REVIEW: REEKS OF EFFORT – SICK OF HITS VOL.2

Traveling through what could arguably be termed as a busy year for Reeks Of Effort, consisting of parties, proms, splits with Art Is Hard and a DIY comic/compilation package, the blog come record label has once again broken cover by releasing the second volume of its ‘Sick Of Hits’ series, this time giving tape space to a tentative collection of artists consisting of Trust Fund, Lone Omi and Something.

Last years ‘Sick Of Hits Vol.1‘, a thundering, fuzz laden affair featuring such bands as the 90’s trashy alternative styling’s of Birdskulls, DIY thrash pop duo Playlounge, and the echochamp scene standouts YRRS, showed that the label had a good eye for cherry picking bands and creating a homogeneous environment for them to sit in. However, from the explosive set of tunes that Vol.1 brought us, Vol.2 now explores a much more different avenue of tender, reflective songwriting from the batch of singer/songwriters the label is associated with.

The opening kooky, country esque acoustic melody of Trust Fund’s first track, ‘No Surprise‘, shows that Vol.2 is committed in going down the much more softer, gentle route. The track basks in the timbre of bedroom production as Ellis Jones’s nasal voice is supported by a brittle, scratchy acoustic guitar, which, after the anthemic chorus, explodes into a soundscape of plastic sounding drums and yearning fuzz accentuating the raw and poignant character the song conveys.

Lone Omi’s ‘The Blood Is‘, a somber journey through heartfelt feelings of kinship and Newcastle’s Something’s 8 minute hypnotic and impending duet with Eleanor Rudge of Tryannosaurus Dead on ‘Muscles‘ all make for an emotionally draining listen, with their sparse instrumentation and gut wrenching emotional appeal packaged in a decaying, lo-fi personality. Things pick up in atmosphere though come Trust Fund’s second appearance with the song ‘If It’s Over Me‘, a jaunty, garage punk blitz that gives some respite to the emotive churning the EP has put us through so far.

Penultimate position in the compilation is rewarded to Lone Omi’s ‘Wolf Mouth‘ which presents perhaps the most mature composition on the record, with its sultry, blues and R&B esque intro, contorted with a skuzzy production that calls to mind the numerous, empowering ballads that came out of the 60’s civil rights movements. It’s this theme of trying to connect with your inner most feelings that the EP carries which brings us to the closer of the mixtape, Something’s cacophonous but tender rendition of typical Jazz Standard ‘Moon River‘, a cover drenched in murk and malaise with vocals that sound like they’re being sung down a telephone wire.

Reeks Of Effort’s ‘Sick Of Hits Vol.2‘ has offered us a stark alternative to the upbeat and driven persona of its predecessor. The collection of 6 tunes here on offer shows the much more delicate and sentimental side to the label, which, as listening through the compilation may be slightly unsettling at times due to the unrelenting, raw emotive nature of the compositions. However, for a collection of songs to dive into in times of anguish and heartache, Reeks Of Effort have got you covered and thus prove once again that the label have the knack for creating mixtapes that will connect with you in one way or another.

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