Various Artists : Sonic Mook Experiment 2 Future Rock & Roll
This album is so now it hurts...
Freaky. Two years ago, rock’n’roll was a minority sport. Safe, neutered, highbrow rock music was in rude health, with the Travis/Coldplay brigade dutifully bashing out beige, gutless music that made sense with IKEA flatpack furniture and chilled Chardonnay. Liking messy, stumbly, puke-trousered old rock’n’roll was akin to admitting in public to having crabs or eating pork scratchings: something that decent people just didn’t do. You don’t need reminding what’s changed in the meantime: just flip on daytime radio and hear The Hives. Rock’n’roll’s a cool kids’ game again.
And now we have the catwalk-compatible compilation to suit all the fashion set’s needs. Housed in an attention-grabbingly ripe sleeve and put together with the achingly hip production values of some limited print run Hoxton style mag, this is the sequel to last October’s ‘Sonic Mook 1’. Compiled by the London club of the same name, the first Experiment mixed together Death In Vegas, Stereolab and Primal Scream to largely ho-hum effect.
SM2, however, is weirder, louder, more eclectic and vastly more fun. It’s a compellingly odd world the Sonic Mook crew inhabit: flicking the V’s to musical puritans, they just ram together The Buff Medways‘ Steam Age garage-punk with the Fat Truckers‘ lairy electroclash and Mu Chan Clan’s oddball ‘Bladerunner’ skank.
Yes, the bands here are corralled together purely through some kind of nebulous anti-mainstream rearguard action rather than any kind of uniting musical modus operandi – apart from volume and brevity – but it works. Point and plot are dispatched with pretty early on. What we get instead are 25 red-raw chunks of nu-grunge, electropunk and frazzled indie oddness, comprised of lost classics, rarities and exclusives.
The best thing about the general air of genre chaos, however, is that you needn’t feel constrained by approaching ‘Future Rock & Roll 2’ like a normal album: slice and dice, pick and choose. Skip past the lame-duck wannabe Seattleites, the punk chancers-turned purveyors of yobby electronica and the fashion students who’ve decided music’s louder than habadashery and proceed directly to the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s‘ spiky ‘Bang’, the Liars’ mutant punker-funk or Earl Brutus’ deathless glitter stomp ‘Navyhead’.
So. Future Rock & Roll? Hardly. This album is so now it hurts. It does, however, have more genuinely extraordinary moments than any other record on this page. And it’s a blast.