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June 19, 2024

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Unsound--Volume 1:
POP! (Pig Productions/To M'Lou Music)

By: Alex Steininger

"The Unsound Series exists to make great home-recorded music available to the general public," explains the back of the enclosed CD booklet. The whole idea behind this compilation is to bring you music, pure and simple, straight from the artist. Recorded in artists' basements, kitchens, etc. this compilation provides the listener with catchy pop melodies recorded in the purest form. Twenty four songs, from eighteen bands, make this a nice compilation for any fan of indie pop.

The first track that instantly grabbed me and got me singing along was Ed James' "Party At Joe's." Bouncy, infectious, and well written, this number has every piece of the puzzle that makes pop so good. But what was even more amazing was the fact that this song was written, recorded, and performed by Ed James. His other track, "Turn It Around," is not as sugar-injected as "Party At Joe's," but it does have the same pop hooks and smooth vocals. Very 70's pop sounding, "Turn It Around," will not leave you unsatisfied. Ed sure has a great mind for creating enjoyable pop treats. The Welcomats' "Tattered and Frayed" also stood out amongst the others. An 80's pop feeling shoots through your body, giving you a lot of happy dance moves to choose from, while the drums and bass work endlessly to keep the song foot-tappin' delicious. And they do a great job of it, because every time I listen to this number I just want to move my body while tapping my feet along with the rhythm section. Mick Hargreaves' mix of folk and power-pop translates into a very enjoyable blend of rich vocals and catchy pop hooks. Acoustic, the song has a soft feeling to it, yet has a lot of power and drive to it, giving it a more rugged feeling. The various other instruments added to the song also help give it a unique flavor. Recorded under very unusual circumstances, Shane Faubert and the Skyecats' contribution of "Anybody Like You" was recorded through the mail. That's right, standard U.S. mail. Now, I've heard of bands recording over the internet, but through the mail? That has to be very time consuming. But I guess that shows their dedication to their material. Explains Shane: "I wrote the damn song, did a scratch vocal and acoustic guitar on my TEAC 4-track, sent the tape to Keith who added drums, who sent the tape to Mike who added guitars, who sent the tape back to me for bass, guitar and lead vocals, then I sent the tape back to Keith for backup vocals, then to Mike for some more guitars, who sent the tape back to me to mix." As I said, very time consuming, but the final outcome is a 60's sounding Brit-Pop number that will soak into your brain and have you craving more with only one listen. Another one man act playing all the instruments, Rick Harper's "Brand New Favorite Song" brings more catchy hooks and a bit of humor too the party. One of my favorite tracks on the CD, just acoustic guitar and vocals, comes from Gary and the Portastudio. Executive producer of this compilation, it wouldn't have been complete without his submission. Light and addictive, it has an easy melody to hum along with and enough hooks to make you want to hum it. Ending with another track from the Welcomats, "Emerald City" closes out the CD with some classic pop. Piano driven and very soft, this song will give you a feeling of loneliness as you sit there and contemplate all your feelings of love that are rolling inside of you. What can I say, it just brings out all the hidden emotions in a person.

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't heard it. So many talented artists, a lot of them doing their own songs (including guitar, vocals, and drums) all by themselves. That's impressive. But what was more impressive was the fact that each song centered around a strong pop sensation, whether it was soft pop, adult top 40 pop, or straight ahead pop-rock. Covering all these genres, this compilation includes material that will please a wide majority of people. Get this CD and support home grown music! I'll give it an A-.

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