Various Artists – PV Digest #3: Winter 2015

3 out of 5

Label: Polyvinyl (digital)

Produced by: Various

I feel like I should be more forgiving because this is a free download, but here’s the deal: An amazing amount of Polyvinyl’s bands sound pretty damn similar to one another.  Twee pop, with greater or lesser distortion: That’s a pretty good summary.  And this sampler delivers 11 solid tracks of that; nary a song on here is a stinker, and they all lean toward the aggressive side of any given band’s output, so it’s a pretty effective toe-tapper from start to finish.

But: After about five songs of sing-along choruses and peppy drums and bright keys – right about when The Rentals track plays – you begin to lose track of what you’re listening to.  Perhaps for super fans of this genre (e.g. not me), the experience is different, but I think even if you stop by for the Of Montreal or the Vampire Weekend, you’re not leaving with a whole sampler of new favorites, but rather whichever hook made it to your ears first.

Late in the game White Reaper tears it up with some heavier guitar work, but you’ll likely have shifted the listen to the background by then.

All quality bands, all represented well with singularly catchy tracks, but strung together they tend to lose definition pretty quickly.