Spunk Volcano & The Eruptions


Hot on the heels of their Double Bastard album SV and The Eruptions prove once again how prolific they are with the follow-up, the interestingly titled “Barry Milner Is Thick”. I haven’t yet decided if Barry is real or just another character in the main songwriter’s head. Anyway, I digress. Despite only being a single album it does boast 14 tracks, here we go then…

Opener “Broken Hearts Make Better Songs” bounds along with some early “woah, woah, woahs” in the intro, it’s a tongue in cheek little ditty about heartbreak songs. Surprisingly “Poppy” for an Alt/Punk/Rock act the scratchy guitar lines match a snare-heavy beat behind layered vocalising. That vocal is as clear and audible as one could hope for while the lyrics suggest a possible real-life scenario. It’s a great opener. “Football In The Sun” is a song echoing memories of sunny day kickabouts in the park with your mates, without a care in the world – “jumpers for goalposts anyone”? A winding, clicky bass intro becomes the song’s main focus throughout. It’s a crowd-pleaser invoking a smile on my face as I write. Rhyming throughout it dispenses with the speedball pace of their usual output, in favour of a more mature yet polished delivery. An infectious chorus strains briefly to make its point, the snare-driven beat in the engine room keeps a regular pace while the guitars noodle latterly. Story-telling lyrics remind you of those sun-soaked Summer days, nominating which player you were gonna be that day! The Panda Pops and Wagon Wheels line will resonate with those of a certain vintage – not to mention a certain Argentinian starlet, who gets a place in the song’s title.

“Soldier On” again uses that scratchy guitar playing style, matched by an audible vocal. Lyrically a story of life’s experiences both past and present and a nod to the future maybe. It’s a simple song that at no point bursts into life, more chugs along in a gentle radio-friendly fashion. “Hard as Nails” however returns to a sound we are more familiar with. Powerful, direct and like a punch in the face, with customary cussing added for good measure. “ard as fookin’, ard as fookin’ nails” goes the chorus – be in no doubt what the subject matter is about?! It’s a shoe-in for the live shows with that anthemic chorus one expects to be shouted back at them. The noodly bridge is a nod to DBD (of old), but ostensibly it’s your classic 2.5min Punk song and one of the main reasons I love this band.

“Swiss Army Dick Head” kinda follows on from Hard as Nails with pacey riffs and a frenetic drumbeat. I’m guessing it’s written about experiences of society’s low-lifes but in today’s difficult times it could be any one of us. I find the chorus a tad repetitive but again they’ve gone for the classic 2 minute Thrash/Punk epic. “I Should Have Seen it Coming” begins with a buzzsaw guitar part that dissolves into pure Pop in the chorus. The infectious chorus is catchy as hell as the snare becomes more powerful, but the guitars are the star here. The noodly bridge reappears once more and the guitars squeal and squall as that infectious chorus repeats to its conclusion.

Spunk Volcano & The Eruptions

“Little Red Buggy” slips more into Hard Rock territory, with its snarly dark overtone. Then the vocal kicks in and lyrically it’s as puerile as it comes. It’s filler, it’s a mid-set breather song and it’s not out of place on this collection. It won’t win any awards on a lyrical front, but may raise the odd smile at gigs?! Thankfully ‘Magic Manikin’ is a return to form. Pacey with that customary “wooh, wooh’s”, vocal layering and a nod to teenage exuberance. Sadly though (as previously) it lacks the lyrical content to make it stand out and fades to nothing in a swell off “wooh wooh’s”.

“Council Pop” begins with fast, furious hitting and heavy noodly guitars; straining and squalling throughout. The vocals are equally immediate but the lyrical content is a mystery? Council Pop, tap water maybe? I’m just wondering if this was a song formed in the instrumentation and the lyrics came later? ‘Looking For Something’ returns to the more melodic style of earlier cuts on here. It’s fast, it’s noodly, it’s layered and there’s wooh’s! And not to be outdone another squally bridge that takes the song to its conclusion.

“This Is Fucking Shit” is a direct, in yer face cuss-fest with a nod to Lemmy in the vocal. A tale of a wasted life maybe? Dark, aggressive, confrontational, and that’s just the vocal onslaught! Blunt and to the point, hard and harsh and any number of adjectives I could have chosen. Huge hitting, scratchy guitars and a vocal straining at the leash. There’s real spite in Spunk’s vocal delivery. The tame bridge rescues it somewhat before returning with more gusto, while the ending is as sharp as a knife. “Only Got Eyes For You” is the token “Love Song” – yes, Punk bands do them too!! A pleasant return to melody, with whirring chords; snare and subtle bass. Honest, heartfelt lyrics which suggest a truth behind the title. Some intricate noodling takes it to its conclusion, but it’s a refreshing departure from the hard ‘n fast.

“Tomorrows Promises” is a much slower, more melodic song which sees them up their game somewhat. The slow, gradual build-up to the big anthemic chorus is nothing new, but the clicky guitars perfectly complement the precise vocal layering. Yes, there are the occasional guitar strains and noodles; cymbal-heavy hitting and bass throbs, but SV takes centre stage confidently with layer upon layer of said vocal. Musically I’m detecting hints of XTC in the verses, yet the chorus holds that classic Eruptions fun/Punk feel; replete with noodling and a clever fadeout finale. “Caving In” closes this collection with a heartfelt honesty that is becoming less of a rarity in their output. It soon strains to bring in the wall of sound, but the heart-tugging lyrics just grab you. I’m hoping this is a work of fiction as the band have managed another decent body of work that continues their upward trajectory. This final cut, however, smacks of desperation, which I doubt is the bigger picture.

Spunk Volcano & The Eruptions

SV and The Eruptions may divide opinion with this release: there are one or two highlights; some low points, some filler and some songs that (IMO) just don’t belong. While I don’t want to appear downbeat, I fear their prolificacy might start to be their undoing – we will see…

Track-Listing
Broken Hearts Make Better Songs
Football In the Sun (Ossie Ardiles)
Soldier On
Hard As Nails
Swiss Army Dick Head
I Should Have Seen it Coming
Little Red Buggy
Magic Manikin
Council Pop
Looking For Something
This Is Fucking Shit
Only Got Eyes for You
Tomorrows Promises
Caving In

SV and The Eruptions are
Guitar + Vocal – S.V.
Bass + Vocal – Joey Strange
Drums + Vocal – Maff Fazzo
Guitar – Tom ‘G Force’ Batterbee
Guitar – Scott Bones

Links
http://www.spunkvolcano.com
https://www.facebook.com/spunkvolcano

Review by Ross A. Ferrone.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace