Various Artists

Little Molly Has a Treat for You, Vol. 1

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Deriving its title and overall approach from the Darla label sampler series -- Darla itself is one of the labels featured on this collection -- Little Molly Has a Treat for You, Vol. 1 covers a slew of indie pop and related outfits, offering up an enjoyable selection of bands for the curious neophyte. There aren't many rarities per se, but a few do turn up here and there, and if nothing else it makes for a pleasant listen if one is inclined to a world of catchy pop/rock and synth tunes from the turn of the millennium. Besides Darla, labels like Teenbeat, March, Le Grand Magistery, Elefant, and SpinArt appear, while the bands themselves hail from pretty much all over the map, from Sweden and Spain to Japan. Elefant's two choices are both rarer numbers -- Vacaciones' "Ahora Si!," originally from a 7" single, is merry enough guitar pop sparkle with a giddy keyboard line that carries it, while La Monja Enana's otherwise unreleased "Otra Dimension" takes a full-on synth turn with engaging results. The other flat-out rarities are Club 8's "Keeping Track of Time," which works with breakbeats and acoustic guitars in a reasonable enough sub-Beck style, and the Busy Signals' "The Goodtimes," a slightly woozy number that's sort of indie trip-hop...in a way. Unguiltiest pleasure: Barcelona's "Studio Hair Gel," which takes the scenario (and musical approach) from the Dead Milkmen's "Instant Club Hit" and flips it around into a crushworthy statement of love. Other joys include Jack Drag's "The Only, Only One -- Parts 1 & 2," which welds a winsome, sweetly sad little song to some studio skullduggery, the Photon Band's equally low-key and entrancing "Runaways," and Waltz for Debbie's glorious synth pop epic "He Loves Anna." Credit as well to Molly herself, pictured on the front playing keyboards with her paws.