Reviewing a compilation is always difficult, because of the lack of focus in the entire process. Well here goes, a track by track review of all 23 songs on Northern Kentucky's Too Close To Call Record's first release ever.
Eh, I don't think so... Do you think I am getting paid to do this?
Anyways, here are some random thoughts about this release.
Where is the unreleased material? Many people look forward to compilations so they can hear their favorite band's unreleased or rare tracks. The fact that only one track, a crappy one at that, is unreleased made me skeptical before I even popped the disc in.
Other than that, this release is filled with bright moments from up and coming bands, and is pretty solid thoughout. There are only three tracks that I deem skippable and forgettable, and for you math majors out there: Three out of twenty-three ain't too shabby. So, go ahead and skip Spare Lead's "Is It Useless" (previously unreleased), Nuclear Saturday's "Staring Down The Sun", and The Honor System's "The Blaming Game." Yes, The Honor System does rock, but this song has never done much for me.
Curbsquirell's "Six" stands out in pure pop-punk fashion. The song, which showcases the band's great song-writing ability makes me wonder why the band hasn't been signed to Tooth And Nail Records yet. Check 'em out, and know this band, before they start touring the country.
Anchorset adds a hardcore tune in the form of "Pennsylvania", and hey, are these guys from Pennsylvania, cuz they seem to dig the place.
"Vehicle", track 16, from Cincinnatian's Alone At 3am, makes things interesting with a Hot Water Music-esque tune. Gruff vocals, mixed with wailing guitars provide for quite a contrast compared to the sugary tunings of bands such as Bottom Line and The Plus Ones. Good things in store for these young gentleman.. On a personal note, these guys should tour more and get their name out.
Ah, Fling 10 brings the pop back with the album's next track, "Farewell." Auto-tuned vocals (they sound damn good), and a great chorus had me jumping up and down, while listening to the song. I had always dismissed Fling 10, but after hearing this song, and hearing the band's improvement has me wondering where exactly they are headed. Young and committed to making music, the band's future is bright.
Cincinnati product An August Anthem delivers a suprise standout track in the form of "We Break From The Spirit In An Attempt To Save Ourselves." Despite the lackluster song title, the song, which is led by a piano, is almost mesmerizing . With hints of Ben Folds Five flavoring the track, the song begins to build and build, until a climatic ending is all that can stop it. An August Anthem is now one of my favorite bands in Cincinnati, because of this song.
For those who like to skank, New Jersey's Too Short Notice close out the compilation in memorable fashion with "Good As Done.". Fronted by a female, the track stays away from the mainstream ska-rock sound that littered the airwaves of MTV in 1996. Reminiscient to very early (see pre-1996) No Doubt, the song features an impressive horn section, and some kickin' horn breakdowns, along with a catchy chorus.
Other bands that contribute solid tracks to the compilation are Botton Line, The Prize Fight, The Goodwill, Mint 6 Ten, Staring Back, Park, Cohen, Abigail, 5 Days Ahead, and Close To Home.
Eh, it's only $5 and I was exposed to a number of good bands that had slipped through my radar before. I deem this a worthy buy.