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Review by Brad Green:
God only knows – well probably anyone who’s read a few of these soundtrack reviews knows too – I’m not a huge fan of the “alternative” sound. Too often it’s an alternative to any actual musical merit in my book. Fascinating how much ineptitude you can cover up with a really grungy guitar sound.

So I’m reluctant to call the bands on this soundtrack “alternative”, because, knock me off my feet with a flying plectrum, these people can play and sing; and even write a decent tune. All these groups are new names to me, and I wouldn’t say there’s anything of earth shattering brilliance for the guitar-rock annals here, but the style is solid throughout. 

In fact, it’s also extremely cohesive to the point of being homogeneous. Not necessarily a downside, when you consider that the edginess apparent on all these tracks – hence my deigning to allow them alternative status despite their being somewhat sophisticated for it – is a bit of a rare commodity when it arrives in the form of anything approaching genuine songcraft. 

None of the numbers particularly stand out from each other to my ears, but perhaps the tight, opening cruncher from Pacifier, and the almost soulful acoustic track from Default are the strongest of a robust bunch.

Obviously not an album aimed at me. I’m not even much of a swim fan – although possibly I’m just jealous of all the paragons of female pulchritude Ian Thorpe pulls simply by making a quick splash and having huge feet. Nevertheless, I’m impressed and entertained by this compilation and I’d have to say that, along with the recent Spiderman soundtrack, it hints that the testosterone driven vocal and the overdriven guitar might have a worthy future after all.

Published November 21, 2002

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TITLE: Swimfan
ID: TV-6650-2
ARTISTS: Pacifier; Saliva; Celebrity; Default; Wayne; Sevendust; Flaw; Allergic; Portable; Pay the Girl; Llama; Ash

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