Sunday, 9 November 2008

Review: Brisbane Sounds 2008

I don't like to get self-referential in a review, but I feel that I can only talk about the Brisbane Sounds 2008 compilation in relation to Before Hollywood's own compilation. Though I have to point out that it should be seen less as a competitive relationship and more as a companion piece of sorts. Indeed, Brisbane Sounds 2008 manages to only cross paths with Stranded on the inclusion of 6 bands; an incredible indication of the depth on Brisbane's music talent given the breadth of each compilation.

Brisbane Sounds 2008 is the brainchild of one Blair Hughes. The Brisbane music afficianado is currently travelling through Europe, using Brisbane Sounds 2008 as a launch pad to advertise and advance the cause of local bands.

The twenty-four bands featured on Brisbane Sounds 2008 mostly flit around the vague genres of pop/rock and alternative rock, but there are a number of widely varying inclusions. Andrew Morris' 'Here You Are, There You Go' opens proceedings with Morris stealing some of Josh Pyke's more commendable traits, while managing to still keep things interesting. The song flows on nicely to The Gin Club's '10 Paces Away' (My previous comments on this song can be seen here), followed by a trio of decent pop/rock songs from Kate Bradley And The Goodbye Horses, The Westminsters, and The Boat People. 'Macy And Me' is Texas Tea doing what they do best (i.e. country-rock); the wistful yet fast paced song is somewhat reminiscent of some of Emmylou Harris' recent work.

Dick Desert & The Shotgun Country Club start to take proceedings in a more rock direction with the surreal 'George Bush's Chicken'. Intercooler and Regurgitator deliver with a brace of pop-punk tunes, while Sixfthick's 'White Light, Wet Heat' is exactly what you'd expect from a band that lists smashing beer glasses on their faces as a hobby. Little Vegas & The Fuzz Parade's contribution, 'Gift Horse', isn't quite on par with their current material, but entertaining none the less. The Butcher Birds' 'The Deal' is a rumbling grunge number, followed by the Warm Guns' unique 60's girl band/garage rock combination, and Black Mustang's ultimately forgettable Stereophonics/T.Rex mashup, 'The One'.

The Vegas Kings' witty 'I Great Ape' is one of the highlights of the compilation, but it rubs up against the frankly horrible 'Sense Of Falling'; Upsize's contribution sounds like a karoake version of a forgotten Cold Chisel song. I Heart Hiroshima thankfully rescue things with the excellent 'Punks' (Previously reviewed here), and Gentle Ben & His Sensitive Side maintain the quality. Big Red Candle's 'Tropic Of Cancer' is a strange mix of The Fall and Black Flag, which, amazingly, they manage to pull off successfully. Butterfingers' serve up a slice of their unique brand of hip-hop with 'Nothin' Much Happens'. Personally I'm not a fan, but they definitely have their audience; basically if you like Hilltop Hoods, Blink 182, and Eminem, you'll probably enjoy this.

The Whats' 'Ants' is next, and, I have to say, I was pleasantly suprised by this song. The almost 8-bit track has an excellent set of lyrics, but it fits uncomfortably between Butterfingers and the next act, Kissy Trouble Company, who provide an interesting take on the current blue-eyed soul revival (i.e. Amy Winehouse, Duffy, Adele, etc.) by taking the voice and backing it with an electronic sound akin to Jamie Lidell or Fujiya & Miyagi. The Late Great Russian Revolution's 'Gettin Lucky' is an interesting instrumental punk track, but it feels somewhat like filler here at the end of the compilation, whereas the closing song, 'Alcohol' by Spitfireliar, is just downright dumb Oi! punk.

The drop in quality towards the end of the compilation doesn't detract too much from the overall experience, however. Brisbane Sounds 2008 is an interesting and rewarding take on one of the many spectrums of Brisbane's musical output. Hughes has made a valiant effort here, and he can only be wished luck in his mission to spread the gospel of Brisbane sounds.


Andrew McMillen said...

Fair review. I can't see many reasons to pick this up.

Gav said...

Actually I'm not sure if you can even buy this anywhere, so it's a bit superfluous!