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Tooth & Nail Rock Sampler Volume 2
 Artists: Various
 Label: Tooth & Nail
 Time:  41:39 / 12 tracks

 You don't need to be Forrest Gump to liken the Tooth & Nail Rock Sampler Volume 2 to a box of chocolates. Open it up and you have twelve of the freshest, sweetest modern rock tracks ready for immediate, satisfying consumption. My favorites are chewy caramels, the Turkish Delight of the chocolate box, and we have a few of those here. Songs so good, you could have more than one in a row, and when they're all gone you pine for more. Among them are The Deluxtone Rocket's swing-a-billy romp on "Hi Fi Daddy," Pep Squad's Pixie-ish pop on "Freak Show," Royal's full-throttle "Haze," and Danielson's absurd pop delight "Potty Mouth."

Of course, every assorted sugary sampler has a few of those less desirable chocolates. I don't much care for the kind with nuts, and there are a few nutty ones here. But chocolate is still chocolate, and this entire selection is appetizing to some degree.  In fact, the bulk of these confections are so appealing that you'd only throw a few to the dog for a snack. They all may not compel you to go searching for more, but they go down the hatch just fine.  And make you smile.

Of all the Christian-friendly record labels, Seattle's Tooth & Nail Records  has by far  the most diverse and interesting rooster of artists. Here are twelve deserving of recognition. They're guaranteed not to make you sick from over-stuffing yourself, so go ahead and glut on these goodies in a sonic snack binge.

 Steven Stuart Baldwin   10/21/99
 

Track Listing (The links take you to reviews of these bands' individual  albums)
1   The Juliana Theory:  "Music Box Superhero"
2   The Deluxtone Rockets: "Hi Fi Daddy"
3   Fanmail: "Messed Up"
4   Royal: "Haze"
5   Pep Squad: "Freak Show"
6   Starflyer 59: "I Drive A Lot"
7   Morella's Forest: "Separate"
8   Danielson: "Potty Mouth"
9   Huntingtons: "Hooray for You"
10  Puller: "Wishing"
11  Bon Voyage: "Honeymoon"
12  Plankeye: "Say Now That You're Sorry"

A CD that has great bands like Starflyer 59, Plankeye, Puller, Danielson, and Royal cannot go wrong, as demonstrated by this impressive compilation for the mellower tastes, put together as a counterpart to the Songs From the Penalty Box saga. It is not mellow in the sense that you would listen to this while falling asleep; it is more mellow in the sense that you can understand 98% of what they say (the 2% go to the ending of the track done by Royal.)

This album showcases good indie rock, emo, rockabilly/swing, punk, and whatever style it is that Danielson plays. I consider it to be the combination plate of modern Christian artists serving up their best, promoting their beliefs, and earning their money while doing so.

You can hear the new and improved Plankeye, and catch their old lead warbler Scott Siletta's new band Fanmail. They both seem to be doing well, which leads me to believe this is like the Zao/The Juliana Theory split two great bands that used to be one, free of charge. The Juliana Theory  starts the album on an emotional side with the song "Music Box Superhero" and makes me grateful for the split. Quayle fans will probably do a double take since the tune at the beginning sounds a lot like something I heard on The Rocking Your World Tour.

The fight for the best track is a split decision between Starflyer 59 and Danielson. The track from SF59 is "I Drive a Lot," and the use of keyboards, a catchy melody, a great guitar riff, and Ronnie Martin's singing is a mix that will prevail every time. Danielson amazes with the humorous side of swearing and teeny-bop dating in "Potty Mouth." This song has a cheesy melody reminiscent of a 1970's BBC show that will stick in your cerebellum without annoying you.

Bands such as Puller and Royal also have great tracks on an album that does not have anything less than "pretty good." And the "pretty good" songs are what kept this album from getting five tocks. Tooth & Nail did a good job on this compilation and it is recommended for any fan of music that is too cool to be on the radio.

Justin W. Jones

 

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