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The Compulsions - Laughter from Below (Cover Artwork)

The Compulsions

The Compulsions: Laughter from BelowLaughter from Below (2004)
self-released

Reviewer Rating: 0.5


Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The Compulsions want you to remember the first time you've ever heard rock 'n' roll. Quite a vivid memory for me. It was the first time I had ever left New York -- a car trip to Tampa, Florida. My dad popped a tape into the player from the driver's seat, and my musical life would never be quite the .
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The Compulsions want you to remember the first time you've ever heard rock 'n' roll. Quite a vivid memory for me. It was the first time I had ever left New York -- a car trip to Tampa, Florida. My dad popped a tape into the player from the driver's seat, and my musical life would never be quite the same. I'd later find out that very first song was none other than "Maybelline," by the great Chuck Berry himself.

Now, I think of Chuck Berry -- I think the father of rock 'n' roll. I think the Compulsions, and I wonder who told some band at a dive bar in Brooklyn that it'd be a good idea for them to record an album.

This doesn't call to mind the magic of "Maybelline," the showstoppers that are the Rolling Stones, or the legendary Led Zeppelin. This doesn't call to mind rock 'n' roll whatsoever, and the fact that the band had the audacity to even indirectly compare themselves to those greats is infuriating.

The Compulsions lack two integral elements that all the other musicians I've mentioned so far thrived off of. Elements that defined them as not only musicians, but people too. Soul and swagger. Heart and confidence. However you want to word it -- the Compulsions don't have it. Their low-tempo bar room projections fall flat in a wide variety of arenas. Rob Carlyle's lackadaisical approach hurts the band from the get go, and it filters into his band-mates as well. The songs lack not only emotion but any element that would make them otherwise compelling. Carlyle's voice has got a little of the laid-back rock feel and a little bit of country twang ("Shake Hands with the Devil" really brings out the latter) and he's completely unable to turn it into an inviting song. The rest of the band is equally lifeless, and it's not necessarily because of the low-tempo rhythms, it's the underlying feeling derived that they're doing something important. Listening to this band gives me a great image of smug 40-somethings on a bar room stage posing as Aerosmith.

To get a similar mental image, watch the Bowflex infomercial that runs late at night. You know the bald guy that says "I'm living my dream now, I play in a rock 'n' roll band," right? This entire band is composed of that guy. Smug facial expressions complete with the jeans and no t-shirt look. I'd rather hear a karaoke album, and I hate karaoke.

Chuck Berry was and is everything pure and right about rock 'n' roll. His music is fun above all else, made for summer days, lemonade and convertibles. This is made for dive bars inhabited by jaded musicians who know all too well about dead end careers.

 


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (February 22, 2007)

You said:

"The rest of the band is equally lifeless, and it’s not necessarily because of the low-tempo rhythms, it’s the underlying feeling derived that they’re doing something important."

My question is:

How can a band be "lifeless" if there's an "underlying feeling derived that they’re doing something important?"

Let me repeat what you said, so it sinks into your f*ckin' skull, douchebag:

"THEY'RE DOING SOMETHING IMPORTANT."

Anonymous (February 20, 2007)

Wow

thats why your not as well known as other more known reviewers that gave them highr ratings

you on th eothe rhand are a second rate site, well anyways
now I know why your reviewers are lifeless and probaly lack taste... JAHAHA

Anonymous (February 16, 2007)

"This doesn’t call to mind rock ‘n’ roll whatsoever."

- Punknews.org Webzine

Dahahahahahaha ... Punknews.org Webzine!!! Reliable? I think so. Bahahahahaha. I'm having way too much fun with this.

SilentStorms (February 15, 2007)

"Will single-handedly kill off every boy and girl band in existence the way Nirvana did to the hair bands of yore."
- Uncle Dan's House Of Smut Webzine

Dahahahahahaha ... Uncle Dan's House of Smut Webzine!!! Reliable? I think so. Bahahahahaha. I'm having way too much fun with this.

Anonymous (February 13, 2007)

Here's what the other critics have been saying about the Compulsions:

"The world's greatest obscure rock band."
- The Sleazegrinder

"Everything from the Stones to Johnny Thunders with a little Guns N' Roses."
- The New York Press

"A barrage of AC/DC-via-Stones headbangin' raunch."
- The Aquarian

"Will single-handedly kill off every boy and girl band in existence the way Nirvana did to the hair bands of yore."
- Uncle Dan's House Of Smut Webzine

"(Sounds like) the bastard child of Keith Richards or Bon Scott."
- Sugarbuzz Magazine

"One of the best criminally unknown acts in the country."
- High Bias

"Should be front-page news in all the rock rags."
- Mohair Sweets

Recommended, "If you love the Stones (and we know ya do) mixed with some ZZ Top and a li'l GN'R."
- The Village Voice

"Remarkably good, remarkably nasty."
- Metal UK

"More lippy sneering than a dozen Elvis conventions."
- Whisperin' and Hollerin'

"A voice reminiscent of a whiskey-soaked Bob Dylan."
- Sleaze Roxx

"The rude attitude of the Stones, Dolls and Dead Boys."
- No Respect (Italy)

"Great tunes, great vocals and obviously the real deal."
- Mohair Sweets

"With the proper marketing they will sell millions."
- Tombstone (Greece)

"Instant classics."
- East Coast Romper

"The group possesses talent that most bands lack."
- The Edge Underground

"Far better than the majority of signed bands."
- Tombstone (Greece)

"They nail the punk ethos and energy of its halcyon days cold."
- Cosmik Debris

"A throwback to the Ramones' attack and vintage Rolling Stones."
- Good Times Magazine

"Toss in a little Dolls, Joan Jett and even some '70s-style reggae."
- Razorcake

"I feel like every time I listen to this record I should be smoking weed."
- The Edge Underground

"Picture a small, smokey, sleazy New York club.. this would be the soundtrack."
- Hell Ride Music

"Dark, evil and rocks hard with a dance groove."
- Crashin' In

"Elements of Faces, Stones and Dolls with early AC/DC and a touch of Skynyrd."
- The New York Waste

"That same savvy, big city confidence that helped raise bands like KISS and the Ramones to stardom."
- Kweevak

"Bad-ass American rock."
- Daredevil Magazine

"Flat-out fucking awesome."
- KNAC

"Down & dirty, raunchy and aggressive, and in your face. This is what rock and roll is supposed to sound like."
- ADD Reviews (reviews in 20 words or less)

"You might have to look around and make sure you're not at Madison Square Garden, circa 1969."
- The Bergen Record

"Spinning their new EP is like walking into a southern blues bar, circa 1975. Beyond retro, their sound channels the atmosphere almost too well. Peanut shells on the floor, cloudy beer and stale cigarette air; they even got the smell right. I'll warn you not to make eye contact with the bikers and watch out for beer bottles being thrown across the room."
- Deli Magazine

"(Sounds like) if the Southern culture would clash with the Northern one leaving a pile of mauled corpses on the battlefield."
- Garbage Dump Webzine

"10 stars out of 10 stars!"
- Glitzine

"Fuck off attitude."
- NY Rock

"You've all been hearing about the renaissance of New York City rock 'n' roll-- well here it fuckin' is."
- Steven Blush, American Hardcore (Feral House Books)

"The Compulsions sound like a bunch of goddamn gentlemen-- rogue-ish ones, perhaps."
- The Sleazegrinder

"If you need a little shake up to rid your head of the awful excuse for rock infiltrating the populace, crash the Compulsions' show."
- Deli Magazine

"The Compulsions have been fed a steady diet of great rock 'n' roll in the style of the Stones and Faces. (Critics often compare them to Guns N' Roses, but) the closest they really come to GN'R is probably the solo work from Izzy Stradlin. If that's your style, get your hands on these guys."
- Sonic Ruin Magazine

"In a music world replete with sugary, cutesy boy and girl bands like Hellogoodbye and the Pussycat Dolls, the Compulsions serve up loud, crunchy guitars that rock fans can chew on while downing a twelve pack of Milwaukee's Finest."
- blogcritics.org

"If there is a God, the Compulsions will get signed, then immediately head down to the Mercury Lounge and beat the living shit out of each and every member of the Strokes. If I worked for Rolling Stone I'd write, 'Best New Band!' "
- KNAC.com

"Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's official-- the Compulsions are the heir apparent to Guns N' Roses' long vacant mainstream hard rock throne."
- Uncle Dan's House Of Smut Webzine

Anonymous (February 13, 2007)

I just checked out the band's myspace page and you're review couldn't be further from the truth.

And based on the other reviews they've gotten, most critics seem to disagree with you, as well.

ryanrockwell (February 9, 2007)

that bowflex commercial was priceless, except you make it sound like that guys not awesome?

Holy_Hack_Ben (February 9, 2007)

Never heard this band and don't really want to, but that bowflex comment had me laughing for a good 5 minutes.

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