that desires our very soul - it may be a lost cause. Glimpses of light are ahead when moments of consideration are had but destruction of the senses is never far away as an irrefusable thrust of treacled tonality is slopped onto aural sensors. This is flagitious, nefarious noise laden with velvet voids in which to get crushed. Absence of melody, presence of sludgery - this is hard work but has a weight that we need to take into consideration. Compare with its predecessor and with the chaser and many meritous aspects can be had, as a stand alone however it is a darn difficult listening experience. All I can be is honest!
The blatant accuracy of 'Nothing In The World Is Free' comes as an opposing pleasure and makes scuttling advancement on multi-corroded areas before chopping up the slipstream and then burrowing away into the senses with a meat flung horror style that operates from grimy vaults where purist DIY-ism is cultivated. The perceptible realism, the feculent murk, the ragged warrior delivery all make for a concoction that is far from attractive but one that needs replaying several times over to truly appreciate - not bad shit at all. My most preferred track of the lot is enslaved with the moniker of 'What A Mug' a real counterpunching construct basically built on twanging melodica and driving force riffage that finds a sonic equilibrium and nails it with all outpouring ethics and flavours kept in tact. The blasted heath guitar sequences, the bi-flick of the wires, the terraced chant gob offs and the whole patchwork uniformity make this a solid song that pushes the band into new areas. It may in fact be the most orthodox piece but sometimes that is the only way no matter how you view it. A good episode this and followed by the closing plod of 'Subhuman', a degenerate sound with a similarity had with a bubbling quagmire that may seem harmless but which can, once a hold is taken, suck in your veritable entirety. Commune-ised, unhurried, almost a dirge - this almost malevolent kickback is a sobering punctuation mark at the end of a quite stirring CD that has many facets to contemplate.
The review is done, the result, for me at least, is of a band saturated with a DIY ethic and tentatively reaching out and probing varied acoustic angles. There is more to come from this lot, who knows what form it will take, but it will be strictly within the bands beliefs and as real as you like. This initial produce that has invaded the underdog lugs of Fungal has been well received and I ponder the future with high anticipation.
VIRGIN FRONT LINE - SOUNDS OF REALITY SAMPLER
An off shoot of the Virgin label Front Line Records came and went within the space of nearly 2 years (78-79) and blasted out over forty albums before coming to an abrupt end. A full 5 set box collection is now available and here is a sampler I was asked to review so as to give you a flavour of what to expect. I welcome the variation of some highly esteemed operators within this generic gene pool of noise and do my thing as per.
The Mighty Diamonds open with the harmonised, bass bubbling 'Right Time' a totally laid back crawl that is typical of this trio who started out in 1969 from Trenchtown, an area in Kingston, Jamaica. The initial belly rumble soon calms down and we saunter down a switched off avenue that seems tuned out but is, believe me, accurately tuned in. The accented gobbage, the lyrical content that quotes the bible and the political inspiration Marcus Garvey, the underlying prophesy and the irresistible movement make this typical Rasta rockin' rhythm and opens up this taster with aplomb. Next up and U Roy (aka Ewart Beckford) and his toasted cruise known as 'Natty Rebel', a song that adopts a 'riddim', floats with crucial care and streetwise earthiness that is totally exact for the sub-generic circle. The guy deejays amid the dub-esque treacle of tones and operates splendidly within a self-made melding pot of molten melody. The semi conversant style works well against the upstroked background with drums and bass moving around the framework of the guitar in almost ad lib style - marvellous.
The Gladiators offer up an absolute marvel next with 'Chatty, Chatty Man' loaded with religious suggestions and Jah provoked passion that has such a positive emmitance of self-assured belief - you cannot wish for anything better. The Jamaican reggae roots band who achieved greatest prominence during the 1970's are nailing a classic here that drips with purity and such delicate solidity. The vocals and ushered backing harmonies are mouth-wateringly delightful and the tangible faith that invades our souls with persuasive acoustic osmosis is unreal - a stunner. Poet and the Roots next and the sleek and smoky classy threat branded as 'Dread Beat An' Blood', a real dark number loaded with danger and ominous intention with an almost voodoo-esque warrior overspill that comes from shaded corners, sable doorways, abyss-like alleyways. A dread drenched number that is sub-improv, utterly off the cuff and natural - a cutlet to chew on for a goodly while. 'Free Africa' by The Twinkle Brothers (namely Norman and Ralston Grant) is a thoroughly indigenous old-school piece with strains of calypso weighted up with gutsy bass and melodicised with keyed delicacies and soft reggae driftings. A wailing plea, an encouraging tympanic temperament that remains subtly busy and a charming cadence give this sweet tune an air of unflustered complexity which, in itself, remains a paradox but seems to sum up the vibe most adequately.
We alter the tonality and generic restrictions with subtle sensitivity to the collection as a whole with the slightly more skankoid flavouring of 'Cairo' poured into mix by the lucid warmth of Joyella Blade. This is a real conglomerate of sonic shadings with 2 tones blending with synthoid suggestions and more commercialised sub-pop elements thus creating a very listenable piece of product that reeks of class and, surprisingly, purity. The front oral output is shadowed by deep utterances that give an almost unnoticed strength during the chorus chunks - sublime baby. Tapper Zukie next and the sacred croon and Pied Piper slant called 'Oh Lord', a staggering tune built on finger picked bass notes and sub-rappoid ad-lib wordage that takes some adjusting to. The lack of liquidity, the unpredictability of what may spill from the mouth next and the general discomfort within the tune makes this a tester that really doesn't get under my skin for all the right reasons. One, I feel, for the truly involved, the totally immersed and the in-scene fanatics - I may be keen but I can't like everything. Onwards with pace I think. The familiar tones of The Abyssinians next and the super softness of the love lilt 'Hey You', a declaration of attachments severed and a stand alone stance taken with emotions spilt via a commercial slop of heart exposing slushiness. The song has good vibes, a thoroughly attained acoustic emotion and trimmings of all the more sloppier generic sensations but I am afraid that this is not for me and despite several spins and appreciation of the target aimed for I find it a song that will not be a serial rotator on my tried and tested turntable.
'The Upful One' follows with its chipper key tinkle and jazzy throat tumble that takes us into a superb brass and tympanised round of gentle roaming with guitars minimal and drums equally sparse. This is exact produce from Big Youth and outlines the fact that power scuzz is not the only answer to a sonic punks needs. This relaxed and smiling song is an example to all those seeking alternative spillage to listen up and absorb. Doctor Alimantado chases with a lengthy slitherer known as 'Slavery, Let It Go', a panging and wailing number that has a sultry feel despite the title of the song. The tones that come are all creamy smooth with no rough edges in aural distance and the vocal immersion is complete as our lead crooner seems to be at one with every delicate note issued. The sagacity and insight from brutal times past eases forth and adds a stark reality to the song with liberation the key focus.
'Althea and Donna' rank it up with the subtly spirited account known as 'Going To Negril', a real wise ass street rhythm that has a distinct style you may recognise from their more obvious hit that went to No 1 in the charts back in 1977. A duo delivery with brass and funky bass undulations providing the greater part of the back drop upon which these two chipper lasses can do their thang 'ma'an. There is a real freshness and uncomplicated honesty about this song and it lacks any pretentious affect and makes for a very uplifting sensation - I, of course, like that! Gregory Isaacs lilts, serenades amid verdant tendrils of tonality with a pleading passion that is utterly absorbing via the charmer known as 'Soon Forward'. The solar-kissed donation is sub-calypsoed and has a sand walking freedom only artistes like this can create. A sexual sweetness has gossamer flimsiness, a keen ear for the most tender acoustic accoutrements is clearly had and this barely touched offering has an impact seemingly borne from nowhere - how do they do it? I move on with a smile and am at perfect ease whilst being greeted by 'Can't Study The Rastaman' by Culture, a slipper footed amble that holds no stress, keeps the limbs loose and swinging with the accented lead vocals backed by honey harmonies, punctuated by brass intrusions and just tickled in the rear by oh so simple adornments of sparkling lusciousness - you should know the score by now - what a fine old tasty CD.
An instrumental next, a penultimate piece that takes us to the finale with all guns switched off and all pipes of peace blazing - just how it should be. 'Bone Dub' is just that and delivered from the insightful hands of Jah Lloyd The Black Lion. Despite the attractive flow this isn't populist fodder and has a deep-rooted underlay of exact in-scene feeling with sharp ears well and truly zoned in. Switch off but stay wired in, you may just miss the point. We close proceedings with 'Prince Fari' and the well funked juiciness of 'Throw Away A Gun'. The call for an end to war and trouble, the desire to have some peace and fun is captured in a cool and meaty mellow out, pushed into your receptors with firm persuasion without being overly testing and wonderfully escorted into your aural airspace with natural improv know how - slap yer wang to this dudes and dudettes, stop all this hate and conflict.
That is it, a short taster for what is a full set of old releases from the Frontline production line. John Lydon adds notes to the full release and has his usually forthright say, should that make a difference? Not really, but it seems he has a good ear for tonality so have a taste and then swallow a fuckin' huge gutful and stop sonically starving on the same old shit.
MING CITY ROCKERS - GET OUTTA YOUR HEAD
I have just reviewed this lots album, it gave me much to ponder and of course, bop around too. Here is a quick overview of the bands latest single, oooh just 2 tracks, a real taster indeed. Extra info for you is that this is a 4-piece, 1 girl, 3 boys (oooh naughty), they are on a good roll, make an effort in looking the part and looking unified with androgyny playing a major role and they come from Immingham, nr Grimsby - how’s that?
Side A and 'Get Outta Your Head' a song I have reviewed recently but am happy to do so again without looking at my previous wordage for sway. The song opens with gently attending guitars that melt away beneath a tribal tub thump that has a determination not to be dabbled with. The gob has a thirst and seems to be leading us somewhere special - my Fungal streak keeps me sceptical. I need not be so pessimistic as the all consuming repeat thrust fuck of the chorus is a sub-garaged Utopia with a complete saturated shout out lunging at you, grabbing you by the collar and getting you utterly involved. The passion and zeal ascends forthwith and this triumphant song never looks back with all involved becoming more and more fervent and insisting you all aim for some finalising oblivion. A cracking song with solid 'A' side status.
The B-side harks to times of yore in several ways with a cover of Del Shannon's gem 'Runaway' done in snotted, souped up, fun filled style with a real zipping appetite shown throughout and an ensnaring whizzed along vibe to just indulge in. No sub-textual bullshit, no politico-irritation and a complete lack of scrubbed up insincerity - no, just a good wholesome rock out with a riffed melody to lose yourself in. The vocal style has elements of Dickie-oid frivolity, the scarred soundscape is nicely neglected (for all the right reasons) and what we get is a superb unwashed fuck that reeks to buggery. An ideal partner to its flipped comrade.
2 songs, both highlighting a band on the up - and I am thrilled. The Ming City Rockers have a certain something that one just feels within the melodic marrow and I am hoping that the band play their cards exactly right and grab the knackers of chance and swallow all the resultant seeds on offer without offering their asses to the devils. Suck on and see I reckon is the message here - oooh errrr!
SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES - THE RAPTURE
No need to introduce the gothically punked band we have here but special need to make note of how the band progressed and moved away from their initial rawness and came up with many a fine sound that displayed delightful intelligence and musical nouse. Here we have the bands 11th and final studio album which came in for a bit of criticism from those stuck in a fishbowl of expectation and not allowing for a band to continue, experiment and stretch outward. Don't misunderstand me, all the criticism wasn't bad and many more famed journalists did give it a very positive thumbs up. Just to add before I delve deeper that many of the tracks were produced by John Cale, this is the 2014 re-mastered re-isssue and done as requested by Prescription Press.
In we go with 'O Baby' scratchily shuffling the sonic surface before offering a classy champagne sparkle that is sensuously swirled by the oral gifts of our lead lady. A sub-calypsotic sunshine twinkle is maintained, the slip from verse to blended chorus is pillow gentle, the inner release of emotive essences gratifying and this cheerful loved up opener is a delight. The follow up to this soft starter is the brilliantly innocent sounding ballad known as 'Tearing Apart', a simply beautiful composition that advertises Soiuxsie's range of oral utterances with moments from child-like fragility, through pleading bouts of anguish and dream-like wonder to more sanguine bursts of androgynous focus - it is all there, blatant, unadulterated and most sincerely effective. The backdrop of plucked heartstrings is sublime and clashes with the lead gob work in a quite ideal way with extra overlays building to an uplifting climax. The best song of the entire CD for me and one of the bands most exemplary moments.
'Stargazer' has multicultural elements that re-emphasises the bands restless and ever-seeking acoustic outlook. The maelstrom of sound here has a further texturised impetus with a complete fluidity and drifting naturalness. Borne from clouded landscapes where mists are blown aside and spangled attire is brandished by dancing dreamers who are entranced by the whole outpouring. The song has a dominant underscore, an inner strength that insists, a low-lying power that persuades and despite the floated upper refinery do not underestimate the snagging abilities of this applaudable effort. 'Fall From Grace' is mystical, merging and sub erotic with sand blown forms rising from sun kissed deserts in an abundance of humbled poses. The blanket of sound is ruffled with semi-sensual intent, an inner break reaches a refined and well saturated zenith and Soiuxsie's vocal imprint is writhing within the whole soft swirl of sound - a gratifying moment. 'Not Forgotten' opens with 'King Rockerised' skin work before mechanically solarising the soundscape with ghostly thermals and ominous overtones. A primeval death cadence is wailed out over a landscape of pre-apocalyptic threat and the promise of warfare is soon granted as the colliding weapons of tonality clash and thunder amid an orgasmic down pour of androgynous excitement. The darkness that claws through the billowing fabric eventually wins the day and we are left in disarray as the song folds in on its suicidal self.
'Sick Child' murmurs, flickers with life, sparkles with inner hope. A floating phantasmagoria of fever induced imagery is offered via a slow montage of many musical inclusions with shimmering forms coming to the fore in equal abundance as similar visions fade into the background. The Banshees signature angularity and multi-national aromas are all there to be enjoyed and this is quite a sturdy song not to be overlooked. Next up and a jaunty bout of seemingly submissive she teasing via 'The Lonely One', a positive bout of daydream believing done in ideal settings borne a million miles away from reality. A funny little track this that has much life, much tweaking and twanging of the nipples of noise but...one that leaves me flustered rather than relieved. I find the drift perfectly mixed but the route taken a trifle uncertain with the meandering effect leaving the mind slightly confounded. I move on rather than wallow out of my chosen depth and try to find better rewards from the chasing chunk. 'Falling Down' is a spasmodic number like an electric eel re-wired and sparking its own arse in unregulated fashion. A real agitated piece of multi-functional gizmos all colliding and clashing for attention it seems whilst the lead lass tries to gain some semblance of order with howlings slightly more orthodox. The band still find time to intertwine the worldwide flavours that are so apparent in all that transpires and this one, although a fidgety flutterer of fuckeroonoid dabbling gets my nod of appreciation.
4 quickies for ya now. 'Forever' races by and leaves a splash of waterfall diamonds whilst continuing on with a steady downpour. A mood laden piece one needs to adjust to or miss out on the acquired taste. Flat-lined in the main and one of those occasional pieces to dabble with only now and again. 'The Rapture', title track, a self indulgent bout of dabbling that scratches its arse for too long, weaves around in the most mundane fashion and really gets on my old thre'penny bits. A morose episode that is overstretched and not containing enough counter punching contrast - just really not my thing although some of the artistry isn't wasted and if you have untold patience then you will find small snippets of salvation. Overall though - horrible stuff for the Fungalised lugs. 'The Double Life' is a snaking ascension that slides on its sonic belly with hypnotic grace and sexual threat. The anticipation of something orgasmic is had but the end thrill never meets the expectations. The saturation of sound is gratifying though, the mystical inclusions intriguing so a split decision is reached. It isn't the most exciting song but has an experimental edge that gives promise of areas untouched. The last of the rapido four is 'Love Out Me', a tempestuous bout of troubled anxiety with an elevated degree of electro impulses and tumble crumble effect. The lead vocals float through the stressed potential of wreckage and fly loose amid the advancing warzone. Take time, adjust, pick up on the power - not as bad as one first deems it to be.
I like the feel of 'New Skin', so fresh and revitalising at this late stage with a casual aplomb wafting through the chipper tones that flutterwing their way within verdant vines of vibrology. There is a low application of guitar with skanked skips offered whilst the bass cements matters with a good rhythmic route taken. Skins are tip-tapped with effervescing effect and overall we have an upbeat episode to swing with. 'FGM' is a harsh mechanism that tribally hotfoots it with hard toiled perspiration seemingly dripping from the automated players flesh. An absorbing escapade of wanked up machinery on the cusp of mode 'haywire'. You feel that this is an 'in sub-scene' bout of dance-along hypnotica designed to keep the camaraderie for those in the know, solid. A tub thump with big chief overtones and aromas of yesteryear - it has its merits despite the primitive overlay. We shut down harshly and enter the final song which is called 'New Skin', again, this time an effort that starts with coruscated effect and then pupates into a elevated free flown bout of liberation that exudes a new found belief, a new found glory that promises much. Ideal for a mean and determined, recently heart broken victim of a fractured relationship - yeah 'kick out the trash' and move on, keep all positivity at the helm and sail sincerely with wounds healed and brow furrowed for the fight. The song does grind out its own innards a little too long and rather than punctuate with a finalising flourish it ponses about and loses some necessary impact. A shame indeed.
And that is that, the first of 4 Banshees albums I have been asked to review with thoughts on this one of a mixed bag of sub-experimentation with some serious zeniths reached and one of two personal nadirs had down to nothing more than individual taste. Overall the album is sweetly produced, highlights the bands tinkering and talented nature and captures the ever-searching punk desires which refuse to settle in one place and flog out the same old routine. A rewarding album indeed and one to embrace the needs of many a music lover.
THE TRANSITIONS - SELF -TITLED
A definite streak of old school innocence runs through this release with The Transitions keeping things melodic and fairly spartan with all players highly exposed and easily praised or razed. Hailing from Melbourne, Australia this crew pour in an obvious mix of post-punk nuances and despite being around since 2012 this is their first release. What we get within the weave is a band who are almost blatantly searching for a niche whilst they ply this often overlooked scrubbed down generic shit - I like the transparency and in I go wondering what to truly make of these familiar proceedings.
'Waiting For The Man' is a chilled song with a devout detachment donated from the lead gobbage that should deter but instead draws one in with intriguing magnetism. The pace is middling and the whole delivery is built on casual and crisp guitar strums, stabilising sticks and a firm cable rumble from the bass. The whole song contains a certain authority, a veritable sub-demand on your attentive sensors and has a real inner strength to admire. This commanding approach and inner episode of repeat beat threat is what gives the song character and as a result a rewarding accent - a good, robust start with grabbing desperation. 'Shouting At Silence' is an expulsion of frustrated tension pushed along on wheels of scuzzy guitar, buzzing bassism and structuring stickwork. The songs moves with ease but has moments that cough and splutter and so hinder the smoothness and create a little ill favour with this pernickety reviewer. Despite these sticky intrusions the song is kept somewhat minimal and yet given impact by the clarity between each component. The fact that it compliments the opening gambit is an added bonus and all in all these 2 A-side representatives get the job done.
Flipping over and Side B greets us with the rebellious entitled 'Live Fast, Die Young', a song that oozes punked noncompliant disobedience with that self destructive chant out very ensnaring especially to the younger and more wayward eavesdroppers. The slagged vocal offering has many carefree edges, works marvellously alongside the old school vibrology that will surely embrace a whole range of admirers who like a more dangerously ruinous slant to the sonic fodder. 'No More Yesterday' closes proceedings with a greater texturisation and a more emboldened stride in the steps. Still an avoidance of pace is the decision but the band make up for it with an assured approach that knows its target and goes for it with blinkered focus. The icy vocal mode persists, a shimmery sequence invades, the progress made is steady and one still can't help but enjoy this rather starved sonic style that has garaged and retro'ed streaks copulating incessantly and creating many moments to mull over - nice enough if you ask me.
The Transitions have their own style, deliver their tuned brand with a multitude of suggestive flavours and are instantly recognisable mainly due to the much-mentioned oral lilt. Now the question is, can they vary things enough on future ventures to maintain favour or are they borne with only one trick up their sleeves? At this stage who cares, this is a fine 4 tracker and is a great alternative to many modes of melody but...one ear is on the future, keep on yer toes.
THEIVES, LIARS AND SEX OFFENDERS - COMPILATION
The second release from this Midlands based DIY (Orchestrated Dystopia) label that keeps it short, to the point and, as a result, perfectly effective. A veritable titbit for the salivating Underdogs out there who can't get enough of the overlooked noise and believe that the best racket making is going on below that scum laden upper surface. After the first 9 band belter I was chomping for more and I was given this octet of acoustica to chew on - give the Fungal dog a bone and he'll do his bit - seems the only way.
We open with Picasso Blot and their 'Desperate Cry', an oscillating piece of tension that begins with restraint before letting rip and savaging the soundscape with repeat thrash attacks that are only saved by an inner switch off that gives time for contemplation. The tribal ponder is surrounded by a barrage of holler soaked clamour and it isn't soon before we collapse to the final exhausted strum - and much needed it is - nice. Slightly less diseased is the chasing 'We're Not Satisfied' by the powerful Clayface, a band who ram pack their modernised approach with old school elements and so make for a weighty mix. Detonation points are frequent, an underlying threat apparent and a wholesome DIY end production that keeps this from being over indulgent and too greasy for its own good. A hectic song done in swift time which always emboldens the impact - 2 decent dits to start. Wolf Bites Boy come next, a band who do it 'live' and obviously do it on CD with this rhythm soaked coruscation emblazoned with good ring craft and noisy knowledge. The vocals are hard fought, the clashing instruments are in sync and the overall melody is just what the doctor ordered at this stage and nicely moves this tasty collection along with subtle assortment. No such subtlety is had next as Battery Humans go down the full hardcore route with throat tearing violence aplenty and heavy duty weaponry battering the fuck out of the receptors. A head down, knuckledust fuck over with the beating given unapologetic and of the most wound up kind. Once started there is no turning back and once more the CD takes an applaudable twist to savour - ooomph.
The hardcore theme continues but with more flamboyance via the crafted and craving hands of Dischord, a band I hold in high esteem and one who kick and flail with artistic spontaneity and fidgeting, spasmodic unpredictability. This piece is an anarchic working with no guarantee of what may come next. The passion poured into ‘Three Chords’ is consistent, the smash and grab mania, the overall desire and the intent to tear up any rhythmic rules is utterly wondrous and Dischord still get the Fungal vote. Viki Vortex and the Cumshots squirt out ‘Window Shopping’ a tuneful piece that rallies against consumerism and makes fun whilst bobbing along on a wave of creamy fun that has a message that it keeps plain, simple and chipper. The bass line weaves, the strings invade, the drums rustle, the she tonsils hold fort and screech off in various directions – a very likeable titbit.
2 left and the riffery excellence of ‘Cake’ by Benefit State is a real admirable chug out that prods its finger at some fat glutton with an addiction to the cocaine of the confectionary world where a realm of comforting escapism can be had all at the expense of your physique. In this ever increasing fat fuck society the song has more relevance than perhaps deemed and it is a real stodgy piece of sonica many will like to nibble on – a quite satisfy serving for sure…and, as in the words of the Dickensian chap ‘More please’. Foxpunch bring the curtain down to this 8 track journey with the angularity of ‘Days Gone By’ a barbecued piece that shit stains the walls of noise with discomforting urgency and switch and swap awkwardness that may not sit well in many a listeners lap. The precipice that surrounds the pit of piss is walked along, the crew waver, threaten to fall but just hang on and by hook, crook or sheer luck. The early morn crows await a feast but this sub-skanky upchuck is too smart for that and it is the underpinning anger that keeps it swift and to the point thus avoiding a dangerous dawdler.
Again the label comes up trumps with a mix that showcases just what quality is out there. I have no need to praise for the sake of it and feel no need to push this down ya throats – if you like compilations that don’t fuck around and get on with proceedings then you’ll know what to do here. Just don’t hang about – these are limited editions tha' knows.
SUNKEN MONKEY - PARTY SCARS
A band from Burnley who have been around since the beginning of the century (sounds impressive doesn't it) and who have swapped and changed their line-up over the years and mixed and matched their vibes with a fluent DIY essence. A consistency has been had, despite the minor upheavals and here we have Sunken Monkey's latest burst, a mere 13 tracks, all awaiting a Fungal shakedown - ooh I should know better!
4 quick flicks of the wrist with sonic assessing spunkage splattered in double quick time. 'Lookin' Ain't Fuckin', is mellow in tone, manly in theme and follows a route rocked along several times over. One of those that seems a Frankensteinian framework built from cutlets of previous cacophonies - a lustful number that needs a slap on the wrist - you naughty tinkers. 'Red Raw Stump' could well be the result after the previous wankable desires (ooh nasty) but is a song with a tough tirade that adopts a stuttered approach interwoven with a sing-a-long stated chorus which duly freshens the whole offering and raises the bar. I think the band are over whipping a few themes at the mo and although highly delightful there is a threat of too much of the same sneaking in here - watch your step lads. 'After All' is a concrete bout of confident musicianship with a coffee table appeal that will have many less ardent spiky tops and casual passersby nodding their heads to the rhythm. No straying into perilous boundaries, no wandering into a wilderness of unpredictability - just a well delivered session with slight metalised elements creeping alongside the overall hygienic output. 'Pissing In The Wind' is the last of the quick quartet with a disgruntled edge and ruffling of the feathers done with a more commanding, vehement approach that snatches at our aural drums and makes them listen up and take heed. Coherence and production values are in keeping with all that has transpired, dependability on the musicians is easily had and bears fruit with another well rated track pounded in our direction.
Last two and 'Never Look Back' is sage, agreeable advice with the opening bars of light and fluffy stringwork unsurprising and the inner throb par for the course - like I say, watch yer steps lads. Shuffle, breathe, holler - repeat - the formula is scripted, well worn and only just convincing at this late stage but the band deliver with good heartfelt spirit and have those chorus cuts that are so simple but get an effective job done. The bass break dissects and leads into a section where the band can toss off a little - nowt wrong with that. The final wind down is done with aplomb and into the finale of 'Til' Death Do US Party' we go, a song I expect to be a rip roaring fiasco that full stops with effervescing tempo. Wrong! What we get is a 1 minute 57 second bout of defiant acoustica that skips on pride, honesty and inner flame dedication. A track for the ones in the mood to rock on, one for those who wanna cuddle up and contemplate what has been and what will be. It is a typical 6 wired wander and signs off the whole CD in sanguine style with rough edges nicely glided through.
Overall this band have talent, can compose a good tune and deliver it with comfort. The CD under scrutiny is of a fine standard and leaves little room for complaint with my only two concerns being it may be 3 or 4 tracks too long and the variation of song structure is quite limited. I hope this review encourages a further stretching of the wings and the band fulfil their potential but, in the meantime, this will more than suffice.
TELL FREEDOM I SAID HELLO - COMPILATION
A compilation EP featuring several 'in for a penny, in for a pound bands' (good on em') done in true DIY fashion by Orchestrated Dystopia Records - applause all round I demand, moving arses are a fine thing to encourage. 9 tracks to savour, to rock yer knackers off with or...to get shit faced with. Some I am familiar with, some I am not - here goes a Fungalised dissection with critical claws loaded with honesty and care and the aural receptors keen to lap up the vibrology - you should know what I do by now.
'Westerburg' chuck up their noisy contents first with 'Katie' a real well blended poppoid jaunt oozing easy drift swagger and lemon popsicle innocence. The US flavour is obvious, the semi dark lyrics a good contrast and the overall production values perfect for this kind of shizzle - you can't beat a bit of pop punk and the feathery light touches here, the wonderful liquidity and overall 'get up and join in' features make this a reliable in-scene lollipop on which to suck over and over again. Mmmm - so sweeeeet! What better way to follow up a song of this ilk than throwing in a more toxic offering just like the epileptic chuggery fuck of 'Weekender' by the beer swilling bastards known as Freedumb. The aptitude shown to build a construct of harsh racket colliding rhythms and the destructive dynamism in this new/old school hybrid is blatant with all components in sync and happy to thrash slap along to the maelstrom of mania. Death Zone is sparse and uncluttered with the trunk of tonality fissured and flaking thus emanating a DIY flavour many may not be comfortable with. 'Victim Of Crime' is another contrasting cut that keeps the CD varied and with a good level of unexpected hullabaloo. It is the most naked track of the lot with all warts on show and all elementary acoustica thrown forth but, that retro warehouse earthiness and scatterscum rawness has its merits - never overlook the unwashed.
Total Bloody Chaos next and the forceful bitch/bastard crossover style so often encountered by the current TBC set-up with 'Black' a decaying scurfy cunt of noise that is thrust your way with irritated and impassioned unease. Sub-generic penetration of the silent void - whamming it, hammering away and thanking you in no uncertain terms ma'am. Brace For Impact rattle slightly harder with a Discharged approach and stark brutality that harks back to days of Clay and that post apocalyptic war raping rhythm built on utter rage. 'Excuse' offers no excuses, tightens the reins and thunders along on hooves of hellbound intent with the players wading in and throwing fiery fists of unified mania - it is what it is, get in the slipstream and get your balls burnt off.
'Surgery Without Research open their offering with a granite riff before semi-Oi'ed gobbage throws in a different accent to keep the mix bubbling. A more rhythmic grind out with 'Fight' a persuasive piece to raise the rebellion levels and to enthuse a kick back against the bullying regimes out there. The tension is heightened to a finale that crescendos over and over again with waves of troubled temper climaxing in pure restless glory - good effort. B-Movie Britz next and a glistening intro leads us into a thumping episode of boom, bang, scorch and holler with moments of thrusting desire and snippets of 'wake up and smell the angst' passion liable to rouse the dead heads and indifferent. 'Control' calls for cerebral liberation, swaps its angles with insightful articulation, combines power and craft in equal measure and leaves a sweet aftertaste. The final blow comes in the form of utter insanity with Eye Licker and the fast billowing violence known as 'Cosmetic Con'. A scorching shit of supreme power punishment that smashes your senses to smithereens and hits a brick wall with a death holler to cower from - I love this kind of purity when kept so short and to the point and Eye Licker are fuckin' fine artistes when it comes to knackering your neurones - a fitting closure.
Excellent is the word I choose here, everything a good compilation should be - varied, DIY, kept at 9 tracks and thus not over-facing the listener and with some mighty fine underdog bands on show - the question is - can it be maintained and will people stay motivated - I fuckin' hope so, we need these fine taster CD's and roll on the next one.
SIGELPA - TERRA MORTA
Jumping in from Terassa (Barcelona) this folky bunch aren't afraid to throw in a few other flavours to their output such as hardcore and punk (which is a mix I do come across on a regular basis) and so give themselves further options. We have here a self-proclaimed concept album, a 14 tracker to tease the imagination with the running story concerning a city called Terramorta where people are subject to their god/ruler Saint Patrick. But 7 strangers arrive and persuade citizens to rebel against him... this is as far as the taster notes go - we best travel inward, unwind the sonic saga and see what the final chapter of assessment brings.
The first page is turned 'L'atac dels Ultrapirates Pecadors', and is sonic sin that opens with al dente wire work and is escorted by the oral delicacies of both he and she. It is a crisp moment, sub whispered and caressing the aural tympanics with tantalising tones and much promise...but, be warned, from here on in we are rolled into a free-wheeling festival of sprightly vivacity constructed with much fervency of appetite stoked by in-scene desires. The feeling is one of alfresco escapism, commune folkiness high flown with political angst and tongue rolling vehemence that is cooled by the fiddling drafts and heel skipping skins - a real zested attacking detonation that blows away any clogging cobwebs and ill temperament. To alter track the gates open on 'A les porta de TerraMorta' a counterpunch to the opening partified paroxysm that sidles along with a most malevolent and blatantly threatening accent with the dual mouth work initially ominous before becoming more inundated with thermal frustration and coughing up an inter-fucking bout of spittle soaked anger. The ascent of the irritation is pleasing and the song comes to the boil right on time with a feeling left of a swift but a deliberate auditory kicking given. Two tracks in and the band have offered a good degree of diversity, suddenly the expectation and anticipation levels have risen and bated breaths come with rhythmically induced regularity.
The streetwalking 'Cockle and Mussel' seller known as 'Molly Malone' is given the Sigelpan treatment next with a terse tear up bestowed into our ever hungry lugs with shindig spiralling and busy bee bustling the order of the day. Strings and drums are hepped up on adrenalin rushes of living energy, whilst the gushing enthusiasm poured in by our lead couple is persuasive and, may it be set, infectious. A ditty to take your time with I suspect or one to either ponder or just jump up and jig along to - either way you will do well to find any flaws. 'Nens Perduts' comes across as the most gallant and unflinching inclusion thus far with all the lost children out there embraced and given note. The musical march is forthright, steadfast and, despite the varied tones, without any deviation. Quiet moments where points are made are intercut with 'scratch and sniff the reality' time outs and chanted hollers that capture an emboldened hankering to etch a sonic streak within our noise-laden receptors. The song at times, seems about to snap, break apart and lose its aim, but that feeling of direct line focus is there throughout and we remain on route without any real worry. A track that may have the longest shelf life but one I thoroughly lap up, primarily down to the throat emitted passion.
'Sant Patrick' has a quivering intro I remain unsure of but after the stop/start and woven fluidity I get a little more into the drift although I find this one the most higgledy piggledy construct of the lot with the palpitating effect not suiting my desires at this sonic stage. Plenty of gusto means plenty of eavesdroppers may disagree so I move sheepishly on with my stubborn streak in tact - blah. 'Bule bule' has a lovely countrified corn chewing, hell flicking waltzoid intro before the vocals intertwine with joyous youthful keenness that entrances this music lover with its kaleidoscope of garish colours all making for a great ditty. Eventually a few small pots of darker acoustic shadings are pouring into the mix but they are soon swallowed up by the more vibrant tones and we are left with a cosmopolitan splatter to swim within. 'La cloaca' flushes in, swirls with darker colours before scuffling stringwork wipes the backside of uncertainty. Impetus rises, another burst of the bowels comes and the spasmodic upheavals fill the awaiting basin with healthy toned turdage. The shitheap of sound attracts dancing flies who like to spread dinned disease and with wings aflutter true appreciation is given. The crew rise, make a greater stink and find themselves in a zone well and truly suited. Alterations come, relief in easier expulsions is gratefully received and although this is a lengthy donation to the sewerage of sound you will be fully absorbed throughout.
More six string scarcity, a skin wobble and jaunted tonality tries to hide the ensuing fidget that is delivered with bumbling excitement and vivid intention. 'Aquest cos es meu' is a solid body of sound built on opposing traits and varied degrees of the unexpected. A somewhat awkward piece that one finds difficulty fully settling into and I feel totally justified in saying at this point that the band are over brewing their well cooked broth. It happens, runaway enthusiasm can be a crippling bastard who leads one astray. Without any control over ones legs caution and care must be had and a certain degree of self restraint when delivering ditties of this style or severe errors can be made. I shan't apply a strait jacket of criticism because being eager and hungry is a joyous thing to behold but I would suggest the crew watch their step and keep things a trifle more structured at times. Not for me this one. I much prefer the adventure of 'Explotar', a fizzing song with equal variation and gusto to the previous track but with a more organised feel and a definite boundary between each intrusive attack. The band free wheel, power batter, party up, unify themselves with heightened glory and show their inner desires with confidence rather than vulgarity. A real treasure trove of alternating styles this and one to keep you dipping in over and over again.
'La nit que el Rei Pat Murphy ha mort' is a double quick outburst that scuffles around, throws forth a swift bubble of lyrics and rises to the finale with usual feistiness - in and out and no room for error. Creeping with malevolence next is the shifty sidewind of 'La Passio del Trist' a journey that weaves and winds off the beaten track and makes a great meal out of the whole escapade. I am left a trifle worn out and left in the cold with this one as it is just way too long to be comfortable and has too many driftings to be fully comprehensible. It would have been far better to have 3 expulsions instead of the one and taken the most complimentary components and bunged them together in one swifter mush. Here we have too many nebulous boundaries that have fuzzy grey edges that blur the distinctions between each opposing section. The language barrier also plays a part and maybe I can't get too involved due to this restricting factor - it seems to be the case. I move on humbly rather than dissect for the sake of it.
'Metamorfolkcore' gently rocks the boat, has a certain control in the undulations and cuts its running time to just over 4 minutes which is highly beneficial to the band and my poor folk soaked lugs. A more orchestrated piece here with a deliberate strategy adopted that sees the band place and pronounce each note and gob off with accuracy whilst the accordion provides the inner swish that adds genuine life. Not bad and worthy of its place on this CD but my preference lies with the latter two tracks namely 'Deixant Terramorta' and 'Un dia ens morirem', with the former having a stylish aroma that rises into the rhythmic nostrils with sultry persuasion before slightly moving around the emotional scale with more forcefulness applied. The vocal textures are quite impressive, the aural airwaves sweetly rippled before the crew decide to up the ante with a more flourishing approach that sees the song thrive as a result. Primarily built on 2 sensations, both having great distinction and sitting side by side with equal authority. The coolly strung acoustic snip that adheres both sections together is ideal and the final rush is thoroughly convincing - excellent tune. The latter song, and the overall closing piece, is typical Sigelpa spillage with plenty of pace, oodles of spirit and a general joy in the output that attracts the most unfolked fucker. Back to that initial spiciness that enthuses a smiling response and a foot tapping agreement - a full stop that is more than a little apt.
Overall this CD is a decent effort with just one or two moments leaving me flaccid but more than enough output to maintain a storker. There are many moments here that give the band room to manoeuvre on future efforts and it will be interesting to see if they take any of these opportunities or just dabble here and there and stick to the sub-generic pattern involved. Either way it keeps one thinking but in the meantime play this beggar loud and have a dance.