Various Artists

Shut the Punk Up, Vol. 1

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With hundreds upon hundreds of punk compilations available, it almost seems redundant to release yet another one. Yet some very good songs have come out of these compilations, and some of the biggest bands in the genre got their start contributing to comps. Shut the Punk Up, Vol. 1 is a good example of this phenomena. With 27 different artists featured, one would think that there would be a fair amount of variety on the album. But most of these songs sound like they were performed by the same musicians, and there is very little to distinguish one artist from another. This lack of identity haunts most of the musicians on this album, making their music seem rather trivial despite how catchy or fun it might be. There are still a few bands that manage to stick out amongst the averageness. Sidewalk's tense and driving "Missing in Action" provides a dynamic that few of the bands on the album can seem to muster. And Midtown's catchy "Recluse" features some clear vocals and strong songwriting, which is only enhanced by the hilarious duel leads on the guitar solo. The album is not really bad at all, but it still seems kind of useless when so many of these bands blend together. Fans of the genre may enjoy this very much, but to those not schooled in punk rock this involves listening to too many songs to get to the few real standouts.

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