Various Artists – The Luxury Sounds of the Losing Blueprint

Various Artists
The Luxury Sounds of the Losing Blueprint

This label, run by musician Andrew Wagner, seems to have an exceptionally diverse array of artists and musical styles. And that’s especially evident on this 15-song compilation. There’s no theme, no defining characteristic to make it flow. That might be a problem, as you’re left wondering why it was put together. But the reason there is likely just to feature a diverse group of musicians, and that’s what you have here.
The Method and Result start with “I Will not Demand What I’m Worth,” a low-key, rhythm-focused pop song that floats along on restrained female vocals and calm beat. Vaguely Star Shaped dabble into the emo-rock category with “Waiting to Forget,” performing a very tight track with some interestingly harmonized vocals. By contrast, after that nice start, Fiesel burst things up with a blast. “A Lot Can Happen in the Middle of Nowhere” is a frenzied burst of driving and slightly chaotic rock in almost five minutes. Then there’s the discordant yet intriguing instrumental “Silver Alien Pyjamas” by The Nationale Blue that sounds startlingly like 80s prog-rock.
Wagner picks up the acoustic guitar for “Palmetto Acres,” a song of rapid notes and arpeggios, plus his unique vocal delivery. Popcanon’s literate pop with horns has never impressed me, and “Make Reference,” though catchy, is more of the same. Polaris Mine’s “Getting Legal” is easily forgettable rock, although Words for Snow change things up with “My Uncle,” an intriguing jazz-influenced instrumental with a nice flow but no real delivery, just all lead-up. “Crab” by Calumet-Hecla reminds me of a more melodic Arab on Radar, with shouted vocals providing a stark contrast to melodic guitars and powerful percussion.
I’m guessing it’s Wagner’s voice I hear as one of the singers for Score One for the Fat Kid. “Paper Autogyro” is a kind of geek’s approach to indie-rock, with a little math-rock and a lot of fun. It reminds me of another band Wagner was in, Idiot Savant Garde. Kind of jammy and funky, Notpictured’s “Driftwood” is ultimately tame and rather dull, but Centralia do show more of a glimmer of originality for their darker-feeling instrumental, a mix of mellow guitars and intense riffs.
Kind of grungy, Bird Gets the Smile go the more soaring, emo-rock direction with “Captain of One,” a driving track that’s comfortable in its genre although doesn’t push the boundaries at all. The comp. finishes up with “It’s Wednesday, Fuck You” by A Radio with Guts, a track that starts with a unique flair but never picks up in pace or initiative, instead content to be bare-bones strumming and subtle vocals. Tristan da Cuhna’s “Stealth Nights Revisted” ends with an up-beat eight-minute opus, filled with driving guitars, in-your-face percussion, and discordant vocals half-sung and half-shouted. Odd yet interesting, it’s a good choice for closer.
In short, this is a nice sampling of Losing Blueprint’s artists and a few other eclectic bands thrown in. Despite the varying styles, this album as a compilation doesn’t pack much punch and doesn’t go too far out on a limb. There’s some good songs and some artists I’d definitely like to hear more from, but overall I’m left with a focus on a few of the artists and a bunch of filler.