Independent Revolution

Various Artists
Independent Revolution (CD2)

So after a large mug of blue stripe coffee, a selection of Mr Kipling’s finest, and a well deserved afternoon nap we find ourselves teetering on the brink of another nineteen tracks, in the form of Independent Revolution, disc 2. Brace yourself, this may take some time.

Maxeen opens the show with a hard rockin’ anthem in the form of ‘Please’. An intelligent, almost prog-rock style, guitar riff kicks off the track which soon returns for a starring role in the driven chorus. The understated second verse works well with its harder first version, while the vocal is gritty enough to make you care but clear enough to make you listen. A good track to open the disc.

Unfortunately Brandtson’s ‘Who Are You Now’ doesn’t quite manage to pick up the baton from where ‘Please’ left off. The dual guitar wailing of the intro, blending into the gradually building verse, promises much of a chorus which doesn’t quite make the impact it should. That said this is not far off a solid effort.

Dopamine’s ‘One Last Breath’, on the other hand, lets itself down by being far too predictable and formulaic in structure. Clichéd lyrics and an attempted dropped tempo, anthemic verse detract from what is some good guitar work.

Avoid One Thing’s ‘Armbands and Braids’ arrives with soul of an early eighties punk tune updated for the 00’s with some metal tinged guitars and one of those Green Day inspired chorus lines. The hidden depths of the chord progressions add a certain amount of sincerity to the musicianship making this track stand out from most of the previous tunes.

…that is it until Beatsteaks’ ‘Vision’ hits the speakers. This is a stand out, more like a jump out… from the behind the wardrobe… when you least expect it… kind of tune. Take a chunk of Danzig style vocals, add a dollop of Soundgarden inspired guitar work, then chuck in some interesting time signatures and – bang – you have one of those tracks that seems to be driven by the devil himself. Menacing and memorable by the bucket load.

Back down to earth, in a manner of speaking, with Over It’s ‘Chasing a Constellation’, which sees the appearance of what can only be described a well crafted slab of early nineties metal. The clear vocal harmonies coupled with Judas Priest style riffing give this track that warm cuddly feeling of bumping into a long lost cousin, last seen collapsed in pile of empty special brew cans and warm piss during Donnington ’88. Welcome home!

Second Monday serve up an interesting track in the form of ‘Clutching at Straws’. Some great drumming complimenting a solid rumbling bass punctuate the verse while a mesh of vocal musings sit on top of a drawn-out chorus. Add in a variety of tempo changes and some serious metal speed picking and you have a track that demands repeat playings.

Cut to another chunk of metal, this time with hints of hardcore from Oneword Answer’s ‘My Last Goodbye’. Chugging guitars, speed picking, a small dose of screaming, and some melodic vocal harmonies give a modern take to a tune predominantly grounded in the past.

The Beautiful Mistake’s ‘A Safe Place’ keeps up the metal tempo but this time with a splash of added indie, along the lines of Idlewild’s ‘When I’m Angry’ era. A nice twist to the old tried and tested formula.

Which brings us up to the halfway point (being track ten) and reminds me that I’ve needed a piss for the last few songs, so apologies but, ooooohhhh, that’s much better – feel free to take a break yourself. Anyway I digress.

‘The Hope That You Choke’ plays like a tune that has been heavily influenced by the US skate punk invasion of a year or so back. Not Katies mix of a punchy verse, melodic chorus, and the usual anthemic vocal harmonies make this a good, but not great, track to get sweaty to.

Despite sounding like a few more oral exercises were needed before laying down the vocals, Cameron’s ‘One Trick Pony’ provides an interesting structure for the indie-tinged guitars to do their thing. Given the obvious straining in places there are still some good vocal hooks in the chorus which see this tune elevate itself to the better end of the CD.

‘A Bad Reputation’ is certainly not something Pulley are going to worry about judging from this track. High tempo from the start, this moshfest sees a great vocal, some tight drumming, and a guitar and bass that actually listen to each other.

Which us brings us to Japanese band, Bounce Frog’s ‘Spangle Star Parade’. Melodic pop/punk with contrasting jangley/riffy guitars ensures this track is easy on the ears, leaving you wondering whether the smooth vocal is actually in Japanese or some sort of Jinglish.

Ready for a few surprises by now I certainly wasn’t expecting a Beatles inspired piano-led tune to suddenly pop up in the midst of all this guitar driven angst. But here it is, complete with rocking guitars, saxophone solo, brilliant vocal and great melodies. Add all this up and you have a very simple formula, Piebald’s ‘Haven’t Tried It’ equals a shining beacon of unexpected class! Wonderful stuff!

And then the surprises keep coming. Back to the metal but with a menacing twin bass assault, Monkey Boy’s ‘Strutter’ crawls out of the speakers like an uninvited stalker. Reminiscent of Toupe’s ‘3 Days In The Pit’ this is an above average effort who’s only minor let down is a weak, but not bad, chorus. That said, this oozes potential.

Hardcore guitars morph into what sounds like a post-punk jamming session, otherwise known as Quik’s ‘In Dreams’. Little structure and few hooks makes this a less then memorable affair however, the twin vocal attack and rumbling bass lift this tune from the bottom of the pile.

Loggerhead’s ‘1994’ starts promisingly but unfortunately goes the way of the previous tune due to the incredibly loose structure, clichéd lyrics, and the lack of any decent hooks. Even the twin (and triple towards the end) vocals are unable to lift this from being decidedly average.

Some ultra-tempo drumming sees the arrival of Starseven’s ‘Peter P’ in some style. Breathless from the start this punk/thrash effort also boasts some good quality vocal hooks as well as a warm DIY production feel giving it a head start over a few of the others.

Which brings us to the final track of this massive double album and this near epic review (well it feels like it!), and what a good track to end on. Eight minutes of creative and emotional guitar work all played against a backdrop of some subtly brilliant bass and drum work. It’s only with the arrival of the vocal, some three minutes in, that you realise most of No Balance’s ‘Wishes For Happiness’ is just instrumental and this is really no bad thing. The use of different yet complementing guitar sounds combined with some great playing give this tune a thoughtfully provocative allure while rounding off the album nicely.

So all in all? Well let us just say the good tunes easily outweigh the bad making this the sort of album that is worth spending the effort to look out for. However if that wasn’t a good enough reason then perhaps thirty-nine tracks from all these different bands, all for under a fiver, is!

You won’t get a bargain like this on e-bay (well you might but that’s beside the point).

Written by Habert on

Pete Habert was sub-editor for The Mag and co-ordinated submissions from the swarm of writers that contributed articles from their local music scenes.

Discover More Music