The trees were haunted, their shadows dancing in the flickering light of our campfire, stabbing in and out of the dark, a ghost story that hadn’t been told yet. We, a few intrepid travellers, had stopped for the night; our bindles perched next to trees we sat down and set up…
Now, when I was younger, I used to listen to a lot of varying metal, which is strange when you consider the absolute tosh I listen to now, but I had always been a fan of my friend Hadley Sharp’s dedication to the metal he listened to. When he and I first met, he was the golf course maintenance guy who sang and played all the instruments in a little band called Manogmagore. Twelve years on and he is now the vocalist (note that I very deliberately didn’t use the term ‘singer’) and lyricist for a lovely little London band called Clunge Plunger. They play a style of music called ‘Grindcore‘ or ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll‘ (really?) or ‘Crust‘. After a quick Google, I find that all of these terms are accurate.
I know this is meant to be a full EP review but as I can only guarantee that I know the lyrics for one song, I am actually just going to review that instead…
‘BENCH PARTY’ – A poets review:
As soon as you hear the guitar kick in, sounding like a demolitions crew have just been fired and have decided to take it out on the surrounding buildings, you know this is going to be a good track. That mixed in with the low-key cymbals playing (a sound in metal that usually means s**t is about to go down), is very reminiscent of Bach’s earlier lesser known work experimental with blast beat crescendos. A clearly Back has been a great influence as shortly after a “Yo” they kick in. About five seconds of that combined with some sludgy double kicks and the vocals come in.
Now, Bench Party is a track that we can all get on board with as it is a little ditty about getting tanked with your pals round a bench and maybe a little bit of screaming at cars as they drive by, wondering what has gone so wrong in our lives? Really, nothing, this is just growing up (if you can’t make a pop punk reference in everything, are you even a pop punk fan?) I would like to note that when I say, “all get on board with” what I actually mean is those that have previously got drunk at a bench at some point in their lives, usually in the summer, usually with grandiose plans for the rest of the day/rest of our lives that never really materialize…
Shall we continue with the review? I believe we should. (Yes, Please do – Existential Crisis Suffering Editor).
I daren’t say the refrain (I might say I refrain from postulating about the refrain if I were a lesser man…) is not catchy. A mix of guttural but clear vocals partitioned with some excellent finger work (ladies…) on guitar and some mental blast elements on the drums.
What is interesting is after that, the whole tone of the song changes, and we have a beat that you could legitimately play in a bar (full of people you hate) and mosh to (with people you hate), the whole song becomes a lot more rhythmical, the sort of thing you want to throw your shoulders into and your back out of as you realise you are actually a lot older than you used to be and perhaps moshing is no longer your bag. The next verse changes tempo again and we see the vocal pattern change altogether making me wonder whether or not this track actually has a refrain at all? (Maybe it does, I am no longer seasoned in metal after all, now it’s all just basil and parsley. Not at the same time though. I’m not an animal) Lyrically, we saw a lot more vagrancy in the language used, with the final line being about not remembering when one last bathed. Was it yesterday? Was it a week ago, I fear we may never know.
Strangely enough, as the song progresses, we end up with an almost country esque sort of break down and lyrics that are similar to S Club 7’s, ‘S Club Party‘, but in a Grindcore fashion, which, I have to say, I am all for. The different musical elements throughout the song ad new layers to existing Grindcore out there, a pleasant change in an over arching genre that is often plagued with repetitiveness (see any band that you can hear at your local open mic).
I do love a faster ‘chug chug’ riff. It sounds almost as if you are listening to the song on a ship as it goes through slow tempestuous waves.
I think there has just been a jazz breakdown… Or, a shattering of genre stereotypes.
The song finishes with a break down that would’ve impressed my psychiatrist. Combined with the guttural scream of “bench party” the song stops.
If you are into this style of music, then Clunge Plunger is the band for you. Although not my first choice to listen to (seriously, I just like trash music about guys whose wives have left them), I do appreciate the technicality (that I didn’t really mention) the intricacies of melodies (also not mentioned) and the reckless abandonment and carefree attitude shown by the band (also not mentioned – seriously, who lets me write these?)
My overall rating four stars. I would have given more but I don’t actually know what is going on in the songs most of the time, perhaps you have a better ear for this sort of music than I do, you write in and tell me how great it is.
If I am honest, it is all a blur, the last thing I remember as we rolled out our sleeping bags was some shouting “Hey, guys! I found a bench! Have you got any Kestrel left?”