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Shock Rock: Wall Of Sound by Various Artists

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Reviewed on 11th March 2007.


Shock Rock: Wall Of Sound

By Various Artists

New rave.

Makes you want to look away doesn't it? New talent being pigeonholed into genre specific straight jackets, and all as a sorry excuse for the latest scene or fad to grow and take hold of our vulnerable teens. Remember nu-metal? God I do.

Back then it was me getting emotional to Limp Bizkit's 'Re-arranged'. I didn't really like the bands, but I wanted to because it felt wrong not to. Even legendary WWF wrestler The Undertaker had swapped his druids for a ginger red-neck beard and "keep rollin', rollin', rollin', rollin'" entrance music.

But listen up - new rave is better than nu-metal. Why? Firstly, are you deaf? Secondly, 'new' is spelt correctly and thirdly, it's a British movement, and therefore not as 'popular' as it would be in American society - think grunge over there and then think the new rock revolution (cringes) over here.

Unfortunately, the notes accompanying this compilation continue to talk about glowsticks as if it was another yo-yo craze. Music, non? "It sounds amazing", it reads to an eagerly awaiting scarf yielding teen. I beg to differ, for what the world doesn't need now in light of all the wars, pain and destruction is an Infadels remix...

Metronomy, Shakes and The Sunshine Underground kick us off in a blaze of punk and dance music. It's hardly life changing, although Shakes do okay for one minute and twenty-six seconds on 'Sister Self Doubt'. In fact, you can practically see the NME foaming at the mouth, and thinking up the latest glowstick related pun ("shake those glowsticks" is the best I can come up with). Unfortunately it all turns sour when a Bravery singer sound-alike turns up to ruin the fun.

The Sunshine Underground do fare better, taking us back to the nineties where, you may remember, being Scottish and a heroin junkie were the in things. 'I Ain't Losing Any Sleep' is post-club recovery music rather than night out stuff, with a blissfully drunken guitar riff providing a melancholic alternative to the dance banter elsewhere - like The Open on special brew.

Three in and I'm not wholly convinced. No deal.

Boxes four and five showcase those loveable scamps The Gossip and CSS with their most well known songs 'Standing In The Way Of Control' and 'Lets Make Love And Listen To Death From Above'. Phew. If you haven't heard them, put The Killers CD down and leave the house. And no, that's not to go to a Razorli... sorry, Johnny Borrell gig. (tenuous link alert) And talking of Death From Above, they're on here too - 'Black History Month' is given a rather welcome Alan Brake and Fred Falke remix, now free to revel in its sparse musical surroundings. "Hold on children, your mother and father are leaving" so goes the choral lyric. Poor bairns.

Now, the best thing about compilations is that they aim to introduce you to something new, a delicious musical pie that you had perhaps never before tasted. Obviously to do this you need to buy the right ones - may I suggest Rough Trade's yearly offering perhaps, rather than 'The Pure 80s Love Album' for example.

This passes that test, largely thanks to the synth-laden beauty that is 'Violent Light' by Toyshop. Homage to the funbus, "wake me up when the darkness comes" is perhaps the key lyric in this Super Furry Animals tinged gift.

Now, the worst thing about compilations is that, more often than not, they introduce you to something you would have been better off without, a turgid musical excretion that you wouldn't normally touch with Bill Oddie. Basically, it's the equivalent of 4 Letter Holiday appearing on 'Pure and Essential Indie Anthems'.

Again, the test is passed - Ahuman's clinically warped Killers bore-fest 'Black Moon' is the culprit here. Anything but boring however, are Soulwax. Well, as a dance band anyway - when it comes to rock, things unfortunately become spectacularly average, as the gee-tar heavy version of 'NY Excuse' shows. Needless.

It would be unfair not to bless the rest with a mention, so here goes; Whitey's future is adverts, Zoot Woman's 'Grey Day' is the musical equivalent of pixilated porn and Shy Child's 'Down On Yourself' is a frantic, edgy and sometimes mesmerising piece of dance music that, for once, doesn't outstay its welcome. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the stop start key changing dance machine that is Lo-Fi-Fnk. Why? Because 'Change Channel' is merely quite good and quite good isn't good enough for me, good fans.

For the rating I've excelled myself by adding all the scores together and dividing by fifteen. I'm bloody good to you.



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