Various Artists - The End Records 2011 Summer Sampler
Record Label: The End Records
Release Date: June 14, 2011
British record label The End Records has released their 2011 summer sampler, featuring an array of eclectic artists. The sampler reached #2 on the Amazon charts.
How is it?
Worth listening to, that's for sure. Guano Apes' "Oh What a Night," is jittery, bouncy and more than arena-ready, while Anathema's "Dreaming a Light," is a piano-based ballad that calls to mind Keane and Coldplay. Huge, sweeping guitars help make it one of the more memorable tracks released this year. Art Brut's punchy and propulsive "Unprofessional Wrestling," is arguably one of the band's most inspired singles while Brendan Perry's "Utopia," paints a dreamy and ethereal sonic landscape. There's a dash of Bowie, a dash of Morrissey and a chunk of computer samples. Sure it's a bit sleepy, but hey, a change of pace is not the worst thing.
The hip-hop tinged "Only Man," from Audio Bullys is corn and borders on lame, trite and banal. Suffice it to say, it's one of the sampler's leaner offerings and provides as meek segue for Badly Drawn Boy's inimitable "This Electric." With a voice like a warm blanket and guitars that are amiable and inviting, there's little reason this song won't find favor with new and old fans alike. "The Great God Pan," by relative newcomers Spirits of the Dead is a pretty, hushed folk composition that's lilting, potent and deeply affecting. If any one song on the sampler stands out as something worth watching, it is most decidedly this one.
Though he will probably only appeal to those who find Rod Stewart or James Blunt compelling, England-by-way-of-New York songwriter James Maddock's expertly crafted folk-pop gem "Beautiful Now," co-written with Mike Scott of the Waterboys is a true testament that one is never too old to reinvent their career. Maddock, who fronted the lightly popular British folk-rock act Wood, emerged into obscurity for the early part of 2000s before re-appearing in New York City's Lower East Side club scene in 2005.
The Charlatans UK's "My Foolish Pride," is breezy and whimsical while Tarja's "Underneath," is operatic and feels a bit too much like Evanescence, Penultimate track "The Great Disruptors," by Sweethead is grungy and less than stellar and serves as a horrible segue for the too-good-to-be-true "Wicked Self," an awe-inspiring and arresting cut from Too Late the Hero.
In the end, the 2011 summer sampler has at least a half-dozen tracks well worth listening to and three which are worth a few listens. That the album is free from Amazon makes it that much more worthwhile.