Various Artists – Lunch with a Bouncing Space, Vol. II

Various Artists
Lunch with a Bouncing Space, Vol. II

Oh compilations. Always making life hard on the reviewer. Chock full of so many different bands and sounds, with promo material rarely offering more information than “Putting this compilation together has been a long and exciting experience…” Ew. Well, at the very least you hope that every compilation has some sort of theme running through it – genre, geography, sound, influences, ideas. Lunch with A Bouncing Space Vol. II offers no such coherence. That’s not to say there aren’t a few good songs on this release, it’s just to say that I don’t really know why this compilation exists. Perhaps just for education, perhaps indulgence, perhaps just fun. Not my place. I just review the damn songs.
The album opens with a song by Lenola, a band that has always showed monumental potential but never really showed it on a whole album. They continue that trend here, with a thick, sickly sweet cover of the Cure’s “Catch.” They’re followed by one of the album’s worst contributions, an electronically infused song by a band called the Burnside Project, who offers the unlistenable “Scratch (Goes the DJ).” Fortunately, that’s about as bad as things get. 99cent Dream chip in their laid back indie-piano groove “Nominal Friends,” which suffers only slightly from awkward lyrics. The Silver Screen offers up one of the best songs, the glorious summer-punk exhibition “Responsive Bull,” all fuzzed chords and blitzkrieg melody.
Hunnypal is a band from Sweden that sounds a lot like the Cure would have if they could’ve dropped the goth and just written their damn melodies. The Dandelion Clocks suffer under a terrible name, and their every-coffee-shop-girl-ever sound doesn’t help much either. The Moonbabies contribute a shoegazer-esque stroll through indie rock, while Jchurch blast through thrash-punk that sounds like the early 90’s (sort of in a good way, and sort of in a bad way). Ross and the Hellpets have an odd pop sound, but “It’s Enough” is still one of the album’s best – a verse lifted straight from the Beatles, and a boy/girl chorus that complements it perfectly.
I’ve left a couple of bands off, for brevity’s sake. None of their contributions are bad, nor are they good. They’re simply decent indie-rock songs, just like everything mentioned above. Lenola, The Silver Screen, and Ross and the Hellpets all make the best contributions to this album. Unfortunately, I simply can’t recommend this album. It’s not that the songs are bad – in fact they’re consistently better than expected. It’s just that you can’t listen to this album – it lacks any sort of coherence or purpose. The only reason to buy this is if you’re an obsessive collector of one of the bands on this compilation (I believe some – perhaps all – of these songs are unreleased). But given the relative obscurity of most of these bands, that should apply to very few of you. There’s only 12 songs, so sheer volume doesn’t warrant a purchase either. Credit to A Bouncing Space for putting a bunch of solid bands on a solid CD. I recommend some sort of theme next time.