4 out of 5
Label: Adult Fantasy Records
Produced by: Various
This is sort of a weird sell, because I couldn’t find reference to about half the bands on this comp – suggesting their only semi-released material might be on this cassette – and it’s all demos / unreleased stuff, so as a label comp (for Adult Fantasy Records), or just as a showcase for groups of a certain garage rock breed, that’s not suggestive of it being their best material, and / or sounding the best.
But: it’s sequenced well to keep it varied; the quality definitely isn’t studio, but none of it is poorly balanced or super distorted – you can hear what the groups are about, and the songs hit pretty hard; and demos or not, I’d say all of the tracks are actually dang good! Finally, at only 8 songs, if any of the above points waver, it’s short enough for it not to become a big issue.
Staying, as mentioned, within a throwback / garage rock vein, the only song on here I was able to track down to being released elsewhere is Quayde Lahrue’s Conquest, which shows up in a slightly slower, lower-registered variant here. Otherwise, I didn’t see these songs listed on Discogs (besides this comp), but that doesn’t mean they’re not on something someone hasn’t entered into the Discogs DB yet. Still, for the groups I’ve heard, the songs seem mostly representative of their styles, so you could use this as a reason to venture to other material.
Compilations are harder to assess for overall quality, since it’s purposefully a mixed bag of stuff; a couple tracks on here tend to be a bit more generic, lacking a standout singer or vibe to differentiate them, and the C/Average track is the only real bummer, as it’s kind of a lark – a slow cover of Louie Louie – and not their best outing. And ideally, a comp would give you some more info on the bands besides just giving us their notebook-scribbled logos, but that’s kinda fitting with Adult Fantasy’s lo-fi vibe, so points for stylistic consistency, but same points off for bad comp practices.
Anyhow, if you dig loose garage rock, and / or you know any of the bands on the comp, this is worth a listen – set aside any concerns over everything being marked as a demo.