Alternative Evolution is yet another compilation of (mostly) '80s new wave hits marketed the roots of alternative rock. While it may be true that several artists featured here were popular on college radio (Toad the Wet Sprocket, Psychedelic Furs), and while many of the songs have the quirkiness common to the less mainstream side of new wave, this synth-pop-heavy collection doesn't clearly demonstrate a link to the guitar-oriented sound that dominated most American alternative rock even prior to the music's commercial explosion in 1991. That said, it's a pretty decent ten-track sampler, with Toad the Wet Sprocket's "All I Want" the only cut that couldn't really be called new wave. A number of these songs have been anthologized elsewhere, yet still feel underexposed, making this a solid, budget-minded addition to listeners who don't have Rhino's Just Can't Get Enough series.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Huey