Various Artists

Our Floating Images of Youth

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Our Floating Images of Youth is one of those albums that is extolled in indie circles, but its actual virtues come into question once its heard. Consisting of two CDs, Our Floating Images of Youth has impressive breadth; however, none of the tracks are truly exemplary. As far as compilations go, Our Floating Images of Youth is a hit-or-miss indie pop sampler, and half of the time it fails to strike the target. The Spanish-flavored "A Greater Notion" from Alison Statton & Spike, like the songs from Northern Picture Library, One Thousand Violins, and Mighty Mighty, serve the purpose of making listeners interested in searching for their records. However, "Callander Green" is a weak choice for the Bluebells, a group that could've been represented with a better track. Our Floating Images of Youth has stylistic depth -- everything from the garage rock of the Bartlebees' "My Fave Ex-Wife" to Dislocation Dance's jazzy "You'll Never, Never Know" -- but too much of it is disposable. The hilariously off-key vocals of BMX Bandits' "Do You Really Love Me?" and the silly lyrics of Duglas T. Stewart & Co.'s "Hey Little Tomboy" offer a respite from the album's debilitating blandness. The moody, R.E.M.-ish jangle of the Chesterfields' "Ask Johnny Dee" and the Carousel's ghostly "Locks and Bolts" expose promising talent; unfortunately, many of the artists on Our Floating Images of Youth drift into irrelevance.

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