Various - Solid PR Presents Vol. One (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Solid PR Presents Vol. One (2005)

On the Rise

I'm usually not very fond of compilation albums. It's a solid enough idea: Throw a bunch of bands on there, give kids a chance to hear 12 bands on one album rather than make one band record 12 songs, but I find they're often hard to listen to. The mixing of certain bands does not flow well at all, and sequencing should be the first concern of whatever label or group is putting the comp together.

This is a special case, though. Solid PR have put together a two-disc, 34-song compilation to raise both money and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis. A great cause indeed, and thankfully for prospective buyers and listeners alike this compilation is good. Damn good.

One look at the bands appearing here and you doubt that it could ever work. No, the Unicorns don't flow perfectly into Jesu, and An Albatross doesn't carry well into Vanishing, but the songs picked for each of the bands on here is great. There's some new, unreleased material from the Braves, Scouts Honor, and Thunderball Fist, but great established songs from bands like Discordance Axis and Hella are also present. Disc 1 is the stronger of the two, with every song perfectly fitting the role it's designated. The mix is what's most appealing; you'd be hard pressed to find elsewhere the Great Redneck Hope's "Hey, the Lord is Awesome, Pass it On" and the A-Sides' "Everyone Knows the Way" in the same place. But aside from Hella, An Albatross, and the Unicorns, the majority of tracks are not from well-known, established acts, but that doesn't mean they don't stand out. The Post Office Gals present a mix that's unique if nothing else, with harsh shrieking vocals and bouncy keyboards, while Lewis & Clark's acoustic endeavor is strikingly beautiful. Disc II, however, is not without its fare share of good musical moments.

Offering few names any more well-known than the former disc, the second succeeds just as well on its own terms. Grindcore heavyweights Discordance Axis get in on the action with "Sega Bass Fishing," while the electronic beats and delicate female vocals of I Am the World Trade Center do their best to contrast the former's sheer power, and Mixel Pixel make their Modest Mouse worship quite well-known. Some surprisingly engaging tracks come courtesy of Shortstack, with their dark, eerie instrumental vibe, and Oxbow with their powerful live rendition of "The Stick." Unlike the first, the second disc does somewhat falter at the end. All Paralells' "Work" sounds like it was cut directly off modern rock radio, and Flashlight Arcade's "Dead to the World" sounds a bit too Story of the Year for my tastes.

A good benefit for a terrific cause. Sequencing isn't superb, but there are a great collection of songs on Disc I, and most will find plenty to like on Disc II as well. With 34 songs and over 2 hours of music, this compilation is well worth your time.