The Phantom Tollbooth

Screaming GIANT "Pizza Comp"
Artist: Various
Label: Screaming Giant Records
Length: 72:04 minutes/24 tracks

Someone once said that the problem with compilation CDs is that often there are three or four excellent songs and the rest just seem to be filler. The Pizza Comp fits that description all too well, unfortunately.

Screaming Giant Records crammed this disc to the limit, with 24 tracks in just over 70 minutes. And they put multiple styles in, from the hip-hop hardcore slam of .rod laver to the "acoustic cow-punk" of Zippy Josh. The emphasis seems to be on punk, though, with Lugnut, Jesse and the Rockers, and Officer Negative all making appearances.

There are some solid, standout tracks to be had here. .rod laver's ferocious delivery mixes equal parts straight-up hip-hop with brutal hardcore in "Song 10," Godrocket blends the story of a young woman's "Shoe Fetish" with her passion for ministering to fellow shoppers, and Officer Negative speaks of their Saviour in "J.C.H.C. (Jesus Christ HardCore)."

But to be totally honest, most of this is nothing new. Lugnut covers the same musical ground as Ninety Pound Wuss, and doesn't do it as well. The two ska bands (Tasty Snax and Honeylocust) and the ska/punk hybrid (Godrocket) all sound like they need quite a bit more practice.

As far as production is concerned, all the songs seem to be well-mixed and clear, except for the two tracks from Officer Negative's Live at the Roxy EP. These two tracks sound like someone accidentally inserted a high-cut filter, leaving them muffled and not well-defined.

No, there's nothing really bad on this CD. But in a burgeoning Christian music market, why settle for mediocrity?

Josh Marihugh 9/5/99

Track list:
1 Lugnut "Pointless Education"
2 Lugnut "OAM" (On a Mission)
3 Officer Negative "True Faith"
4 Officer Negative "J.C.H.C." (Jesus Christ HardCore)
5 Jesse and the Rockers "Great Tom"
6 Jesse and the Rockers "Fired Up"
7 Honeylocust "Within"
8 Honeylocust "Sometimes"
9 Zippy Josh "Bad End of the Bottle"
10 Zippy Josh "Soup of the Day"
11 Devoted Molded "Fuzzy Wuzzy"
12Devoted Molded "Stupid"
13 .rod laver "Song 10"
14 .rod laver "Franconia Road"
15 7-10 Split "My Last Breath"
16 7-10 Split "The Missing Piece"
17 Godrocket "David and Goliath"
18 Godrocket "Shoe Fetish"
19 Tasty Snax "Wonderbread"
20 Tasty Snax "Run Joseph Run"
21 Officer Negative (LIVE) "Unity in Christ"
22 Officer Negative (LIVE) "Human Garbage Can"
23 Seventh Vision "Crossover"
24 Seventh Vision "Forefront"