Review roundup – 1/8/2012

A couple of short reviews from George and Ripper.

Only Fumes And Corpses – Selfish Act I (4/5 from George)

Hailing from Ireland’s arid west coast and in their seventh year of existence, Only Fumes And Corpses have remained under the radar – perhaps due to their reluctance to be part of trends or play by the rules. Their latest release is a pulverising breakneck punk affair. This truly is a case of ‘blink and you’ll miss it,’ with thirteen songs barely clawing past the eleven minute mark. Despite the shortness of the album the band manages to touch on a vast number of genres and influences whilst retaining a no-nonsense, aggressive punk approach. Maintaining punk traditions in the form of socially aware lyrics, the album also sees flashes of blastbeats, D-beat and Trash Talk-esque hardcore fury served up with some pretty impressive musicianship. From The Start even carries a blistering ‘metal’ influenced guitar solo complete with sweep picking. Tempos change in an instant- sometimes altering several times within a song, which is commendable considering the longest song on the album is a whopping one minute and thirty-two seconds. The closing one-two of The Lush I & II begins with snail-paced sludgy guitars which, a minute latter, have transformed into off-beat ska-style staccatos. This is an enraged, vital little record that will be sure to have people reaching for the repeat button as soon as the record has past them in a snotty punk blur.

Ducking Punches – I Am Arturo Bandini [EP] (4.5/5 from Ripper)
The latest release from Peterborough folk-punk quartet Ducking Punches, I Am Arturo Bandini is a very short, very sweet EP. Full of melody, optimism and some good old fashioned punk rock spirit, it’s the perfect way to perk yourself up in fifteen minutes.

Starting track, Burnt Matches, is a wonderful love story. Immediately, you’re struck by the fullness of the EP – this isn’t just some lone troubadour with an acoustic guitar, but a full folk-punk band, complete with drums, bass and violin. Lead singer Dan Allen has a fantastic tone to his voice; completely clean, but with just the right amount of Englishness. He’s joined by violinist Josie Clouting in the background, whose beautiful strings float gently through the entire release and whose vocals lend a decent contrast to Allen’s. The verses wind their way to a rousing instrumental section at the end and it sounds magnificent. Worm In The Apple takes a slightly different direction. There’s still some incredible violin, but the rest of the track is much simpler. This allows the politically charged lyrics to take the foreground. A fairly simple message of solidarity, Worm In The Apple speaks out to us all, and the choir of voices towards the end is unforgettable.

Side B presents us with Wrecking Ball, a very Frank Turner-like ballad of the self. While the lyrics may not be as clever as Frank’s often are, they’re just as touching and honest. The final track, Marching Amongst Giants, is the most stirring of all. Simply wonderful, it takes all the best elements of the release so far, shoves in some soaring electric guitar and mixes them all together for a storming tale about love, adversity and family.

I Am Arturo Bandini is simply sensational. With folk-punk rising in popularity, it’s great to see talented bands like Ducking Punches riding the wave and coming up with gold.

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