Reviews

Volume

Hidden Charms History LP

I remember the first record by these guys as being real tough in the vein of the LIME SPIDERS or the NOMADS and while there are a few all-out screamers here, most of the songs on their second album are more somber, and maybe a little bit more bluesy. Not a bad thing, but if you believe a band is not as good when they get technically proficient you might want to pass on this cause they can play now.

Reality Control The Reproduction of Hate EP

This group has a traditional UK anarchist band musical approach and stance, and they seem to be firmly committed. “Man” is a dramatic and unique song with an intense build-up that culminates in tense, maniacal thrash; the other two cuts are slower, but just as tense/intense.

Total Chaos Fields and Bombs 12″

A real potpourri of styles can be found on this latest TOTAL CHAOS release. There’s a cool guitar instrumental (“Blood on the Roof”), a pair of slow, rather unusual punk songs (“Bank of England” and “Where is the Fellowship?”), and three great post-punk numbers that I really like. Given the name of the band and their earlier style, this 12” is really a surprise, but a pleasant one.

Total Chaos Factory Man EP

TOTAL CHAOS specializes in a terse, powerful hardcore sound when they so choose, and this four-track EP is quite distinctive stylistically. Songs like “Factory Man” and “She Don’t Care” contrast well with the brooding protest of “I Die,” making this an atypical, though by no means outstanding record. No major developments since their debut.

Toy Dolls Cheerio and Toodle Pip / H.O.! 7″

The TOY DOLLS are in top funnypunk form on their new single. Not only are the themes and sing-along choruses typically hilarious, but the up-tempo rhythm and crisp guitar assault add more oomph than usual. If this record doesn’t make you crack a smile, you’re already dead.

Toy Dolls Nellie the Elephant / Dig That Groove, Baby 7″

Another great funnypunk release from the TOY DOLLS. “Nellie” is a disposable novelty song, but “Dig” finds the band in their real groove, baby—fast, guitar-heavy punk-pop with hilarious lyrics. It’s almost as neat as “Tommy Kowey’s Car,” and that’s saying a lot.

Toy Dolls Dig That Groove, Baby LP

The high-velocity insanity of this debut album by the TOY DOLLS brings to mind the work of great funnypunk bands like the DICKIES and the NOTSENSIBLES. Virtuoso guitar work, unforgettable melodies, and patently hilarious lyrics raise Dig That Groove, Baby to instant classic status, especially clever ditties like “Spiders in the Dressing Room,” the title track, and “Glenda and the Test Tube Baby.” Spirited and (s)punky.

Toy Dolls Alfie From the Bronx / Hanky Panky 7″

More funnypunk from these jokers. I don’t like this one quite as much as some of their previous records, though the vocal symphony on the A-side is delicious. The flip (not the TOMMY JAMES song) sounds like a JILTED JOHN outtake and is appropriately ridiculous.

Toy Dolls We’re Mad / Deirdre’s a Slag 7″

Well, you can’t spend too much time analyzing the TOY DOLLS, and they’re as humorous as always here. “We’re Mad” isn’t a typical song for them; it’s a bit heavy-handed with lots of reverb and a metallish guitar solo, but I’m sure that’s part of the parody and it’s starting to grow on me. “Deirdre’s a Slag” is remixed from the Strength Through Oi! compilation. Still great fun.

Toy Dolls A Far Out Disc LP

The TOY DOLLS return to vinyl with a display of outright mania unlike I’ve ever quite witnessed. While the general song quality is a bit lower than on their classic debut album, the band’s crisp pop-punk style and Olga’s unforgettable high-pitched vocals make this record a must. “She Goes to Fino’s,” “My Girlfriend’s Dad’s a Vicar,” and the hilarious “Commercial Break” are classics. Hysterical.

Toy Dolls James Bond (Lives Down Our Street) / Olga…I Cannot! 7″

Again this English trio puts forth their great sense of humor and their ability to produce some incredible music. With this effort, we get two songs that just don’t want to leave the turntable. The A-side is a happy upbeat tune in the ever-so-familiar TOY DOLLS style, while the flipside is a bit slower and drags on at times, yet still comes off entertaining. The record will definitely put a smile on your face.

Toy Dolls Geordie’s Gone to Jail 12″

Two tracks from their LP (the title track and “Idle Gossip”), the former sounding like early 999 (according to Lydia), and the latter is a classic TOY DOLLS rave. Then there’s the onus track, the title track again, but sung in Japanese. I’ve heard it all now.

Uproar Nothing Can Stop You EP

The third 7” from UPROAR isn’t bad, it just goes in one ear and out the other. It has great production, good lyrics, and I really like the song “Your Empire,” but it sounds like a million other English punk records.