Generally, Minnesota isn’t what first comes to mind when one thinks of vibrant music locales, but judging from this compilation, that might be about to change. Although the website introduction seems to imply that the “electropunk movement” is something along the lines of electroclash with less gimmickry and more songwriting, the music here can’t be categorized quite so easily. Yes, most of the artists do use the analog keyboard sounds so popular in the ‘80s revival scene these days, but out of sixteen songs, only two – TELEPHONE!’s “Elevator Operator” and the Future Wives’ “Dune Buggy Driver” – can really be considered retro novelty songs, and the Future Wives track is actually kind of clever in its minimalism, a bit like a less morbid “Warm Leatherette.” The rest of the tracks go all over the place. Avenpitch’s “Jack the Idiot Dance” and Uber Cool Kung Fu’s poppy “Stand Together” hint at actual punk, and there’s even a moment of unabashed gothic gloom on Mach FoX’s Chameleons-inspired “Reward Le Fin.” Thosquanta’s wonderfully dark “Cowboy” mixes acoustic guitars over Manson-esque drawls and industrial textures, while the Eighth Day recall the aggressive, female-fronted rock of mid-era Pigface. For more straightforward dance fare, Heliosphere’s “All Eyes Nation” and Apraxia’s “Stranger” offer stomping old school EBM rhythms, while “Sea of Flames” by Envy Is Blind wouldn’t sound out of place between Assemblage 23 and Apoptygma Berzerk in the club. There are a few flat moments, of course – the aforementioned TELEPHONE! contribution is like Missing Persons, but even less interesting, while OBCT fail to realize that mixing in everything but the kitchen sink still won’t save you if you’re playing boring fraternity house rap-metal – but the amount of hidden talent coming out of St. Paul and Minneapolis is nonetheless a pleasant surprise.
Best of all, it’s free! Get a free copy at any featured band’s show if you happen to live in the Twin Cities area, or download the entire thing at www.tcelectropunk.com!
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