Hut – 2001 – 63 minutes
'Hut Recordings 1991-2001' is just what the world was crying out for, yet another compilation of indie music. This release celebrates the label's tenth birthday, but the choice of tracks appears to have been made by a miserable 15 year-old recluse.
Under the stewardship of David Boyd, Hut managed to sign some of the heavyweights of alternative music. The Northern Irish man has seen Placebo, the Smashing Pumpkins and Richard Ashcroft pass through Hut's doors. A subsidiary of Virgin, it flourished in the latter half of the 1990's as guitar music became fashionable again.
Most of the artists on this album you will have heard of; the Pumpkins, Verve and Embrace are all present and correct. But the choice of which track represents these bands seems somewhat random. Some of the artists get their most commercial tracks, some their most critically acclaimed. Billy Corgan's gang of malcontents get the turgid 'I Am One', a ridiculous decision given that Hut own the Pumpkins' entire back catalogue.
The real high-point of the album is a track from the not very dynamic-duo McAlmont and Butler. 'Yes' is a fantastic slice of modern soul, with a wall of sound that Phil Spector would have been proud of. It's a joyous song that sits uneasily alongside the miserable 'white boy plays guitar' music that fills the rest of the album.
What this compilation emphasises is how derivative the scene was, with many of the songs blending in to one another. There is no sense of innovation as the axemen shamelessly plunder blues riffs, step forward Gomez, or even other artists on the label like the Verve, take a bow Embrace.
Terrific in places - the aforementioned 'Yes', the swirling strings on 'History' and, horror of horrors, a happy David Gray - the choice of tracks elsewhere lets this album down. Yet another addition to the packed ranks of compilations you can definitely live without.
Tracklisting: I Am One- Smashing Pumpkins, Wisdom - David Gray, Lenny Valentino - The Auteurs, Yes - McAlmont & Butler, History - The Verve, Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe – Whale, Nancy Boy – Placebo, All You Good Good People – Embrace, Whippin' Piccadilly - Gomez (Turbo Version), Lately More Than Ever – Hobotalk, Brave New World - Richard Ashcroft, Mr Rabies - Crackout (Demo), Facing The Music - The Burn (Demo), Take The Long Road And Walk It - The Music.