By Various Artists
Compilation CDs are by their nature an odd breed. Only really working commercially when the listener already knows and likes the majority of the tracks. Tracks, which it should be stated, were never intended to sit side by side. With these rules in mind what hope for a compilation of unknown bands, who often struggle to make their own songs sit comfortably next to one another? Thankfully Dancetotheradio have done their homework and rarely do they let personal preference (and mates they drink with) get in the way of an all round quality well ordered selection. There is plenty for those who know some of these bands, and even more for those that don't. Such a break from the normal dross, is this compilation - that it could be the one people cite in the future as the making of the Leeds scene (well the current Leeds angst guitar scene at least). The range of quality on show is a massive gauntlet to all other cities, shouting "Come on then, let's see what you've got!"
Take a deep breathe, 18 tracks in total and all meriting at least some lines of copy. Opening with a fitting surge This Et Al, The Sunshine Underground and O Fracas chop-chop away at their guitars setting the scene for the angular math-rock mayhem to come. The latter definitely win this fight with the brilliant "What Jim Hears". Old men (and lady) of the stage The Scaramanga Six give us another slice from their excellent "Cabin Fever" before those other veterans The Terminals (formerly Lorimer) deliver one of the best 2mins 22secs of guitar whippin' you are likely to hear - sing it "I have been diagnosed". Whipper snappers Buen Chico nip in with their now quite old "I Don't Care" (something new please!). Two of the label's own bands rub shoulders, ˇForward, Russia! doing a reasonable PIL impression and The Lodger offering some summer pop. The Lucida Console blend a bit into the background, no doubt as a result of the similar sounds already heard.
(Half way through - breath again)
Robochrist next... ok if you've always hankered after a cheesy NIN. Napoleon IIIrd sounds a bit like a cross between The Mull Historical Society and Badly Drawn Boy and is a nice shift from the constant guitar thrust. For only the second time the compilation loses its way with five and half minutes of one idea from Baby Food before being put right back on track by the genius 2 minutes of The Old House (although it will be 10 minutes after you've hit repeat 5 times). Being 747 crop up like old friends with one of their oldest and finest tracks "Communist Prince", even if it has been relegated to a B-side in recent times. iLiKETRAiNS are as pretentious as their name suggest and at nearly nine minutes do little to merit such a hefty slot. Leeds scene stalwarts The Somatics continue the theme with big guitar swelling and tonnes of atmosphere. Using the term (DEMO) next to I Love Poland's "Cripple" can perhaps excuse the recording quality but not the lack of a song. However it's all nicely wrapped up with some sweet House of Love style electronica from The Rebellion Threat Kills.
In all many heroes, very few villains and to truly say you were there in years to come this might be your best bet. Get it and you will be justified in your "I remember when they were all..." style statements.