Top Sounds - G

G.B.H - The Punk Singles 1981 - 1984 {Westworld} Really - does anyone reading this need an introduction to G.B.H? Nah - thought not!! This self-explanatory release compiles 22 tracks from all of CHARGED G.B.H’s formative years including the classic ‘Leather, Bristles, Studs And Acne’ 12", ‘Sick Boy’ and ‘No Survivors’ 7"s and all other singles of that era. You get some fucking classics of studs and spikes UK82 Punk here - ‘Generals’, ‘Lycanthropy’, ‘Give Me Fire’, ‘No Survivors’, ‘Am I Dead Yet’... The list just goes on. Castle Music originally released this back in 2002 and it should be noted it is a different release from the ‘Clay Years 1981 - 84’ as that included album tracks from the ‘City Baby/ Babies Revenge...’ eras. If ya new to this Punk thing and wanna quick history lesson on one of the best and most vicious of the UK82 bands, this could be your gateway to Birmingham’s first and foremost spikiest export. (05.06.17)

G.B.H. - Ha Ha {Westworld} Re-issue of G.B.H’s tenth studio album that was originally released back in 2002 on Go-Kart Records. I’ve not paid close attention to the band since the ‘Midnight Madness And Beyond’ album - mainly because a lot of mediocre metal-tinged thrash records seemed to follow. However, this sounds a distinctly different band from that did ‘Punk Junkies’, incorporating more of a melodic Punk, Rock ‘n’ Roll feel in places and coming on like CHANNEL 3 fused with RED FLAG 77. Of the 17 tracks, there are plenty of goodies be it the jubilant, opening title track, the darker tribal rhythm of ‘Belgrade’ which is mirrored in the album’s best track, ‘The Desire Of Poverty’, the swaggering ‘Song For Cathy’ and ‘Flyin’ High’ that both emphasise the CHANNEL 3 vibe, the on-the-road stories of ‘Punk Rock Ambulance’ and the semi-fuzzed bass-lead ‘Falling Down’. It’s a genuinely solid album (didn’t think I’d be writing those words about a G.B.H album any more) with good production and a clarity about the vocals that seems absent on many other G.B.H albums. (09.01.17)

GEOFFREY OI!COTT - Dickie Birds {Boss Tuneage} Lovely looking 7" picture disc but, again, the actual music doesn’t do much for me. A-Side is a gravel-voiced mid-paced Oi! stomper which is, of course, a play on the DICKIES album (and the picture disc has a great pastiche of that album cover). Doesn’t sound a thing like the DICKIES but it is among the best tracks I’ve heard from the OI!COTTs with an effective mob-chorus at the end. Flip the disc and you get a couple of newies in the form of ‘Dismissed’ and ‘Fanny Batter On A Sticky Wicket’. The former’s quite pacey and frantic while the latter seems ready to steal a Steve Jones-esque PISTOLian riff and then goes into something like the TOY DOLLS without the humour. I guess if I was ‘up with the play’ when it comes to cricket or darts, I’d get the joke. As it is, side two just bored me. Apparently they’ve played eight consecutive Rebellion Festivals, have been in NME and Vice and recorded the walk-on music for some darts player. Whatever... I still found myself looking at the next item in the review pile before ‘Dismissed’ was over. Out for a duck... Or something.  (21.10.16)

GEOFFREY OI!COTT - Sticky Wickets {Boss Tuneage} Novelty bands I rate are pretty few and far between. Those that manage one great album usually follow it with a load of stinkers. When the novelty is about cricket (surely, the most tedious sport on the planet along with darts) and the debut album was already a moderate stinker, there’s not much hope. Needless to say, I found this monotonous. The cricket ‘jokes’ failed, the nicked riffs that litter the album didn’t cut it and the bluster of the vocal just sounded tired and jaded when compared with something like VIOLENT ARREST. Have to say, the cover - which is a pastiche on the ROLLING STONES ‘Sticky Fingers’ - is probably the most inspired part of the album. Really didn’t need the close-up of a pair of undies complete with ‘box’ in the sleeve either. If you dig cricket and THE BUSINESS in equal parts, then this is for you. As for me, it’s bowled out on the first ball! (25.10.15)

GET DEAD - Honesty Lives Elsewhere {Fat Wreck} Well, this is a turn-up! The band’s previous album, ‘Bad News’, was one of the dullest Fat has released. This, however, is a massive improvement. Right from opener, ‘Silence’, that fuses SWINGIN’ UTTERS and HOT WATER MUSIC and the following, acoustic driven ‘Choke’, the tone is set for an impressive set of tunes. The vocals are noticeably better here with some of the guitar work having a SOCIAL DISTORTION vibe (check the lead on ‘Cliffs’) while structures are stronger, more dynamic and increasingly abrasive. Highlights are plenty be it the piano and ethereal backing vocals that lift ‘Keep Rowing, Stupid’ into a totally different stratosphere when compared with the previous album, ‘Monte Carlo’ that hurtles along to rival anything the UTTERS may have done and the closing nod to the band’s more acoustic past ‘Ordnance’, while album highlight ‘Dyin’ Is Thirsty Work’ echoes the HOT WATER MUSIC vibe to such an extent that it would not have been outta place on ‘No Division’. The band still seems stronger with the more acoustic-based stuff than flat-out Punk tracks, but all in all, this is a huge improvement and an enjoyable listen. (06.10.17)

GIGLINGER - Epic EP {DIY} Fifth EP from this always-interesting band outta Helsinki. This time, we get three tracks recorded live in their garage (and bear in mind this is a band that doesn’t play gigs) with the title track being a five-minute plus cracker that fuses KILLING JOKE with MISSION OF BURMA and some how make it work. The flip has a couple of more direct Punk tracks in ‘Everybody Hates me When I’m Drunk’ and ‘Anti-Nazi League’. Production is raw, garage sounding and lacks a bit of bass, particularly on ‘...Drunk’ which is not only the EP’s low point, but probably the worst thing I’ve heard GIGLINGER do. ‘Anti-Nazi...’ could be the pick of the EP - it’s urgent, pointed and has everything ‘...Drunk’ lacks. This EP doesn’t impress me as much as the band’s last couple, in no small part due to ‘...Drunk’ being such a let down. Definitely an interesting and never predictable project though and, had this been just two tracks, I think it would have been a lot better. (14.03.15)

GIRLSCHOOL - Demolition; Hit And Run; Screaming Blue Murder {Dissonance} If ya didn’t know, GIRLSCHOOL was an all-female Metal band out of London that released a string of decent albums (these three) in the early 80s and had a close affiliation with MOTORHEAD. While they were unreservedly a Metal band, there was definitely something more Rock ‘n’ Roll, more Punk about them too - much like THE RUNAWAYS. ‘Demolition’ was the band’s debut album, released in 1980 and was an unpretentious and riotous Heavy Rock album. Highlights include opener ‘Demolition Boys’, ‘Emergency’ (later covered by MOTORHEAD) and a heads-down cover of ‘Race With The Devil’ by THE GUN. There are five extra tracks here too being a couple of demos and various single versions and b-sides. The band’s second album, ‘Hit And Run’ from 1981, is certainly the best containing 11 tracks with the only duffer being an odd cover of ZZ Top’s ‘Tush’. Bar that you get ‘C’mon Let’s Go’, ‘(I’m Your) Victim’, ‘Following The Crowd’, the stunning title track, ‘Yeah Right’... Crackers of the genre and the era. Four extra tracks here too, including the ‘St Valentine’s Day Massacre’ EP with MOTORHEAD! If ya curious, start here. By 1982 and ‘Screaming Blue Murder’, founder member and bassist Enid Williams had left - only to be replaced by Gil Weston, formerly of THE KILLJOYS! The energy of the previous two albums is lacking, although the title track is spirited along with a so-so cover of ROLLING STONE’s ‘Live With Me’ and the bouncy ‘Hellrazor’. It’s still a decent album, but much more straight forward Hair Metal with less attitude. Only one additional track here. Since these albums, the band has released about another ten albums and are still working today (with a different line-up as original vocalist Kelly Johnson passed away in 2007). However, everything in the wake of these three albums was of much less interest. If ya groove on a bit of Metal, check out ‘Hit And Run’ - it still sounds a strong album 35 years on from its release! (20.05.17)

GOLDBLADE - Acoustic Jukebox {Overground} This is a bit of a culture shock at first; instead of the usual GOLDBLADE bluster of Punk Rock, you get acoustic vibes that don’t initially work. It sounds jumbled and unnatural and that’s continued with successive listens. However, after the first 30 seconds, all doubts are dispelled and opener ‘Fighting In The Dancehall’ had me thinking WORLD INFERNO/ FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY on many levels. Nine more GOLDBLADE favourites follow, given the full acoustic treatment with mandolins, banjos and cardboard box beats. Highlights include a surprisingly effective ‘This Is War’, ‘Strictly Hardcore’ that’s transformed into a skiffle sing-a-long and ‘Do You Believe In The Power Of Rock ‘n’ Roll' that’s morphed into a Moroccan campfire folk song. It’s good to hear John Robb has not adapted his vocal to something approaching folk niceness; it’s still confident, slightly sneering and loud! Closer ‘Shaman Are Coming’ turns the acoustic vibe on its head with a full-on dance-remix loaded with electric guitars!! Acciiiddd!! Like the best fine wine, it gets better with age! (10.05.15)

GOOD RIDDANCE - Peace In Our Time {Fat Wreck} One of my favourite Fat bands is back with a new album, their first in nine years and it kicks in with brutal, distorto bass (destructive enough to draw MINISTRY comparisons) and ‘Disputatio’. From there, it pulls all the classic GOOD RIDDANCE moves: soaring melodic guitar, socio-political lyrics, hook-laden choruses, damage-inducing HC moments (that aren’t the slightest bit Metal), powerful vocals and superb Punk songwriting. It did lose its way a little in the latter half of the album but the closing trio of ‘Running On Fumes’ (among the band’s best ever), ‘Year Zero’ and ‘Glory Glory’ have enough quality about them to melt your face with intensity while you singalong to the massive hooks. Elsewhere ‘Dry Season’ continues the band’s trait of raging yet melodic Hardcore, ‘Grace And Virtue’ sees vocalist Russ sounding uncannily like Milo outta DESCENDENTS (actually, this has a lot of comparisons with latter-day ‘DENTS) and ‘Teachable Moments’ simply slides outta the speakers with deceptive ease. As always, the band's donating a portion of profits to a good cause - Clever cover art, bombastic and clear production.. Another cracker - albeit with a couple of fillers. (23.10.15)

GRAND COLLAPSE - Along The Dew {TNS} Second long-player from this raging quartet outta South Wales and what’s immediately noticeable is these guys can fucking play!! Stunning riffs that are complex without branching off into Metal, relentless drumming that’s in places drop-dead stunning (check ‘Turncoat’) and a bassist that holds it all together and stands out himself. Think PROPAGANDHI fused with PEARS at their most vicious, a bit of FUCKED UP and throw on a bile-wrenching, bellow vocal that’s like Vic Bondi having had his tonsils attacked with a cheese grater and yet somehow still makes the Anarcho-inspired words intelligible and you have GRAND COLLAPSE. Plenty of highlights here too: ‘Fragments’ blazes and then drops a breakdown of epic proportions for a finale, closer ‘Trapped’ adds a few subtle guitar refrains to riffage while ‘Omission’ is a flurry of styles and cutting guitar chops. Highlight is ‘Through Bloodshot And Blurry’ which features a guest vocal that’s got more of a sneer about the voice and certainly breaks up the bluster of Cal’s voice, which gets a bit one-dimensional at times. Had this been a dual vocal deal throughout, it could’ve been a contender for Top 10 album of the year. As it is, it’s just a major player and a strong also-ran. (02.08.17)

GRIPPER - Domestic Blitz {DIY} Follow-up album from this turbo-charged quartet of Punk/Oi! rockers from New Zealand’s South Island. You get 13 tracks recorded over two sessions, and as with the previous split album, this is some high octane Street Punk that has both a very vocal opinion and a cracking sense of humour. The first part of the album was recorded (in the band’s shed - as was the whole album) in August 2015 and among the tracks is ‘My Balls’ that gives the right wing racists a mouthful (literally!) and ‘Windpipe’ that displays a few neat guitar licks from Scott Fingers - even recalling JOHNNY THUNDERS in parts. The second part of the album was recorded in February 2016 and sounds brighter with greater attack. Best bits here include ‘Lions’ that throwed a few COCK SPARRER moves into the blitzkrieg and closer ‘Oath’ that’s just belligerent brilliance!! Some choice samples are scattered in between various tracks, artwork is fantastic and drawn by the band’s drummer, Sp@z Stix and, once again, GRIPPER pulls of an energised, fun and opinionated slice of speedy Punk Rock that’s totally DIY and totally convincing. $10 + postage from the band. (14.10.16)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2015 including: