If you’re still unfamiliar with the genius of Big Scary Monsters, then you simply don’t visit this site enough. We love ’em. We want to have their babies. And the reason is quite straightforward: without doubt, BSM is one of the most reliable and consistently challenging independent labels in the UK.
This compilation is unsurprisingly bitty, therefore, jumping from spliced riffery to acoustic lullabies in a desperate bid to showcase the variety on offer in the Monsters’ lair. It’s a wasted effort, foiled from the start, since all of BSM’s acts naturally kick back against conventions and constraints. By lining them up side by side, it’s like feeding ten kids fizzy drinks, cramming them into a Mini and going on a road trip. There’s shouting, there’s stuff flying everywhere, and then there are a few quiet moments (perhaps when they’ve found the Travel Scrabble).
Okay, so it doesn’t hang together well at all - like that metaphor - but as a tester it will encourage you to probe further. Meet Me In St Louis serve up yet another cracking dose of disjointed At The Drive In-style aggression (an obvious comparison, but still true), increasing the expectations for their debut album, while House Of Brothers do a decent job of suggesting they can follow in Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly’s footsteps. That’s just the first two tracks.
Elsewhere, there’s hardcore fury from forward-thinking Jairus; lush funk-pop from The Campaign For Real Time; jittery nuttiness from Cats And Cats And Cats and Itch; and dollops of sensitivity served up by This Town Needs Guns (think a less-warped Martin Grech), Richard Walters (bit Thom Yorke-y) and a toned-down Secondsmile track. Oh, and then there’s Yndi Halda with another gorgeous wash of epic instrumental wonderment to close things out.
It’s like the greatest pick ‘n’ mix in the world, so get your sticky fingers ready, and dive on in.
8Mike Haydock's Score