By Various Artists
Voltage Records in Bradford, managed by Tim Walker, have recorded a lot of rock in the last couple of years. This handsome and well polished sampler presents 14 tracks from seven of the most accomplished and professional bands in the house.
As a sampler it shows us how good the studio is at what it does and presents seven distinct and recognisable bands. There's no blurring of style or content, and when each band's second track comes round, you can tell who you're listening to. No mean feat. I'm not saying it's going to change your world. But it's consistent, well played and very listenable.
As an introduction to some of Bradford's music, it's indispensable in the way that Junction 47 has been for Leeds' larger scene. It's a perfect opportunity to hear a clutch of bands that you might otherwise miss, with a good chance of you wanting to go hear some of them again. Personally I'm going to be on the lookout for Tim's own band "Worm", and some lads I saw doing a walk on spot at an open-mic night in Idle in 1999 (Darwin). Worm are creatively tuneful with the studio electronics. Darwin have a harmony-singing, guitar springiness that appeals.
Caine open up, in a riffingly acquisitive mood. Burn Horizon are heavier and more rooted in the bass: there's a nodding but noticeable reference to Jeff Buckley, despite their claims to metalness. Idiot Box are a bit sarky/scatty without themselves being able to get too far clear of the buts of their jokes. (the repeated cod disco noises made me laugh once) Purity Cries are serious longhair doom metal with a bit of New Man thrown in. 10.000 Things have stupid songs but are probably infectiously good fun live.
At a deeper level I'm left feeling a bit frustrated that so many young musicians are putting their time and money into creating passable imitations of the "real" apres garde recordings they already own. Including the phoney American accent, careless lyrics and the stolen chord sequences. But as long as there's a Toploader to prove me wrong, there will be 10,000 bands going through the self deluding poses.