Various - THICK Records: Love & Rebellion (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


THICK Records: Love & Rebellion (2002)


Compilations are always hit or miss, cheapo sampler compilations even more so than usual. Everyone who has even a little common sense knows that a label only puts out a cheapo compilation to allow kids to pick up a CD for under 5 bucks that is chock full of music. Case in point, this new THICK sampler.

14 bands provide 21 songs, clocking in at a whopping 73:51. So what makes this sampler more special than, say, the newest Punk-O-Rama? Well, for one thing, Billy Spunke understands that if people want compilations, they want something special. So, out of the 21 tracks on the album, 12 are either unreleased, out of print, or coming soon from THICK artists like the Gadjits, Tom Daily, the Arrivals, Commander Venus, Calliope, Vortis, Haymarket Riot, Trenchmouth, the Tossers, and, most importantly, the Blue Meanies.

Yes, the Meanies are broken up, but they apparently recorded quite a few songs before their demise, since they've been cropping up on compilations all over the place. This song, "Knighting Gail," is one of their finest ever, I'd venture to say, and it has a personal connection to me - it is about Dwight Gail, a friend of the bands [and myself] who took his own life two and a half years ago. This is worth the price of the compilation alone.

The rest of the unreleased material is all relative to the bands - the Arrivals song is a blue collar punk gem, and the Gadjits B-side "Optimism" reeks of head-bobbing and ass-shaking. While I don't particular care for the Celtic stylings of the Tossers, you kids who think Flogging Molly are gods will fall in love with their stylings.

Diversity seems to be what THICK Records is all about, form the carnival ska of the Blue Meanies to the Fugazi-esque math rock of Haymarket Riot, to the just plain strange music of Vortis and Trenchmouth. This is what a sampler should be. Too many samplers have cookie cutter band after cookie cutter band playing the same thing over and over. How many samplers can you name currently where you take notice as soon as the next song starts? How many samplers do you know of that will make you pay attention for 74 straight minutes? I know of one right now, and it's called Love & Rebellion.