Various Artists

Cause A Scene, Volume One

 

The first volume of digital punk compilation Cause A Scene is a generous project. Label founder Ryan Raichilson hopes to unearth the best of underground punk bands from the New York City and New Jersey area with this album, which spans 22 tracks of various punk and pop-punk factions. Too often, however, Raichilson is like that pushover concert promoter who allows every local punk band a little green behind the ears a spot on a show: Entirely too many of the songs are merely mediocre or amateur at best.

Granted, you get playful, earnest pop-punk cuts like the mildly cutesy, synth-accompanied "Anymore Amen" by the Tattle Tales, the gruffer charge of Wax Phantom's "See-Thru" and Stewart's "Dance With Me"—the last of these is peppy, girl-fronted pop-punk that actually resembles the Measure [SA] (who appear later with "Roof Beers"). Compared to the rest of the comp, A Clear Blurr's "Barely Breathing" is tempered in a Broadway Calls-ish manner, and is definitely a standout as a result. Banquets' "Eleanor, I Need A Garden" is a cut by the newest project from ex-Let Me Run frontman Travis Omilian, and it's largely in that slightly gritty, Americana-tinged vein. Speaking of which, the Reveling amplify that mode with gravelly punky tones on the rugged but solid "The Faces We Know."

Still, though, there are far too many straightforward, generic tracks at hand without any remotely dynamic or exhilarating songwriting tricks to make up for it. Goin' Places' "Be With Me" is a forgettable MxPx B-side; the Graveyard School's "Dumb Blonde Bitch Warpigs" is skippable crust pop; and Ded Sexi's "Warrior’s Kaddish" is pretty rough. Also, there are a few mastering issues with the compilation that are bothersome, with volumes sometimes wildly inconsistent from one track to the other. You'll have to turn up your stereo for some songs only to be jarred by the next's suddenly obscene loudness.

There are definitely some select moments to enjoy out of Cause A Scene, but its lack of bang-up songs, variation and cohesive production can ultimately be frustrating. Here's hoping Raichilson smoothes out the rough patches for Volume Two and assembles a more consistent roster in the process.

Bright & Barrow http://www.brightandbarrow.com

A Clear Blurr’s “Barely Breathing”