V/A - INTERNATIONAL POP OVERTHROW - Volume 2 (2 CDs)

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1998, 2 CDs, promo copy. ONLY ONE COPY

Like the first volume, this is a compilation of late-'90s indie bands playing in styles strongly reminiscent of '60s pop and/or '70s power pop. If you go for that sort of revivalism, this might have an edge over its predecessor, just because there's so much more. Two CDs, in fact, with 21 songs each, and when Single Bullet Theory is about the most recognizable name, you know that these bands are "pop" in their orientation, not the size of their audience. Often this is hum-drum, if good-hearted, guitar-based pop/rock, but there is some variety here for the patient. Outrageous Cherry do '60s California pop of the Gary Usher-produced brand; Helium Angel's "December Song" is acoustic guitar-grounded folk-rock reminiscent of the Move circa 1970; Elliot Kendall plays pop-with-strings that again shows a strong late-'60s California influence; Chewy Marble's "Reasons Why" sounds like Todd Rundgren in the early '70s; Cosmic Avenger stand out just because of their emphasis on minor chords (which says as much about power pop revivalism as a whole as it does about the band). The Double Naught Spies' "Strawberry Afternoon" is a reasonable late-'60s British pop-psych approximation (again reminiscent of Roy Wood and the Move) that would probably attract fawning praise in the U.K. press if some current Brit-pop band did it.