Album Review: Various Artists – Electric & Eclectic Rarities: Volume 1 (2011 LP)

Boasting one of the finest roster of acts in Australia’s indie pop scene is Melbourne based label Popboomerang. One of Australia’s most delightful quiet achievers in the music scene, for almost a decade now the indie label has been providing Australia with some of the country’s finest pop acts, thanks to the dedicated hand of label head Scott Thurling. Its ethos is as uncomplicated as the music it promotes: provide a dedicated, passionate label for bands who play melodic pop music in all its forms – guitar pop, folk pop, power pop, and more. Since its inception it has signed on an impressive selection of acts, from Frente and Skipping Girl Vinegar, to goyouhuskIes! and Jane vs World.

Popboomerang’s compilations are a common fixture in any indie kid’s record collection (see: Planet of the Popboomerang and Shake Your Popboomerang compilations). Their latest release features a mishmash of live tracks, covers, demos and difficult-to-find tracks from some of the label’s most interesting artists.

Naturally, straight up melodic pop is well represented, from Sydney singer-songwriter Bryan Estepa’s bittersweet, heartfelt piano/acoustic balladry of “I Threw It All Away” to the sparsely beautiful Skipping Girl Vinegar track “The Wedding Song”, and Danna and the Changes’ harmony rich cover of The Everly Brothers’ “Wake Up Little Suzie”. Four Hours Sleep’s “Stick To My Fingers” juxtaposes the raw, emotive vocals of Stephen Cummings with the delicately sweet of Angie Hart, while one of the label’s most exciting signings, Celadore, offers the classic sounding “How Do You Feel?”.

Living up to the compilation’s ‘eclectic’ name, the disc also features bands that are slightly left of field. One of the most interesting bands around at the moment, Sydney’s The Aerial Maps – featuring the poetically articulate words and earnest voice of Adam Gibson and the delicate pop instrumental track produced by Simon Holmes and Sean Kennedy – contribute “For A Short Time”. It gets amped up a notch with the retro-tinged and energetically soulful contribution from Solomon, “Some Kind of Aid”. The compilation also boasts the wistfully melancholic tune by D Rogers “Learning to Hunt”, one of the album’s highlights. Electric and Eclectic Rarities: Volume 1 is moody, bright, sunny, warm, heartwarming and heartbreaking – and a wholly satisfying listen – at once.