STA is now Ten Years Old

Public Service Broadcast #6 Reviewed By Kissing Just For Practice

A supreme taster of what you need to hear

It's that time of year again - time to rejoice, to be thankful for the better things in life, to give and receive. No, I'm not talking about Christmas. Just when you were about to give up all hope of finding new and exciting music to keep you sane, Smalltown America step forth bearing the magical gift of Public Service Broadcast number seven. As ever, 'PSB #7' consists of twenty five carefully selected tracks from the lesser-known, yet fantastic talented bands out there. I think it's safe to say that as the years go by, PSBs only become increasingly better. As the arguments also suggest, the folks of Smalltown America are finding it more and more difficult to cram the best songs onto one CD, though as the number of entries and level of quality increase, the price remains a meagre £5. Surely this can't be beaten?

It's quite a task to pick stand-out tracks, as each one is more than your average pleasant background tune. We Versus The Shark prove this by setting the standard with "You Don't Have To Kick It". Getting things started with a few party-like chants, followed by relaxed guitar lines which are shaped by rhythmical crunches, this band remind you of why instrumental concentrated music has recently become rather popular. The odd set of lyrics here and there give guidance while adding that bit extra before things turn a little crazy towards the end. The Adventures of Loki then carry on the proceedings with inventive, catchy and foot-stomping rock 'n' roll before The Holy Ghost take the whole dance rock vibe one step further with driving beats.

Oppenheimer instantly have a cleaner sound than the rest of the songs on the compilation. Despite there being only two members, the pop melodies, combined with synthetic beats and buzzes, emit a radiant shine that would leave even the grumpiest of critics smiling. There's certainly something in this collection for everyone, with Above Them's "Heartbeat For The Heartless" catering for the partly shouty, partly melodic, tear-jerking music fans. What shows most is the feeling that each band have a love and respect for different genres and eras but manage to incorporate any influences into original rousing creations.

Just past the half-way mark, Boom In The Diamond Industry show off their funk-ridden, chilled out melody affair along with the potential to go far. Staying on the subject of promising bands, Public Relations Exercise are in a league of their own. Heavily characterised by Smith's wild vocals, "Catalyst" is an aid to help vent your anger by brutally throttling the sanity from you. After another few movers and before reaching for the play button to absorb it all over again, Mugstar contribute a fast paced, staunchy instrumental finisher by the name of "Diksik", giving a near perfect ending to a supreme taster of what you need to hear. Although some bands do appear more dynamic than others, there isn't a group on here that you shouldn't check out further. So what are you waiting for? Buy this gem of a CD before #8 introduces you to your next favourite band.

- Kirsty Johnson, Kissing Just For Practise