April 12, 2003

Hood "Compilations 1995-2002"

If Hood's singles showcase their weirder lo-fi side, their compilation tracks are a whole other story. Imagine, if you will, putting on your best church clothes to impress someone--that's how many of the songs on Compilations 1995-2000 seem to be. I get the distinct feeling that they intentionally put their best foot forward when it came to compilation appearances I don't know if they had a particular concept for these kinds of things; I know that some bands (like the Nation of Ulysses, who would make "jazzy" songs for comps, or other bands who strictly do covers) have very specific rules that they follow. Perhaps it's because they were trying to be the best they can be--or maybe it's because they were indeed the BEST band on the compilation?

Who knows...it's all speculation, of course.

For those who are trying to grasp with this band's many styles, I would recommend this other new Hood collection, Compilations. Unlike the noticable changes that come from listening to Singles Compiled, the songs on this album are mixed together in a non-linear sequence. Compilations really show that those lo-fi sounds that were found at the beginning of their career are still there, even if they're not as obvious. That, perhaps, is the reason that Compilations 1995-2002 is a stronger record than Singles Compiled. Because the songs here are programmed together in a non-linear fashion, more attention can be paid to mixing and matching sounds and styled. Imagine making a greatest hits mixtape for a friend, of a band that you really like. Would you dryly place the songs together in chronological order, or would you mix it up a bit?

Of course, one must also realize that since the music on Compilations 1995-2002 is of a higher quality than the singles, it only stands to reason why it's a better listen. I'm sure that if you were to collect most of the original compilations you would find that Hood shines like a diamond in the dirt. In some instances, (such as the Cool Beans sampler and the Earworm/Wurlitzer Jukebox compilation 7") Hood are one of the few redeeming bands on the collection. I'm sure that the people putting together all these different collections thought they were going to get a nice little lo-fi weird freakout, and I'm sure they were more than impressed with the breathtaking little number they wound up with!

Hood is an excellent band, period. Whether or not the earlier songs on Singles Compiled are your cup of tea, Compilations 1995-2002 is a strong album that could easily pass off as a new album, and would easily prove a stunning follow-up to Cold House! How many bands can claim such a quality?

--Joseph Kyle

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