Friday, May 31, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: Various Artists - Lest We Forget - Our Night to Remember

Conceived as a way to pay tribute to the many dearly departed Milwaukee artists who've left an impact on the city's music scene, and in some cases on listeners around the world, last year's Lest We Forget concert was truly a one-of-a-kind event, reuniting over a dozen long out of commission local punk and alternative bands from the late 70s and early 80s, many of whom hadn't played together in decades. With such a unique, emotionally charged event, documentation is a must, and now some of the night's best performances have been collected on one jam-packed compilation.

The disc, which between its 22 songs clocks in at a hefty 75 minutes, presents a pretty comprehensive picture of the show, and, by extension, of the diverse sounds that found a home here during that era, from the fiery, proletarian hardcore of Sacred Order to the upbeat rockabilly of the Rock-A-Dials and the sparse new wave of St. Bernard. Though stylistically eclectic, all the music here is of a consistently high caliber, but that being said, the contributions from Milwaukee's trailblazing favorite sons Die Kreuzen, namely lively versions of "All White" and "Number Three", are a cut above. 

As good as it is, there are a few puzzling flaws, which mostly have to do with the tracklist; Sacred Order have twice as many songs as anybody else, including the thrashy novelty "Three Testes", which could have easily been left on the cutting room floor, and the Black Holes are just plain absent, but a little unevenness here and there is a minor complaint. Overall, it's a superbly recorded souvenir for those who were in attendance, a nice consolation prize for those couldn't make it and, most importantly, a lasting memorial to those no longer with us.

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