Funky As Fudge
The Mules - Polly O/Misprint (Marquis Cha Cha)
Appropriately for a band named The Mules, this lot have one hell of a kick drum. The band, however, don't cite this as relevant, wishing instead to draw the listener's attention to the similarity between the inter-species parentage of the mule and their own genre-muddle of a sound.
And I must admit that they've got a point: The Mules' erratic antics, dubbed by the band 'electrobilly', veer between punk, folk, military beats and bar piano singalongs. Like a very, very confused Cramps falling over the contents of Tom Waits' fridge ("a clawhammer, a small jar of artichoke hearts, an old parking ticket and a can of roof cement", as the eyewitness testimony of Charles Schwab helpfully attests), they romp with gleeful illogic through a double A-side single which is quite frankly utter nonsense. Full of weird clicking noises, feedback like squealing brakes, shouts of "H-h-h-ho!" and utterly inappropriate piano, it'll occasionally threatens to turn into a coherent almost-punk number before disintegrating again into beehives, trumpets and vocal hollerings about sisters. It's the aural equivalent of a Monty Python sketch - and comrades, you need to check it out. It will make you happy.
It's always ace when the demo of a band whose live show you love captures the atmosphere and impact of said live show, and on their second demo The Resistance manage that tricky feat perfectly. Live they're a full-on-yet-haunting electro onslaught, making with feedback, guitar, the odd bit of sampled vocal, drum machine and a fair few effects pedals a noise which has the kind of resonance most bands struggle to attain with a chorus and this demo maintains both the instant impact and the lasting evocative quality. Which is pretty good going, really.
Switching from stirring beats and distortion to a kind of poignant magnificence, The Resistance have a sense of inevitable, organically raw forward drive. There's a hint of the militia in their seamless coherence and unity: they don't leave any gaps in their image, and they utilise the same casual precision in making rock'n'roll seem exciting again by deconstructing it, throwing away most of the parts and then filling in the gaps with technology which is counter-intuitively stirring. Listening to them is frankly a revelation, and if you've yet to hear them I urge you to do so now - it's possibly the best chance you have of finding something to be excited about during 2006.
Luxembourg - Luxembourg vs. Great Britain (Dogbox Records) www.luxembourgweb.co.uk
Luxembourg talk the talk really well, giving the impression of being
a band who make a deliberate point of aiming for the grandiose. So it
was a bit disappointing to discover that their lyrics here tend more
towards the maudlin, with any assertions made being more small scale
vows than sweeping scheming, and that the music behind the manifesto
just kind of indies along, with the bits which are like the Smiths interspersed
with cool but not redeeming synth parts and shouted backing vocals.
In short, disappointingly unstirring. I had expected better from the
band who used the phrase "We've taken your cities/And we've got
designs on your countryside".
At The Lake have won XFM Unsigned, have topped Steve Lamaqc's Rebel Music playlist, have won Zane Lowe's Fresh Meat slot and have a liking for Interpol.
Actually, that last bit was by way of being supposition. I don't really know that it's true. It might actually be the case that ATL generated entirely spontaneously, a textbook example of parallel evolution. Except that there isn't exactly an Interpol-shaped evolutionary niche free - it's being competently filled by Interpol themselves. Maybe ATL should travel somewhere Interpol-free, like New Guinea. They wouldn't even need to wait for continental drift to form handy land bridges - they could just take a plane.
And when they reached New Guinea, they might actually do rather well. The whole reverberant melodic emotional epic whatsitsface does, y'see, suit 'em rather well. They've got an ear for a tune; hooky bits and pleading breakdowns aplenty; and they throw in a suitable number of weird noises and unexpected bass to keep the ear reasonably unjaded. And they're less melodramatic than certain bands of their ilk, which is decidedly to their credit. If you like that emotional-melodic-soaring-rock thing and don't yet have enough examples of it in your life, you might benefit from giving 'em a try. If not then you, like me, may well find ATL somewhat unnecessary.
Sludgy metal with more concession to the tune than is normal in the genre, and fronted by a slightly overwrought-sounding female vocalist who does technically have quite a nice voice but disguises this fact quite successfully. It's all a bit clunky, in that way which serves to remind the listener on a note-by-note basis that the instruments were all recorded separately, and it seems not to be able to decide whether it wants to wig out with the solos or to engage the Kidz with a clean punchy tunefulness. The shorthand definitions would probably be "user friendly metal punk", and I find the whole thing ultimately unconvincing, especially couched as it is in New! And! Visionary! Press release jargon. Marks are gained, though, for the fact that they actually sound like they're having fun and that they gave a damn - a quality rare enough to be noteworthy
Funky as Fudge's claim to "be like nothing you've ever seen before" can, I assume, only stem from their not having read many fanzines, as this is pretty much a standard A5 specimen. Lots of reviews, the odd bit of rambling, two pages of metal from a guest-contributor 'tisn't really anything new. But hell: I'm not aware that the 'zing has been declared in any way dead, so why not a new example of the genre? If your boat is floated the idea of Forward, Russia! (no, I can't do inverted exclamation marks. Bugger off), a lot of R*E*P*E*A*T favourite Chris T-T, a Huw Stephens interview and Real Colour Printing on the covers - with fancy background graphics on every page - then drop 'em a line at email@example.com and ask them where to send your 50p
Heavens - how competent. Windout are low-key, tepid miserableists who like low-key, tepid guitar solos and vocals which are tepidly emotive in what could possibly be described as a low-key kind of way. They remind me of Fleetwood Mac, only with indie-conformist tendencies. Those of you who are even now winging your way to the Windout website in order to experience the wonders of this for yourselves are hereby denounced as enemies of the state, and we will be round to your house later in order to shoot you in the back of the head in the comfort and convenience of your own home. R*E*P*E*A*T Fanzine: Going The Extra Mile.
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