Compilations are loathsome beasts; even your very own thought-through and heart-felt mix tape can be aural cod liver oil to the wrong pair of ears, indeed, often to the very same person you’ve made it for. With such tape-making shenanigans a sole preserve pastime of the emo ranks, it’s somewhat appropriate that this compilation, which cobbles together Big Scary Monsters releases past and future alongside a couple of killer licenses, kicks off with Brighton’s Hiding With Girls, a band so gloriously emo it’s a wonder they can see through their tears long enough to learn the chords required in the three-minute-long heard-it-all-before ‘The Stars Cascade’. They’re utter toss creatively, but naggingly tuneful nonetheless. Likewise My Awesome Compilation and Through Silence, both of whom seem to have spent many an hour studying the songbooks of Saves The Day and Finch respectively rather than formulating their own approach to a genre that really needn’t be quite this tiresome. Thus, they sound like cheap imitations of bigger, and better, bands.
A couple of other bands here amount to nothing more than filler, the result of which being that the true stars really do shine. The Remarkable Rocket’s fuss-free acoustic approach makes for a refreshing change of mood after some ten tracks of ear-bashing, and The Dudley Corporation’s dainty ‘Spanish Steps’ is really quite delightful. The Next Autumn Soundtrack’s swoon-inducing ‘L.O.V.E.’ is the great ‘Mare Vitalis’ period song that The Appleseed Cast never released, and Midlands metalcore outfit Emotive Exposed’s razor-sharp edge marks them out as ones to watch in the future, ‘Russian Bride’ (Poison The Well mixing it up with Botch) being the heaviest track on the entire CD. But it’s down to the Yanks to provide the real corker on a record supposedly celebrating the cream of UK talent; San Diego’s The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower give us ‘For Marcus’ (licensed from Happy Couples Never Last records), a quicksilver blast of screeching horns and squealing guitars that’s one part Rocket From The Crypt, one part Drive Like Jehu, one part The Locust, and all parts brilliant. So, whilst compilations really are buggers to review, seeing as there is always a good proportion of tracks that you’d rather scratch clean off the disc than ever listen to, this one actually delivers enough worthwhile punches to overlook the weary emo-lite padding. Oh, and there's a ludicrously-named band called Fogdonkey here too, which has got to be worth the purchase price alone.
7Mike Diver's Score