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peterandthetesttubebabies fuctifano
Artist: Peter And The Test Tube Babies
Title: Fuctifano
Genre: Punk Rock
Release Date: 6th March 2020
Label: Arising Empire


Album Review

PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES is a 1978 founded Punk Rock band from Peacehaven, UK. The line-up surrounds the singer Peter Bywaters and the guitar player Del Strangefish who both are the composers since the band’s birth and the only two constant members. Some might call the band one of the legends from the early days of Punk and this is simply the truth. At the end of the 70s in England, everyone should know, Punk found its short arising. The Cold War slowly turned into the inevitable fate for all mankind, at least most people feared or even believed in the world’s end (which never really followed as you can still read these lines).

PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES was one of those artistic bands who picked that contradiction between the “negativity about an uncertain future” and the “attitude of nothing would ever change, so let’s continue like before” to produce their own overdrawn songs. And without writing them overdrawn but still a little realistic, they wouldn’t be Punk for sure. Around 42 years later they are now back with their 15th album ‘Fuctifano’, which the band declares to being a typical Scottish answer to questions for the directions (“F***ed if I know.”). Punk always asked questions, but rarely gave any answers. And so this album title is as self-critical as it could be.

In advance of going through the songs I have to admit THAT PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES is a live band. You can listen to their records, yes, but you should rather go to one of their shows for the full weird Punk experience that their shows are. And the band is touring very active even after more than four decades being around the world.

The first song ‘Liver’s Lament’ is a short piano intro to what might come: Drinking songs for the extended pub mood. Only your liver will know accurately. ‘Facebook Loser’ also is what its title says. It is a song about the typical social media addicted person. And the critics about using such social media platforms like Facebook is hitting directly into the listener’s heart as almost everybody is registered and from time to time overuses the opportunity. The song was already introduced to us as a single in the beginning of January and it gives you everything what you expect from a Punk Rock song - it is kind of rough, hard and truthful. The next one is one of these truthful Punk Rock tracks, too. ‘Hell To Pay’ hits into your face without any mercy. Playing this one live should easily bring the audience into pogo dancing. Good work in respect of pace and energy if you remember how long the band exists.

“Let’s get cydrated!” is the claim in ‘Cydrated’. A new element is the brass section playing catchy tunes that would never leave you again and that reminds you of some 2-tone Ska songs from the past. The song is about a hard working day, the end of the day to be precise. You don’t feel like sitting at home after a chaotic and hard day? Then listen to PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES and let you inspire to go and get some pints of lovely cider immediately! ‘Saturday Dad’ soon takes up this feeling and even the brass elements, but in a slightly sad way. To understand completely you should know that in the English culture Saturday is a symbol for football and pints, at least it is a typical pub day which could in some cases include family time. Peter sings “Where have the good times gone?” reflecting his sadness about how time has changed in this matter. By definition a Saturday dad is a guy who thinks who is cool but isn’t at all. The conclusion of being a guy that is really cool and enjoying the above explained Saturday tradition all week rather than being this type of guy one day a week only is obviously preferred by the band. Be authentic!

The next song, ‘Gravy Train’, probably reminds you of typical Psychobilly songs and follows a strict and complex narrative. Good to see that a band that exists for so many years has so many different influences. And this song is fun at all. Short after you will brought to “Ain’t Missing Her Yet”, a pub mood song again. A piano, an organ, some traditional instruments and a swinging rhythm lead this song that is about a fresh separation. Almost everybody knows what a separation brings you to: Drinking and having fun in some cases and definitely suppression of what have happened. Another fun song yet. Not too different from the two songs before, ‘Wanker’ is another atmospheric song. A female voice is singing the verses just to be supported by Peter or other male vocals in the chorus parts. But who is this wanker they sing about? Maybe he is the average type of guy who surrounds you every day. These three songs give the impression that the band is getting older and a little more settled, because they are still good songs to listen to, but lacking a little of the energy that the band is famous for. Though they are still the kind of weird type of storytelling. But a record needs such different ups and downs to be complete.

‘Small Victories’ again is the classical British Punk type of a track. Sing with the band whilst the chorus parts, raise your cold drink into the air. It surely is very catchy and could be a good sing along song during the band’s shows. ‘Punched Awake’ is what its name says, it rouses the listener to the next higher level. Have you slept during the last three tracks? Now wake up. Peter’s rough vocals determine this song. Shouts like “Taste the blood!” is what sticks out alongside the song’s name. You’d rather want to stay in bed? No chance, you will get punched awake anyway soon. A very good Punk Rock song that does not miss anything. ‘Tales Of The Bleedin’ Obvious’ takes up this category and continues it to another extent. You just have to listen to the told drama to know. This track is nothing special and uses typical phrases and a theme that are often used in this genre, but Punk has never pretended to be that special.

The time has come for this album to open its final chapter. ‘Screwed Down’ brings back the brass section and some appropriate effects and sounds in the background. It is as much an earwig as it could be. You would love those songs that utilize the brass and other alternating instruments, because they bring another melodic dimension with them. And that is what it needs to create catchy tunes. The last full song is ‘Queen Of Fucking Everything’ which was a single one month ahead of the album’s release as well. This single came with an official music video that you will find on the video platforms and that can be recommended to watch. And it is a real single, at least it is something like a hit. The name of this piece explains itself perfectly. She is the queen of f***ing everything, that’s it. The song brings the whole experience to another climax despite the fact that the album could have easily put this one into its centre.

But music sometimes don’t follow any rules. The record ends just like is has begun, with ‘Liver’s Lament (Reprise)’ as a piano driven song. But for the outro the vocals of Peter are used. Peter’s liver is meant to be singing to be fair. And he had too many ciders for sure, so his liver is complaining. And there couldn’t exist a better outcome of the whole album, it simply cries out for having drinks and fun. So why not listen to it and then be out for the night? You will find yourself in the right mood.

‘Fuctifano’ is a rock-solid album by PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES. The sound is nothing too special, but at least it is crystal clear. The vocals could have been in favour of having a little more room effects, but you can guess that this is Punk Rock. This genre is made for being lived out on the stages and in the live music clubs. And that is exactly how it sounds and that is a good thing after all. The vocabulary might sometimes be too difficult to understand for non-native British English speakers (this lucky author is in the situation to be close to that), but it is never too late to learn some accent. Despite these little issues the album is absolutely recommendable, a record that doesn’t lack anything. It could have been a little shorter, but this isn’t a thing to complain. And the future audience should not expect this record to contain such real big hits like there were in the band’s early days - there isn’t a ‘Banned From The Pubs’ or a ‘Jinx’. But time has changed and PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES have it, too. They grew up a bit and matured.

Recommendations: ‘Cydrated’, ‘Saturday Dad’, ‘Punched Awake’, ‘Queen Of Fucking Everything’


Tracklist

01. Liver’s Lament
02. Facebook Loser
03. Hell To Pay
04. Cydrated
05. Saturday Dad
06. Gravy Train
07. Ain’t Missing Her Yet
08. Wanker
09. Small Victories
10. Punched Awake
11. Tales Of The Bleedin’ Obvious
12. Screwed Down
13. Queen Of Fucking Everything
14. Liver’s Lament (Reprise)


Line-up

Peter Bywaters – Vocals
Derek „Del“ Greening – Guitar
Nick Abnett – Bass
Sam Fuller – Drums


Website

http://www.testtubebabies.co.uk / https://www.facebook.com/PeterAndTheTestTubeBabies


Cover Picture

peterandthetesttubebabies fuctifano


Rating

Music: 8.5
Sound: 9
Total: 8.8 / 10




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