Top Sounds - S

SCAVENGERS, THE/ MARCHING GIRLS - Split {Real Groovy} For those who know not the history of New Zealand Punk, the name THE SCAVENGERS may mean little. So here's a little history lesson... Formed in 1977, THE SCAVENGERS were, along with SUBURBAN REPTILES, the first Auckland Punk band. They remain the definitive band too and recorded what is considered to be NZ's answer to any of those 'classic' '77 songs from the UK in 'Mysterex'. In 1979, the band relocated to Melbourne, Australia, softened their sound a little and became THE MARCHING GIRLS. This 14-track red-vinyl album was released for Record Store Day and compiles all of THE SCAVENGERS official recordings, plus four from THE MARCHING GIRLS. THE SCAVENGERS stuff remains essential listening - be it the urgent 'Born To Bullshit', the ridiculously infectious 'True Love' (also record by MARCHING GIRLS), the sneering 'Routine' recorded with original vocalist Mike Lezbian or the two versions of the even more sneering repost 'Mysterex'. Soundwise, imagine the netherground between THE ADVERTS and early VIBRATORS but given that unique Antipodean twang. THE MARCHING GIRLS had a more noticeably New Wave sound and hinted at bassist's Ronnie Recent's future band, DEAD CAN DANCE. For Punk historians or Kiwi Punks of any age, absolutely essential stuff. (08.08.14)

SCREECHING WEASEL - Carnival Of Schadenfreude {Recess} Mmmmm... 12" red vinyl... Recess Records... SCREECHING WEASEL.. How can you go wrong? Very little - especially when Ben has penned some new tunes as strong as most of the tracks here. It’s also apparent that he has a few things to say - and if you consider the lyrics, they can be distinctly contradictory. The opening, sneering title track addresses issues with Fat Wreck and Ben’s ‘fisting’ incident down in Texas in March 2011 and shrugs them all off with typical Weasel arrogance; yet the closer, ‘Under The Bus’, comes across as slightly whiney as he portrays himself as some kinda victim (it’s a great song though - if you just wanna singalong) when his band walked out/ got sacked after the Texas incident. Given the lyrical content, it makes for a really interesting and revealing record if you want to delve beyond the snotty Punk blitz. The music is classic, up-tempo WEASELcore... ‘The Parasite Murders’, title track and especially ‘Fox News’ are already SW classics and, whether it’s the Ben Weasel vitriol or Mike Kennerly’s production that makes this such a cracker I know not. But what it IS is one of Ben’s best. (31.12.12) 

SEAMEN - Liquor Face {Bad Robots} Can’t tell ya much at all about this except SEAMEN was a 5-piece outta Canada that featured former members of SUBVERSE and this is an 8-track disc. It kicks off with a gloomy, heavily Flanged guitar that instantly had me thinking AMEBIX but in reality, this is snappy Pop-core with lots of ideas. I kept hearing a big HDQ influence, especially in the vocals of Brent although there are also plenty of those soaring melodic guitar lines played over a raw Punk backing. Highlights would be ‘Freightrain’ that’s one of the fastest tracks on the album and ‘Catch Phrase’ that has a vague 7 SECONDS feel. The production has a rather fuzzy, vintage texture about it that works well for the vocal but leaves the guitars a little thin in parts. (24.10.12)

SEX PEST - Sexx Pest EPP {Batshitinsane} Debut four-track EP from his gnarly, obnoxious new New Zealand Garage Punk band. The band features a few notable faces from other NZ bands like MALENKY ROBOT, TENTACLES OF DESTRUCTION, FREUDOIDS and more and they conspire to make a noise somewhere between GAUNT and THE REATARDS with a healthy dollop of classic 60s raw Garage - kinda emphasised by a cover of 13th FLOOR ELEVATORS’ ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’. Of the originals, ‘Maybe Bloody Never’ is the standout with its belligerent vocal, change of pace and swirling keyboards. Opener ‘Give Me Fuck’ sets the tone well - you know this ain’t gonna be any polite boy Pop Punk or Fest Fashion Fiesta (complete with trendy beard). Instead this is raw and ragged, fuzzed and frenzied with a grizzled, distorto production. Good gear if sneering Garage snot Punk Rock is ya thang. Sure works for me! (24.05.13)

SHIRKS, THE - s/t {Grave Mistake} After a run of impeccable, snotty, Garage Punk Rocking 7"s, THE SHIRKS drop their debut album (eight songs, 45rpm) and it’s clear the singles were no short-attention-span lucky Punk Rock potshots of snot. If anything, the band has got more noxious, taking TEEN GENERATE’s and REATARDS’ production (de)values and amping their own sound into a relentless blur of distortion. I have to say, the single blow was more effective. The distortion OD here lessens the Antipodean sneer the singles had. That’s not saying this is weak - listen to the pummelling, jack-hammer Punk of ‘Don’t Tell Me’, opener ‘Motherhood Of The Wolf’ has the sneer of the 7" below while both ‘Bad Area’ and closer ‘I Don’t Want To Work It’ slow the pace a tad and swagger outta the speakers reeking of cool. Packaging is pretty minimal but there is a download card for the digi-nerds. While lacking the 7"s class, this is still a dizzyingly, bile-laced bonanza of Garage Punk and, in their field, pretty much untouchable right now. (27.03.14)

SHIRKS, THE - Cry Cry Cry {Grave Mistake} Mag-fucking-nificent fourth single from this most smoking of Garage Punk Rocking firebrands. Imagine early Antipodean Punk (SAINTS, BIRDMAN, CELIBATE RIFLES) going flat out while TEEN GENERATE offer bile and alcohol. The lead track is one of the most insistent, guitar-pulsating slabs of aural addiction I’ve heard in years while ‘Prostitution Summer’ could’ve easily been on ‘I’m Stranded’ and been among the album’s best five tracks. The band’s previous efforts were well-crafted slices of fluent, primal Garage Punk spew, but this baby has upped the ante and the sneer-o-meter to claim, quite convincingly, the Best 7" of 2011. Hot, sexy red vinyl too. For the digital freaks, it comes with a download code too. Need I say it again?? Sneering, trashy and absolutely bloody brilliant. (07.02.12) 

SHITTY LIMITS - Speculate/ Accumulate {La Vide Es Un Mus/ Sorry State} Final release from this British Punk band that can rightfully claim to have produced some of the most satisfying, dynamic and raw Punk heard in some time. This 12" EP contains six tracks that constantly had me hearing an EDDY CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING vibe. There’s less of the flat-out Garagey-HC heard on the band’s iconic singles (although the warped HC of the 59-second opener ‘Survey Says’ does have the feel of the classic ‘Espionage’ 7") and instead there’s a late ‘77 Punk feel, albeit in a rawer form; ‘Medication Time’ even evoked Johnny Rotten on the PISTOLS take of ‘Roadrunner’. Does this all mean that this release is inferior to those classic 7"s? Not in the slightest - it’s still distinctly LIMITS, distinctly infectious and decidedly uncompromising - just in a different way from before. What a shame the band has split - they’ll be greatly missed and even more so in the wake of this. And I gotta mention the sexy electric blue vinyl, lyric and graphic insert and heavy-duty textured sleeve. If you missed out on the LIMITS, you still have the chance to redeem yourself and get this; otherwise forever have ‘loser’ tattooed on your forehead. (15.05.12) 

SHONEN KNIFE - Osaka Ramones {Good Charamel} Well, this is odd even when it comes to oddities! To celebrate SHONEN KNIFE’s 30th year, they’ve recorded an album covering 13 songs by, arguably, their ultimate influence - THE RAMONES. It’s a tribute that could easily fall flat, but these gals outta Japan have an intrinsic understanding of what made these songs so fucking great in the first place - and that’s adrenalised Rock ‘n’ Roll delivered with verve, fun and dedication. While they have added a BLONDIE-esque New Wave twist to these songs, they have not mucked around with the arrangement or sanitised the visceral energy the classic tunes. Interestingly also, I thought it was the mid-era RAMONES songs that the band covered the best; highlights for me were ‘She’s The One’, ‘The KKK Took My Baby Away’, ‘We Want The Airwaves’ and, of the earlier tunes, ‘Pinhead’. This isn’t ironic, or arty - this is Rock ‘n’ Roll and these already-classic songs have been given a new life - and one the bruddas would’ve approved of greatly! Gabba gabba,,,, (30.04.12)

SHORTS, THE - Hang ‘Em Flog ‘Em {Suspect Device} Second 7" from this raging South Coast, UK HC band and it seems to be a noticeable step up from the debut. The riffs here seem more incisive with the songs hitting the target musically and with more force. You get seven blasts of pointed, opinionated HC Punk that bring to mind early 7 SECONDS having a brawl with VIOLENT ARREST. Highlights for me were ‘People Stop Telling Me I’m Clueless’ that features a killer riff and even a splash of melody in Mike Fox’s delivery during the chorus. Elsewhere opener ‘String The Bastards Up’ sets the tone with a brisk blast of HC while ‘Bring Me The Skinned And Mutilated Corpse Of Bear Grylls’ blasts on all cylinders and attacks those ‘sportsmen’ who trophy hunt. Neat packaging with lyrics to all songs and a few additional explanations to some. Well worth your time if you dig GERIATRIC UNIT, VIOLENT ARREST and DOMESTICS. (12.08.13)

SICKOIDS - No Home {Sorry State/ Grave Mistake} Second release of earth-shaking twisted Hardcore from this three-piece that include ex-members of both WITCH HUNT and GOVERNMENT WARNING. It seems a bit darker than the debut evoking a brawl between POISON IDEA and TOTALITAR with the general mood of ANTISECT thrown in. What really makes the band stand out from the HC pack is that they don’t rely on sheer velocity to make their point. Closer ‘Pull The Plug’ has all kindsa changes that mashes up HC with something lurching and considered. That said, when these guys floor it, it comes as no surprise that it’s of an intensity to liquefy your bowels in a few swift and damaged guitar riffs - check out that title track or the punishing, unrelenting ‘Funeral’ while opener ‘Occupy Your Time’ probably takes the highlight with a sonic barrage that could well typify what the band do best. Excellent stuff - both this and the debut album (on Residue Records) should be mandatory purchases for when you need a slight change in sound from ‘Feel The Darkness’. (11.02.14)

SLAVES - Sugar Coated Bitter Truth {Boss Tuneage} This new duo outta England has laid down this colossal nine track disc which, so early out in the year, could already walk off with the album of the year title. Imagine EDDY CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING Rock ‘n’ Roll sneer and swagger played with the urgency of SHITTY LIMITS and engulfed in the confidence of ‘77 and you’re close to the confrontational bile these dudes have put to tape. Opener ‘Cease Fire’ sets the tone recalling the brattyness of ATV and ‘How Much Longer’. That continues with breaks for the brisk Hardcore blast of ‘Girl Fight’, some great SAINTS/ STOOGES riffage on ‘She Grew Old’. What seems to work really well is the sparseness - after the drums drop out they leave a garage guitar and a wonderfully snotty, belligerent vocal before building back into a bruising relentless garage thrash - check out ‘White Knuckle Ride’ - it leaves the same unease and scary edginess as prime time BIG BLACK! I bet in a dark, confined cellar, this is absolutely killer live. Taut, frightening and, quite simply, fucking superb. (28.05.13)

SNUFF - 5-4-3-2-1... Whatever {Fat Wreck} I’ve said it before and it still stands: SNUFF never really replaced Simon Wells. There has been good SNUFF records since (‘Long Ball To No One’ especially), but albums like ‘Numb Nuts’ really don’t deserve to share the name of the band that released something as classic as ‘Snuff Said...’ So I’m pleased to say that this, the band’s first album in 10 years, is quite possibly the best since ‘Demmamussabebonk’. There’s a strong continuity in this, plus it contains what is probably the band’s best songs since ‘Martin’ in ’Rat Run’ and closer ‘All Good Things’. ‘EFL’ and ‘Mary Poppins’ show a more cheeky vibe while ‘Mumbo Jumbo’ show the band can still floor it with nearly the same conviction of ‘Not Listening’ and still enjoy it! The CD features a couple of bonus acoustic tracks too. A stellar album that just gets better with each successive spin - throw in some Bubble and Squeak and a few pints of Guinness and you’re looking at feast for any East End Soul Boy, Suede Head, Oi Oi Punk Rocker!! Sure is great to have you back, Duncan, Lee and co!! (22.03.13)

SONIC AVENUES - Television Youth {Dirtnap} The opening blast of fuzzed, New Wave guitars sets the tone well for this uproarious 10-tracker from this Montreal based quartet. The band certainly shares a few traits with label-mates STEVE ADAMYK BAND in that the songs are excellently arranged slices of Pop Punk and are over in a matter of two-and-a-half minutes of rocking guitars and sneer-laden harmonies. While the band may lack the snot of SAB, this is still far from chart-friendly Punk-lite as they mix DICKIES and TRANZMITORS with an injection of F.Y.P-esque brashness creating a sound that is accessible but not neutered for chart acceptance but is, instead, abrasive, rollicking Punk. Highlights for me would be the adrenal, tonal Pop-Punk of ‘Throw It Away’, ‘OCD Vibes’ that has the sweeping brazen qualities of THE ARRIVALS, ‘Fadin’ Luv’ with its irresistible, slightly schizoid melodic scale and the ram-a-lama BOYSisms of ‘Back Up Back Down’. Production is bold and boisterous and if you’ve been hooked on Dirtnap’s recent batch of excellent records, you won’t be disappointed here. (23.11.12)

SPITEFUL URINATOR - Work Crimes (Unnatural Feelings) {United Blasphemy} New noise outta New Zealand and, I gotta be honest, I’m woefully uneducated in this kinda crusty, growled sonic noise. You get 11 tracks that are down-tuned and come on like DOOM (a hard comparison to avoid as the band’s logo is a rip of DOOM’s) mixed with Felix Havoc’s old band CODE 13 and, for some reason, I kept thinking of BORN DEAD ICONS in a number of places. Vocals are growled, shouted and often sound like that Gollum thing outta Lord Of The Rings. Song titles sum things up pretty well: ‘Misery Guts’, ‘Bonus Hate’, ‘121 Turds’ and ‘Fuck Off And Die’. Good to see some distinctly Kiwi-related packaging with the lyrics printed over the image of politician Peter Dunne. Highlights? ‘Too Many Churches' certainly stands out and ‘Misery Guts’ (that includes those Gollum-like vocals!) while ‘Q: Punk A: Shit!’ raised a chuckle. Definitely something Profane Existence would appreciate. Comes with a patch and is pretty limited. (04.10.14)

STAR FUCKING HIPSTERS - From The Dumpster To The Grave {Fat Wreck} Third album from Stza Crack’s Ska-Punk crew with a seemingly revolving door of band members. It’s an album that doesn’t totally convince either. There’s no doubt there are moments of classic HIPSTERS here - ‘Death Is Never Out Of Fashion’ is a total trademark track and a real standout while the title track has a real bombast about it. Other highlights include the Pop-Punk chops of ‘The Broken Branches’, the groove of ‘¡Otra Vez!’ and, most surprisingly, ‘9/11 ‘Til Infinity’ that sees Stza trading rapping duties with Boots Riley that results in the album’s standout track. Snag is, it’s off set by the LOC-esque assault of ‘Rapture, Rinse, Repeat’ that just sounded weak and contrieved when compared with anything on ‘Mediocre Generica’, a They Might Be Giants cover that’s way outta place and the brief HC attack of ‘The Spoils Of War’ that screams filler (and I don’t mean in a MINOR THREAT way). Lyrically, this is still as politically charged and (if slightly less) controversial as any Stza output. Far from a bad album - just one that is disjointed and incomplete for such an impressive band. (03.03.12)

STAY CLEAN JOLENE - s/t {JSNTGM, Eager Beaver, Drunken Sailor, Rad Girlfriend} Bloody hell, this is pretty fucking good!! I've never even heard of this four-piece band before but it apparently includes ex-members of GREAT ST LOUIS and LEIF ERICCSON. This is a cracking 3-track 7" of gruff, raucous yet catchy Punk Rock that could be described as the perfect fusion of early SNUFF intensity and LEATHERFACE dynamics. The closing song, 'Record', could in fact be lifted straight off 'Mush' - yep, THAT good! The guitarist can play a pretty good solo too - not widdly-widdly Metal wank but a lead that enhances a song in the way solos enhance the best SOCIAL DISTORTION songs. Lead song, 'Green', is a stunner - melodic, powerful and loose enough to swagger but tight enough to burn your speakers with its very own fire-ball Punk blast. A truly stunning little disc - the worst thing about the band, in fact, is their rather odd name. Roll on an album - interview could be pending! (20.06.14)

STEREO STATE, THE - Crossing Canyons {Creator Destructor} Totally new band to me that’s come blasting outta Holyoke, MA with this six-track, 10"/CDEP that fuses rocking LOVED ONES style anthems but played with a ‘Pennybridge Pioneers’ era MILLENCOLIN quality and a hint of ALL aggression. The five-piece capture the attention instantly with opener ‘Across The Susquehanna’ that’s loaded with rich guitars, strong vocals and energy that just says, "This is a good record mofo, so listen up!" So I did - and it is indeed good. Both ‘On The Next Time’ and, in particular disc highlight ‘American Bones’, emphasise the ALL chops with some killer guitar work on the latter. Production is maybe a bit too smooth for my ears - it’s certainly rich and bombastic but a little bit of acrid bile spat here and there would be most welcome to my Punk-attuned ears. Decent packaging laced with images of wide-open panoramas of sky and sea. Wanderlust inspiring indeed! (26.06.14)

STEVE ADAMYK BAND - Third {Dirtnap/ Waterslide} Let’s make it clear - this band’s previous album, ‘Forever Won’t Wait’ was, for me, a classic - one of the best heard in many years. So, could these Cannucks top that with the traditionally difficult third album? Well, not really. That’s not saying this is weak - it’s just not quite a match when compared with the previous, stunning album. This album sees the band take a slightly slower approach and develop more of an identity. The over-riding DICKIES influence is less obvious (although still apparent) and here it’s mixed with some RIVERDALES, a bit of THE BRIEFS and, most impressively, THE OBSERVERS influence - this is most apparent on the disc highlight, ‘Had A Heartattack’ which could well be the best song Mr Adamyk has penned so far. Elsewhere, ‘My Enemy’ is classic ADAMYK and worthy of inclusion on the previous album, ‘Rain On Sundays’ could’ve been on ‘Pleasant Dreams’ and... In fact... each track grows into a cracker and Adamyk has proved, again, he has a knack for killer snotty Punk Rock that hasn’t been performed with this much verve since ‘Wiggle’era SCREECHING WEASEL. (31.12.13)

STICKY FILTH - Fourth Domain {1157} In the world of NZ Punk/ Rock, not many bands command the royal reputation of these New Plymouth veterans. This latest, epic album gives us 16 new tracks. From the opening ‘Crimson Red And Indigo’ that sounds akin to a welding of MOTORHEAD and ANTISECT, which is followed by ‘The Witch That Got Away’ that crawls like a Sabbath-esque sludge rocker but given a warped KILLING JOKE dynamic, the band sets out its style in formidable fashion. Elsewhere both ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘Machete’ offer no holds barred Punk rippers and ‘Leave In The Morning’ drips with a sublime power. What’s really noticeable about the album is just how much weight is in the sound - the drums and bass in particular have a massive bottom end that doesn’t allow the sound to diminish come guitar solo time (athough, there are a few too many solos for me). The last track is a stunning acoustic song that has a vague FRANKIE STUBBS feel. Excellent stuff that, unfortunately, probably won’t receive the world-wide acclaim that it deserves. (26.01.12) 

STUPIDS - 7" {Alona’s Dream} Bit of a scoop here, as the four tracks on this 7" make up what was the final recordings of 1980s STUPIDS. Produced by Iain Burgess, these songs were record in 1989, after the final ‘Jesus Meets The Stupids’ album had been released and 20 years before the ‘Kids Don’t Like It’ release. Of the songs, two are instrumentals with ‘You Coulda Been My Girl’ possessing enough soaring DC-esque guitar parts to carry another IGNITION album. Of the other two tracks, ‘You Never Know’ is more akin to latter day STUPIDS than ‘Retard Picnic’ era and the remainder is a cover of the UK SUBS charmer, ‘All I Wanna Know’. Guest vocalist on the session was Chris Shary who, along with Tom Withers, writes some liner notes which certainly gives the release an official feel. New or old Stuppies fans need this, even if there is a disappointingly low new-full-song count. Includes a badge! (19.05.14)

SUBURBAN REPTILES - Saturday Night Stay At Home {Real Groovy} An essential Record Store Day re-release for this gem of New Zealand Punk Rock originally released way back in 1978. You get two tracks from the band that, along with THE SCAVENGERS, represented the very first wave of NZ Punk bands. This was the band’s follow-up to ‘Megaton’ and, for me, is probably their finest moment. It’s catchy, pacey, sneering, sarcastic and laced with social comment - all the things that the original wave of Punk embodied. This repress includes a four-page foldout of thoughts and memories of the recording session and the era from the band members (which includes mention of the likes of Split Enz and Roxy Music) along with some postcard-style inserts. The vinyl has a convincing copy of the original Vertigo Records label and there is an inner sleeve with lyrics and photo taken from Shortland Street TV studios in August 1978. It really is a quality item and, as I’ve no hope of ever being able to afford an original, this is an already cherished item. (16.11.14)

SUBVERSE - Aural Regurgitations {Boss Tuneage} Another monster reissue of late-80s HC from the exemplary Boss Tuneage Retro series. This time we head to Vancouver, Canada for this Crossover band that released the single, ‘Give Jesus Back To The Martians’ in 1989 on Loony Tunes, a split album in 1987 on Manic Ears and an 11-track demo the year prior. That’s all collected along with some outtakes and rehearsal tapes on this 33-track, 66-minute whopper. Soundwise, imagine RF7 Punk but played at the pace of ANTIDOTE (US) and given a Thrash vibe. Highlight is definitely the 7" with ‘Armchair Hero’ being a stunning slice of thrashy Punk and ‘A Poisoned Mind’ throwing in some AMEBIX atmospherics. Personally, I found the vocals all a bit annoying - all strained and gargled - especially on the earlier stuff. I kinda recall the single, but don’t recall actually hearing it; I’m guessing even if I did I probably wouldn’t remember it. A good marker of its time, but something for completists only. (28.03.14)

SUPERSUCKERS - Get The Hell {Acetate} It’s always a good day when some new SUPERSUCKERS material arrives at the House Of Scanner. When it turns out to be the band’s first studio album in five years, it’s a day to remember!! Very few bands do this infectious, shootin’ from-the-hip, hard drinkin’ garage Rock ‘n’ Roll with such aplomb as the ‘SUCKERS. Kicking off with the title track, it’s like welcoming back a very bad influence into your life! Catchy, energetic, witty and dirty - and even featuring a tiny drum solo by new boy and ex-THROW RAG drummer, Captain Von Streicher. From there you get crackers like ‘Something About You’ and ‘High Tonight’ that both have a killer chorus while ‘Gluttonous’ is a pounding, insensitive ode to excess. There are no countrified moments as on some other albums and it does fall a bit short of being classic ‘SUCKERS as there is a bit too much filler (‘Disaster Bastard’ in particular). A couple of covers make the cut though, an odd choice in Depeche Mode and a rather controversial choice in Gary Glitter! Both tracks are a supersuckercess though! Neat digipack sleeve (but a crap cover) - probably the first essential album of 2014. (16.04.14)

SWHAT - s/t {DIY} There’s little as thrilling has hearing a new band that bangs out some smoking Punk jams while already having their own sound and style and that elusive X factor that just says, "Listen up mofo." What’s more SWHAT is a mere duo (on this recording at least) cranking out their thing from the suburbs of marvellous Melbourne, Australia. Dunno if it’s that Aussie connection but opener ‘Down In Tango Zulu’ is a ringer for prime time SAINTS - it could even be Chris Bailey on vocals. Next up ‘Henry (Policy Enforcers)’ lifts some BAD BRAINS P.M.A. and so it continues - great Aussie Punk but twisted somehow - add a bit of TURBONEGRO and you’re closer. Simple fact, when a stellar track like ‘Shake That Spell’ can be followed and obliterated in the wild garage core of ‘Reinsert Me’, it’s fucking impossible to criticise. Closer ‘Don’t Throw Your Anxiety Away’ slows things down to a Grunge lurch and is the perfect finale with dual vocals sounding like Mould and Hart trading bellows during HUSKER DU’s ‘New Day Rising’ era. An easy contender for record of the year - and what’s more this ain’t a self-released CDEP... This is a solid black vinyl 10" which looks great and sounds perfect. Highly recommended. (05.08.14)

SWINGIN’ UTTERS - Stuck In A Circle {Fat Wreck} Three track 7" which, like the album below, left me feeling all a bit nonplussed. The lead track is one of the highlights from the album below and sounds a bit more raw here for some reason - almost like it is a demo recording. ‘Not Your Saviour’ is the band’s Tony Sly song (and I assume it’s on the tribute album to Sly) and it’s a lovely acoustic romp including Violin, Viola and Cello. It’s a track that would be perfectly at home at any folk club. The flip is the rather ploddy ‘Chain Gang Reaction(ary)’. I’m really not sure what’s gone wrong with the band at present - it could be the arrival of Jack Dalrymple and they’re taking a bit of time to find their feet. Whatever - if the band’s next album is not a drastic improvement on this 7" and the album below, it might just be time to call last orders at the bar, boys. (27.12.14) 

SWINGIN’ UTTERS - Poorly Formed {Fat Wreck} Wow - album eight from one of the most consistent bands on Fat. It’s also the first album to feature former ONE MAN ARMY front man Jack Dalrymple in a full writing capacity. Dunno if it’s his influence, but the 14 tracks here are noticeably different from previous UTTERS outings. Many of the songs sound only half-finished and lack the trademark rambunctious Punk Rock abandon - even when compared with the previous polished-but-fantastic ‘Here, Under Protest’. Several of the tracks have a psychedelic feel and on a few too-many there is a fucking terrible effect on Bonnel’s vocal - check ‘Brains’ and the title track! Darius Koski delivers some great acoustic-based tracks but the majority are co-written by Bonnel and Dalrymple and just don’t cut it - at least not compared with the rest of the band’s exemplary back catalogue. Highlight is the recent ‘The Librarians Are Hiding Something’, along with ‘Greener Grass’ and ‘Stuck In A Circle’ that has a classic, boisterous UTTERS chorus. This isn’t a bad album - it’s more a case of not living up to the band’s excellent run of great records. I hate to say it, but too often if comes over as a second rate DEAD TO ME. Notice a link? (13.01.14)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2012 including: