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Various Artists | More Tell-Tale Signs of Earworm (Earworm)
London's premier stable for global eclecticism, Earworm's latest collection of the out-of-print, out-of-reach or plain out-there is peppered with moments of both brilliance and banality. Beginning with two instrumentals, Echoboy's predictably uninspired Scene 30 and Piero Manzoni, a mini-prog epic from Left Hand, it is left to Earworm's Elephant 6 affiliates Apples in Stereo and The Minders to up the happy ante on Disc One with Behind The Waterfall and Right As Rain both of which wash away the cobwebs, the latter's fuzzed up hooks particularly engaging. Elsewhere Lenola's staggering Slipping Under The Shadows gets a welcome re-appearance, its juxtaposition of dreamy vocals and catchy choruses against interjections of wailing guitar and keyboard weirdness a tidy summation of what makes Earworm tick. Of the unreleased tracks, Love Machine's GE Lightbulb is a dead-ringer for Mazzy Star, intimate and stark, and Jeff Kelly's Green Pajamas contribute an affectionate if musically lightweight tribute to Kirsty with Missing Miss. Maccoll. Disc Two similarly kicks off with two instrumentals before the first of only two vocal tracks, 1997's Big White Limo by The Gerbils, a lo-fi pop romp like Santa Sprees without degrees. Much of this second disc inhabits musical environs off the radar of this reviewer, trippy and hypnotic soundscapes with an aversion to all things verse-chorus-verse, nary a melody in sight. Which is precisely the point.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002

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