FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 1
BANDITOS - McFLAGGIN
Having recently reviewed a CD by these two musical maestros I was quite taken by the dirty acoustica that entwined with a fair melody. Already being in possession of this CD I thought it best to leave a break between listenings so as to savour each flavour on its own standing. After playing this a couple of times it brought back how much I enjoyed the first CD and how fond I have grown of the Banditos expulsions. This 3 tracker is in the same vain as the aforementioned release and will do just nicely for old Fungal here.
'Cheers' says a friendly hello and goes forth with a saddened inflection that drips with poignancy, an aspect this band deal with so fuckin' well. This effort scuttles in and is executed with obvious passion and from a pair who blatantly prefer to keep things dirty rather than buffed up. Don't forget this is a DIY dropping and I for one am glad to tread in it and not clean my sonic shoes afterwards. I can't think of a punk situation where grime like this wouldn't be welcome. The pair are totally comfortable with one another and twing and twang their strings quite artistically, bordering somewhat on an unplugged Pogues which surely is high compliment indeed but shouldn't detract from the fact this is an individual duo making an individual sound worth listening in on.
'Friend Called' chops along on the bobbing melodic waters before the sonic sails billow out and speed is gained. Both sailors in this punk rock yacht man the helm superbly and work in fantastic unison making this another victorious voyage. The switches and about turns are sweetly executed and don't you just love it when a band knock out a nice noise without any pretensions?
The closure is speedy and called 'Folsom Prison Blews' and oozes bruised and blued effervescence that the duo are enjoying spilling our way. I am quite excited by how the two players combine and pluck and fuck into the nugget and send a vibe right down to the feet and gets them toes a tapping. It would be oh so easy to listen to this once and disregard as more punk acoustica with nothing original to say. Do so at your peril!
A hat-trick executed with excellence and with plenty of pre-thought as to how the end mix should sound. The Banditos have held us up and flown away with a sack-full of success - go, go, go.
STILL DYING PROMOTIONS - COVER CD 1
What Still Dying Promotions do is peddle underlistened, under-exposed, underdog talent with disregard for profit or shallow kudos. That gets my vote and I am always pleased to review anything and everything by this fine team. Here we have ten tracks to deal with that showcases some good bands puking forth some good punkage for the overfed masses. Push yer retro plate of fried shite aside and get ready for some meat-filled morsels to glut on.
Choking Susan gets all enticing with the gritty 'Tie Me Up , Tie Me Down'. Nervous drums welcome then the US sliding vocals submissively work against a tetchy background of busy strings and percussion. Slightly unorthodox with a fair production that keeps the sound screwed rather than virginal the whole essence works and makes for an interesting listen especially for those who like the confident swagger of those across the pond. The name of Loaded 44 has glided my way on verbal airwaves and all utterances are tinged with a positive tone. I am always reluctant to take others advice due to the fact I have senses of my own and like to make my own unpolluted judgements. I must say that listening to this offering I am more than happy to further cultivate the encouraging vibes travelling far and wide on Upbeat FM. There is a very organised feel to the song, namely 'Last Drink'. The female at the fore has a strong modulation that holds attention and will please the lovers of ladies with clout. The players behind this vocalising vixen play a stunner with the chorus a fine example of a band in unity. Solid!
LOS FASTIDIOS - ALL' ARREMBAGGIO
This 11 track mid-paced CD of street punk is a treat to savour and has all the delicious components that make this sub-generic noise so fuckin' delightful. The clarity, the simplicity of melody and the accurate production have me holding this CD in very high regard and call on all and sundry to 'stand by to board' this hopefully exact and complimentary review.
We commence with a bit of duelling banjo's that comes with a deliverance of promise. Are we the listener in for an aural raping or will we be bummed by a humping sack of duds. Read on and after this 47 second treat we are led into the darkened tomb known as 'La Tumba'. The stamping guitars soon break and a ghostly moan blows us towards the swift verse and chorus attack. One of the quicker songs on the CD the impact is effective and that is all the first song need be. The vocals stay above the general string and percussion riot which is ideal and as a result the front gob shines bright. No fussing around here but a nice jigging break is had at the 2 minute mark whereupon the song thrives and gradually builds into a crescendo of unified shouting before the finishing line is sought and passed.
'Non E' Questione Di Stile' chops away in sub-skank mode with a hopping first verse with radioised inflection. The lead to the chorus is subtle and from there on in we have a sweet ride with a few switches here and there most notable of which is the central break that adheres the song together. There is a wide-eyed incessancy that one can't quite pinpoint throughout this song but it is there all the same and very much welcome at that. 'La Nostra Internazionale' is a working class moment to be embraced by all rough and ready 'erberts who don't mind getting their hands dirty and enjoying a good old booze-up song. At first a slightly sinister ambience is had but when the fresh breezing chorus blows through the whole song comes into its own and with open arms gladly welcomes anyone with time to listen. This and the triumphant 'Football Is Coming' are both easy going songs of massive proportions that encapsulate all that is thriving about this unit. No rush, just darn good attention to maintaining a good song - simple as and executed with passion. Have I head a better football song than this? I doubt it but if you think I have then enlighten me, please do. I suspect not many challengers will be coming forth ha, ha. Great stuff and a pinnacle I hope the CD can maintain.
'Hooligirl' is a bright and breezy number about a football thuggess. It is a joyous number that somehow combines soccer warfare and love with ease and comes out as a really enjoyable track. The general ambience is celebratory and it is so pleasing to see what is an old fashioned Oi band being able to mix styles so comfortably. A genuine sign of a good band who don't go for the predictable kick in the bollocks but opt for the persuasive squeeze of the arm instead. 'You Got Your Soul' is delectable music made by men for men. The clout is cloaked beneath attentive application and a sincerity of writing a good song first and foremost which I for one congratulate them on. A choice mix of easy go drums, lightly freshened guitar, adhesive bassism played with care and ungruffed vocals confident in their own ability. Stuff like this can patch up the differences that sometimes arise between the rest of the scene with the Oi crew (come on you know what I mean) and that can only be a good thing. Brilliant!
'Reggae Rebels' tiptoes with a jig on bassed up grooviness before a slow, unexpected drift is given and one that upsets the whole expected applecart. I like bands that take chances and just fuckin' do what they do and this is very much a case of that. Get out your reefers, smile and just go with the flow. Easy going and friendly this is positioned perfectly and adds a new dimension to the CD so far. 'FreedomTown' starts with sonic teeth that appear gritted. A minor threat looms but the song soon opens up with strong ambitious drive and there is a restrained intensity that blooms occasionally and relies on once again gentle persuasion rather than brutal force.
'Reds In The Blue' is a football chanting delight with uncertain drums concealing the true sanguine attitude that is about to come the listeners way. Upbeat, triumphant and full of catchy inflection - definitely a choice penultimate pip. We close with 'Bottiglie E Battaglie' a song that loads up the ballad bullets and soon comes at ya with both barrels smoking. A song that cements the album into the consciousness and caps off an 11 track treat. Swift pace, lucidity of vocal, a sheen to the production and final strong effect the Los Fasstidios conveyor belt has coughed up a cracker and one that needs to be peddled far and wide. This is my little bit in the effort so now have a peep and a listen to their Myspace page yourselves and see what you think. If the taste is taken to then why not indulge in a real belly full of cultured street sounds.
ANGRY SCENES - COMPILATION VOL 4
Angry Scenes compilations are a pile of shite - how’s that! Well I may as well as get that statement in at this point as it looks I may never well be able to say it with honesty at any point in the near future! Three volumes reviewed and all solid stuff and number four is very much the same although tending towards the more crustier side of things which I am sure is swayed by the fact that it is a tribute to a punky soldier who passed away and left many friends saddened.
Contempt have A-punk credentials and have been around for a fair while. It must be 7 or 8 years since I last saw this crew and impressed I was. The power bass holds their entire offering together here with hard hitting guitars and big gob vocals very much this crews signature sound. 'The Dog Song' riffs with relish and gets this bold CD off to a very powerful start. After such an opening one needs a good band to double the impact - enter Drongos For Europe. Consistently effective this crew screwdrive their way into your weakening will and give you full on punkology. 'Care With Complex' combines apt wordage and taut guitar to make it a song to remember and leads us into the third blast of excellence this time via the experienced players that are known as the Subhumans. When I first heard these guys almost 30 years ago I was intrigued by the political ranting that copulated with neat musicianship. The band have been consistently popular with the punks (or is that punx) over the years and here is another reason why. Mr Lucas at the front has instantly identifiable vocals and the band always back him up with a solid tune. 'Point Of View' is regular SH shit and, as ever, happy to skid-mark the underpants of authority.
So 3 sweet cherries from the Angry Scenes label to kick off this 4th effort and yes I was indeed a fool to expect anything less but one lives in hope ha, ha. Old crustoids Oi Polloi make it and label it 'DIY' and open with sinister Crassite drones before something more solidified is puked forth. Never one of my favourite bands but you have to admit the intensity and hardcore trimmings do work and so nestle nicely in the sub-genre adopted (intentionally or unintentionally) by this corrosive collection of punkers. I am sure Left For Dead are on every fuckin' AS collection so far, as are a few other bands, and so point must be made to kindly applaud the labels loyalty but to cruelly kick the nadgers for lack of variation - there got a criticism - one up for Fungal - well OK - 99 - 1 to Angry Scenes but hey give me a break will ya. In fact if the bands used were of a dud standard Angry Scenes could very well suffer the Fungal Finger and be pointed out as playing it safe but alas the noise being poured forth is darn good stuff (which I have stated on many occasions) and so the critical point is only added as a balancing note. Gotta be fair to all and sundry you know. Anyway Left For Dead do the business with a decent track which takes its time to get going and when it does just seems to be regular punk without breaking sweat - annoying isn't it? RAM-MAN are always value for money and nothing changes here with the slightly unorthodox blast of 'Is This The Queue For Insurrection'. As ever the production is exact and the whole sonic soup bowl is filled to the brim with noise, noise and more noise. The band never go overboard though and that wins favour rather than segregates them into a smaller punky fishbowl. 'Rast Knast' crash in before twisting sharp shards of guitar glass are strewn every which way and then a speedburst is adopted. 'Feuertaufe' has a fair bit going on and when fractures reveals many inner colours to uphold attention. A good effort followed by the blitzing madness that is 'Overlord' by the mighty War/System. Prophetic ravings disintegrate into hardcore crustiness that is a consistent blaze guaranteed to impress. Ramrod riffs soften one up, brutal vocals remove further resistance and powerhouse breaks take one down to the floor. A well timed grenade that clears the stage for the easily recognisable Restarts and a solid song entitled 'The Pied Piper'. The identifiable tone is all well and good and has captured many a fan with my only concern that this crew may run out of ideas as regards variability, but hey when you are churning out shit of this stenchability who gives a fuck? The vocals are as worn as ever with a winning snarly chorus to keep fans happy.
Indecent Assault grab attention with the forthright Crassite entitled 'Bullshit Detector'. An eyes ahead performance that just gets on with the job. Very easy to take to and glinting of promise of a band to check further. Eastfield need no further investigations as to what they do and are about as pretty well known within the punk community and I am sure many a train platform around the country. Alas we have a song here about attraction and desire rather than locomotive love. Of course you can tell it is blatantly Eastfield without looking at the track listing and 'Shake It Up' is a nice, rhythmic offering typical of this consistently good band who do their thing! The Usual Suspects drip forth with droplet guitar touches before pouring across with soiled water that tastes of crusted skank and the poison of angry young men. Many will love this especially if they have liked the mix so far and it is a justifiable inclusion. It has been left to gather mould somewhat and that only increases the overall texture. Alcohol Licks come at just past the halfway point and if anything is going to be labelled the odd sod in the collection this will be it. It is a sweet song and 'Pjamma' concerns us with lyrical content as regards a relationship and combines a merry drifting noise that occasionally becomes withdrawn and intermittently becomes outgoing. Odd yes, shite no!
Edict Of Intolerance toll the bells of doom for a disjointed society then blast forth a barbiturate rush glutted with indecipherable ravings and rattled guitar enthusiasm. Nowt wrong with that and the sudden halts and marching inflection is unexpected and characterising. 'Descent To Hell' adopt an unsubtle title and just say 'Fuck It'. Heavy weighted with sub-death metal essences the band get by with sheer dogged determination. It is a raucous upheaval that the longer haired brigade will surely enjoy more than the spiky tops. The Autonomads know their circles and know their style and settle into the chosen groove with utter acceptability. Polished and with extra trimmings to show progression this rub a dub dub skanking cruise shows a band happily playing within themselves. 'GMP' is a good showcase track as are several others I have stumbled across via a variety of compilations and all must bode well for a decent band who keep atmosphere well and truly on the leash and throw in bones of brass at their leisure. The class that is Dun 2 Def come from a different punked arena than the previous crew but ooze quality as was shown superbly on their last album release. This taster entitled 'What We Want' is more expected punk of a band that would fit into yesteryear without complaint but still compete with the best of today quite adequately. A good gob at the fore always helps and if the song has good rhythm and good musicianship so much the better. A case in point is here!
Rotten Agenda takes the 'Drivers Seat' and cut a growling way through the tuneful traffic with a rhythmic romp to headbang to. Unswerving and mid-paced this is a fair trip as is the political sub-monologue that is 'Seven, Seven' from Global Parasite. There are many who will switch off and who just have no time for this kind of agenda but there are many who will soak it up. The band for me do what they do well and have grown enormously in such a short time. I like the drummer Dave Cox as he is a good punk dude and worthy of support and even though my chosen bag isn't political rage I am always willing to listen in to what a band have to say particularly if Dave is involved. This is good stuff and the tune is secondary to the message but still makes for a good effort. Must make note to catch up with these again.
Police Bastard like to hurt with the onslaught and this deep, crummy infection causes pain. Slow, deliberate fury commences the tirade that is 'Kept Down' but soon a sonic rush is had and the oppressed rise forth. Repeat over and the song is had - and yes it keeps my attention which can't be bad at 20 tracks in. Wow only 6 to go - come on Angry Scenes lets have a full compilation next time -anything less than 50 tracks is simply the work of a greenhorn ha, ha.
The Tans dish up a confusion that deals with racist idiocy and general unrest making 'Go Home Paddy's' strong stuff to stomach. Hey ain't that's what punk should be doing and the forthright title meets the scenes criteria and slightly stretches a few boundaries. A really tattered piece that works and brings us to the hollowed horror of 'Ginger Is A Werewolf' by the fine Obnoxious UK. Of course a great song is had by a band with a fair repertoire and the rock 'n' roll injection coupled with a DIY end production fuck well together and give us perhaps the most uncrusted track of the lot. The Rejected may sing 'Enslaved' but are free to create a riot and do so here with a discordant noise that lovers of semi-hardcore robustness and metallic guitar heat will love. In keeping with the CD and will shine more if you play this disk on 'Random Select' rather than always leave it to one of the last peas on the polluted plate. Comply Or Die brandish 'The Right' and almost seem a re-produced version of the previous band. The comments regarding the latter can be applied here and both tracks need a flick of the volume button to maximise their potential.
Last two and Fish Bowl Riot carelessly say 'Well Its Your Life' and give us a stained mix that only gets going when the chorus hits home. The production is not great but at this stage doesn't have to be. If your lugs are tuned in to Do It Yourself Radio then you will grasp this one with its squelched bass and shit-stained guitar work. If however you are tuned into to Polished and Plastic FM - er just fuck off. Fleas and Lice sound nasty and on this live outpouring are confirmed to be as such. The poorest recording of the lot but it still gets by and that is no easy task when recording in the pit. These Dutch demons pour forth a poison brew so I suggest you take a sip and see what you think.
So another memorable showcase by Angry Scenes and doing their bit to peddle underground punk. The CD though is about more than that and in remembering one of their own and showing the unity of the scene I think all and sundry should take stock and realise we are in this together - so lets pull the same way shall we? Volume 5 must surely be a must as should 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 etc. etc. Why stop when the going is this good - no reason at all. Now go buy fuckers!
STILL DYING PROMOTIONS - COVER CD 2
Another 10 track cover CD released by the SD crew and yet another freebie with their excellent fanzine. Let us not piss about and go for the review by the throat.
Blitzkrieg open with the vicious nastiness of 'TNT Bitch'. Not a band that are really my style but I can appreciate this noise and the effort poured into this one with the toxic vocals the most obviously pleasing aspect of a good meaty song that has some catchy musical moments. Still Dying back these to the hilt so they must be doing something right and just because Fungal ain't a 100% fan blatantly emphasises I can't like fuckin' everything I hear my good fellows. Check out this band though - you may come away with a solid impression of a unit who know their stuff and apply it with vigour. Mispelt 2.0 vomit forth 'Junkfood Generation' which is a real fat bastard of a song glutted on riffs and melodic power. I love the song and I love the band and they have 4 components that hopefully will make some headway this year after being overlooked for so long. Great elfin front lass who does the business and one song here that I particularly chose for one of my Fungal compilations - nuff said!
Onwards we march into the battle against punk lethargy with The Warriors clubbing at your resistance with the very finely composed 'Unite The Scene'. A top notch message delivered with a simple tune that has been built with confidence and given subtle melody to attract the attention of all and sundry. A firm song taken from a chunky album and followed by the exciting excellence that is Loaded 44. The song entitled 'Say Nothing' is a quite lovely effort and vies for my pick of the pops on this considered CD due to the clarity of vocal, sweet androgynous ambience and contrast between strong female mouth and rockin' and riffin' guitar work. Sometimes just one song can get you off yer arse in search of more by the band under the ear and here is such a case. One of those moments when you think 'hey up another band to check out'. You know the feeling - happens all the time if you are riddled with punk passion. A massive moment and takes the CD up another notch where Pistol Kixx await with their overly rocked 'Boyz Will Be Boyz'. One expects a spandex splattered indulgence with cock rock at the fore of the output accompanied by long haired 'erberts poncing about to their own phallic solos. Investigations into their myspace area reveals this not to be exactly true however there are leanings towards the glammy end of the punk spectrum so Fungal is not that far off (honestly ha, ha). Not a bad track but an acquired taste but this all fades into insignificance when it seems that the band are now deceased. Not literally of course but this unit have indeed called it a day which is never nice to hear. The song did arouse my curiosity and I wouldn't have minded seeing these in action but alas it’s a band missed for the Mushie Man.
STILL DYING PROMTIONS - COVER CD 3
So once again I am at reviewing another free cover disk that has ten tracks on it courtesy of the Still Dying team. Yes this one was free again if you subscribe to the excellent fanzine so it really is a case of the punk populace being spoiled rotten.
Here we burst forward with the articulate excellence that is 'Snake Oil Salesman' by The Front. This song is in actual fact the title of the recent album release, a CD reviewed by my good self and one I praised aplenty. This was one of the stand out tracks and what makes it so is the blood and bollocks of the passionate bitch at the fore, the smart attentive drumming, the kick ass guitar work that doesn't get carried away and the metalised bassism that surely is the most notable factor in this marvellous mix. Check out these real soon or be forever kicking yourself for missing out. The Smears are a band that come into my audible airwaves quite often and as of writing I have yet to see this clinical crew. An all girl outfit that will undoubtedly attract the connoisseurs of candy I couldn't personally give a fuck if they have cock, cunt or both as it is the music what matters (not always the case is this and other scenes you know). Anyway, yes The Smears finger deep and intermingle sinister edges, haunting angles and strong rhythmic vibes thus coming out with a satisfying effort. The lasses keep things fairly simple but express enough clout and shout attitude to appeal and I for one am intrigued. The Eruptors try a cheap shot with the potentially shocking 'Cannibal Holocaust'. Unfortunately it is usual fodder for me due to my interest in cinematic shockers. I do like this however and there is a B-punk feel to the end cut which creates further interest. The garage-esque grime is obvious but sub-psychobilly inflections, tinges of rock and the thread of punk is less so and therefore an odd snippet is given. Always good to stretch and seek out under-corrupted corners I say - so Erupt on.
The frontlass of Mispelt 2.0 does a darn good vocal job and so is the case with her other band Thracia. Coming from the rock end of the rainbow this still has enough punk noxiousness to attract my pickled lugs and I reckon this is one of the best on the CD. Bitching belligerence, strong riffage and a final composition to savour. The sea is chopping and the sailing siren draws all unto the riot and dashes them on the rocks of rhythm - aaagggghhhh! The Bermondsey Joyriders give us a cover, namely 'Runnin' Riot' and if you don't know who this is originally by then you won't find an explanation from me. It is a fair effort and a lot more gritty than the original being more reliant on perspiration rather than polish. A good effort and leads into the impressive south mouth of 'Welcome To the Empire Club' by The Concrete Gods. I have seen this crew only once and wasn't that taken but after hearing this am of the belief it may have been a duff gig or I was on an off day and didn't give them full attention. It could have been a case of too hard to tell on the first viewing as is very often the way things are. This however is my debut hearing of the crew on CD and I am well taken with it. Lively, spruced up with a 'bloke down the pub' approachability this is weighted street punk by what seems to be a good old bunch of geezers. The tabloid attitude will go down well in the Oi-esque circles and I hope to hear more of these hardened lords quite soon.
Freedom Faction are a band I should do more with as when I have dabbled I have been more than impressed. This is typical no-nonsense simplicity that thrives due to the front lasses vocal violence. The noise is rotted and thus attracts this seeker of the soiled and all in
all we are given an utterly feisty number to take heed of. From the growled girl to a lucid lady and after a staged intro the chant of 'Fuck MTV, 1, 2, 3, 4' is well received. A strange one this by 3 Strikes Out with clarity and fuzziness in deep opposition thus creating a unique sound. The guitars and drums seem to rush whereas the singer seems to hardly get out of 2nd gear which again makes for an unsettled nest. I like it and for no other reason than I just do - how’s that! Cryo-Genics give us a dirty crisis to deal with and in fact I have already done so (which you should bloody well know about if you keep up to date with reviews on here). The mix is 'live' and so not a true reflection of the band on CD but one can easily get the spirit of a punk rock band unwilling to waver. Nice enough and be good to hear a fully produced offering next time. Big splashing drums from Shattered Dreams ask one to sit back and 'Believe' and on evidence such as this it is quite darn easy. A very established effort with cute touches that rely on each component doing their subtle bit rather than blasting you away and hiding behind the cacophony. The sensual singing of course is highly notable and will attract many an ear but do not underestimate the band at the back. A very hefty closure and the ideal way to full stop another Still Dying Statement.
I am loving what this label are doing and just want to keep encouraging them in everything they do. I know they find it hard but satisfaction should surely come in knowing you are trying your best and knocking out some solid tunes to help spread the word of all concerned. It can't get more punk than that - basic, honest and a thankless task - my vote is theirs.
CITIZEN KEYNE - POLICE STATE/PUNK NOT FASHIION
A double A-sided limited release single here on DRB Records from one of my fave bands of the moment. As straight as arrers these gobby bastards tell it how it is and believe me there ain't fuck all wrong with that. I'll get an ear full one day I reckon when I find a song I dislike and be my honest self but the mutual respect will remain - that's the difference. In fact I'd like to say these two songs are absolute wank and get my roasting out of the way but I can't so read on an appreciate one darn good effort applauded and an absolute classical piece of 'saying it how it is' get gushed over.
'Police State' etches its way forward with robust riffs and foot down drive. The construction is regular punk and if I were a pompous old twat I would say well what is so clever about that? However, if you listen and listen right the fact that Citizen Keyne don't profess to be nothing more than a good old orthodox punk band exorcising a few demons and putting a few musical rants down on CD makes them a very valid outfit indeed. Many a band could write this kind of stuff but would they have the passion behind it? That is the difference and that my jolly doubter is where the punk credentials reside. The production here is solid and backs up the unit and their output. Good stuff I thinks!
Now then 'Punk Not Fashion' is a whole different kettle of fish. This one song should upset the entire punk applecart and should divide opinion straight down the middle. The fact that the scene is so apathetic and many will not even raise an eyebrow does the business in exposing the shit, and as with the SAS Tour CK do it with forthright belief. This nasty ditty questions the big band mentality and lets be honest that social gathering we know as Rebellion. If rebellion is attending a nicely organised gig where every one can skip around and say 'isn't everything fantastic' then that's fine but the fact is is that this and similar festivals are convenient places to meet up and get yer punk fix for one year in one go then do almost fuck all else until the next one. Don't get me wrong they have their place but how many go and disappear into the woodwork until next time? Anyway Citizen Keyne are unhappy and more than willing to ask questions - yeah that's punk too. They do it with an aggravated song that will get into your nut and play a merry fiddle. Personally I love the tune, love the risk and love the balls. It is a massive song and an anthem to the overlooked underdog and if this doesn't bring these snapping 'erberts together I am well and truly fucked. Underdogs bite back and here is the rabid cur in the pack.
So Citizen Keyne release a 2 tracker and cause as big a stink as ever. 100 copies of this are ready to float around and I have one. Ha, ha - lucky old Fungal and the proud owner of one song that is definitely in the running for 'Song of the Year ' on this site. Be quick and get a bit of controversy down you!
FIRING BLANKS - WATCH OUT
So another offering from Firing Blanks and yet another delve into the shithouse recording room from where this soiled silver disc is given birth too. It is obvious these guys don't give a fuck about end outpourings and are on a very limited budget indeed thus making this 6 tracker a fuckin' challenge for the Fungal ears to assess. As regards production then it is a big fat 'fuck all' for starters with volumes up and down, various players almost inaudible at times and the whole mix tainted by a general careless application. This is all well and good for me but in this scene that has become a hotch potch of everyone ‘knows best’ they are setting themselves up for an arse whipping never to be recovered from. A shame but a warning nonetheless and I hope they take heed for future tinkles.
Straight in then and 'No' exudes the already defiant stance set. It is a nasty mix but there is a fair tune there and that is what I will concentrate on. A swift shuffling guitar, an all refusing chorus and scatty drums all work well but it is the bass that impresses most with some nimble moves displayed for all to see. I reckon a winning number in the 'live' arena but here painfully marred and scarred like its five bruised brothers. 'Choke' skanks along with undulating tones (literally) and has a fair bit of punk rock anger and a few string surges and drum seizures to extract interest. The switches are interesting and remind of a skacore/crustoid punk hybridisation that will fit perfectly into selected sub-genres. The trouble is here is that even these rusted areas require a good standard of end noise and this will not hold up. Two fair songs though hidden beneath the destroying dross and into 'Addict' I crawl with the assessing hand lens well and truly focussed in. What I find is another decent song moulded over but peeping through like a pearl in a pasty. Occasionally the song becomes ragged but is held in check by some reliable playing and although the least tasteful morsel in the dirty dish it is still worth rolling over the palate a few times.
Warped saxophony disturbs with its essences of a foreign 1970's kids TV programme but the immediate panic is cleansed away as 'Watching You' gets going and bleeds infection between moments of skanked respite. The trimmings are all there for a interesting song and again I await a top-notch re-recording that brings out the best of this crew. Far from a blank moment with a fired up finale that is slightly quelled, reawakened and leads us into 'Bonus Cheque'. Swaying in with a slight uncertainty this song is the dubious dick in this issue of members monthly. It never really builds up any impetus and so makes it harder listening. It thinks about going for it but remains indecisive and has me puzzled. I may need more time but the staccato sonica is not my chosen bag.
The finale comes with 'Freedom Song' and harks back to retro skank that coupled naiveté with know how in equal measure and left many scratching their heads. Slightly calypsotic and one to have the rude boys rocking. Grooving brass, tinkling guitar work, hollowed drums and then the scuttle begins. Politically tuned in thus making the most complete track thus far.
So Firing Blanks create a struggle but sustain my interest and have me looking ahead to future releases. I hope this lot stick at it and a keen ear will be on the progress they make and the comparison between old and new which should be very enthralling. A notch up needs to be carved next time though so take care dudes and don't rush!
THE COSMIC FINGERS - MAY CONTAIN ADULT HUMOUR
After much trawling through numerous dictionaries both on-line and in book format I have found three words to sum up this debut release from this unhinged double act. The words I feel are exact, capture the essence of the 14 tinklings and also warn the listener as to what to expect. The three descriptives are a. Filth, b. Filth and c. Filth. I hope that forewarns thee and if tales of semen, anal sex, lust and other peephole perversion are in your favour then this may just be for you. However, if you like more erudite punk with profound messages and attention to strict spiked boundaries then go fish out some deep political matter and indulge. Cosmic Finger do what they do and I find it hard to swallow in this amount (and stop thinking those dirty thoughts now). Nevertheless after informing the band of my difficulty in tackling this CD they took it in their stride and said 'fair enough mate and it is an acquired taste'. That gets my respect and adopting the duds of neutrality I am digging in here and ready to wank out a review as best I can.
So will the band slip in quite carefully or shall they go for the jugular (or vas deferens) with the sonic scalpel and have a tale of a violent vasectomy enough to curdle ones jizz. With vacant eyes that are pretty keyed up the opening 'Chop, Chop' gives us a gory tale to encourage all to stay well and truly fertile for as long as we can. Basic, crude and not willing to pull out (an easier option ya know) this is throwaway comedy that is worth a listen now and again. In the midst of a rowdy piss-up gig this is the stuff to tickle the bleary eyed and providing these two twisted punkers don't overplay in the same place then it will go down well. Just to show it all isn't about cocks and cunts 'Plastic Punk' is a sharp piece that is my favourite of the lot and deals with, as the title suggests, synthetic spiked invaders. Stef's delivery is nice and cold here and it makes for a deeper cut. The guitar is slightly buzzed and fuzzed and gets along with what it has to do and at this point my suggestion would be that the next album has to have a few extra effects on to add more layers and therefore broaden appeal. 'Kill' is a 1 minute burst of that old piss-take of the punk scene by Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias. It is a good song nonetheless and Cosmic Finger do it proud here with a pleasing acoustic version. The gob at the front Stef is a real old punk enthusiast and that just adds to the conviction of the delivery.
'The Hard Times' has a fully inflated rhythm whereas the lyrical content is coarsely flaccid and of the most depraved type that is almost unnecessary. It is in keeping with the CD's blue side and the tune will keep things pumping a little while longer. 'Go Ahead Punk And Make My Day' relates a tale of beer goggle trickery and goes into all the embarrassing details of a fuck out of luck and deservedly so. If one can't keep ones todge in ones pants after a few jars than let the labia lottery takes its course and if one ends up diseased or pleased then so it shall be. Many will be able to relate to this however, I cannot - I am a particular punk with standards ya know.
'B. B. C.' is a real good effort and comes in with Crassed radio tweakings before taking on a funereal marching mode that drips with a sadness for the loss of anything decent on the airwaves. This backs up my argument that The Cosmic Fingers have more to say then to just self-inflict upon a themselves the tag of a 'tits and arse' band. I like this one and it is to the point, relevant and subtly punk. Anti-boy band, anti-plastic - the crudity is welcome in small doses here especially when stating that the awful Girls Aloud 'can suck our dicks'. Well they can hardly be accused of making music can they? 'Bummed' is a cover version of 3CR's sewer classic and is played with the same unhinged belief that usually pours from the crippled mind of Anthony Backhouse (aka Boggy). If you like to entertain members of the backdoor club then this may tickle your rectal rhythm stick but if not then it’s a case of clench yer buttocks, grit yer teeth and just get through it!
More drunken filth next has 'All I Want To Know' sinks to new toiletry levels with the manly man cruise that concerns us with nothing less than shagging. Testosterone gone twang with a one track mind and a one trick tune. Perhaps my least favourite and one which many will grin at and many will groan at (the latter in a definite unsexual way). 'Punk Rock Pervert' again adopts the eagle-eyed lustful pose and is along the same lines as the previous track and is an easy going romp that has likeability and is brief enough to save the listeners censorship scale from blowing its gasket.
We enter the cold room next with a Dr Crippens effort entitled 'Freezer'. Again Cosmic Fingers impress more when avoiding the shithouse shine and go for the more regular roughness. The switch between cold vocals and ground up warnings works well and surely the duo's future lies here. Chilling in several ways! 'The Golden Years' has me thinking are we talking 'showers' here but alas it is the hairy canary days of 70's porn that comes under the digits spotlight. Foul comparisons are made in the first verse before a fleeting chorus is given that tells us how to pay for boiler repairs using nothing more than the old back passage bank account. Nasty and easy to drift on into the amusing 'William Fiddler'. A quaint tune, a quaint tale and with an end result that is only soured by the final accusations of 'Fanny Fiddler'. Such a shame don't ya think?
The Morecambe and Wise cover of 'Sunshine' is bizarre and perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this CD. It is well delivered and seems innocent enough but how can one trust these two deviants with all that has gone before. Is 'Sunshine' a sexual position and is Morecambe and Wise rhyming slang for some private body part? I shudder to think! We close with a tongue in cheek 'That's Yer Lot' that somehow shows the band know what they do will create divided opinion whereupon some will swallow and some will spit each and every tune providing on the persons punk rock palate. The choice is yours.
Personally I give credit because the guys get off their backsides, have a go and put their asses on the line. Critically though where is the longevity and will this affect the band if they wish to move away from the postcard fun into more serious territory? I think so but hope they will do just that and keep the odd vulgarity in the mix but concentrate on more punk rock poison. At the end of the day though this is my opinion and that is all - you make up your own minds and check out these dudes. They are playing here, there and everywhere so no excuses not to.
THE HORNY BITCHES - 13 REASONS TO FUCK
A couple of lyrical tricks, many tuneful licks. That is how I see this marvellous CD only hindered somewhat by the over-sexualised verbal content. In argument against my own criticism though the band have their chosen style and thrust and grind with juiced up passion full of engorged rhythm and swollen spirit. These Horny Bitches don't just whimper and squeeze out a sample of sonic semen liable to fall onto barren punk rock ground thus failing to develop further. No, these 3 hectic whores spray the acoustic walls far and wide and really tear up the orthodox panties with savage fingers destined to inflame many a gig. It is a hungry screamfest that retains 'girlishness' albeit of the most sluttish kind. All isn't has it appears down in the crotch of this band so be warned - a shock or two is always in store for those who don't take the right aural protection ha, ha.
Telephone titillations come under the gaslight (Fanny by etc.) as '1-800 Tie Me Up' opens with a vulgar exchange of filth before a submissive maiden groans and moans in sexual satisfaction cum helplessness. This is all well and good but the following explosion hits all the sonic g-spots with gratifying artistry and if at this point you doubt the credibility of this outfit you are more than liable to be blown apart by this gushing punk rock shagfest. The power is admirable, the tightness of the application absorbing and the slick interchange between chords more than a little effective. The gob at the front provides oral duties with tonsil torturing efficiency and the song is, in all truth, a mighty fuckin' opener. Always the pessimist I expect this initial raping to be a one off but these worked up wonders are band at it again with the shit-stained swipe known as 'Scat Lovers'. The subject matter is excrementally appalling but looking over the tasteless lyrical turds the noise is ecstatic. The build up is slight before the cacophonous crapulence is spilled forth via a nutritious noise that stinks of nothing more than spirit and passion. You can't help but take to this and if punk is all about stretching boundaries and keeping ladies at the fore you should have no complaints here. Magnum opus!
I am being blown away at this point and am wondering how best to encapsulate this CD in one final sentence. No time to ponder though as 'Chicks With Dicks' prods its way into the accepting orifice (easy you dirty swines) and really gets one worked up with its spunked zest and fervent pumping drive. In unison these boisterous bitches pull it off with aplomb and another example of such a unified dominant delivery is sampled here. 3 massive songs with a simply sensational epic thrown forth next via the sobering un-sexed statement 'Your Ass Is A Storage Room'. This is an orgasm of pain, passion and no holds barred release with the femme-throats torn out and bared in pure naked aggression. The bottom bank is opened up and from it pour forth triumphant turds of tuneage and stinking coils of cacophonic crap all of which we should sit beneath and get well and truly soiled. A genuinely massive moment that is plastered and stained with a punk rage rarely tasted at this level. From this enthusiastic focus comes the most melodic song from the HB trio entitled 'Choke Me'. The overall mode may be tinkling and light but the lyrics are dark, deviant and deranged as a tale of needful abuse is had with beatings, rape and suffocation the order of the day. The fact that the true meaning of the song is disguised behind a rocking countenance of innocence generates further interest and shows that this group are more than a little adept at the chosen art of playing it cute now and again.
A foul belch from the pit of the gut and 'DP Story' double bangs home with fervent focus. The fast, blast turbo humps away with a grimacing grind and only a brief breather is given before the final spurt builds and explodes with desires drained. An on the level track for these lustful birds but 'Suck And Swallow' flies higher with scragged and shagged wings, pecking away as one falls into submission. It’s another quick shafting with the chorus rammed deeper with hard statemented thrusts. Once again the levels of intensity are impressive and if girls wanna play punk and shine this is the way to do it. Saying this though can be considered as a Fungal faux pas as 'Gag On This Porky Pig' swings in with a truly magnificent rockin' seduction of raping riffs that one can't help but give in to. The pace increases between these sensual moments and the blend is exact and double enhancing. The swine-tasting is over too soon for me and no sooner is the initial sonic sty opened then we are thrown aside to the squeals of a happily abused hog.
Deliberate and girly gritty 'Lick My Big Toe' is brats out of control. A real manic US sounding squirt that remains confused, used and I am sure abused. The HB ménage de trois look to flounder here yet keep their knickers hoisted up with grim determination and screeching sincerity. Perhaps my least favourite so far but still a song with strong spirit and uprising fervour. 'MILF' screws along with aging maturity. These sonic titties certainly don't sag and the band are obviously heated up big time and there seems no let up from the raucous assault. What is carrying this CD is a production that brings out the best of each component and yet still has enough nouse to make sure they remain as one entity. The 'Nympho Can't Say No' and I am sure neither can the listener at this point. A 'live' set must certainly take its toll and I am hoping the bruising noise created here can be replicated in the flesh. From the first harmful blasts to the rush piston-like ramrod incessancy through to the last explosions of grated gullet this is of such magnitude one wonders where the band can go from here. The sexual lyrics have limitations and the incredible outburst upheld here can only be maintained for so long without losing impact. Be careful dudes/dudettes there are many ears to fuck!
The sinister graveyard world of corpse passion is undertaken (literally) next as 'Necromaniac' proves that this crew will leave no deviant stone unturned. The bass crawls in, an owls drone and a scuttling beetle guitar settle in before the earth is removed and the flesh and bones of the song is exposed. Orthodox stuff and consistent with all that has gone before. Of course it is an upheaval of melodica that shakes the skeleton into cock and ball activity and as a stand alone snippet will cremate the aural passages of any one within ejaculating distance. Solid as a rock we close with the orgasmic cries and proud and loud simplicity of 'Lesbians Are Lesbians'. A naughty peephole number that will raise more than just the hairs on yer head. Right up until the last draining shudder that snakes up from the groin into a white heat explosion in the head these 3 rowdy rockers pull it off big time and this is one multiple pleasure the purchaser is surely not going to forget.
Overall this is a crude, lewd offering that bares all and in true punk fashion shakes and shocks. The album is a classical cut and taken on its own merits showcases what a great band can do given the right time and the right place when like all good bedroom incidents, everything comes together. I'd like to see The Horny Bitches progress from this though and throw away the pony and get a few more animals to perform tricks (if necessary with dicks) upon. The verdict is of success and if your rocks need getting off this is a bloody good place to start. One of the finest albums of the year it is destined to be and hopefully more of the same will seep our way from these randy upstarts!