Its a relentless 10 tracks spread over a meagre 25 minutes, so its over pretty quick. Some of the songs are pretty similar to each other too, but this really is a decent little album. Theres no pausing for breath as each song seems to pick up where the previous left off, and thats approximately at 187mph, and with the brakes not working. It starts as it means to go on - no sooner have you pressed the play button, and "Bad Trip" is already pounding like its been going for a minute. Its in songs like this that Auntie are at their best - Engaging lyrics on whats messed up America, such as gangs, gun problems and the NRA, and Ronald Reagan. "I Don't" is a very troubled song, check out lyrics such as "We created God, he did not create us". It seems to be saying that its up to us to sort out the problems of today, and that they won't go away on their own. "Not You" is a bit more poppy with a catchy little chorus. Its an anti-drugs song, telling urging whoever to do something more worthwhile with their life ('Wreck some wicked thing, not you!'). Even a bit of conspiracy-ism features - suggesting that their government would rather have its citizens stoned out of their minds than trying to make themselves noticed. And how about "Virus"? With its haunting chorus adapted from the 'ring a ring of roses, pocket full of posies' nursery rhyme, it tells of dubious scienctific practice by corporations. But perhaps the master stroke comes with "The Nothing Generation", which complains of the sheeplike nature of the American MTV generation. Its slower than most of the songs here, but still noisy, and the lyrics are again good. There is no chorus as such, apart from what sounds like 5 or 6 Exene's almost tauntingly singing stuff like "Stupid fucking kids wake up! Stupid fucking sheep, you're asleep!". "Why can't you all be punk?", nah, that'd spoil it all.
Not all of it is anti-establishment mind, songs such as "Rat in the Tunnel of Love" and "Tell Me" step away from the 'us against the world' mentality. But its with the really angry stuff that Auntie Christ excel. Also interesting is that you get the album twice. As soon as it finishes, it goes into the bonus "track" #11, which is in fact all the songs all over again. Neat idea, and something I've not seen before, but pretty pointless when you think about it!
Well, a band who give a shit - and after all this is what punk is supposed to be about. They play ear-achingly good music too. Thats a pretty cool combination.
The 'drill are pulling no punches, and get into it from the off - no messing around with these guys. Damo Fowkes driving bass pounds into your brain as Spiby's humourously manic vocals smack you in the face like a big musical brick. And its all building up in readiness for the assault of a chorus. Regular Dogdrill stuff - the simple shouted chant of "Just like Jackie O!". Not the most lyrically astute of bands are the Drill, but you don't care when they are dishing you out stuff like this. Downright loud, grimy and sleazy yet fiendishly masterful, its stripped to the waist rock 'n' roll for idiots - a song to indulge in foolish air (bass) guitar playing too, or perhaps some silly dancing. Theres even a gig-friendly section, where it all goes slow so you can stand still, drenched in sweat, but not for long. Back comes Spiby, and you're off again, hurtling round the room like a twat. Restrain yourself? Not possible, unless you are clinically dead. Or really old.
Play it 100 times in a row! Cos the b-sides are a mixed bag.
"Sport Of Kings" is messy, with weird vocals. Very odd. As you might expect, its bass heavy with a cool shouty chorus, but it pales beside Jackie O. Its also too long. Get back to making fun songs Dogdrill! "New York Sushi" has featured in the live set. A neat stomping intro, drummer Hug Kelly bludgeons your ears into submission, ah, and here's the bass. Kind of bluesy, heavy. Its also rather cool and catchy - sounds good enough for album material, which is hopefully a good sign. Final track is "Speedball" - again a bit messy. Once again the band try to do something a bit different from their usual stuff, and it doesn't really pay off. You can't make out much of the lyrics either. Disappointing, but not too bad. Go back and play the title track again.
Wow, the Drill have probably just earned themselves a second consecutive single of the month. So watch out for their (probably) perfectly named debut album, "Half Nelson". Its gonna rock the world! (Silver boots) Coming soon!
Don't buy this, its boring.
Any one who has heard Mark Sheldon on Xfm will have glimmers of recognition for both the b-sides, as he's adapted 'jingles' from the choruses of each. The rather elongatedly titled, "Now The Working Man Has Found Us Out" is more of the same indie-metal as the first track. Lots of rumbling backing bass, with a more tuneful chorus. Perhaps again long the lines of early Feeder mixed with a tiny bit of a less bass addicted Groop Dogdrill. "Let You Down" rounds out this 3 track single, and is also rather decent. More "pop" than the other two tracks, but still with an edge to it.
Hmmm, Gorilla are perhaps the most difficult band to classify that I've yet reviewed - they certainly aren't aping (ha!) other bands to any great extent. So, its probably best that you find out how good they are yourself. But my opinion? Gorilliant (apologies).
"My Idea of Fun" is about 90 seconds long, and is OK. "Asmuchas" is much cooler - faster and punkier, but with that same repetetive drum beat you hear on all this type of bands records. This particular track featured on Snakebite City 7. Still, its not a patch on the likes of Goldfinger.
I read somewhere that Speedurchin don't want to be called pop punk. And they aren't, so I don't know why they got so bothered about it in the first place. "EGWA" borrows from early Wildhearts and mixes that in with punk. But again its nothing new. Thats not a problem if you can make something thats been done before sound fresh, but the Urchin don't quite manage that. Its good and stuff, but not inspiring. Breakdown is more of the same. Noisy old-style punk that is no doubt brilliant live. But, on CD, its merely solid.
Rating: Travis Cut 6.5/10, Speedurchin: 7/10
Oh, and if you like this - be sure to check out their 7 inch vinyl - 'Dynamo', which mixes a Foo-Fightersy title track ('Dynamo') with an absolutely storming b-side in 'Flags of Discontent' - a severely Wildhearts influenced song if ever I heard one. And its even produced by Midget man, Andy Hawkins.
Janus Stark. Like 3 Colours Red. But with good songs.
So which is Sona Fariq?
Um, somewhere in between. This is a weird kind of indie music from a London band. They are apparently Asian (from their picture) and this is evident in the vocals of the two songs. 'So Perfect' is quite a laid-back poppy indie song that never really springs into life beyond a short period where it gets a bit funky. The guitars never really get going, but there is some nice messing about with trumpets that adds a bit to the song. Certainly not bad, but its far from brilliant.
B-side, 'Dr. John', is rather weird to say the least. Starts off very quiet and slow, then becomes a kind of rap-rock track. Fairly heavy guitars lie underneath the rappy vocals, quite energetic and atmospheric but it never really grabs you.
Well, not bad for a first release, but hopefully there'll be better to come from this Blue Dog venture.
For more details on how to join the Blue Dog singles club write: Blue Dog Records, The Falcon, 234 Royal College St, Camden Town, London, NW1 9LT
Swedish hardcore punk-pop, now there is something you don't hear every day. Which is probably a good thing actually, or you'd swiftly get bored of it. By its very nature, this is one of the hardest genres of music to get to sound varied. You have to play your guitars very fast, and hit the drums hard, which seems to limit things. But if you haven't really come across this brand of music too much before, then this is well worth checking out. I don't have that much knowledge of other similar bands, so can't compare, but No Fun At All sound pretty good to my untrained ear.
13 tracks, none of which are longer than about 3 minutes are present. And all of them are loud, punky metal stuff with melodic vocals. If the lyrics were just shouted then you would tire of this very quickly, but as NFAA's Ingemar Jansson sings properly, they are very listenable.
Opening up with the assault of "Catch Me Running Round", NFAA start as they mean to go on. 100 seconds of jump around punk with simple lyrics. Its the blueprint for the album as a whole. Blasting drumming, gritty bass and just the sheer energy and enthusiasm of it combine together to make a decent song. And you could say that for pretty much any other track on the album. "Should Have Known" exhibits the bands penchance for melodic vocals. Its China Drum cranked up a notch or 6. "Away From The Circle" is about the most shouty song present, a bit like some of the harder songs on Shelters "Beyond Planet Earth". And If you're familiar with Whatever, then you'll appreciate the way NFAA use their guitars - often heavy and always loud. "When The Time Comes" starts off in this vein, and motors on through.
Lyrics are hardly NFAA's strong point, e.g. in "Sorry Lad" - 'My demands are simple, a kind and happy universe where everyone is good", yeah nice thought, but it does makes them sound a bit silly. Still, they are Swedish so we'll let them off.
Many of the songs don't even seem to have a beginning, its like you join it in the middle. Non-stop is an understatement. They don't even let you pause for breathe between songs. As soon as one finishes, the next one is pumping its way on in. Slow down! Even for a minute? No chance. There is not one slow song on here. You'll be knackered once its over, and you weren't even doing anything.
Best track is "My Feeble Mind", where it combines the Whatever and speeded up China Drum sound-a-like bits to the best effect. Rocking! And then its all rounded off with "Break My Back" which seems to be the most relaxed song present. Less frenetic in the context of the rest of the album, but its all building up for one last 30 second blitz before the guitars come back and fade away into the distance.
Its not wildly original, its certainly not clever, but it is definitely fun. If you're put off by the shouty image of the hardcore punk scene then this might change your mind.
B-sides? So so. "Something I Am Not" starts off with some sort of xylophone-ey thing and a bit of distortion. And it carries on in this vein - a slow and steady pop song. S'OK I guess. But ugh, who's idea was it to put that 'noise' in at the end? It wrecks your ears. And "Out of Habit" is the same thing again. Solid pop-rock. No more, no less. It sounds a little bit like Carrie, but without the cleverness. And lastly, "Coasting" is a pretty uninspiring instrumental.
Well, this is a decent band, but they ain't doing anything to grab your attention. Nice to listen to mind.
This is the Backyard Babies.
So this album won't change the world, its not the height of innovation, but four crazy bastards from Sweden are here to put a smile on your face, whilst at the same time rendering your ears useless. Trashy, sleazy rock, fuelled on high octane guitars, ripping drums, junk lyrics and growling vocals. Turn on, choose a high volume, and join in, for the Backyard Babies are going to dispell the myth that playing loud is some kind of cover up to excuse lack of talent.
If you like your Rock 'n' Roll like "Earth vs" era Wildhearts, then you have to buy this record. Its the same sort of thing. Transplant those guitars, and swap Ginger for a more metal-oriented vocalist, and you'll get the picture. So BB are kind of a throw-back band, yet this is not a problem for once, as they make something thats been done a thousand times before sound vibrant and exciting. They do come perilously close to crossing the line between great rock and dubious metal, but there are many tracks here that save them from that fate.
"Mad Me Madman" starts the album off in fine style, but be warned, there is louder and better to come! Don't be put off by Nicke Borg's vocals - second time round, and you'll see that if he was a note perfect choirboy, then the gloss would be taken off this album as quickly as if you had thrown a jug of acid over it.
Then there is "Look at You", which is just too good. So it has that Wildhearts style tatooed all over it - but are you complaining? Are you kidding me! From the searing guitars to the chanty backing vocals and the rock 'n' roll music, you ought to be familiar with this sort of thing already. Songs like this have been missing in action for a few years, but now they're back. "Look at You" also 'show-cases' the sleaze factor of the Babies. I mean: "Don't care if you don't like how I act when I'm on top of your wife". Good clean fun for all the family, eh?!
"Let's Go To Hell" is a riot. Crashing drumming combines with unbelievably ace guitar work to make the kind of song that gives you fits, its so cool. Theres even a sample of someone breaking some glass. Rock! Groovy trashy title too.
More Wildheart-sy stuff courtesy of "Subculture Hero". Nuclear powered guitars dish out the kind of rock music you can dance too, rather than just jump around. You can understand why Ginger loves this band. And "Bombed (Out Of My Mind)" is rip-roaring stuff. Takes a moment to get going, as Nicke growls out the words over a dischordant backing, but then its all a-go-go, let the assault begin! 666 miles per hour. And how about this for a lyric: "I was desperate for a place to put out my cigarette, I found love in the nick of time". Hmmm.
"Highlights" is probably the weakest track, Nicke's vocals and the whole sound of the thing stray too far towards whats bad about heavy music. Its difficult to put a finger on the exact reasons, but its disappointing.
But apart from that, its rockin' all the way, baby! There is no token slow song, no farting about with acoustics, no trying to be something they ain't. Total 13 is straight up, what you hear is what you get. This is how heavy music should sound, forget modern day exponents such as the Deafmoans and company, this is where its at! Even the packaging is the greatest, with some fake adverts in the case, one of which says: "FROM CANNONS TO CAMOUFLAGE at super discount prices!!!". How ace!
I doubt there will be another album quite like this in 1998. Almost certainly there will be an album I like more, but for sheer fun, this one will be tough to match.
Be thankful you like stuff that rocks. Be thankful for the Backyard Babies.
Its why you love music.
Im not going to get away with that am I? :o) Gah. OK. Looking at the tracklisting first up is Larger Than a Mountain to the Ant' A slow, melodic track that opens Subtitles then. Compare this with the mini-album, bombar diddlah, which opened with the marvellous Dream Awake, a louder more metal sounding track. Ooops, sorry, did I say metal? Thats not allowed now. "We're so far from a metal band it's untrue" claims lead singer Ste. Fair enough! But right from the start, the more mellow side of CECiL dominates. So why the change of direction then? Simply because Ste williams has probably the finest voice in indie/rock music right now. Switching from the punked up screaming on No Excuses (Bombar Diddlah) to the delicate, almost fragile vocals on most of the tracks on the Subtitles promo. What have they DONE? Im sure a lot of fans might proclaim, but they needn't worry, CECiL can still rock as well as ever. The new single, 'The Most Tiring Day' is no ballad, and is probably the most radio-unfriendly track on here. As always, it takes a couple of listens to enjoy this album to its fullest. But it's well worth the effort. The second to last track, 'acres' seems to be familiar even on first play its that catchy, and the whole thing is fused and steadied by the inclusion of 'Red Wine at Dead Time' the second-last single release. In short, this album will see CECiL try to finally gain a larger fan base by the mellow nature of their new direction, while still appeasing the existing followers by maintaining the shear quality of ALL the tracks. No mid-album fillers here! Of course, the second half of the album might rock like a mad thing on drugs, we'll have to wait and see. It can't surely get better can it?
Rating: 10/10 (half a mark more than earlier - it gets better with EVERY play!)
The first track is 'Church of Noise' which has already been released as a single. This is an excellent rock 'n' roll tune with a catchy riff, complex drums and a rock 'n' roll section in the middle. There's even a hammond organ for that extra rock 'n' roll feel. This is a classic, best played at very high volume, a bit like the rest of the album really. After you've caught your breat with the cheesy hammond organ section at the end of 'Church of Noise', you're straight into the second track, 'Black Eye Purple Sky'. More pounding drum beats, but this time the song is darker in attitude, regularly using minor keys but still with that essential rock 'n' roll feel to it, especially in the chorus.
Track three is 'Lonely Cryin Only'. A simple three-chord intro leads into one of the most emotional songs I've ever heared. It's got tearjerking lyrics ("Heaven help me/cos your heart's as dead as mine"), distorted backing vocals and retains some of that rock 'n' roll feel which dominates the whole of this album. The next track is 'Stay Happy', which is a return to the darker subject matter of 'Black Eye...' but this time in a more ironic way. The words 'Stay Happy' are repeated over and over in a squeaky high-pitched voice for the chorus.
The fifth track, 'Straight Life', is one of my favourites. It's got the backing singers going 'ah-ah' throughout the whole song, the guitars are heavy and often in a minor key, the drumming is imaginative and really adds to the texture, but essentially this is another rocking track.
The last track is 'Don't Expect Roses' and this one is oozing with rock 'n' roll attitude. Two bloody catchy riffs which are layed over one another beautifully to create a masterpiece. For me this is the highlight of the sampler, it's all I've been listening to for the past two weeks.
This has to be one of the albums of the year. If all the tracks are as good as this one it will be a strong contender for *the* album of the year. I can't really do it justice in this review, it's just hit me as a fantastic musical feat. And I'm not a long-term fan of the band, this is the first I've heared of them in fact. Just make sure you buy it.
Opening up with the fake vinyl scratchy noises that are all over the place right now, is the rather, um, different "One Of These Days", with its slightly trip-hoppy backing, and repetetive beats. Its very un-Spacehog like and worked fine as a b-side, but here in the context of the album, which is mostly rockin' and retro, it sits rather uncomfortably alongside the rest of the material. Quite odd. Especially when you get to the next track, "Goodbye Violet Race" which is much more what you would expect. A big sounding song, fit for a stadium. This is where Spacehog excell, in the glammy, stomping rock song stakes. Great vocals, driving drumming, and an extended guitar solo, this would make a great single. Apparently though, the next single is set to be "Mungo City", and that is a long similar lines to this song. More glammed up rockin' guitars, and powerful vocals. To say its reminiscent of the 70's is an understatement. And it briefly features some very stupid slowed down "robotic" vocals. Bizzaro.
"Captain Freeman" reminds me a little bit of Supergrass - particularly the guitar, which is way cool, lots of toe-tapping to be had. So its more of the same retro stuff, but if its this good, you don't complain. Groovy feel good pop-rock, the way it oughta be.
There are a couple of slower efforts, such as the wierdy "Lucy's Shoe" which is soooooo middle of the road. With its plinky-plonky piano, strings, overly silly guitar solo, and frankly lovely chorus it actually comes full circle and becomes not that bad. Nice is the operative word. And "Almond Kisses" features some bloke called Michael Stipe on vocals for another slower song.
Spacehog are complete freaks, witness the stupid and completely un-necessary female operatic vocals at the start of the, at times, irritatingly slow 2nd Avenue. Luckily it has a really bouncy chorus. Or perhaps the rather booming 'Ommmmm' backing vocals in "Sand In Your Eyes". The lyrics are generally insane too "I wanna spew on 2nd Avenue" or "He's got a one-inch cock but nobody knows / Have you seen him?". What the?
Error of the album is "Skylark". It sounds like a bonus track that ended up in the middle of the track listing. Abysmal, and the Hog should be severly embarrassed by it.
There is nothing wrong with this album (except, *spit*, "Skylark"), its a great listen and is quite diverse, but its not likely to keep you running back for more. Rather nice though, and a big big improvement on "Resident Alien".
B-Sides are passable, but not great. Certainly no where near as quality as 'Genius'. The re-mix is dire while 'Floppy Disk' is bizarre to say the least. Erm...Ninja vocals anyone? Yet after a few listens the song becomes strangely infectious and gains a "I'm sure it's pants really, but why do I keep listening to it?..." quality. 'You Are Free [To Do As We Tell You]' is pretty neat, though, and the best reason not to put track one on repeat.
Rating : 8.5 / 10
Rating : 7 / 10