4 out of 5
Label: Tub Ring self-released
Produced by: Various
A fan-chosen set of Tub Ring tracks, and the band’s first-ever vinyl release. Because this was Kickstarter backed, I suspect only already-earned TR fans are listening, and so ranking this as an introductory listen to the band feels foolish. But: if it were someone’s first go-round with the whirling dervish of metal guitar and punk rock and keyboard spasms that was Tub Ring, it’d rank about the same as above. My main – my only – issue with this set is that Tub Ring’s albums are incredibly well sequenced to take you through highs and lows, and there’s almost no low across these 23 (maybe actually 25?) tracks: the album is on from the get-go and nearly never releases. This also means that, excepting the D-side, which starts with a track that was the first track on Zoo Hypothesis, each side of LP is lacking an effective lead-in – it just jumps in head-first. (Admittedly, the C-side also starts with the kick-off track from Drake, but it’s edited together with the next two robot tracks from the successive albums, which is a fun trick, but again kinda robs that way TR’s initial tracks lead in to the rest of the songs.)
Yes, I’m bitching, because I’m a fan.
Set this sequencing concern aside and you have an amazing set of songs. The vinyl mastering isn’t sonically notable, but having something on wax is definitely cool, and the blue/orange packaging looks pretty snazzy, and mentions the Kickstarter backers because, yay.
Every Tub Ring albums gets a great review from me; cherry picking some of the best songs from across everything up through Secret Handshakes (okay, except their first release – …And The Mashed Potato Mountain Etiquette – but we get a track from Super Sci-Fi Samurai Rock Star Ultra Turbo II Ver.3.6!) is going to automatically earn an equally good review. Besides my minor fanboy quibbles, this is a super fun, much-appreciated set.