So onto the first track and after the initial fairground call to attention 'Fight Town' struts forth with gruff inflection and melodic show. A bass vibration is punctuated with a couple of drum slams and in we go with head down and surging through with intent. The unremitting ambience carries the sound and the buzz-saw guitar work keeps things dirty. A nice composite spiced with front man Matt's rough as fuck vocal style - boy this guy must be on 100 Woodbines a day. Great start and the lyrical content about small towns, small minds and the violence therein is relatable and gushes with street know how. Following on is the equally fluent 'Agenda 21' a song that is hard to encapsulate in few words. The drums are orthodox and lead to a shuffle 'n' scuffle noise that is traditional FTR. The speed at first is not as noticeable as it should be and only after several listens does one really realise that this riotous crew are really setting a pace. The chorus is a repeat rabidity of 'make room' which works delightfully and pursues its predecessor nicely. One point worthy of note with First Time Riot is how they keep a certain tidiness to their output but always give hint at a final grimy noise. Similar to a dirty nob in a pair of freshly washed duds - you know everything is not as spick and span as it should be but the filth enthrals (if you are that way inclined). I am that way inclined as regards the bands noise (no not the other way tinkers) and hold the outfit and their grubby gonad sound in high regard.
'Black Sheep' is a superb motoring outburst that just will not be restrained. I fuckin' love this one and make sure you lie back and absorb the swift urgency and seemingly unending lyrical splurge. It just rattles on with true punk insistence and I feel FTR make the most of the slim 1 minute 46 second running time. In keeping with the aforementioned underwear simile I find this track like a size 32 bra holding a pair of sized 44 wonder jugs. It’s all in there and spilling out at the edges but, what is actually in there is sheer joy (if you are one of those people referred to as a 'tit-man' - a very dubious tag if you ask me). I hope you get the drift and are keeping abreast of this review so far. It's all down to nerves you know!
'Seize The Day' is now an old song but what a golden oldie it is. Like a pair of aging underpants that....no I must stop there - honestly this fixation! Anyway this song is a true feather in FTR's cap and embraces all the good qualities of the band. Great song writing, a raucousness that retains rhythm and an instantaneous likeability that never fails to impress. The lyrics are fuckin' stunning and with a real 'kick up the arse' positivity. The delivery is spot on and anyone considering writing off FTR as just another punk band need to listen to this with open ears - yeeee ahhhhh - go on 'Wake Up'! 'Under Your Roof' has a similar drive to all that has gone before with a more basic approach. It still slots in nicely and will be the least appealing track on initial listens but will crawl into its own niche given time. Swift and needy - go on give it a home!
Foot off the gas and 'One Of Five' takes its time somewhat and has a chorus punters should be joining in with. A nice stabilising song with a sweet solo section to enjoy. The change of pace is welcome and although slight it still maintains the run of the musical river. 'The Crowd Of England' is rebellious and unsettled with a disillusioned aspect that ensnares the listener. Chants of 'We're going nowhere' and 'Out with the old and in with the new' are always pertinent and get those punk hackles rising. Can FTR put a foot wrong on this debut album - so far the answer is no! Tripwire at the ready!
'Stockholm' is a funny tune that I don't quite grasp the meaning of and so wait upon the band to explain. Musically (which is what really matters) this continues the now set trend. Strong verse and chorus, a comfort zone sound that has me reclining in the bands pleasing sonic sunlight and a general tightness of delivery that I can't pick problems with. 'Falling Down' could be assessed with the word 'ditto' but has more pace and a downright disgust with all things grey and routine. That 'gotta get away' restlessness familiar with the youthful punk spirit is dealt with by elderly statesmen who still retain what its all about and that shines them in a good light in Fungal’s greenhouse of criticism. Both these last two sounds are decent efforts but fall into the powerful looming shadow of the mammoth 'This Country'. Pistol’s guitar whips, snarling deliveries all around and a 'come one and all' embracing racket that is this bands zenith thus far. A statement of intent that sets out a stall never to be kicked free. The unsettled wordage, the rebellious angst and the adamantium structure wind, bind and blind with delicious spiked irresistibility making this is a modern day classic. This isn't a new song and why it hasn't received more credit is beyond me - fuckin' stone deaf punks hey!
'T. C. B' is another FTR fave of mine and the clockwork chorus and rushing verse help time to fly on wings of pub and bucket enthusiasm. The mainstream is soared over and the nest is made in the grimy cistern of a local punk rock tavern. A very real abode with very real people listening to a blare made for them. This will never be the flavour of the month with the conformist cattle but for those with a lug for the honest and unpretentious then many a golden egg will be devoured. 'First Time Riot' is the bands signature tune and I suppose the name is a little more than obvious in suggesting this. A good 'live' song I reckon and done in now obvious style. Well paced and in good time with the usual dusted end finish - it does the job and rounds off a very strong debut. But wait what’s this - a veritable classic to finish - an added bonus to please? 'Meminisse sed providere' is a pearl of wisdom with a totally and utterly fantastic infestation of golden musical brilliance. I adore this piece of work and it never fails to rouse my sonic spirits. Roughly translated the title says it all about the over-nostalgic swine’s that inhabit our scene and the general need to keep things moving so bands like FTR can thrive and receive just reward. Remember, but look ahead - obvious isn't it.
Why FTR have played on the SAS tour, why I Fungalpunk think they are a shit hot band and why I have an overwhelming desire for more of the same is evidence enough of what I actually think of the crew and their output. Lap this up and take pride in helping a true underdog outfit. Go check them out too and enjoy their marvellous set and then come to a SAS gig and watch em' again and tell me how this review inspired you - if not then 'fuck off' because you really are missing out. What was it again - 'Wake up its time to live come get up, get up'!
www.fungalpunknature.co.uk - Sept 2009
Big "Uk-82" influence for this English band. When I heard the first riffs I immediately thought of THE EJECTED and ONE WAY SYSTEM. They aren't bad at all, the songs are short, the production is good, I just believe they lack a bit of energy and personality. I don't know, for instance a little bit of thrash or reggae parts from time to time would have made them stand out. The lyrics are socially aware but slightly metaphorical. Keep an eye out on this band. http://www.deadlambrecords.com (Yann)
(In French) Grosse influence Uk-82 pour ce groupe anglais. Dès les premiers accords j’ai pensé à THE EJECTED et ONE WAY SYSTEM. C’est pas mal du tout, les chansons sont courtes, la production est bonne, je trouve juste que ça manque un peu de pêche et de personnalité. Je sais pas, par exemple un poil de thrash ou de reggae de temps à autres ça aurait été cool pour relever la sauce. Les textes sont sociaux mais un peu métaphoriques. Un groupe à suivre. http://www.deadlambrecords.com (Yann)
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