Various Artists – Voice This Sound

Various Artists
Voice This Sound

It seems that lately, I’ve been blessed by the deity of indie compilations, as I’ve managed to score yet another winner to review with Inverse Records’ Voice This Sound collection. This comp. manages to win in both the quantity and quality department, with 22 different bands contributing a mish-mash of solid emo/pop/indie rock tracks. Best of all, Inverse Records even managed to bring a few fairly recognizable names to the plate, such as Ultimate Fakebook, Pop Unknown, River City High, and Red Animal War. Ultimately, though, what makes this compilation such a worthwhile listen is the startling array of good songs by bands I hadn’t known of before hearing this disc.
The acoustic lope of Jump Rope Girls‘ “Looking for Mothers” is probably the most unexpected surprise on the disc, with the song coming off with a sort of casual beauty that just isn’t heard often enough. Greyline‘s “I Hold a Grudge” is a fine chugging emo-rocker with a poppy chorus and some really fine dual-rhythm guitar interaction. ‘Simmeringly intense’ is the best way to describe this one, thanks to the storytelling lyrics about the a guy’s girlfriend cheating on him with his best friend.
Subset contributes a wonderful (though all too short) emo-pop tune with a wicked rhythm, while Schatzi‘s piano-laced “Bionic Waves” leans more towards the Penfold/Kid Brother Collective ‘quiet-to-loud dynamics’ end of emotional indie-rock. Germany’s Sometree produces a gem with “The Nexus,” another intense number that slowly builds up to a blistering guitar-and-wailed-vocal freak-out at mid-track. The ladies get into the act a bit here, too. Tess Wiley‘s “How Does Silence Feel?” is a nice acoustic track that showcases her strong and unique voice, even though it is backed by a rather hokey Casio backbeat. Cruiserweight‘s “All This Negativity” is a little more on the rocking side of things, sounding like Jane Weidlen from the Go-Go’s fronting an indie/emo/rock band.
Of course, the more recognizable acts turned out some pretty quality material for this collection, as well. Ultimate Fakebook‘s “When I’m With You, I’m OK” kicks off the disc with a catchy Vagrant-ish romp, while Red Animal War‘s “Did You See it in the Sky?” closes the compilation with a growling, intense crawl. Pop Unknown contributes probably the best song I’ve personally ever heard from them, “B-Sides,” an absolutely awesome three-minute rocker with killer rhythm guitars and a driving rhythm. Still, of the better-known bunch of artists, River City High steals the spotlight with “Make it up to You,” a catchy emo-pop rocker with an even catchier chorus. The main rhythm guitar riff is awesome, and the second, more intricate rhythm guitar makes the track sound both delicate and powerful at the same time. Plus, for some odd reason, the singer’s voice during the chorus lyric of “Whatever will be, will be” vaguely reminds me of Eddie Money.
All in all, Voice This Sound is a really solid compilation for the genre represented. Anyone that’s not a fan of catchy, poppy emo guitar riffs probably isn’t going to find anything they like here, so anyone thinking they’re too cool to listen to some catchy emo-pop should probably just walk away from this and go find some avant-garde art-rock record instead. Otherwise, though, it’s safe to say that it’s hard to find any real clunkers on this 22-track collection. Recommended to fans of the indie/emo/pop genre.