Artist showcase compilations are a dime a dozen these days and have become as common of a marketing tactic as the mighty music video. Fortunately, it’s a win-win proposition for both record labels looking to introduce their latest acts and fans wishing to dip their toes into new waters.
Unlike other labels that attempt to cram one song from every artist in their catalog onto a CD, Point Five Limey Records has instead devoted more disc space to fewer artists. As such, listeners of the label’s latest compilation—Broadcast International—are presented with two songs from each artist, thus giving them a more rounded view of each band.
Featured on Broadcast International are Alien 101, A Perfect Kiss, Maria Blonde, May Sixteen, [ the ] K Word, and To What End. Generally speaking, the artist’s range from straight-ahead punk rock to emo-laden hardcore.
French trio Maria Blonde makes a definite impact with two emotive tracks that see the band jump from the tried-and-true drone of indie favorites Sonic Youth and The Pixies all the way to moments that are oddly akin to Evanescence. It’s not what you’d expect from the French, but then again Air already had the ambient export market covered.
A Perfect Kiss rages effortlessly with “In Spite Of My Angel” without the bitter aftertaste that leaves most modern hardcore outsiders scrambling for their earplugs. The track pulls the listener in with a haunting low-end and swooning guitar play reminiscent of The Cure’s more introspective days, eventually giving way to the obligatory, guttural breakdown.
And if you ever wondered what it would be like to cross a ‘50s crooner with a modern-day hardcore vocalist, then look no further than May Sixteen. The dueling vocal banjos create an off-the-wall dynamic that works, surprisingly.
To What End holds their own, but it seems an odd addition to an otherwise pop-agnostic album. Not to say the group is ready to become the next American Idol, but its Alien Ant Farm likeness smacks of safety. All in all, the compilation offers a bit of something for everyone with a proclivity toward the aggressive.