Screaming Tarts Compilation CD

An awful lot of this album is really, really bad. No – I really do mean really bad. The kind of bad where you turn down the volume when playing it for reviewing purposes in case the neighbours hear it and think you actually bought it and then storm your home jabbing flaming torches and pitchforks, batter the door down and kill you utterly dead. Don’t laugh – it does happen. And death-by-flaming-pitchfork is not a pretty way to go, as Dracula would be happy to tell you if he weren’t too busy bandaging two-pronged holes in his torso and wondering where the hell he’s going to find a new opera cloak in this day and age.

Not being a charitable organisation, I’m not going to lie about how wonderful the worst offenders are. However I’m not an unreasonable woman, and I therefore won’t name names. I’m also going to avoid the painfully mediocre, and focus instead on the odds and ends here the discovery of which would make this compilation worth the buying.

The main appeal lies in Scarlet Soho (the minimal impact of their clinically detached metronome pop comes across particularly well amidst the overwrought guitar soloings of so much else on here…), and in the scuzz-rock downhill tumblings of Antihero. There’s fun to be had in the extremely bad-and-wrong but oddly likeable Sack Trick – I suspect their B-Movie joke metal would wear very thin indeed over the course of more than one song, but that one song is worth a quick smirk and gains extra points for the spoken word intro. AntiProduct pull off a similar trick by being just about self-aware enough to get away with the screaming melodrama, grind and scream and by having some quite nice harmonies, although I still wouldn’t rush to hear them again. Kinesis, who I’ve never really liked, left me pleasantly surprised – the angry-wall-of-noise flailings of Everything You Thought You Knew To Be kinda makes me see what all the fuss was about. Honourable mentions must also go to the disconcerting high-pitched sugar-pop attack of D:Models (who could either turn out punky and ace or novelty and irritating) and to the tentative Smiths-esque 80s-indie-stylings of Nebraska.

Were I a fan of affected metal-glam-racket, the proportion of the 17 songs on this compilation which I actually like would be quite dramatically reversed. As is, there’s enough on here with merit for me to not dismiss it out of hand… but this is really more one for the Rachel Stamp (who feature on here, and who are therefore clearly not dead – but then, I was never quite sure that they weren’t an unholy blasphemous example of the living dead anyway. And I don’t mean that in a nice way) crowd than for me.


Screaming Tarts website here

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