Sunday, January 15, 2012

Various Artist – (Don't Forget To) Breathe (1997)

A who's who of mid-90's emo explosion before the tag became synonymous with teenage love erosion, sappy barefaced bawling, and laughable mimicking of ones' favorite wounded front man. In a compelling rarity, (Don't Forget To) Breathe demonstrates the technical competence that made the genre so powerful, not only musically but emotionally, incorporating the punk rock formalities laced with explosive post-hardcore surges and sometimes sing-a-long melodies as the musicians attached themselves to a more expressive and poignant musical framework than what grunge had offered a few years earlier.

Many of the bands featured were pioneers in their field but most have faded into obscurity or have gone on to other projects, but are mostly indigenous to any unique musical explorations (exception: Hot Snakes) such as: Boy's Life, Christie Front Drive, Drive Like Jehu, and Mineral. Other groups were on the verge of indie rock notoriety (Silver Scooter, Vitreous Humor, Ethel Meserve, Uncrush) and served up delectable unreleased jewels that made you want to search long and hard for full-lengths and seven inch singles but more often than none, these inquiries came up empty or at least insufficient to serve any long term interest.

Released in 1997, (Don't Forget To) Breathe is a testament to sincere and honest music free from hypocrisy and diluted exploitations from major label persuasions or style over substance tendencies. Crank! has left us with a legacy of some of the finest indie rock acts to emerge from what is mostly connected to the West/Midwest sound that is still as stimulating to listen to today as it was when I purchased it almost a decade ago.

Mark Taylor


1. Fireside - Headacher (3:29)
2. Silver Scooter - Pumpkin Eyes (3:53)
3. The Promise Ring - Pink Chimneys (2:24)
4. Grander - 88 Cubic Meters (5:10)
5. Christie Front Drive - Field (3:15)
6. Hot Water Music - Elektra (3:26)
7. Vitreous Humor - The Whisper Twins (5:12)
8. Prozac Memory - Mapmaker (3:57)
9. Knapsack - Less Than (4:46)
10. Roadside Monument - A Spanish Trail (5:04)
11. Mineral - Rubber Legs (5:54)
12. Seven Storey Mountain - No Promise (3:42)
13. Drive Like Jehu - Bullet Train To Vegas (live) (2:34)
14. Uni-V - Murder Is For Everyone (4:32)
15. Boys Life - Sight Unseen (live) (4:19)
16. Ethel Meserve - Calba's Last (5:20)
17. Uncrush - Nap (4:08)
18. [unknown] - [unknown] (2:54)

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