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Top Sounds - C

CAMPAIGN - Enemies {Muckman} Debut album from this five piece outta Atlanta, GA and it’s a fine slab of melodic and anthemic Hardcore, fusing a mix of SNAPCASE/ AVAIL style ‘core with the melodic prowess of BOUNCING SOULS and GAMEFACE. Highlights would be ‘Chorus Of Defeat’ that’s as catchy and instantaneous as anything GAMEFACE has recorded while ‘No Place Lower’ has a neat swagger coupled with a brutal M8 breakdown. There’s plenty of "woah-woah" 7 SECONDS stylee backing vocals too; check out ‘Clear A Path’. Considering this lot have done a number of EPs in the past, this is a cohesive and structured album that’s got lots of bluster for the more HC minded but enough melodic accessibility to appeal beyond that - especially in light of the closing title track that broils on a stellar TRAGEDY-esque riff but swaggers with confidence. (17.10.15)

CAREER SUICIDE - Machine Response {Deranged} This has been a highly anticipated album here at the House Of Scanner. Toronto’s CAREER SUICIDE’s first album in a decade and needless to say, it’s another benchmark in jaw-droppingly efficient Hardcore Punk as it should be - short, snappy, Metal free, pointed, catchy and on-fucking-fire! Rather than just rehash their classic sound of previous records however, this does see some progression, be it a dabbling with feedback-drenched guitar work a’la SICKOIDS while ‘Total Neglect’ features spacious guitars that brought to mind ‘Metal Circus’ era HUSKER DU. Elsewhere ‘Blank Expression’ has a real ‘77 feel while both ‘No Walls No Curtains’ and ‘Taking You With Me’ both feature quirky, spiky riffs and duke it out for album highlight. That classic CS sound is evident throughout though, be it opener ‘Cut And Run’ or the taut rage of ‘Borrowed Time’. That supremely snotty vocal of Martin Farkas is still evident I’m pleased to say. This is a band that has always delivered and this is no different. It shows progression but retains all the sneering, rampant, untouchable Hardcore of old. Album of the year? A real contender!! (09.11.17)

CASTRO - The River Need {Boss Tuneage} Debut album from this band made up of some notable names from the Norwegian Punk scene. Have to say, the sound appears to have changed between the release of the debut 7" below and this. Where that evoked the likes of IGNITION, this album only matches that sound on the surging opening track, ‘Our Loss’ and on the title track. Elsewhere, it’s a fusion of riff-heavy rockers like ‘Starling’ and ‘Back To Basic’ and subtle, almost frail songs that develop musically into muscular and impressive soundscapes. Highlight has to be ‘Indigo’ that pivots around a massive riff but has verses frail and delicate. ‘Detective’ follows a similar line and brought to mind TEXAS IS THE REASON in terms of structure. Vocalist Katja frequently reminded me, particularly on the more subtle parts, of PATTI SMITH, something I certainly didn’t hear on the single, or in her previous band, LIFE BUT HOW TO LIVE IT. The CD includes the tracks from that debut single. An impressive slice of muscular, post-Hardcore that’s epic in its breadth and destructive in its delivery. (08.05.15)

CASTRO - s/t {Kong Tiki/ Boss Tuneage} Debut release from this new band outta Norway that’s notable as it features ex-members of ANGOR WAT, ISRAELVIS and Katja, the vocalist from LIFE BUT HOW TO LIVE IT. We get three tracks, pressed on an orange 7" with the lead track, ‘Nocturnally Yours’, certainly being the highlight with some wonderful guitar and strident vocals. The next track, ‘(Your) Hidden Agenda (Is So Obvious)’ is faster and more insistent but lacks the musical dynamic of the first track. The flip, ‘Glass House’ is a longer song with a breakdown that’s more suited to something like TRAGEDY than the IGNITION/ HDQ feel of the other side. For a debut release however, this is a convincing and satisfying listen from some well known names. An album is imminent and, if this is any guide to go by, it could be well worth looking out for and will no doubt be another chapter in Norway’s impressive Punk annals. (14.02.15)

CENTURY PALM - Valley Cyan {Deranged} Beguiling 7" from this band outta Toronto, Canada. The band features synths, a sax and a violin amongst the usual instruments and the lead track comes on like THE CURE mixed with RED DONS and a hint of JOY DIVISION. It’s a jaunty, impressive pop song with dark Punk undertones that I played three times in a row on first listen. Flip the disc and you get some discordant sax-infused noise a’la STOOGES ‘Fun House’ era before the JOY DIVISION influence becomes even more apparent. Then there’s a burst of wailing noise and back to JOY DIVISION vibes and... it’s over. Interesting stuff, the lead track especially impressed and if an album full of those kinda tunes, with the odd diversion into the b-side territory here was released, we could be looking at a gripping, cathartic release laden with tension and drama. As it is - one to watch. (09.12.16)

CHELSEA - Anthology Vol.3 {Westworld} And so, rather thankfully, the trio of triple-disc sets comes to a close with this capturing ‘The Alternative’ from ‘93, ‘Traitors Gate’ from ‘94 and the reformation album ‘Faster, Cheaper And Better Looking’ from 2005. After the blasé bollocks of the set below, ‘The Alternative’ actually manages to rekindle a bit of spirit - possibly due to the return of guitarist Nic Austin. It’s a shame ‘Traitors Gate’ returned to the (lack of) quality standard of Vol.2 as the comeback album, ‘Faster, Cheaper And Better Looking’ is the band’s best since ‘Evacuate’. It includes Tony Barber of BUZZCOCKS fame on bass and a return on guitar of James Stevenson who not only played on the band’s early classics but totally steals this album with some impressive guitar work. It includes a couple of totally fantastic nostalgic gems in ‘45 rpm’ and ‘If We Knew Then’. Also unlike Vol. 2’s lack of bonus tracks, this set features a whopping 19 bonus tracks. There’s a cover of THE CLASH’s ‘White Riot’ among them too. If you got Vol.1 and want more, head here and leave the rather cumbersome Vol. 2 to last. (06.11.16)

CHELSEA - Anthology Vol. 2 {Westworld} Spanning the albums ‘Original Sinners’ (‘85), ‘Rocks Off’ (‘86) and ‘Underwraps’ (‘89), this is pretty much the pits of CHELSEA’s recorded output. ‘Original Sinners’ is a rather ploddy effort, picking up some soft-metal chugging riffs and AOR blandness on the single ‘Valium Mother’. ‘Rocks Off’ fairs no better - possibly even worse with the ambitious but ponderous ‘Fools Paradise’ that could be a Meatloaf ballad. It’s saved by a couple of ROLLING STONES covers - not that they are particularly well done, but they’re just ten times the quality of the CHELSEA songs. Thankfully, ‘Underwraps’ is an improvement, opening with a passable take on THE CLASH’s ‘Somebody Got Murdered’ and ‘Come Let The Good Times Roll’ that features Topper Headon. Even though it’s the best album here, it would be by far the worst on the collection below. No bonus tracks (bar a STONES cover)... You’d have to be a total CHELSEA obsessive to want to buy this, or have so much surplus cash it’s not true. Good on ya if you are the former, if you are the latter.... I hear the Bahamas is nice - and you clearly have the cash to visit. (26.07.16)

CHELSEA - Anthology Vol 1 {Westworld} Fucking hell - what’s this? Some kinda CHELSEA renaissance going on here? Apparently Westworld are re-releasing all of CHELSEA’s nine albums, plus bonus tracks on three, three-CD box sets. If ya didn’t know, CHELSEA was a late-70s UK Punk band and, as you can guess having recorded nine albums, have been going on-and-off ever since. This set is probably the ‘essential’ one as it collects the 1979 debut, ‘Chelsea’, 1980’s ‘Alternative Hits’ and ‘Evacuate’ from 1982. All of the band’s popular ditties are here: ‘Right To Work’, ‘I’m On Fire’, ‘Urban Kids’, ‘No Escape’ and plenty more. There’s a selection of bonus tracks, be they demos or alternative, single versions. These are pretty much the same versions of the original CD re-issues that Captain Oi! put out about 15 years ago, although ‘Alternative Hits’ does score a few additional tracks the Capt Oi version didn’t. Soundwise? Somewhere between the UK SUBS, THE BOYS and THE LURKERS. Get the picture? Solid, melodic UK Punk that didn’t quite have the fuse of some of their contemporaries. If ya curious, this is definitely the place to start with ‘Aternative Hits’ in particular probably being the definitive CHELSEA release. (05.02.16) 

CHELSEA - Saturday Night Sunday Morning {Four Worlds Media} Who would’ve thought that a decade on since ‘Faster, Cheaper And Better Looking’, CHELSEA would return - and return with a pretty damn respectable album at that. I’ve never been the band’s biggest fan, but this sees vocalist Gene October and original guitarist James Stevenson cranking out 13 tunes that are not hackneyed attempts to revive ‘77 glory daze, nor the sound of tired old men. Opener ‘About Time’ sets the tone well with a swaggering, big chorus and October sounding in fine form (which is not always the case!). From there ‘Johnny Has No Respect’ is a more vintage sounding track echoing ‘Urban Kids’ while ‘You Never Listen’ could’ve easily fitted onto the ‘High Rise Living’ EP. The title track has a ‘Ring Of Fire’ vibe but disc highlight has to be ‘We Don’t Believe You’ that’s got great vocals, a bit of a sneer and a decent arrangement. I kept hearing a fusion between early SENSELESS THINGS and ‘Silly Thing’-era PISTOLS throughout the album. A decent return - are few less guitar solos could’ve made all the difference. (16.11.15)

CHEWED UP /CASUAL NAUSEA - split {Uncomfortable Beach Party} With those band names and the graphics of this split album, it’s a safe bet to say this ain’t gonna be in the Gaslight Anthem mode! These are two newish British bands that fall distinctly into the more Crusty/ D-Beat side of Punk. CHEWED UP is first with six songs that fuse a barked, LEFTOVER CRACK vibe with the distorto-rage of DISORDER and the intensity of STAMPIN’ GROUND. CASUAL NAUSEA is the new band put together by Ed Ache (ex I.C.H and currently in THE DOMESTICS) and delivers dual-vocalled, sharp, bitter Punk... A bit like CHAOS UK fused with I.C.H while playing the first PARTISANS album. Each band has a few highlights; CU scores with opener ‘Advice’ and ‘Cyclepath Pt.2’ while CN get kudos for ‘Bored To The Bone’ and the closing ‘The Milk Is A Metaphor’ (with it’s sampled Malcolm McLaren intro!) that probably steals the album and could easily have been on the I.C.H album. Good stuff that’s resolutely Punk without resorting to any shite Metal breakdowns or being revisionist. CN is the better band for me, but the two bands make a good pairing. (16.10.15)

CHIXDIGGIT - 2012 {Fat Wreck} Haha - this is fucking brilliant! Visually taking a lotta piss outta Rush’s pompous ‘2112’, this is a single 24-minute epic song detailing every stop Canada’s CHIXDIGGIT played on their 2012 tour, including a day off! It flows incredibly well too with ‘Piacenza’ and ‘Groezrock’ being joyous while ‘Day Off’ really does evoke the pleasure of having a day off!! The songs from Germany seem a little more sedate before climaxing in ‘Berlin’, then the band is ‘Going Home’ to a veritable Metal rock out!! ‘Calgary’ has a vague Country vibe and then they get on the home straight through ‘San Francisco’ onto ‘Vancouver’ (which is probably my favourite here - it’s that classic RAMONES meets CHEAP TRICK sound that they do so well). ‘Seattle’ brings things back down before the tour ends at ‘Victoria’ which is, fittingly, one of my favourite places I have visited in Canada. A very clever and very witty EP that comes in single-sided etched vinyl. Fans of the band will love this - I did!! (12.08.17)

CHRON GEN - This Is The Age {Westworld} Um... This is really fucking weird!! 34 years on from the release of ‘Chronic Generation’ comes the full-album follow-up and from the opening low baritone vocal of ‘Jump’, it’s clear this is a very different band. Those hoping to hear something akin to the ‘Outlaw’ or ‘Puppets Of War’ EPs are in for a shock as this is a much more varied and subdued album. Think TV SMITH’S EXPLORERS mixed with MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG and a bit of a Hard Rockin’ Dire Straits!! Somehow though, Glynn Barber has managed to make a convincing album laden with well-crafted songs, if one quite unlike any other CHRON GEN release. Highlights include ‘Love This City’ that comes on with the swagger of LORD OF THE NEW CHURCH, the acoustic double hit of ‘You Took Your Time’ and ‘Kiss The Girls’ the latter of which emphasizes the MTCH vibe, closer ‘I Don’t Care’ which I am sure TV SMITH would’ve been happy with and ‘Ready To Overreact’. While on first play this sounded rather lacklustre and bland, successive plays do bring out some initially hidden depths. (06.11.16)

CITIZEN FISH - Manmade {Bluurg} After a bit of a hiatus from the recording front, Dick Lucas is back with a new CITIZEN FISH record - and a lovely one it is too. A dark grey marble vinyl 10" that features five tracks which, more than than any other CF release, reminds me of the grooves of CULTURE SHOCK. The lead track is a catchy, up-tempo but not fast tune and is repeated with a dub mix at the end of the record (again, echoing that CULTURE SHOCK comparison). Elsewhere we get the excellent ‘World Gone Mad’ with an insistent brass lead melody and something that could lay claim to being the band’s best track. The band sounds relaxed but confident, virtually rolling on a groove instead of skanking to a Ska-Punk prerequisite. Dick’s lyrics are, as always, great reading - witty and sarcastic yet with genuine issues behind the wordsmithery; there seems a big emphasis on green/ environmental issues here too. This is a limited edition release too, so get in quick if you want one (and you should). It comes with a free download code. The only negative is it could’ve done with one more song - otherwise, pretty faultless stuff again. (28.09.15)

CLOSET FIENDS - s/t {Fat Wreck} Regular readers will know I’m a bit of a sucker for acoustic stuff, be it BOB DYLAN and NEIL YOUNG through to those unplugged Punks like TIM BARRY, CHRIS WOOLLARD and MIKE NESS. So, I had high hopes for this acoustic EP from Sam Sadowski but, it has to be said, this is pretty piss poor. You get five songs that span a total of 15 minutes played on what sounds like an out of tune guitar with a string missing and sung by Marge Simpson with occasional bursts of harmonica and banjo. There’s not a single song I could listen to without cringing but the ‘vocal’ performance on ‘Poppy Flu’ was particularly unbearable. ‘Bridge Kindling’ is probably the best song here that motors along on some decent guitar swing and it also probably has the best vocal performance - but that’s not a mark that would be hard to hit given the other four songs. (24.07.16)

COLOR TV - Meat Wagon {Deranged} Four-track 7" from a totally new four-piece to me outta Minneapolis, MN and it’s one of those EPs that starts fantastically and then each successive track makes you think it’s better than all has gone before! ‘No Reason’ is the speediest track here, coming on like early STEVE ADAMYK BAND while ‘Total Strangers’ pivots around a bangin’ chorus. The title track does deserve its place as EP opener being a bright, up-tempo slice of RED DONS-esque New Wave-ish Punk. Disc highlight for me though is ‘To Death’ that’s a bit slower than the other tracks but really shows depth to the song writing and an urgency that only OBSERVERS/ RED DONS have managed to do so easily. While the band already has a distinct sound, there is enough variation and individuality about each of the four songs here to suggest a long player from the band could be an absolute stunner. Yeah, you got it right fucko- I like this a lot!! Includes a lyrics sheet and download code. (23.09.17)

CONGELLIERE, TODD - Wrong Side {Recess/ Lauren} Ltest release from the maverick talent that is TODD CONGELLIERE (you know - FYP, TOYS THAT KILL, UNDERGROUND RAILROAD TO CANDYLAND). These ten new tracks (played at 45rpm on 12"s of deep red vinyl) are an eclectic but fascinating fusion of GRANT HART and NEIL YOUNG, but injected with the spirit of JAY RAETARD while trying to harness the sound of BIG STAR (circa ‘Third’) and BEACH BOYS (circa ‘Pet Sounds’). From the one-note droning riff of the opening title track leave any and all expectations at the door - just sit back and let Todd entertain you. Highlight is ‘I Like The Lights Off’ that emphasises the Neil Young vibe, while ‘Doodle Trash’ is laden with discordant grunge and production tricks. Other highlights include ‘Some Are Fake’ that’s driven by some honky-tonk piano, ‘He Ain’t Right’ that could be a TTK track and ‘Turn A Cheek’ that’s another piano-laced barn-dance hootenanny. If you’re new to the world of Mr Congelliere, this is not the place to start. But, if you already revel in the surreal soundscape he creates so easily, then this is another record to transport you to that joyous parallel reality. (24.03.16)

COPYRIGHTS, THE - No Knocks {Fat Wreck} Don’t really know much about this lot outta Carbondale, Illinois bar the fact that they contributed to a 4-way split that also included GREY AREA. This is a three-track 7" of spritely, up-tempo Punk Rock that certainly draws some parallels with TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET but with a hint of DILLINGER FOUR in there as well. The lead track is certainly the standout kicking in with an irresistible chorus and punchy guitars. Of the tracks on the flip, ‘Don’t Want In’ is a little more sedate, a touch more structured and brings to mind label-mates BANNER PILOT. This should act as a nifty introduction to the band and, hopefully, one that will see them garner a few new admirers. Personally, I’d like to hear a full album as, like TABR, I’m not sure if these fellas could hold my attention beyond an EP - even if the LP was as good as this. (13.04.15) 

COUCH POTATOES - Excess All Areas {Boss Tuneage} Well, this is an odd one!! This band existed in the early 90s and I distinctly recall the logo and kinda think I actually saw them too - but that’s all I remember about the band. This 14 track album was recorded back in 1992 and was slated to be the band’s debut. In the end, a few of the tracks only ever appeared on a couple of 7"s. And that’s another oddity - because I knew ‘Three’ almost word-for-word. Anyway - think of ‘Sorry Ma..’ era REPLACEMENTS trying to play ALL via the DOUGHBOYS and you’ll have an idea of the melodic Punk goop here. It does sound a bit dated now, a little lacking in the intensity levels but there are a number of tunes that perked up the Scanner ears - mainly ‘Bob’, the spritely ‘Hooked’, ‘This Morning’ that’s a bit sludgier and album highlight ‘Weak’. The vocals, which are done here by the band’s original singer, Yan, are a little buried in the mix, with the guitars having the occasional experimental feel to them. Another history lesson from Boss Tuneage, but not one of the label’s most essential. (15.02.16)

COWS - Cunning Stunts {Amphetamine Reptile/ MVD} Reissue of COWS fourth album, originally released in 1992, and it’s the one where the band found what can only be considered as something approaching an ‘acceptable’ sound - at least to the ears of Joe Public. That’s probably in no small part due to the expert production technique of Iain Burgess but also the fact that songs like ‘Mr. Cancelled’ lurk along on recognised guitar lines and the vocals don’t come over as a depraved outpatient, ‘Mine’ could be IGGY POP if in a blender with BUTTHOLE SURFERS while highlight is ‘Two Little Pigs’ that could’ve been the best track NIRVANA never recorded. That said, uncompromising noise is still abundant. Opener ‘Heave Ho’ features a crazed trumpet refrain, ‘Everybody’ repeats to hypnotic levels and includes some bile-inducing vocal growling while ‘The Woman Inside’ includes discordant noise guitar and tortured screaming. Then there’s ‘Down Below’ that straddles both worlds! An always interesting and challenging band. This is where they found ‘their’ sound, lost the obvious influences stated on the album below without losing the attitude and recorded what could well be the band’s pinnacle. (07.10.16)

COWS - Daddy Has A Tail! {MVD/ Amphetamine Reptile} The musical world that Minneapolis band COWS inhabited was always a dark, disturbing and destructive place and that’s demonstrated impeccably here on this re-issue of the band’s debut album from 1988. Think of a flat-out superfuzz bigmuff MUDHONEY madness fused with the antagonizing, come-fuck-with-us-if-you-dare chiding of FLIPPER and you’re close to the damaged jams this lot cranked out. Highlights? The opening pastiche of ‘ShaKing’, the sludge-core of ‘Part My Konk’, the droning crawl of ‘Chow’ and ‘Chasin’ Darla', the ragged glory of ‘I Miss Her Beer’ while both ‘By The Throat’ and ‘Camoflage Monkey’ could claim to be the two songs with closest ties to ‘normal’ Rock ‘n’ Roll (with the former being particularly effective). Thanks to the bruising bass playing, there is a certain hypnotic grace about the whole album; it allows the guitars to go in multiple discordant directions while the vocals claw and yelp and whine and sneer with bile. And, I still don’t know why Alan Alder is on the back cover... Never heard COWS? This could be a great place to start. (07.10.16) 

CRAVATS, THE - Dustbin Of Sound {Overground} I’ve never completely got on with THE CRAVATS; they’ve always been a bit too discordant, a bit too avant garde for me. But this new 11 track album is, I have to confess, really rather spiffy!! From the excellent, pounding opener, ‘King Of Walking Away’, I was pretty much hooked. Yep, it’s still a rather eclectic mix of STRANGLERS and CARDIACS with a bit of psychedelic Jazz thrown in, but this has coalesced into one very impressive body of songs. Heaps of highlights be it the menacing groove and lilting saxophone phrasing of ‘100 Percent’, ‘Power Lines’ that comes on like early WIRE with HAWKWIND’s Nik Turner blowing the sax and the lurching ‘Whooping Sirens’ while both the singles, ‘Blurred’ and ‘Jingo Bells’ (and their b-sides) work much better here than standalone tracks. The album’s best however is ‘Motorcycle Boy’ that cruises along on a RUTS-esque riff before a weird MADNESSish sax line appears and culminates in a frenzy of oscillators, saxes and shenanigans!! Impressive stuff and while it still won’t be my album of the year, it could be the dark horse that makes a surprise appearance in the top ten. (10.12.17)

CRAVATS, THE - Blurred Bigband {Overground} Latest 7" of off-kilter, unstable and eclectic weirdness from the love-’em-or-hate-’em-but-can’t-ignore-’em CRAVATS. Just two songs here leading with ‘Blurred’ that, as a lot of THE CRAVATS’s latest stuff does, reminds me of THE STRANGLERS minus the keyboards. Heard a bit of THE CARDIACS in the arrangement too. Flip is ‘Bigband’ and if ‘Blurred’ was relatively accessible, ‘Bigband’ brings out the stops with some discordant saxophone, disjointed rhythms, schizophrenic vocals and a general oddness that only THE CRAVATS can somehow get away with. I think this is limited to 500 and includes a lyric sheet as well. THE CRAVATS will never be a band that gets played on a regular basis at the House Of Scanner, but in those moments when a quick fix is needed, this might be just the tonic. (14.02.17)

CRAVATS, THE - Jingo Bells {Overground} Never really got into the weird world of THE CRAVATS, but I did enjoy parts of ‘The Land Of The Giants’ re-issue from a couple of years ago. This two track 7" is the band’s first new product in a generation-spanning 31 years and it retains that vague, bass-driven STRANGLERS menace. The lead track is certainly the better with a great bit of Saxophone that created a vibe similar to that of THE SPECIALS’ ‘Ghost Town’. The flip, ‘Batter House’ is more up-tempo and a bit more experimental with a destructive bass forcing the track along. Vocalist The Shend sounds in great form - menacing, slightly disturbed and ideally suited to the sounds going on under his vocal. Not a record that has changed my opinion of the band. It’s alright - a whole lot more entertaining than some ANWL copyist (or ANWL themselves come to that) - but not something I’ll be coming back to too often. Nice lyric sheet insert also. This is limited to 500 too, so if you want one, be quick. (20.03.16)

CRIM - Blau Sang, Vermell Cel {B-Core} Bloody hell - where did these fellas come from? This is the second album from this band outta Tarragona, Spain and it’s a careering, boisterous and deftly put together 13 song slab of anthemic, Punk Rock - think LEATHERFACE (check out the opener ‘Benvingut Enemic’) fused with BAD RELIGION and choruses as bold and instant as prime time AGAINST ME! and you’re pretty much there. Highlights include the dirty riffage of ‘Vaixells De Paper’, the staunch ‘Guionistes D’aquest Mon’ while ‘Veri Caducat’ could claim to be the standout with its gruff but soaring vocal, jaw dropping guitar interplay and energy in excess of an entire nuclear reactor. All lyrics are in the band’s native Catalan which obviously makes understanding what they are singing about a bit tricky but also gives it an authenticity which would most likely be lacking if the lyrics were in pidgin English. The vocalist has a gargling-on-glass gruff vocal but one that really works in these confines, allowing the choruses to soar (see ‘Maneres De Viure’) and when it’s coupled with the guitar work that twists, turns and cavorts with decadent ease, the result is simply ballistic. (11.08.17)

CULTURE SHOCK - Attention Span {Bluurg/ Alternative Tentacles} Well - this is a turn-up! I never thought I’d see another CULTURE SHOCK album; least of all because when I interviewed vocalist Dick Lucas back in 1998 I asked him about a CS reunion and he replied there was no chance as guitarist Nige passed away in 1993. So, in his place comes CITIZEN FISH guitarist Alex and we have ten new tracks - the band’s first new output in 25 years. So - how is it? Have to say, on first play, it was more like a simple CITIZEN FISH album with more dub. Successive plays saw each track take a life of its own be it opener ‘Visibility’, closer ‘Sky High’ that could be the highlight and comes on like the original PiL, the up-tempo groove of ‘Start At The Back’ or the dub-groove of ‘Someone Has To Pay’. Then there’s ‘Mindwash’ with its guitar histrionics, ‘Things To Do’, ‘Private Revolution’... Yeah - another great album from Dick Lucas and Co and of course it’s laden with Dick’s clever-witty, political view. Is it on par with ‘Onwards And Upwards’ or ‘Go Wild’? I’ve lived with those albums for over 25 years so it’s not really a fair question, but any of those tracks listed stand up to the old material and the closing line of ‘Things To Do’ is as potent as anything Lucas has written yet: "And when there’s no need for it - we’ll take the politics out of music." Do I need to say more? Pretty much an essential purchase for 2016. (28.06.16)

CULT VALUES - s/t {Deranged} Absolute cracker of an album from this band that’s based in Berlin but with a truly international line-up. You get ten tracks that fuse the drama of the likes of THE ESTRANGED and SPECTRES but channel it through a power and dynamic that constantly brought to mind ARTICLES OF FAITH. There’s not a duffer on this rollercoaster ride of Punk, but highlights would include ‘Jump Ship’ that brought to mind CAREER SUICIDE, the splintered guitars of ‘Rat Music’ and the bruising fury of both ‘Spazieren’ and closer ‘Stones’. It’s ‘Inquisition Tales’ and ‘Nothing Here But Ghosts’ that battle for album highlight however. The former zips along on a relentless beat with those fantastic guitars ringing out in all directions, while the latter has vocals (which constantly impress), that are the best on the whole album. Production is perfect; raw at the edges but with enough refinement to give those guitars space, rhythms power and the vocals a barbed clarity. Absolutely stunning stuff that’s pretty much out on its own and beyond compare. If there’s any justice, this could be viewed as a future classic. (18.08.17)

CYANIDE PILLS - Sliced And Diced {Damaged Goods} Latest 18-tracker from this five-piece outta Leeds, UK and just like the band’s previous work, it’s a cracking slice of BOYS meets BRIEFS spikey, pogo Punk. I did notice a bit of a DAMNED ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’ era vibe in places, especially ‘Stop And Search’ and ‘No Strings Attached’ that both have a Captain Sensible influence on the guitar work. Other highlights include the opener ‘I Don’t Remember’, ‘Laid Off’ that’s got a bit more of a New Wave vibe and presents a vague political outlet along with ‘Government’, the adrenalin laden catchiness of ‘Say You Will’ and the scorching ‘In The Back Of A Car’. However, it’s ‘Alone Tonight’ that takes the prize for best track with its distinct BOYS vibe and confident swagger. It’s great to hear a number of vocal styles too, mixing classic catchy Punk vocals with something a bit more akin to urgent Pub Rock. Without a real duffer in sight, this could prove to be the best Punk Rock Party album of 2017 - pretty sure it’s gonna feature highly on the House Of Scanner sound system. (07.04.17)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2015 including:
CHANNEL 3 (2 reviews), CHIXDIGGIT, CHUMBAWAMBA, CITIZEN FISH, COCK SPARRER, CONCRETE SOX (2 reviews), CRAVATS, CRAZYHEAD, CROSS STITCHED EYES and THE CROWD (2 reviews)