Various - PROTECT 2: A Benefit for the National Association to Protect Children (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


PROTECT 2: A Benefit for the National Association to Protect Children (2009)

Scissor Press / Geykido Comet

The first installment of PROTECT, a compilation series that benefits the National Association to Protect Children, was released by Fat Wreck Chords. Consequently, it was a star-studded collection of tracks: NOFX, Jawbreaker, MxPx, Anti-Flag, Matt Skiba and a host of other notables littered the release, and many of them delivered previously unreleased tracks to boot. Fans of moderately poppy, melodic punk couldn't really go wrong, especially since a purchase helped a worthy cause.

PROTECT 2 does sort of adhere to the commonality that plagues film sequels too, as it's not quite as good as that first comp. But that also might be because the disc is being co-released by a few smaller labels: Scissor Press and Geykido Comet. The roster this time around is a lot more low-key--arguably, the biggest band here is the Copyrights. However, 20 of out of the 27 tracks are rare or previously unreleased, and that's an undeniably impressive percentage in itself.

What you're largely going to get with PROTECT 2 is a number of takes on pop- or punk rock--from Fiction Reform's female-fronted and spiky but flawed stylings to Friday Nights' questionable, gravelly speed-punk take on the Police's "Message in a Bottle." Nothing with Numbers' "Karate Jesus" is kinda by-the-numbers, but I can appreciate the Idiocracy sound clip. East Arcadia provide a pretty decent skatepunk demo, "Inner Anthem," though they're one-upped by Hit the Switch, who contribute "Galactic Alchemy," from their recent full-length. Yesterday's Ring tones down the twang for "Punx Not Dead, It's Just Sleeping," a fun, gravelly anthem that's closer to American Steel than Lucero, while Anchor Down's raggedly restrained "Crass a Nova" reeks with potential.

The comp seems to stand out most, though, when the slightly-better known bands step outside the box. That includes Intro5pect's caustically layered live take of "Sustainable Yield," which does bring the oft-compared Anti-Flag to mind, but in a more raw and experimental manner, and the Dopamines' heart-touching, sappy acoustic sing-along, "Navigation Point." Although, of course, the Copyrights naturally take the prize for performing the best straightforward pop-punk song on the album, a snappy tune dubbed "Immovable Object."

The production on a bunch of the tracks around the last batch is also pretty inconsistent and it makes for a fairly jarring listen, like a random collection of demo tracks or something, especially going from Sound & Shape's meandering, boring acoustic demo "Our Hollow Reasons" to Jack Killed Jill's clean garage pop of "Maybe in Time." This is probably the most skippable part of the comp, though, as Kill the Scientist's cash register sound-addled grindcore of "Computer Malfunction" may not make the band any new fans.

There certainly aren't as many winners and loveable tracks on this second volume, but the cause is just as worthy. If there's a way you can cherrypick your favorites and ensure the money goes to the right place, that might be your best bet.

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