Peter And The Test Tube Babies – “Fuctifano” (Arising Empire/Warner & UK – ADA Warner)
Battle Helm Rating
Formed in 1978 and considered part of the Punk Pathetique subgenre in view of their more humorous take on life through absurd lyrics and strange song titles rather than their more aggressive gobbing counterparts, Peter And The Test Tube Babies have rocketed back into the news following their acclaimed album “That Shallot” in 2017, coincidentally the same year that vocalist Peter Bywaters was deported from the USA, apparently for having imitated Donald Trump!!! Since then the touring hasn’t stopped and driven by founders Bywaters and guitarist Del ‘Strangefish’ Greening, the piss taking has continued at levels previously unseen. “Fuctifano” unmistakably continues the band’s tradition and even takes it to new levels with song titles like ‘Queen Of Fucking Everything’ and ‘Tales Of The Bleedin’ Obvious’. Jokes aside however, it’s also pretty clear that Bywaters and Greening have stepped up their own game in recruiting a new rhythm section to make The Test Tube Babies a tight unit built for the road as well as in the studio, where the composing has definitely been perfected. Keeping the humor, but bringing in memorable hooks, energetic shout outs, punk rock n roll and even classy brass sections (‘Cydrated’) to create memorable singalongs and ultimately a fun time, that’s definitely the case on the 14 tracks of “Fuctifano”. Opening with dark choirs more befitting a black death release, ‘Facebook Loser’ with its hard kick beats, deep riffs and catchy main melody resonating out’ve Greening’s feedback tinged guitar definitely grab you by the balls as Bywaters takes a slightly more serious tone both in his gruff vocals and the hard backing shout outs matching the topical lyrical theme here. Kicking up the pace on the pit inducing ‘Hell To Pay’ with Greening’s charged guitar stamping punk all over its catchy riffs topped off by some very flash rock n roll breaks, Sam Fuller’s rampaging drum beats play hell on the senses as the raucous shout outs along with Bywaters throat strained near screams send you straight into the mental ward – albeit with a very happy smile indeed. On the fast punk rockabilly of ‘Gravy Train’ Bywaters’s rapid fire vocals matches Greening’s own jaw dropping fast fretboard work on this fantastic fiery number that delivers its fomenting social reflection on the black economy – easily my favorite number! Closely followed has to be the melodic punk of ‘Wanker’, sung by a female lead and backed by Bywaters in what could be the perfect antithesis to the Anti Nowhere League’s infamous classic ‘Woman’ – nuff said – although the hilarious crooning style and soft melodies add even more to the overall effect that will have you splitting your sides here! “Fuctifano” proves that fun punk ain’t dead – or it’s just yet another monumental piss take – but f—–d if I know mate.