Dirty Water Records

Taking Music Backwards Into Tomorrow

Fungal Punk: The Despondents "The Despondents"

14 tracks, 14 delicious pieces of raucous garage filth to wallow in. It is a simple opening statement but the fact is that this is nothing less than 100% true. I love what The Despondents do and after several 'live' SAS shows and a CD review I have really yet to uncover any form of disappointment. This album has been a long time coming and became almost a form of stupefying frustration for myself as a fan. The wait however ended and after a few mix-ups an album was sent my way for review. The initial listen was memorable although the volume was set at middling. A few more listens with the decibels increased and man oh fuckin' man what an album! Straight to the sonic nerve sending reaction after reaction to my musical core I consider this to be nothing less than a classic and ensnaring every amazing aspect of the scene as a whole and as a garaged ghetto blast. Hollowed, DIY, corroded and abrasive with deep, deep riffs to unsettle the idle this is of epic standards and is leaving a lasting impression never to be forgotten. Let me not tease thee any longer my foaming friend - come forth and let me take you into the midst of something most memorable, you will not be disappointed.

Tinned guitar whipped up with whizzorino vitality 'Dressed In Black' may be in mourning but the acoustic inflection is refusing to lie down and fuckin' moan. The verses molest and thrash out a vibe that is irresistible whereas the chorus just grabs one by the hairy bollocks and doesn't let go until one is reeling with musical/painful ecstasy. The busy attention all players are giving pays huge dividends with an end noise that is exhausting, full of spirited spunk and compacted with cacophonous brilliance. At once the repeat button is hit (something you will be doing throughout this CD) so as to savour the song over and over again - wow! 'Stoned' is a choice follow on and relies more on snot rather than pot so giving an active ingredient that inflates rather than a doped seasoning that deflates. A very strong industrial sound that lacks space, lacks thought, lacks consideration and as a result - just gets on with it and fuckin' triumphs big time. 

The wires in the speakers may send signals to play loud but that isn't good enough and at this juncture one should be re-working all the metallic threads and trying to squeeze more and more juice from those already trembling speakers. If the job is a good un' then 'California' will melt your mind with pulverising melody and all you gotta do is tilt your head sideway and let the resulting soup pour forth. The drums roll with a resonant warning before a taut twanging tune will slam into your system and remain there for life. The tone dips and the verse comes - Hawaii Five-0 Danno fucks a Flying Lizard and then adopts a whoring Beach Boy to make merry waves. A disturbing and simple idea but when put into practice the outcome is magnificent. Sun-kissed, escapist, lets get pissed - what a moment! Replay, replay, replay - sorry folks it just has to be done! 

'Got Nothing To Lose' forbids respite and re-energises with supreme skill and sonic persuasion that leaves me in no doubt that this album is a giant. The chorus is stubbornly beating one down into submission and all denial of a gem is taken away. Marvellous and what wisps of refusal remain are blown away on a startling breeze created by a clashing, smashing, splashing chorus of stunning proportions. Do not think me a fool at this point and accuse my words of misguided exaggeration - the plain truth is that what I write is still not worthy of what this silver circle offers and if words of greater magnitude were at my disposal then I would take them and use and abuse them with abandoned glee. My punk history is long, proud and eclectic and that only aides me in admiring this creative work and its place in these coloured annals of noise! Taut strings go haywire before an about turn is made and 'Schizophrenia' takes an ominous wander into the psychiatric ward and make jovial hell. An ideal sing-a-long piece that takes macabre delight in its own discordant disease and thus reinforcing the point that The Despondents can play it fast or slow and still come away in flying colours. 'Stupid Girl' is the most rock 'n' roll sleaze offering of the lot and again plays it loud, harsh and direct with lashings of discomfort throughout. Riding high on the crest of a cacophonic wave the band are knocking out classic after classic and so far it is, without the slightest apprehension, a superb six to savour. The silly bitch is beckoned and can hardly resist a serenade such as this - humping time I reckon - disgusting ain't it!

'Gotta Get Away (England Sucks)' thunders along with glorious belief and bleeds frustration, excretes tight angst, perspires spirit. There is an underlying desperation and this shines through the musical outpouring and so creates an excitement for the players and listeners alike. 'Get Out (Of My Face)' swaggers along and gives off a somewhat haughty ambience that works and somehow creates more character to the crew. The sensation of reaching the threshold of patience is passed forth and an abrupt response, filled with cold, harsh words, is the only result. Once more add volume and get the most from the vibe man - or as in the words of the band themselves 'Get Outta My Face...BITCH'.

'If God Exists' keys itself in and moves and grooves with sweet melody in tact. Radioed vocals, yet more infected musicianship and with a slightly fuller sound this effort can slip by if one ain't truly absorbed. This one grows as the track progresses and reaches a critical stage at midway before once more swelling with emergency appeal. 'Out Of My Head' starts with subdued strings before merging into a chorus that adopts the same style. Muffled, unruffled the band seem on sober mode at this pont and I await the opening of the acoustic can of worms. It never really comes and although still a highly listenable track with a spacious segment where bass and vocals escort one another to the final wind down I did expect more. A minor blip/slip/trip but no permanent damage done. 'Talkin' Bout Love' harkens from smoked US joints where make-up, mayhem and masturbatory music was all the rage. A 'get down on yer knees and suck' style is blatant and from across the pond much favour must come for this retro-rockin' romper. The lead man greases it up and sounds very much at home - dirty bastard!

'So Hung Up On You' hip grinds forth with sonic spunk at the ready. A light disrobing and a refreshing breeze blows across the exposed melodic flesh. Saccharine and soured in one serving with a sub-Ramones cut following the opening verse. A few extras are added with grumbling drums, stretched strings and electrified mouth and the blitz is over. 'Advice' is a corking track that insists you listen and grabs you by the nuts. A clutter-bucket approach is broken by the repeat-four chorus vomiting simplicity. A whip up in intensity is gently done and before we know it the end of the CD is upon us. 'Grand Theft Auto' is well oiled, bouncing, and full of powerful petrol liable to ignite at anytime and burn yer fuckin' prunes off. A full circle-spin is achieved and the initial excitement is recaptured and the whole rotating circle is crowned with triumph. The pull in to the pit stop results in a collision and your head is thrown right through the window screen - it's the only way to go on this journey baby.

So in summing up - I love the band, I love the style and I truly rate this CD as one of the highs of 2010. This year I have reviewed, at this point in time, 114 CD's and this is most assuredly in the top ten - that's how good it is. Peeling, ugly punk played with zeal and bang on the fuckin' sub-generic mark - have some!

Dirty Water Records London