Stinkwhistle - Fear and Loathing (EC Productions)
Biased? No, I'm not biased. Why do you ask? See, Adelaide's Fear and Loathing (aka FAL) is the band everyone should see, experience or endure, at least four times in their lives.
First gig: At the sight of a bunch of late 40-somethings making what they sometimes call music and what everyone else calls punishment, you will feel an uncontrollable urge to get extremely drunk. You will not remember getting home.
Second gig: Still hungover from last time, you turn up because you've realised that you didn't quite take it all in, and they've got this hypnotic scrunch about them. By now you're tapping your toe, occasionally jiggling along gingerly. You find yourself buying the band numerous jugs of pale ale. You find yourself driving home at midday, fairly certain you're going in the right direction.
Third gig: You're drunk, stoned and still know all the words. You sing along. The police bring you home four days later. You have the car keys but no car, someone's bicycle helmet, a large pink dildo and you can't remember where you work or your children's names.
Fourth gig, the day your children file for divorce: By the third song you've forgotten your name and you're dancing like a fuckwit. You're a FAL fan for life.
FAL don't do themselves too many favours, really. They've lost count of how many times they've been banned from venues around Adelaide, and how many venues as well. They still bill themselves as Australia's longest-running punk band but honestly, they haven't been what I'd call punk in decades. So what you're in for, with every FAL release, is stonking, foot pounding altered state rocknroll.
The front cover is mighty fine, the rear and insert not very nice and frankly unpleasantly amateurish, and the disc itself features pink flies, which is lovely.
The six tracks on "Stinkwhistle" are six tracks you absolutely must own, and you must also own the cover, for it is simple and sublime.
The recording could be better; Jess' vocals are right up there but the guitars sound rather muddy rather than the intense cranial squail they're capable of. The bass seems very un-separated and don't talk to me about Terry's drums. Terry is a phenomenon to witness, draining in fact. You can't hear it properly. But fuck that, this is FAL and anyone who has seen the light knows that allowances must be made when it comes to cds.
Doesn't matter, the cds are merely reminders to the world to beat a path to their door, beat it down, place the Hallowed Instruments in their grizzly fingers and stand back and try not to faint too early. Look, the world won't listen, and that's precisely why the likes of you should.
For me the standout track is Step in to the Light. There are two covers - Turbonegro's Get It On and the Strangler's Straighten Out. If I had a wish about FAL it's that they record on a decent stage with decent recording facilities and someone with a lot of experience with bands of this character. If you must have a comparison, I remember the Cosmic Psychos' first Adelaide tour being invaded by a group of enthusiastic Victorian cricketers. FAL are the musical equivalent for rugby players or football players or ice hockey players. Get me?
You know all those tedious UK punker bands from the '70s and '80s that keep touring here, the Vibrators and the AntiNowhere etc etc? FAL make 'em look like what they always were - toddler's willies.