So many compilation albums documenting a local scene are decades after the fact, but one immediate thing Winnipeg Riot! has going for it is its freshness -- almost everything is only a couple of years old at most. Featuring a slew of tracks from 18 different groups (another good sign as well -- no repetition!), Winnipeg Riot! is not going to convert anyone not already inclined to what's on offer -- it's a lot of quick, punk/garagey numbers from acts happily dedicated to that approach above all others. So semi-inevitably the various songs do bleed into each other a bit, as shouted choruses follow each other and loud, thick production rules all. Within that sphere, though, it's a fine listen, and as is always the case with any good compilation there are a few key tracks well worth a listen. The Hot Live Guys' "Robbin' a Bank" has some great vocals courtesy of guitarist Julian Bargen, a kind of desperate but fun scream, while the guitar break is equally thrashed. The sheer anti-production on Turnbull AC's' "I, Robot" is great too -- not quite on the level of a first Germs single, but a clattering murky mess that sounds utterly brilliant. American Flame Whip's trebly, nervous yelp "Show Me" beats the heck out of the likes of the Libertines at their own pseudo-trash rock game, while the Rockdoras' instrumental/surf thrash "The Sinister Urge" (named, but of course, after one of Ed Wood's legendary film efforts, though written entirely by killer guitarist Jennifer Alexander) and the Wild Things' semi-theme song "I'm a Wild Thing" are other treats. The liner notes go into exhaustive detail about each band, while local DJ Vom Doom serves up an appropriately overdriven celebration of the town and bands as a whole.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett