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Album Review: Various Artists - Punktastic Off The Rails: Volume 1

Before I go any further I want to address those who are probably thinking "why is Alter The Press reviewing a Punktastic compilation? I thought they were in competition/disliked each other?" Well you'd be wrong. Like many sites similar to ours, we have a mutual respect for Punktastic and like some of the ATP team (including myself), would of never have known about Alter The Press if it wasn't for Punktastic's constantly active forum. Anyway on with the music...

For over 10 years now, Punktastic has kept its ear close to the ground and very much knows what's up and coming in the UK independent rock/punk scene. 'Off The Rails: Volume 1' is the first (I presume) of several compilations and continues this trend, as the 20 tracks found here not only highlight the sites ability to bring the best in UK music, but also more importantly how thriving the UK music scene is at present.

Kicking off with Delta/Alaska, a band that has receiving praise from numerous sites and labels over the last few months. Their contribution, 'Vancouver' is a slightly experimental yet jangly and stirring slice of indie pop, which strongly backs up the praise. Straight Lines and Samoans soon bring the driving rock with the latter bringing a scrappy undertone with 'Brothers'.

Whereas &U&I and Marmozets are intriguing but leaves you feeling excited for both futures. The same can be said in equal measure for the likes of Hope Atlantic, Cuba Cuba and Burn The Fleet, all of whom have a approachable sound that draws you and encourages to learn more about them.

Alcopop Records and Big Scary Monsters Records both weigh in with a bands from both rosters appearing throughout. On the Alcopop front, recent signing Jumping Ships justify themselves with the solid 'Temper Temperamental', whereas Johnny Foreigner, Ute, Stagecoach and the instantly favourable The Attika State also make appearances. BSM showcase itself through Tall Ships whose contribution, 'Plate Tectonics' is a radiant, atmospheric burst of indie pop, Men and Hereford's Talons; whose instrumental and experimental style defines the variation this release has.

On top of that tracks by Tiger Please and Blitz Kids; two of the most promising bands to emerge over the last 12 months, are the icing of the cake as 'Off The Rails: Volume 1' is nearly perfect as its showcases some of the best UK bands right now, ones who show bucket loads of potential and credit has to be given to those involved with Punktastic for highlighting them and bringing them to the attention of those who (maybe) unfamiliar. In addition it just shows good 2011 could possibly be for UK music.


'Punktastic Off The Rails: Volume 1' can be purchased through or through Banquet Records.

1. Delta/Alaska - Vancouver
2. Straight Lines - Cutting Loose
3. Samoans - Brothers
4. &U&I - Terror Back
5. Marmozets - The Perfect Beverage
6. Burn the Fleet - Black Holes
7. Jumping Ships - Temper Temperamental
8. Ute - The Refuser
9. The James Cleaver Quintet - Snakes
10. Johnny Foreigner - who needs comment boxes when you've got knives
11. Tiger Please - Winter and the Storyteller
12. Hope Atlantic - Oklahoma
13. Blitz Kids - Misty Eyes
14. Men - Hard Water
15. Attika State - Ups, Down and Marching Boy Frowns
16. Cuba Cuba - Bonus
17. Stagecoach - Hieroglyphics
18. Wot Gorilla? - Shoes for Traction
19. Tall Ships - Plate Tectonics
20. Talons - In The Shadow Of Our Stilted Homes

Sean Reid

Alter The Press!