V/A – Beep Click Strum Sing / 2004 Datawaslost Records / 17 Tracks / http://www.datawaslost.net / Reviewed 20 September 2004
Beep Click Strum Sing starts would with Morals Galore rocking pretty hard in an alternative vein, using multi-part harmonies along with some reverb to make the track timeless. The cute vocal inflections (woohooohooho) that end the track provide a earworm that will literally drill through the soft tissue of your ear and enter your brain. The synth-lines of Coltrane Motion are furthered by ambient synthscapes and a slightly nasally, set Ian Curtis-styled vocals. The break-down that bridges the two sections of the track is much too Spartan, too awkward to truly fit with the rest of the track. Bishop Allen’s happy-pop music is a logical extension of the forces leading the disc, but the track removed from context almost reaches to the most corn-ball Beatles and Joy Electric tracks. The guitar wash of the Swissfarlo track works well with the intricate bass lines and simplistic yet fitting drum lines. With guitar lines reminiscent of The Replacements, Swissfarlo is a rock band of the truest form.
The grunge-guitar noodlings of Hilltop Distillery remind us of Nirvana, and the lush bass draws more obviously from the Les Claypool camp, making for an interesting culmination of musical styles. The crux of the disc comes nearly halfway through, when Stylex opens up eir’s track “Wake Up, Go To Wor” with an electronic opening meshing together Pet Shop Boys and Atom and His Package before degenerating into the latter meeting Andrew WK, a truly trite endeavor to say the least. In a diametric opposite to the preceding Stylex track, The Spectacular Fantastic update a 60s-pop track with a more current synth line. The female-led laconic rock of The Minders are the beginning of the end for this compilation, and their performance of “Pearl” shows both their and Datawaslost’s desire to insinuate talent all through the disc, instead of frontloading the disc.
Well Velcro One seems to go down in flames with their extremely weak opening to “No Lemon, No Melon”, the inclusion of acoustic guitars and a more traditional arrangement save the track from the brink of mediocrity, the electronic parts of the track seeming almost like a DDR track than anything. Beep Click Strum Sing is a perfect track for this compilation, as most of the acts on the disc are combinations of electronic and mundane instruments, and just as with all Datawaslost compilations, puts together some of the most forward-looking band of this year.
Top Tracks: The Minders – “Pearl”, Compiler – “Your Eyes, My Choir”