Review Round Up #63

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Big Face's "I Wanna Be A Style Crusader," Big Attack!'s "Double-Single," Jeffree Star's "Cupcakes Taste Like Violence." "Original Music Featured on Gossip Girl No. 1," and Stereophonics' "Decade in the Sun: Best of Stereophonics."

I Wanna Be A Style Crusader

Big Face
“I Wanna Be A Style Crusader”
(Kitsune Maison 2008)

From Glasgow, Scotland, Big Face sandwich the original mix of "I Wanna Be A Style Crusader," their debut single, between two remixes of the song. If you aren't paying attention, or you shuffle the tracks, I guarantee you won't be able to pick the original out of the proverbial haystack. Regardless, the original mix uses steadily pounding electronics to get the action going while vocalist Marv's casual delivery is straight-forward with little excitement or intonation.

Sounds Like: Electronic that keeps things uncomplicated

Key Tracks: "I Wanna Be A Style Crusader (Original Mix)"

C+
Double-Single

Big Attack!
“Double-Single”
(Self-Released 2008)

Maybe it's Big Attack! frontman Russell Golden's slurred, barely discernible vocals that bring The Clash to mind or their lyrics with a conscience. In actuality it's more than just those things. The songs on the band's "Double-Single" jump out at you with melodies that are just enough to catch your ear without writing it off as a copy or as sounding too dated. The Philadelphia band comes across with an easy confidence that's not only likable but enjoyable.

Sounds Like: Punk like The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers

Key Tracks: "Simple With Desire"

B+
buy it!
Cupcakes Taste Like Violence

Jeffree Star
“Cupcakes Taste Like Violence”
(Popsicle Records/ILG 2008)

Truth be told, there's nothing you haven't heard on Jeffree Star's "Cupcakes Taste Like Violence" EP. With ample processing on his vocals, Star's soft spoken voice gets worked into as many positions as he suggestively describes throughout the EP in obvious attempts at shocking. For getting people moving on the dance floor, the constant pumping of drum machine beats matched with the simple lyrics of Star's EP will undoubtedly find more success; but for casual listening, the EP misses the mark.

Sounds Like: Dance music that tries too hard

Key Tracks: "Miss Boombox"

C
buy it!
Original Music Featured on Gossip Girl No. 1

Gossip Girl
“Original Music Featured on Gossip Girl No. 1”
(Atlantic Records 2008)

Assuming you're of a certain age (meaning no longer in your teens) and you're looking for an excuse the next time someone catches you watching guilty pleasure Gossip Girl, just remember: you're simply doing it for the music. While the music and the show might seem unlikely bedfellows, the soundtrack is bursting with tight electronic indie pop gems that are as mindless, addicting and unshakable as the show.

Sounds Like: Catchy indie pop

Key Tracks: The Kills - "Sour Cherry," The Virgins - "One Week of Danger (Demo Version"

B
buy it!
Decade in the Sun: Best of Stereophonics

Stereophonics
“Decade in the Sun: Best of Stereophonics”
(Fontana International/Vox Populi Records 2008)

There are plenty of sentimental power ballads and big rockers recalled on the Stereophonics' "Decade in the Sun: Best of" album. But with any compilation of previously released material, the album might have you scratching your head -- especially on this side of The Pond where the Stereophonics never got quite as much airplay. With that aside, "Decade in the Sun" delivers as a well-rounded and consistent compilation.

Sounds Like: Britpop

Key Tracks: "Dakota"

B
buy it!