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Deep Elm Records for the Working Class No. 2
Artist: Various Deep Elm Artists
Label: Deep Elm Records
Time: 19 tracks/73:37 min.

Deep Elm Records, haven for bands lumped into the "emo" genre, has a strong track record of samplers and compilations that show off the label roster and Records for the Working Class No. 2 carries on that tradition. But sometimes, the greatest strength is the greatest weakness. The common criticism of the "emo" genre is it all sounds the same. To quote Brandtson, "We've been around and it's all the same, only the names change." Thankfully, this latest comp appears to be changing that trend, with emo-minded bands that range from post punk to indie rock to the standard whiney emo with shoegazer hints and back all over again.

Seven Story Mountain's intense emotional punk opens the disc. Planes Mistaken For Stars appears on scene with a driving, in-your-face punk attitude and raspy vocals, marking them a band to watch. Brandtson has songs from both of their Deep Elm albums, as does Appleseed Cast, making it obvious that Deep Elm considers them a key part of the franchise. Cross My Heart has two solid songs displaying their post rock vibe, continuing the theme of good bands getting two songs on the disc. While there are quite a few peaks, the occasional valley is there, such as Five Eight's dramatic overkill called "She's Sleeping" and Muckafurgason's laid back Latin influenced "Spanish Fly" which seems out of place.

For the price ($3ppd), this is the equivalent of the T&N Penalty Box samplers, minus all the crappy punk bands. Anyone who has even the slightest interest in indie or emo music should pick up this sampler.

By Joe Rockstroh 2/6/2000

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