It was only a few decades ago that everywhere you turned there was a new compilation album of emerging talent, every city seemingly rife with bright fires on new invention and refreshing creativity from yet to be discovered bands and producing albums as proof. That seems to be a thing of the past now, or maybe just it is so much harder to draw them into the radar, but one series is definitely working hard to unveil the thriving local scene of Brighton and that is One Inch Badge’s Sea Monsters ‘Best of Brighton’ compilations. The late seventies/early eighties saw the excellent Vaultage compilations from the same city, a series of releases which brought to attention the likes of The Piranhas and Peter And The Test Tube Babies, and the Sea Monsters collections is bringing equally or potently even more impressive artists of today from out of the city into are eager ears. Volume 3 is the latest release and as full of quality and irresistible sounds as you could wish for.
Reviewing compilations, especially the size of the two CD/download Sea Monsters 3, is great but also difficult as it is impossible to highlight every deserving artist and on this twenty five track treat it is honest to say there is not one single lull in the depth and richness of tracks. It is an eclectic mix of sounds and artists too which would normally lead to times where you are looking forward but not with this album. We will bring to the fore favourite tracks on the album to fill this review but only on the assumption you accept that every track is worth your undivided attention, got that?
The first CD is opened by the quartet Kins and their song Top and Turn. The song is a busy and raw mix of electro and scuzzy whispering guitars around the excellent vocals of Queline Smith but there is elegance to its ambience which wraps tender arms around the quizzical tempest. It is a gripping start soon equalled and then surpassed by the brilliant sultry guitar crafted instrumental flame of Guiones de Escadrilla from trio Squadron Leaders. The song is a blaze of sixties toned psychedelic rock merged with even richer surf rock; imagine The Shadows starting out today with an indie intent to their craft and nostalgia in their heart and you get this scintillating track.
In close order both Traams and The Physics House Band light up the senses with the songs Peggy and Abraxical Solapse respectively. The first is a guitar crafted piece of garage pop and noise rock which sounds like The Strokes meets The Barracudas, the trio creating a catchy, compelling slice of punkish pop rock, whilst the second simply takes the imagination into a shadow lit piece of disorientating aura drama, the band twisting the song left right and centre and in on itself whilst creating a coherent experiment in sonic adventure. Again a trio (more than coincidence surely?), the band provides arguably the biggest highlight of the release though it is constantly challenged by the likes of Broker, yes another trio who carve out a hypnotic senses buffeting taunt of punk and post hardcore within a psyche punk confrontation with the song Pro Rata. It is a masterful encounter which lingers and teases long after the band’s departure. Coffee from Gnarwolves closes up the first disc with a caustic brawl of punk which maybe is not rife with open originality but suggests this is a band sure to find that unique voice and recognition ahead as it thrills ears and emotions with a battling intensity and persuasion … oh and need I say how many members there are?
The second disc also starts with a pinnacle in the excellent Rule Breaker from hip hop seductor Suave Debonair, not to be confused with the duo from Sacramento playing the same genre. Reminding of Honky, the track sways and swagger with attitude and intrigue, the sounds rippling with invention and the word juggling coming near to the craft and might of Dizraeli. The following Bar After Bar from Rum Committee also walks across the spitting provocation of hip hop, brewing up a swing, jazz, and dubstep chaser to its liquor lined narrative.
Stepping up soon after on the release Great Pagans with Teenage Sillouettes immediately followed by Plasticine and their song Hard Being Strange bring another feast of sound and imagination to feed the raging hunger already ignited by the release. The first band offers up a song filled with guitar led fuzzy warm pop filled within a scuzz littered rock surface, whilst the vocals lay another smouldering harmonic heat to add its glaze to proceedings. Its successor from Plasticine also takes rock music on a melodic ride though with a distinct character to its indie infection and the great slightly quirky vocals of guitarist Andrew. There is a familiarity to the track too but one which defies recognition and adds more to the pleasure.
The pop rock, slightly Green Day like, sound of Loose Lips and their track Dr Evil next bounces across the ear igniting passions and limbs into another thrilled exercise of contribution. It is an excellent piece of contagion which leaves you exhausted and with a needy urge to press play again, and for the record after a few four strong bands, the trios have returned.
The consecutive treats of Little Rope from Tigercub, a riveting stamp of grungy rock ‘n’ roll and virulent anthemic energy, and the soul romping Oh The Days from Almighty Planets stamp their exciting ingenuity permanently on thoughts and passions to demand and undoubtedly receive further investigation, though every artist on the release earns that.
Sea Monsters 3 is outstanding and just shows how much talent there is in one city alone awaiting your discovery. With the likes of 900 Spaces, Luo, Negative Pegasus, Thedealwasforthediamond, and Abi Wade adding their exciting promise and sounds to the equally intriguing offerings of DA-10 ft. Us Baby, Bear Bones, Phoria , Soccer96, Written In Waters, If Heroes Should Fail, Jacko Hooper, and Holy Vessels, this is one compilation only a fool would ignore. With something for everyone it is one of the best introductions to any band anywhere and there are twenty five of the buggers here, some not a trio too.
Stream the album @ https://soundcloud.com/oneinchbadge/sets/sea-monsters-3
Sea Monsters 3 track listing:
Top & Turn (Demo) Kins
2. Red Phoria
3. Fears Luo
4. Aquarius Soccer96
5. Guiones De Escadrilla Squadron Leaders
6. Peggy Traams
7. Natural Jazz Negative Pegasus
8. Abraxical Solapse Physics House Band
9. For My Sins Thedealwasforthediamond
10. Ligeia Written in Waters
11. Arras (ii) If Heroes Should Fail
12. Pro Rata Broker
13. Coffee Gnarwolves
14. Rule Breaker Suave Debonair
15. Bar After Bar Rum Committee
16. Indigo DA-10 featuring Us Baby Bear Bones
17. Teenage Silhouettes Great Pagans
18. Hard Being Strange Plasticine
19. Dr Evil Loose Lips
20. Eleven Pairs of Wings 900 Spaces
21. Little Rope Tigercub
22. Heavy Heart Abi Wade
23. In Angers Jacko Hooper
24. Fever Holy Vessels
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