Various Artists

Beach Bar Culture

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Its artwork makes Beach Bar Culture look like nothing more than your average downbeat comp, mixed too slickly and destined to fall quickly to the back of the cutout bin. But the two-disc set initially proves that assumption wrong, kicking off with the irresistibly trippy psych-pop of the Bees and "Wash in the Rain." The Bees have always been in the same sentence as Beta Band; here the latter follows them up with the aptly titled "Easy." Chile-based goof producer Señor Coconut contributes his classic rock en Español take on "Smoke on the Water," and Mylo's breezy "Valley of the Dolls" then moves Beach Bar Culture toward more conventional chill. The shift is OK -- chilling is definitely something you do at the beach bar, after all. But disc one begins to dwell too long in standard-issue Euro-dance. It might need some re-sequencing before hitting the speakers at your next party. Bar Culture's second disc starts promisingly with a low-key techno remix of Enigma moving into the breathy vocals of Heather Nova. Though it occasionally suffers through pockets of middling whatever-tronica (better learn how to use that "program" feature on your component stereo now), the second disc does have gems. Air's "Alpha Beta Gaga" counts, especially when it's sequenced next to "Sparks" from Röyksopp. Goldfrapp's "Hairy Tees" is here, setting up the finale of Ian Brown ("Mundo"), the Orb ("Land of Green Ginger"), and the uplifting boogie beats of Primal Scream's "Come Together."

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