Al Al Who by Ceramic Hobs (PUMF
567, 2007 - click to buy)
1 Midas Case
3 Puerto Rican Sex Chant
4 Explosion In A Dustbin Factory
5 Friend Of A Friend
7 Whistling From Above
8 Wir Kinder
9 Latent Subtext
10 All Psychiatrists Are Bastards
11 Sunset Over Dee Estuary
12 Molodynski's Medical Holocaust
14 Blue Eyes
15 Stick The War On Terror Up Your Arse
16 Secret Squirrel
18 Horrible Old Trout
19 Wild To Be Born
20 The Powergen Course
21 Six Degrees Of Dissociation
"This band is like Muhammad Ali on a skateboard".
- Kyp Highbury
- Review by Ian Harrison,
"Blackpool noiseniks de-tune sanity, refuse to button it.
Who are Ceramic Hobs? Allied to the Mad Pride movement of 'survivors of the mental health system', these 'Suppliers of Scotch Mist' are now up to their fourth full album (others include Psychiatric Underground and Straight Outta Rampton). Inside you get Fall-style rockabilly, adeptly played with a meatier sound than of yore, some yucksome Oi! parodies and lashings of ear-shredding tape-noise. Some will find it sick and horrible, but if you think a song called
Stick The War On Terror Up Your Arse is laudably succinct, and chanting the phrase 'Freeze dried monkey spunk' to the tune of Oops! Upside Your Head is funny, respect may well be
- Review by Richard Foster, Incendiary
The genius of Ceramic Hobs. I don’t use the word lightly either . . . they are as utterly uncompromising as ever, regaling us from the off with the collage of
Midas Case - a Northern drone-athon supreme with samples smeared over the basic, erm droning . . . Suddenly we have
Cupcakes, a ridiculously catchy paean to cup cakes and other forms of savoury products. It’s classic Ceramic Hobs and we are hooked.
Puerto Rican Sex Chant is the usual angry amalgam of samples and monolithic pounding. As if this wasn’t enough we have
Explosion in A Dustbin Factory which doggedly pursues the most luddite beat it can muster up and grinds it into our brains with no respite. These three tracks are like sitting next to the angry drunk in a bar in Burnley, who constantly tries to tell you about Newton’s Laws; yes he’s an MA but he’s 6 foot four and has egg stains on his nose which makes you wonder why you were talking to him in the first place . . .
Friend of a Friend is a hapless story of a relationship; akin to a sixties car chase theme whereas
Bogwash is a fabulously dreadful racket with a comedy Country-style interlude.
Whistling From Above effectively takes the piss out of all Post Punk newbies with a track of utter wantonness. “The caring professions can burn in hell” is also one of the more outré lyrics of the year too . . . and it just doesn’t let up.
Wir Kinder is about as basic as you can get; it really does sound like a family row. Following that,
Latent Subtext is a suspiciously groovy, but fantastically ramshackle skank-pop song that morphs into Hawkwind with no notice. It’s this ability to keep you guessing right from the word go, that truly shows the Hobs at their best.
This is a long LP, 21 tracks in total, and to try to attempt to describe every track would be exhausting. For brevity’s sake I’m going to pick a few tracks;
All Psychiatrists are Bastards, is a fabulous Fall-style rant chronicling the attempt to murder Beatle George . . . whereas
Molodynski’s Medical Holocaust is another Luddite stomp that the Hobs excel at.
By far my favourite rant on here is Stick the War on Terror Up Your
Arse, which I will certainly be playing at my next disco booking. Flower, by total contrast is a brilliant slab of C86 indie pop. Incredible. Whereas
Horrible Old Trout is a classic anti-Thatcher rant. It really could be 1986 again . . . Things come to a suitable conclusion with
Six Degrees of Dissociation, a seven minute odyssey of sounds and screams, and samples. It’s tremendous if confusing.
What can I say? I’m worn out.
- Review by Biscuit Psychosis
OK. Ask yourself a question. In this era of heard it all before where something as brain crushingly trite and mundane as Coldplay are lauded, when was the last time you heard an album which gave you that "what the fuck??" moment? An album with no reference points, when you couldn't immediately name 90% of the band's record collections? Well?
So to Al Al Who then, fourth album from the UK's best kept secret Ceramic Hobs. There are few if any reference points here save for a mild nod to The Fall on the genius disturbed Rockabilly of
Cupcakes or the fact that Simon's deadpan vocals sometimes bring to mind the great Robert Lloyd. Basically you are on your own, swimming into the universe of Hobs and it's a thrilling place to visit. Melodies are mangled, sacred cows are slaughtered and ultimately you are reminded that music can be a thrilling, engaging experience. There is a scope to Al Al Who that is missing from so much music in these times.
Impossible here to single out individual tracks as they are all worth repeated listens. At times you will want to jump around like a gibbon on steroids, other times you will want to throw yourself out of the window and at times this album will make you feel scared. Scared as in being alone on the top deck of the last bus when a psychotic drunk climbs the stairs and sits next to you. Ultimately friends, this album has restored my faith in underground UK music and hand on heart this is the 1st truly classic album of the
- Review by Repeat
Inventive gravel throated punk with a top sense of humour, fantastic sampling and brilliant song titles including
Stick the War On Terror Up Your Arse, Bogwash, All Psychiatrists are Bastards and
Puerto Rican Sex Chant. A spirited punky racket that will make you smile and which wears its idiosyncrasies on its
20 Golden Deathtrips / Golden Hour of the Ceramic Hobs / Celebrating 20 Years of Mental Illness by
Ceramic Hobs (PUMF 511, 2005 - click to buy)
1 The Stoat Rides Out
2 Hardhorn Blues
3 Wife Swapping Party
4 The Bucket Filled Twice
5 Prisoner Cell Block H Theme
6 This Sore And Broken Blackpool Legacy
7 Even More Dysfunction
8 Scotch Mist
9 Secret Garden
10 Horror Of Windscale
11 Trilateral Killed Cornelius Cardew
13 Make Mine A Large One
14 Remembrance For Nicole Simpson
15 Marx, Christ And Satan United In Struggle
17 Why Burnley Chris Got The Treatment
18 Louie Louie Bleriot
19 Blackpool Transport
- Review by Hiroshima Yeah!, 2005
'Celebrating 20 years of mental illness' says the CD spine and this release does exactly that. Compiled from various limited run 7"s, CDs and flexi-discs but also including some previously unreleased material, here are the Hobs with 20 tracks of sheer unique diversity / perversity. Much of what's on offer here are super-distorted, reverb-fests of undeterminable lyrical content. In
This Sore and Broken Blackpool Legacy, for example, about all I can make out is the name 'Richey' screamed over and over again (and, only then, 'cos the sleeve-notes explain that the song is 'some kind of mixed tribute to Ramleh and Richey Edwards'). It's nice to hear old fave
Make Mine a Large One, from 2000's 'Free Tim Telsa' CDR EP, again, which I have fond memories of listening to in my shitty attic bedsit at the time. When Jane takes over vocal duties, on
Remembrance for Nicole Simpson and Seahorses, the lyrics are more upfront. On these tracks, the cold delivery and harrowing content make for an uncomfortable but strangely beautiful listen. But Ceramic Hobs aren't ALL doom and gloom . . . and top track at HY! Towers has got to be a completely hilarious take on the 'Prisoner Cell Block H' theme! As someone who used to be addicted to that show, this Half Man Half Biscuit-esque rendering brings a lump to my trousers EVERY time! I still have a video of the episode where Joan 'The Freak' Ferguson trips on acid! What a fucking CLASSIC! Nearly as good is the wonderful
Blackpool Transport, which starts as a spoken-word account of some Blackpool punks' particular choice of amusement (i.e. cheap booze and solvents) and then descends into a chaos of laugh-out-loud funny samples over a chugging riff. I'm not sure if this CD is meant as a kind of 'best of' but, in classic Hobs style, there are some truly bizarre song choices made here. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who's never heard the band before (any one of the last 3 'proper' albums would be a better starting point) but, for fans, it's a good collection of some of the rarer stuff from years gone
- Review by Liam, Modern Dance
The spine of the CD informs us that this offering is “celebrating 20 years of mental illness”. Indeed. Anarcho punks from the mid 80’s is a general sum up of this outfit. Chainsaw sounds, radio and tv samples and swirling, and fractured, disjointed lyrics can be found on the majority of the tracks. I’m reminded of Stiff Little Fingers now again, in particular in some of the vocal delivery. Sadly, I ended up with a headache after listening to this. So, if you are into fractured, grinding punk, then this is definitely for you. Excuse me while I get a Nurofen."
"All the singles that the ageing Hobs fan wore out & needs a compilation of, all in one place. What more need be said?"
- Phil Sniff
Shergar Is Home Safe And Well by Ceramic Hobs
(PUMF 469, 2004 - click to buy)
1 Knights Move
2 Native American Healing Chant
3 Pro-Ana Tips "N" Tricks
4 Safe To Heaven
5 My Judas Lover
6 Web Beast
7 Would You Like To Kiss Me?
8 Bleak Moments
9 Does He Take Sugar
10 Tortured By Sparklers
12 New Fleetwood Blues
14 Rainbow Self-Realisation Therapy
15 CSE Grade 5
17 Kaleidoscope Girl
18 Brown Skin Girl
19 Knights Move To
20 Fantasia Test-12
21 And So On
22 . . .
- Review by Emil Hagstrom, Blastitude, 2004
During my hardcore hometaping / trading days of the early 1990's, I had the pleasure - and misfortune - to be exposed to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of underground artists from all over the globe. Of all these artists, I believe the Ceramic Hobs have progressed the most, and refined their sound to the greatest level imaginable. This is the Hobs' third proper album, after 19 years of demo cassettes and 7-inch EPs, released four years after Straight Outta Rampton which many fans - myself included - had considered their masterpiece. Shergar, however, takes their music one step further, creating an album which achieves classic status beyond their underground roots. This recording easily rivals, and probably outshines, any of the landmark post-punk albums which were so influential to so many of us. Although the songwriting and production value immediately stand out over previous Hobs efforts, the performance itself is the most striking aspect here. This is the band's first release on which the guitars really stand out as being excellent. In addition, Simon Morris' voice has never sounded better - no doubt thanks to years of smoking and shouting out requests for "Ass Destroyer" at Whitehouse concerts, it has developed into a quite superb grittiness ideal for rock vocals. Despite the nostalgic attachment I have for all those early records from the Fall, Gang of Four, etc. - I'd actually rather listen to this disc in their place. Highly
- Review by Eugene Chadbourne, allmusicguide, 2007
Nibbling enthusiastically on a Ceramic Hobs CD released in 2004, the listener may wonder what has developed since from what was once described as a "cross-dressing Blackpool-based survivor punk band" came Straight Outta Rampton a year previously. Not to suggest that the latter was a debut effort
- at the time of this review the group has been active in the United Kingdom for close to two decades. Nonetheless, the 2003 and 2004 recordings have the look of a pair of brothers, that is if said siblings were dressed in smartly printed, color-daubed prints, wrapped head to toe with information that is likeably weird in the way certain friends are. Musically, however, the later effort comes across in some ways as a concerted attempt to sound much more like a band playing rock & roll songs, the back catalog of Ceramic Hobs previously mixing the sounds of said genre with lots of intense noise, and spoken word smidgens especially.
The opening Knights Move has a brilliant structure, evoking an epic feeling that seems much longer than the actual running length of the entire CD which by the by is a good bit shorter than previous releases by the outfit. The ensuing
Native American Healing Chant is confusing, considering the band's sardonic stance toward the new agey and spiritual, at least in the way such things come across in such multi-layered, intentionally obtuse material. Is it really a straightforward version of native American music, Jim Pepper gone to Blackpool? Whatever it is, it sounds good: obviously the group is capable of putting such material across with great power. It and the opener are cross referenced again at the end in a kind of snip and chop overture.
New Fleetwood Blues, an intentionally badly recorded country blues parody, is a bit like Captain Beefheart's "China Pig," that is if the shower is running in the room at the same time. It is something of a letdown from
Roadkill, just heard and inspiring acknowledgement that this is also developing into a hell of a guitar band.
Kaleidoscope Girl ought to be a pop hit, again featuring a superb female vocal. As usual handing out really accurate critical praise becomes difficult when faced with lists of weird pseudonyms, some of them for people who also have a pseudonym for their pseudonym.
Safe to Heaven could be one of the best things cooked up on the Ceramic Hobs, featuring the combination of male and females whose voices add great variety to the sung and spoken proceedings. Filtered through creative mixing, some tracks swirl with disorienting pans. At the close of
Safe to Heaven, one channel seems to drop out completely, a voice which could be Jane providing ensuing relief to the fear
- or perhaps hope - that the sound system has blown.
- Review by Punk and Oi in the UK, 2005
This has got to be one of the weirdest albums I have ever listened to and let me tell you I have heard some weird shit over the years. I don’t know much about the band other than I think they are from Blackpool there’s loads of ‘em in the band and they play weird shit. You get 22 tracks of weirdness for your money and I think this will be too weird for even those of you out there with very open minds. The album opens with
Knights Move which has the sound of a brass band playing in the background whilst lyrics are spoken/sung over the top, after a couple of minutes an ice cream van plays for a few seconds before going back to the brass band. I had visions of Monty Python and 60’s psychedelia being played by Crass!!! This kind of lunacy continues throughout the album and by the end of its 44 minutes my head was in bits. If this is what the band set out to do ‘Well Done’ and at times this lot out freak the master of all things freaky, ‘Frank Zappa’ A bit like Marmite this, you’ll either love it or hate it, I’m still
"New punk stains of various sounds filter strange fabric flying saucer wisdom
/ Bogus girders and pylon strings bring tears to my eyes / Judas Lover is like wandering in & out of each other between a stoner & a ghost lady like a 60’s art commune wooden void with scissor snips about the Hobs
/ Some perfect delirium - the impression that they grow their own fish / First transgression brown sample fuckin’ gouranga spangly jackets flashin’ eyes & all sorts 4-eyed gits sonic fabric head blue meanies
/ Somewhere off the map – Freudian beauty behind Bovril boy mentality / Sounds like it belongs with playground other
/ The thing that got Caligula ringing / A bad trip and a Freudian slip / Vomit me across 7 skeletons itself"
- Stream Angel
Of the Tin City by Ceramic Hobs
(PUMF 413, 2002 - click to buy)
1 are souls?
2 beat them all to death
4 eve of destruction
5 horror of windscale
6 h. s. art
7 jet boy jet girl
8 lame twista
9 lone twister
10 mr vicar
11 pirate night
13 red zone
14 the xanadu boxer
15 what goes on
16 your hamster
- Review by Mark Wharton, Idwal Fisher, 2002
Described in the Robert Dellar liner notes as a 'Psychiatric Punk Explosion' and described here as a record of the live show the Hobs did for Mad Pride in May 2000 at Chats Palace - a famed community centre that is intersects two of London's principal ley lines. Headlining for the first time in the capitol in front of a 150 rabid fans (literally) the Hobs rip through 16 of their tip top pop platters and even have time to chuck in bewildering versions of Barry Maguires (?)
Eve of Destruction and Elton Motello's Jet Boy Jet Girl. To say the sound quality is a bit rough is like saying that Bella Emburg was a bit of a tug but what the fuck we're not here for Dolby like production values. We're here to feel what it was like sat at the front row of Hobs gig with a 150 loonies screaming 'Beckham Beckham what's the score' (OK I made that last bit up). That it succeeds in doing that is a testament to how damned good the Hobs are live. Chaotic, shambolic but always entertaining.
Ultramont! by Ceramic Hobs
(PUMF 392, 2002 - click to buy)
1 Altamont (Ave Marfia)
2 Altamont (Muffy Woo Ghoul Soil Stomp)
3 Altamont (Mardi Gra Children’s Crusade)
4 Altamont (Charlie Manson Memorial Love Death Cult Festival)
5 Altamont - Birkenau - Masada (Never Surrender)
6. Country Home
7. Last Of The Great Blasphemers
8. 27th Panzer Regiment
9. Yes I Am Omashar, The Ultimate Perky One
10. I Wouldn’t Wish Largactyl On Anyone
- Review by Mark Wharton, Idwal Fisher, 2002
With a whiplash bass line weaving all over the road like a drunk driver at five in the morning, the Ceramic Hobs career into view with another molasses thick slab of Lancashire lunacy.
Five new tracks and five culled from various obscure releases, this tale of two
halves gives me further ammunition with which to kill my critics. You mean you've not heard of the Ceramic Hobs? Take yourself outside and sit down in the road and weep. You're not fit to clean my u-bend you slack jawed dip shit excuse of a bottom feeding slug. This is one of the most played CD at Idwal Towers and there's no reason why it shouldn't be one of the most played in your hovel too. Get your fiver out and write to Stan at Pumf and say can I have one of those lovely Ultramont! CDs that Idwal writes about. He says its so good and he likes it so much that he bought extra copies just so that he could leave them at strategic points in public places in the vain hope that somebody would take them home and find out for themselves the joy of the Hobs.
For it is a joy dear reader. A world without the Hobs would be like a world without
. . . without . . . lost coins down the back of your sofa . . . the rips in the tops of your milk bottles caused by hungry blue tits, the chip wrapper that you left out when you went to bed drunk and has now congealed onto the kitchen worksurface next to the pile of used cold hard tea bags under all the rings caused by coffee cups.
First new five tracks are like a drive in open top car, the world going by picking up the debris of reworked radio samples and lost voices to the background of that chugging bass and ethereal vocals;
Altamont - Birkenau - Masada (Never Surrender) takes you on the longest journey, a fifteen and a half minute drive from Lancaster to the old eastern bloc with the never ending mantra of 'Never Surrender' that waspy bass line nagging all the way making sure that you've not forgotten your egg sandwiches and orange cordial. Neil Young gets the old nostalgia treatment on
Country Home and Largactyl gets the old heave-ho on l Wouldn't Wish Largactyl On
Anyone. Hang around for the hidden Lancashire inventors and you have the best CD this year. I fuck you not.
Straight Outta Rampton by Ceramic Hobs
(PUMF 350, 2001 - click to buy)
1 the chicken stops here
2 the gay skinhead
3 shaolin master
4 the prowler
5 kaizen gave me a reason to live and a reason to die
6 islam uber alles
7 untitled #2
9 ku klux kleveleys
10 a. e. trip thing
11 we are the mods
12 lone twister
13 amateur cops
14 red zone
15 psychic vampires
16 public order
17 hey st. jude
18 the colour out of space
- Review by Ian Harrison, Q magazine,
"Extremist out-to-lunch 'comedy' from Blackpool's off-beat acid
Since the dawn of time, musicians have pretended to be insane. How many of them have had the common decency to do it for real? Enter Blackpool's Ceramic Hobs.
This, their second album, is an LSD-flavoured, dog-rough serving of taped voices, splenetic Fall-like instrument abuse and ace one-liners ('largactyl barmy army', 'I am the Mr Big of acid') . . . tracks such as
The Gay Skinhead are obviously offensive, but only the stoniest heart could fail to be both amused and impressed by such wide-eyed delerium, even if some of the songs here are, frankly,
- Review by Ian Harrison, Q magazine (in their Psychedelic Special Issue, 2005)
Affiliated to the Mad Pride network of survivors of the mental health
system, Blackpool's Ceramic Hobs are the real deal. The music on this CD
sounds like several different songs playing at once, and in deciphering
them you're transported to The Twilight Zone where the cast of Phoenix
Nights and demonic possession meet. Like its predecessor Psychiatric Underground,
and follow-up Shergar Is Home Safe And Well, this can easily disturb the
- Review by Bizarre, 2001
Pleasure Beach lunacy combining kung-fu disaster, Stewart Home humour and addled plagiarism means the Hobs' second full-length release in 16 years.
"Gay Skinhead Will Wank You Off" sends the clichéd Chic Freak riff into a new dimension, Paul Calf style ranting about Shao Lin Monks, Tiger Lille falsettos and Jarvis Cocker-esque squints allow the Hobs to take the low-ground with
- Review by Robots
and Electronic Brains, 2001
An even dirtier variety of Blackpool Rock - one that's being gleefully rendered today as a patchwork of accidental, genius, ill-conceived comedy, dada noise, magpie non-sequiturs and general cut up confusion by a gaggle of frantic lunatics known as Ceramic Hobs. Alternately lucid, illucid, didacts, dildos, musical, mental, musico-mental and all points in between, the Hobs are a mind-fuck of contradictions and mess and Straight Outta Rampton is a 21st century descendant of those ubiquitous 4-track tape compilations circulating with crudely photocopied fanzines in the 1980s.
Shaolin Master is a gruff monologue over a riff even early Cornershop could've managed with a wobbly three-note solo played at roughly half the speed that Pete Shelley first plucked it out. John Peel would've played it every night for 2 months and it would've sold 23 copies.
Islam Uber Alles drops a truly threatening fuzz-blues bass under anti-Christian, pro-revolutions ranting ("Father, Son and Holy Ghost; Father Abraham, Sonny Bono and The Ghost In The House") and a guitar wave off the back of Hawkwind's lorry during a particularly bad trip while
Public Order fucks up a glam clap / stomp beat and a paranoid hypnovocal. There's a
'handy' schema of samples / inspirations in the sleeve notes. It features The Pastels, Flake, Limerick Cows, Spielberg and
Chaotic Dischord . . . in a single song. For mad bastards and fans of Bogshed, Stump and Stretcheads (the two are not particularly
- Review by Mark Wharton, Just Glittering, 2001
Straight Outta Rampton comes screaming into the house with a full colour sleeve, full bomb making instructions and pictures of bendy bananas. This will become a stone cold killer classic. It cannot fail. Eighteen tracks of never ending sample madness chopped up and stir-fried into the best CD this year. I've played this to death since I got it. It's to be hoped that the Hobs never recover from what it is they suffer from. The rest of the world look out, the Hobs are coming and they're rather
- Review by Southwark MIND Newsletter, 2001
Ceramic Hobs are unique in the rock 'n' roll field by being completely up-front about their status as users, and their lyrics somehow continually have the shadow of the nearest psychiatric hospital in the background, regardless of what themes they
tackle. The sound is basically avant-garde punk, complete with all manner of sounds and effects. Even on the more 'commecial' numbers such as
Lone Twister or Red Zone, any radio-friendliness is deliberately undermined by abrasive production techniques. The result is a record that will not appeal to a wide audience, but will be appreciated by those looking for music that is inventive, intelligent and challenging. There's much humour on this album, but Ceramic Hobs are angry as hell . . . simultaneously one of the funniest, but also most furious rock bands imaginable. Redemption for Ceramic Hobs lies in the act of rebellion, and in extremely dark humour.
- Review by Eugene
Chadbourne, allmusicguide, 2007
Whether this is the Ceramic Hobs' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a matter that fans of the band from Blackpool in the United Kingdom can debate during montage parties. The CD, attractively and cheerily packaged with an almost total lack of actual information about the music, is certainly better than Their Satanic Majesties Request, although maybe not the artwork. Neither totem of rock & roll as high art contains a song as nifty and meaningful as the brilliant
The Gay Skinhead with its majestic chorus, "Gay skinheads wank
you", blasting at the listener within minutes of the CD starting. According to historic accounts of this band, in which membership shifts and does not seem to always coincide with anyone's actual name, nearly 20 years passed between the formation of the group and the release of Straight Outta Rampton. This is plenty of time to come up with a workable concept, in this case a brilliant combination of noise, found sound, and song elements associated with both rock and in some cases folk-rock. On this set of 18 tracks these elements are used in varied thicknesses,
Amateur Cops being an example of the beat and the song coming to the foreground while a hilarious track seeming to originate on a radio call-in show has only minimal musical elements. The spoken segments
- sometimes actually created by the bandmembers and at other times originating elsewhere
- have quite a liberating effect on the music itself, splintering built-in conceptions of verse and chorus and opening the pieces up to more complex structural forms. The pieces are quite political but in a refreshing sense that is never really obvious. Great progress has been made in the way the pieces are mixed: the sound is clean, the voices easy to understand and effects such as the swirling, panning guitar on
Shaolin Master are quite appealing. On Ku Klux Kleveleys the mixing is refreshing, vocals and drums set at suspenseful low level despite the obvious implications of the bouncy
Psychiatric Underground by
(PUMF 609, 1998, re-issued 2009 - click to buy)
2 Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
3 Atomic Clock
4 Amplified Sorrow
5 Meeting the Summertime
6 Hospital Detective
7 This Sore and Broken Blackpool Legacy (Germ Mix)
8 These Dead Things
9 Pirate Night for Karen Morgan
10 Hey Lads Hey
11 Dick Whittington, Turn Back (Expose Your Eyes Mix)
12 Mr Vicar
13 Say Goodbye to the President
14 Robin Blood
15 Crash and Burn
16 Irreversible Liver Failure
17 Used Goods / Damaged Goods
18 Winterbottom Speaks
19 Love Letters Read Like Suicide Notes
20 Long Black Limousine
22 Total Disarmament by June 1st 1983
23 Castrol GTX
24 Mr Vicar Fills his Head with Rock
25 Take Fewer Puffs
26 Parrot Night for Captain Morgan
27 Psychiatric Underground
28 Low Alcowipe
- Review by War
Arrow, The Sound Projector #7, 2000
The letter says 'please feel free to give our CD a good slagging', therefore legitimising an act that I felt was inevitable as soon as I saw the name PUMF Records. For as long as I can remember, since the day I sent off for my first fanzine, it seemed like everything that came through the letterbox contained a flyer pertaining to something by Stan Batcow of PUMF. Sure, let's
network . . . but there's no need to go stark raving mad. I swear, at one point, even the lecky bill came with a little photocopy suggesting I send off for Stan's latest opus. Once I actually came across one of these obsessively publicised items of Stanbilia, and the kindest thing I can say is that it wasn't really up my street. In recent years I have had conversations with at least two people who said they too were once plagued by the dreaded
PUMF flyers, so it WASN'T just me! There's probably a discarded PUMF flyer flapping around in the
solar winds rolling across the surface of the moon. If the S.E.T.I, folks ever finally get that
signal from somewhere else on the depths of the galaxy, I'll bet the first sentence is a request for
a cessation in the tide of flyers advertising PUMF stuff.
Well, that's that off my chest. The second name I recognised from this was that of the band. I distantly remember hearing something by them on a tape from way back, and enjoying it! Guitarry sort of feller as I remember. Lots of fuzz. Messy but likeable. PUMF and Ceramic Hobs, eh! So there's a link. This should be interesting.
It's certainly one of the more incoherent CDs I've come across. Tape collages are splattered across its 28 tracks with all the ferocity of the pattern in the toilet bowl after a bout of swallie induced pebble-dashery. All mashed up with the tapes and a few techno inspired remixes is an assortment of occasionally tuneful punky numbers complete with gargled
vocals, a drumkit being demolished, and a family of chimps at the mixing desk. They must've got through some PG Tips whilst this album was being made. Psychiatric
Underground is like one of those kid's drawings of a circus where everything happens simultaneously, an interpretation which, if true to life, would mean that most circuses would last about five minutes.
As you might guess, some of Psychiatric Underground is hard work but as a whole, it kind of does the business, even if technically speaking, it shouldn't. The sheer chaos described above, which by the way isn't written as criticism, is kind of appealing. As far as guitar and drums punk rock goes I'd listen to this anyday over all that NME-sponsored crap. There's things going on here, imagination is being used, and the Hobs are feeding your expectations
into the mincer, even if their trousers keep falling down while they're doing it. It's never going to be my favourite album of all time but it
isn't without a place in the universe. The simple fact that Ceramic Hobs have managed to bypass my perhaps unfair prejudice regarding the noble Stan's flyers must count for something, and besides, an album sporting track titles like
Mr Vicar Fills His Head With Rock and Parrot Night for Captain
Morgan has got to justify at least a raised eyebrow. Sorry for my initial scepticism, chaps. Yer CD's all right.
- Review by Fourth Dimension, 1998
The music throws itself around from gnarled, distortion-packed & chaotic punk rock to implosive clatter & strum pieces that make room for narrative and suchlike. Delirious and often coming across like a chimp's tea party held in a recording studio, there's a serious screwball aesthetic afoot that's rarely found these days . . . sometimes, the unstoppable blend of bared-teeth psychosis, screaming, noise and dizzy tape snatches make way for songs that, between them sound like Throbbing Gristle . . . or an eco-warrior's campfire protest piece. Altogether, an eclectic dip into the pool where those voices in your head also happen to
- Review by Bizarre, 1999
The Ceramic Hobs strap you into a dentist's chair and probe your subconscious with a helium-powered Bosch drill. Plundered, noised, fuctup nonsense a-go-go, not always pleasant but then not much
- Review by
Ceramic Hobs just want to write pop songs, but their efforts get confounded along the
way. The skeletal structures of the songs on the 7" single Alcopop Madness are radio-ready tunes, but the Hobs layer on heaps of tape and delay so that everything becomes incomprehensible. Brit pop fragments are alluded to and stolen outright, but due to contextual manipulation it's hard to tell what is a sly nod and what's blatant thievery. The songs achieve a druggy haze due to the sheer amount of sonic input, but they also possess a tribal quality because of the steady rhythm and bellowed lyrics.
The Horror of Windscale is the perfection of their dementia -
enough rhythm is present to let it qualify as a song, but it is really just a mess of tape, violin, shouting, etc. They're not above base humor, either, as shown on
Trilaterals Killed Cornelius Cardew, which features honking car horns for drums.
Their endeavor is less charming on the full-length, however. Given their obsessive nature, it's not surprising that they fill the disc to its 70+ minute capacity. In doses, Hobs emulate
noise - not noise music as a genre, but the actual combination of sounds that one hears in day-to-day life in the background. The frame of a song emerges, as if from a nearby radio, but drifting sounds cloud
it - with lots of stolen (yet mundane) soundbites, it mimics the cultural effluvia with which we've become so familiar. JonBenet, Geraldo Rivera, New
Order - they all exist in the same space in the collective mind, adding up to information sickness, and Hobs create a formidable replica. But as this long CD continues, it begins to be heard as simply bad
music - radio hits that don't quite cut it (when you're on the dole, you can't manage much of a recording budget). Thankfully none of this '80s swill is delivered in an ironic
manner - it all appears to come from a genuine appreciation for the music of those dreadful days. (Pathetic music is much better than knowing
kitsch - at least the Hobs admit to what they like.) Long time exposure only hampers
it - the weirdo qualities get lost, and it begins to sound simply like a cut-rate band running through by-the-number songs. Hobs exhibit the ability to write a decent tune once in awhile
(Used Goods/Damaged Goods, Psychiatric
Underground), but surrounded by such cliche-ridden exercises they're difficult to notice. The 7" seems to be their best medium because it can deliver their aesthetic without becoming tiresome. It's better to hear them strive to be a pop band and not really succeed than to hear them achieve what is perhaps their goal, but in fact strips away
- Review by Mojo, 2000
The perfect support band . . . would be Ceramic Hobs. With the Butthole
Surfers in almost terminal disarray and Mark E. Smith a bit soft at the
edges, Blackpool's cut-up pranksters are our only hope. Psychiatric
Underground is an unmissable introduction to a cracked, inspired world.
- Review by Eugene
Chadbourne, allmusicguide, 2007
Active in one form or another since the mid '80s, this band from Blackpool in the UK is named after an essential stove part. Thus, Ceramic Hobs sets the stage for the sort of comparisons to cuisine and cooking techniques without which certain music critics might actually starve to death.
Psychiatric Underground is apparently the first CD to have been released by this bunch of weirdos, many of whom are identified in credits with only first names or made-up jokes. These credits likewise hint that this 72-minute epic may have been in the production progress since 1995, unless this reference simply indicates how long the aforementioned list of performers have been involved with the group.
Better sounding as well as better looking efforts by this group followed, nonetheless the first complete CD gives strong indications of the ensemble's talent at combining all manner of noise, including found sounds such as broadcasts, with fairly straightforward rock music. Tracks near the end of the program such as
Total Disarmament by June 1st, 1983 and Castrol GTX demonstrate talent at simple protest rock complete with nifty fuzz box riffing.
Elsewhere the samples and spoken word bites are layered deep enough so that two or three listens is equivalent to one. The problem
is - to fire up the stove at last - that at this stage the musical elements utilized are simply too repetitive and at times even crude, meaning that these repeated tastings necessary to absorb all the layers of sound will result in a form of musical indigestion. It isn't exactly like getting bored, but it is close. Some of the public domain material used such as the Marilyn Monroe birthday song is a bit too familiar as well.
Highlights include Dick Whittington, Turn Back, sounding like the band has been chained to an airplane and then dragged down a runway.
Parrot Night for Captain Morgan and Irreversible Liver Failure
demonstrate subtle minimalism and all-out overload respectively, complete with the more complex structures that make later Ceramic Hobs releases so
Top Buzz by
(PUMF 252, 1995 - click to buy)
1 Some call it macaroni but it goes deeper than that
2 Don't fuck with Dodington massive
3 The gay skinhead
4 Cock of the norths
5 Over and out
6 Dick Whittington, turn back
"The birth of the modern Hobs, with
The Gay Skinhead shining out in its first, tentative incarnation. Many are the folk who have thought it was conceived by sometime-Radio One DJ Mikee B & his Top Buzz outfit & were all ready to break out the Vaporub before I schooled them. Possible Love Da Capo influence in the album's balance of tracks?"
- Phil Sniff
You don’t need a Pickaxe to collect Ghoul Soil by
(PUMF 238, 1995 - click to buy)
This album was released using
the pseudonym Blood Klat (in Spume Bummer)
1 Frank Is An Angel
2 Birkenhead Blues
3 Endless Pointless Analysis
(Bananas # 1)
4 Revolution Blues
5 Rock 'n' Roll Dog
6 Say Hello Wave Goodbye
7 That Presumptuous Solemnity . . .
8 An Unambiguous Discourse Of Triumph
9 Dregs Of Humanity
10 The Boys Are Back In Town
11 Carpet Bag Interior Decorator, Wife And Two Kids To Support
12 The Muffy Woo Ghoul Soil Stomp
13 I Know Where Fes Parker Lives
14 Frank Is Just A Sad Fuck
15 Ozzy Osbourne Did This To Me, Part One
16 Ozzy Osbourne Did This To Me, Part Too Many Shamanic Journeys
17 Ozzy Osbourne Did This To Me, Part Free Festivals, Man!
18 Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring
19 Whalley Range - Love It Or Leave It
20 The Lunkmouse Says, "Bite My Bees"
21 Pulled Off My Bike Again
"The best of the really loose Hobs sets? Well worth any measly amount pStan is likely to ask for it."
- Phil Sniff
Nihilistik Subkultures shall Thrive upon these Deathly Visions by Ceramic Hobs
(PUMF 203, 1993 - click to buy)
This album was released using
the pseudonym Salty Grouse Castration Squad
1 Atomic Clock
2 Archaeological Remains
3 Rock 'n' Roll Will Live Forever
4 Garden Of Desire
5 Graveyard Smash
6 Homy Chicks Into Hardcore Industrial
7 Chew Chew Chew
9 Some Kids Did Airfix Kits, Some Just Did The Glue
10 Shaven Haven
11 Me, Frank Martin & A Double-ended Dildo
12 War Is Menstrual Envy
13 One Six Short Of The Three
14 Shallow Water Dances In Torrents Of Laughter
15 A.G.R.O. Agro
16 I Can't Handle My Beer
17 Who'd Put Mustard On Marrowfat Peas?
18 Pits Of Hell
- Review by Kill Every One Now, 1994
Having escaped the Blackpool nuthouse . . . finds an atomic clock and finds he can't handle his beer even in his own shaven haven . . .unspeakable pleasure turns to unspeakable pain . . . this is what happens when you spend too much time with people with Sid Vicious tattoos. 'Tie your grandmother to the bed and force her to listen to
- Review by Plane
Truth #11, 1993
Being deliberately dreadful is the intent, I presume. Certainly, Garden
of Desire is a total dirge with nothing to lighten the drudgery. At
least wry amusement can be extracted from some appalling lyrics:
"I've got the time baby 'cos I've got an atomic clock" (Atomic
Clock), ". . . trivial pursuit, I get diarrhoea 'cos I eat too
much fruit" (Shaven Haven).