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Various Artists | This Changes Everything/Second Nature Sampler (Second Nature)
This beautifully packaged compilation is an introduction to the US indie rock label Second Nature. Though for the most part the bands on here are relatively unknown and fairly disparate in style, it is a cohesive and solid collection of new music. The opener by Kid Killowatt sets the tone with the excellent Hot Water Music-esque The Scope, which is quickly followed by The Caskett Lottery's Keep Searching which comes across like a more angular Sloan. Next up is Coalesce who turn the amps up with the hard as hell Will Haven-a-like Measured in Gray. Euclid's contribution is one of the more nondescript moments on here, but is quickly followed by the comp's stand out track; Kill Creek's Grandfathers Left Side is a slowly brooding acoustic epic, with a gorgeous melody and inspired instrumentation. Grade follow with their usual hard-edged emo, which leads brilliantly into my other fave, NYC's Higher Burning Fire - their bizzarely titled Aren't All Parades Free? is boy/girl acoustic loveliness, much like Ida or Yo la Tengo. Next is Waxwing who remind me of Death Cab for Cutie at their poppiest, followed by Anasarca who are essentially a carbon copy of the aforementioned Coalesce without the melodic edge. Reggie and the Full Effect's contribution is extremely Weezer-like (with more bleepy-ness), which is hardly surprising seeing as they comprise members of the fantastic Get up Kids in their line up. The next two tracks, by Krakatoa and Isis are respectively pretty much nu-metal and hardcore by numbers, and are followed by the Blood Bros, whose Face in the Embryo recalls The Lapse, but with Christopher 'The Pattern' Applegren on vocals. The closing track by Sharks Keep Moving is nice, chimy melodic emo-pop, and is a great bookend for what is, for the most part, a strong, impassioned collection from what could be one of the more interesting labels to watch.

James Hindle
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002