Yeah, It’s Supposed to Sound Like That…Vol. II is the second compilation release from independent record label Colchester Recordings. Describing themselves as “a tiny shoestring set up” who are run on “enthusiasm in lieu of cash”, this English-based operation boasts an eclectic roster of artists from such far flung regions as Australia and the USA. Colchester Recordings espouse a strictly independent ethos and as such the compilations are not created for the purpose of courting major label interest, but instead to generate interest in the music released on this label and others by the featured artists.
What is immediately apparent on listening to the CD is the huge array of musical styles and genres featured. Over 17 tracks we are treated to, everything from 12 minute electro-epics to political hip hop to the little known but excellently titled “surf inspired slackabilly” subgenre. The discrepancies between sound and production from track to track can be a bit jarring, but it does ensure that each track stands out from the next instead of getting lost in a mire of similar sounds.
As with all compilations some tracks tend to stand out above others. The opening track, Down to the Wire by American hip hop artist ReMoConscious is an angry and articulate take on American history and the country’s current social ills. Equally impressive in a completely different way is the second track, Muleskinner Jones’ Come Inside, Stranger. This sounds something like a cross between Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, an Appalachian folk song and a waltz and is all the more wonderfully twisted for it. Another favourite of mine was Sean Parker’s Communication, a scuzz rock gem which brings to mind bands like Yo La Tengo or Gomez. However these are just my choices – the amount of tracks and range of styles mean that only the most hard to please music fan won’t find something to like here.
Some tracks here suffer from a slight lack of originality – for example Kill Dizney who here bear more than a passing resemblance to Asian Dub Foundation, or the last track by London band Liquid Sunshine which sounds like generic Brit Pop. However in saying this I realise that it is unfair to draw conclusions about a band from only one song, and some, such as The Party (whose track here is reminiscent of Ian Dury and the Blockheads), are at pains to point out that their musical style varies greatly from song to song and that the track featured says very little about their overall sound.
Although the featured music might not be representative of the musical output of the bands involved, it does an excellent job of highlighting the diversity and talents of its associated artists in a more general sense. For anyone looking to hear something different from the MTV/NME pack, you could do a lot worse than having a listen to a copy of this CD
(available from www.colchesterrecordings.com).