Drunks and Plastic Knives
Fi Beckett gets happy together with some summer sounds

Johnny Panic - Happy Together / I Live For (Propaganda)

Bit of an odd choice here, a cover of The Turtles' '67 hit (finally, a song to review that's older than I am!), which, initially, doesn't seem to have anything much to distinguish it from the original apart from a harder edge.

But the more I listen to it, the more I'm reminded of Echo & The Bunnymen's cover of The Doors' 'People are Strange'. Not that it sounds anything like it, more that it has the same dark vibe to it, like it's intended to retain that happy summery Turtles sound, but also have an almost subliminally menacing feel to it, like a stalker serenading the object of his affections.

Ah, now this is more like the Johnny Panic I know and love! Double A-side, 'I Live For' is another classic-in-waiting, up there with 'Burn Your Youth', 'Automatic Healer' and my current stereo-pleaser 'Destiny Calling'. Rob's instantly recognisable vocals combined with the soaring guitars, insistent drums and an absolutely killer riff come together so beautifully that the hairs on my neck actually stand on end! As with most of their songs, this one has a social conscience (though not in that nauseatingly 'worthy' Chris Martin manner) and although I guess it's possible to apply lyrics to any situation, this feels like seeing through the eyes of someone in need of compassion, empathy and tolerance, so maybe asylum seekers or the homeless are the subject matter here?

I really can't say enough good things about Johnny Panic as they're fast becoming my favourite band in the world...ever(!), even threatening to usurp this mighty zine's raison d'etre, the Manics, in my affections. They're that good. Really. So go check 'em out by either listening to the tracks on their website, downloading it from August 27th or, even better, waiting til Sept 4th and getting your grubby mitts on some sexy red vinyl!



Pisco Sour Hour - Drunks and Plastic Knives (7-track demo)

I so wanted to like this band, dunno if it's just a neighbourly thing, hailing from Sheffield they're practically living next door, and also they're so excited about this release and are doing something they so obviously love that I'm really hopeful that it's worth it, but the first four tracks just sound so insipid to me that I can't work up any kind of enthusiasm at all. But all is not lost, cos tracks five n six are a revelation! Nicking The Cure's bass, Bauhaus's atmosphere n little known 90's band Dream City Film Club's sleaze, they deliver two tracks that more than make up for the funk-infused tedium of the rest of the cd. And I have it on good authority that they're cracking live, so maybe it's just that their sound doesn't transfer that well to disc? Worth checking out if you're
in the area.

Kezi Silverstone - Nightingale (Massive Music)

Piano-accompanied ballads in which Ms Silverstone's voice has the 'haunting quality of Stevie Nicks...', it says here. She wishes! In actual fact her voice has the soporific qualities of Dido. Please make it stop.

Anti-Society - (Anarcho-punk compilation vol.3) (Overground)

Ok, so we know exactly what we're gonna get here; lots of shouty punks sticking it to The Man and quite frankly, I can't think of anything better!
Here we have a collection of bands, formed mainly in the late 70's/early 80's, when much of the Youth of the day were becoming increasingly
disillusioned with a world which seemed corrupt, war-obsessed and wasn't listening to a thing they were saying. Featuring a lot of bands you'll have
heard of, Oi Polloi, Alternative, Icons of Filth and the brilliantly named Thatcher on Acid (there can be no other explanation), but also many more
'underground' bands such as Karma Sutra, The Apostles and Hagar the Womb, this latest volume in the Anti-society series is packed with punk thrills aplenty and is sure to fire you up for a spot of government-baiting-fatcat-hating direct action. Possibly. But the thing that
really gets to me is that the issues that these bands are singing about are just as relevant today as they were 25 years ago. And how fucking sad is that?

Fi Beckett

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