Various Artists

Oil [Thick Compilation]

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All the songs on this release from Chicago's Thick label were recorded with a mobile unit inside an ancient, sputtering oil-blending factory on the city's South Side. As I-55 roared outside, and the factory itself made, well, factory noises, the bands launched into their material without the need for studio trickery or production hijinks. Oil is 17 songs of raw, viscous punk, hardcore, and emo. Standouts include Alkaline Trio's "Old School Reasons," Rise Against's "Gethsamane," and Lawrence Arms' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been." Of course, there are a few stinkers; every compilation has them. In this case, the Owls' avant punk seems a bit out of place inside the muscular depths of the makeshift recording studio. But it's a brief misstep. Oil will certainly appeal to fans of Midwestern punk and emo, and Thick itself deserves credit for the creativity behind the project.

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