Album, Single and EP Reviews



  A Weevil in a Biscuit by Various Artists

A Weevil in a Biscuit cover art

Artist: Various Artists
Title: A Weevil in a Biscuit
Catalogue Number: Bearsuit 004
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2007

Compilation time again. This time Bluesbunny tackles a 16 track, mostly instrumental odyssey around the world from Edinburgh based Bearsuit Records. Featuring a selection of artists from around the world, it might well make an interesting addition to your collection. Anyway, without further ado as there are a lot of tracks here, let us get to the music.

Opening the album is "Unknown Us Apart" by Anne King. An interesting piece of what could be classed proto-electro if it were not recent. Next up is Alone Together with "Human Beings". This turned out to be a vaguely scary cross between Eurovision and Eurodisco with a dash of the Yellow Magic Orchestra for seasoning. Following on is "Pick up Your Tears" by Serbian band PNDC. One of the highlights of the album, this was an imaginative mix of samples and urban beats that somehow managed to sound quite organic. "Aventure Toi" by French band Oomiaq was rather controlled and civilised but was distinguished by the use of what sounded like processed children's voices. Hitting you like a horror movie voiceover was Oldman's contribution "Half Brother" with its half spoken, half chanted vocals swirling round with heavily distorted guitar samples. Kaboom Karavan's "Toambertree" turned out to be a mish mash of sounds that meandered somewhat aimlessly out of the speakers whilst Harold Nono's "A Shining Space" was a prime example of Japanese influenced minimalist sounds. Pequena Fiera's "Do Re Me Fa So I Kiss You" was enchanting and poetic in the way that soundtracks to art house European films like "Valerie and her Week of Wonders" are.

Another paragraph, another 8 tracks. "A Candy Coated Slow Down" by Limbic Somnus also seemed more like a cue from a film soundtrack but lacked the charm of Pequena Fiera. Alfred Brown's "As the Dead Ship Sinks" was kind of like Tom Waits without the croaked vocals. I liked it but am not really sure why. James Ross' "Study No. 1" did not really convince, coming across more as a collection of ideas rather than the finished article. Linda Bjalla's "You Are Alive" was rather more impressive with its haunting, melancholic atmosphere. DM Stith's "Be My Baby" turned out to have proper lyrics and real vocals. Maybe that is why it stood out but it turned out to be the track that got played the most on this album. Next was "That Little Something" from Singapore based Sonicbrat. This sounded polished and professional with a theme not only running through but also properly developed over its 4 minute 55 second tenure on our attention. "In the Belly of the Hungry White Sea" from Ireland's Hulk was tasteful if reminiscent of Philip Glass but again sounded like its natural home was a soundtrack somewhere rather than standing out here in the cold. Finishing off this album was Cahier's "Bebe". This was so slight that it had almost finished before we had even noticed it had started.

Instrumental tracks do suffer by their lack of lyrics and vocals to give a sense of meaning and more importantly context but, as a compilation, this release actually works well. Most compilations suffer from having what are often disparate acts thrown on to one CD thus guaranteeing that no one will ever listen all the way through but this one flows (for want of a better word). Whilst it not exactly an essential purchase, it deserves to find a wider audience than it probably will. For the record, the standout tracks were by Pequena Fiera, PNDC, DM Stith and Sonicbrat.
Review Date: February 5 2008