By Various Artists
Compiled by Voltage Records head honcho Tim Walker in conjunction with the skate website middle-age-shred.com, the sequel to the original "Gnarly Dude!" compilation features 23 bands from across Britain and the U.S.A. Being a skateboarding comp. the title is a self-referential pun on the stereotypes surrounding the linguistic terminology employed by the skate scene, other examples of which include "bodacious man", "sick dude" and "smoke me a kipper my good sir". Well, maybe not the last one. But you get the picture.
From previous experiences with skateboarding videos I've always associated "skate music" with the Fat Wreck Chords / Epitaph brand of punk- i.e. the high octane buzzsaw guitars of Bad Religion, Strung Out, Pennywise etc.. Although a few bands on the CD fit comfortably into this niche, it was a pleasant surprise to discover the variety of styles on offer, from the bile-driven metal/hardcore shenanigans of Feral to the psychedelic spazz-hop (is that a word? It is now) of Environmental Science vs. Arthur Baker via the tantalisingly melodic emo-esque stylings of The Downfall. Leeds very own This Et Al also make a welcome appearance, their track "He Shoots Presidents" initially sounding like the late (but great) JJ72 before veering off into a cosmic space-rock finale that Explosions In the Sky would be proud of. It's that good.
My main quibble with compilations that adhere to the "stick-as-much-on-as-possible" mantra (as Gnarly Dude! 2 does) is that although the underlying principle of giving as many bands as possible the chance to "reach out" to a wider audience is an admirable idea, invariably quality control does somewhat suffer as a result. Throughout the course of listening to the CD I found myself pressing the "skip" button on my CD player a few too many times for comfort, and there are a couple of songs that (to be frank) are turgid limp-wristed abominations that should never have been conceived of in the first place. However, the general standard is good, and acts such as Stalefish and The Fraction alongside the artists mentioned in the previous paragraph more than compensate for any of the compilations musical shortcomings.
Overall a well-worked and commendable attempt at housing a multitude of styles under one roof. Gnarly Dude! 2 shows that "skate music" can incorporate a variety of influences and that bands that fall into this genre can "hold their own" when it comes to writing and playing.