Various Artists

Punk-O-Rama, Vol. 7

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The seventh installment in Epitaph Records' ongoing series of budget-priced punk samplers, Punk-o-Rama, Vol. 7 presents another 19 songs from as many bands, all offering their own variations on the state of the fast/loud thing. If you're looking for a dizzying variety of sounds and styles here, well, you're out of luck -- most of what's here is standard-issue new-school punk, heavy on the anthemic melodies married to lyrics which are either emphatic of funny depending on the artist, though pretty much every band on board is good at what they're doing. The relative veterans offer many of the most memorable moments, especially Rancid and NOFX covering one another and Bad Religion carrying the flag for smart, muscular punk, but the International Noise Conspiracy, Division of Laura Lee, and Beatsteaks (among others) make it clear Epitaph has plenty of interesting bands of more recent vintage to draw from as well. If it isn't brilliant from front to back, Punk-o-Rama, Vol. 7 is at least a strong and consistent sampler and offers plenty of bang for a six-buck list price. Value for money -- now that's punk rock.

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