Various - Punk Rock Is Your Friend Vol. 5 (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Punk Rock Is Your Friend Vol. 5 (2004)

Kung Fu

Gah, I hate compilations that have a ton of sound bites placed randomly throughout them. Kung Fu did it on the soundtrack for their first motion picture flop "That Darn Punk" and they've struck again! Mixed within the 20 actual songs on Punk Rock Is Your Friend Vol. 5 are 9 clips from the second Kung Fu feature film "Cakeboy." They're annoying, not that funny, and kill the flow of the music.

Sorry, had to get that out of the way first.

Once we get to the music things shape up; Kung Fu does an excellent job at creating compilations, whereas so many labels tend to fail. The majority of the songs are unreleased, demos, and a few live recordings from the Show Must Go Off DVD series, while the previously released ones steer listeners to a handful of decent records.

Jumping on the metalcore bandwagon, Kung Fu has signed Underminded. Two of their demos are available here and there's nothing different about them than any other bunch of guys in the heavily Thrice influenced genre. A Japanese rendition of "Utsukushii Shibuya" added a unique touch and is a surprisingly enjoyable cut from the recently defunct Ozma. The disappointing new song from No Use For A Name, "This Ain't No Way To Live," probably should have remained an unused scrap from Hard Rock Bottom. "Dawn On A Funeral Day," the unreleased cut from Tsunami Bomb, is the strongest asset of the compilation. Agent M's voice has matured immensely since their latest studio effort and their record on the horizon should do well if the songs sound this rich. Even pop-punkers Useless I.D. chime in well with their upbeat chugging guitars. The prime annoyances are dance remixes of "Roundabout" by Tsunami Bomb and "Lord of the Dance" by the Vandals, skip these immediately.

The previously released songs are good choices that don't damper the mix. "Jesus Is Alive and Well (And Living in New Mexico)" from Audio Karate is the perfect introduction to the band's reborn edgy sound. "Guitar & Drum" from the new Stiff Little Fingers record is a noble pop-rock song while maintaining a classic punk bite. Kung Fu's live recordings sound amazing; "Chain Me Free" by the young and energetic Matches comes to life on the live recording. Guttermouth's "1-2-3- Slam" is just as powerful as the album version and even the legendary Adolescents spill out "Creatures" in fine fashion.

Five videos support the enhanced portion of the CD and the live takes by Goldfinger performing "Counting The Days" and The Vandals performing "Behind the Music" are well-ripped from their respectable DVDs to support that part of the label. The 80's retro glow that dominates Ozma's "Spending Time" music video is amazingly well done and an eye candy pleasure.

These things geared at firing prospective fans up about Kung Fu Records and they will succeed with the plethora of quality material that they have to offer. For those of us who own quite a bit from the label's back catalog, the compilation still lends a great sense of replay ability with the amount of extras compacted onto the media. It's only $4; your wallet won't miss that at all.