Inner City Grit Records – Volume 1

An excellent if challenging compilation: Inner City Grit Records Volume 1 is an attempt to bring the Dutch and Bristol music scenes together. The sounds are often pretty strident, the message very clear. The Black Bloc’s Death of A Culture and Pint O’ Spirits Sensible Thought Embargo are angry polemics set over some a straightforward guitar and drums run-throughs. Other angry messages are heard on Visio Nero (ft Alex Jones) - Hexo Gram; though the guitar squalls are swapped for drumnbass.  It’s very similar to Help Me Somebody from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts – albeit a 21st century take on the same template. There are weird sounds a-plenty here too: Person X’s Lack of Vision is an angry electronic squall and Zoon van Snook’s Shall he Shanty? – one of the compilation’s highlights - is a charming reworking of the shipping forecast. And what to make of Thor LTD’s 1984? Anybody’s guess….

Like the LP’s title suggests, there’s a distinctive urban feel to this record. With Avacate’s upbeat metallic pop Magdalene you can smell the burning rubber on flyovers. Cradle’s Ready is a soliloquy in an industrial estate and Vibatronic’s The Warning is an urban collage of spacey, jazzy keyboards, break beat and windswept female vocals with a message that’s definitely on the grizzly side…

Quieter tastes are catered for by Miss Anthropy’s 5dark3 (which is sinister as owt) and I Wish I Knew’s Lover Collection which is a bit of a Gothic declamation:  at times you do get the feeling that this collection really should have been released around 1985, (after all, we have a track called 1984, so the vibe’s inherently there on the LP). The last track is one of the best: Unknown Artists VS Dark Chemist bring us Prophet Dub, a soulful and all too short piece enlivened by some dreamy vox and a wistful melody.
It’s certainly not a record to everyone’s tastes, but you really should give this a listen; just for the hell of it.