Various Artists, ‘NY2LON’ (Best Before)

The hype: NY2LON fancies itself a “movement” whose mission is to “introduce artists from the U.K. to the U.S. music fans and vice versa.” The truth: This compilation has a big heart but no clue. While it rounds up a few definitive tracks that contribute intricate odes (“Anna’s Sweater” by Two Gallants, “California” by Eugene, and “Blunt Picket Fence” by Giant Drag all sway down a finely spun path of folksy, abstract expressionism), the collection merely culls a few buzzed-about singles (most of which garnered blog blurbs months ago) from each nation’s overflowing rock scene.

NY2LON‘s concept is ambitious in theory, but the finished product plays as if designed for the neophyte audiophile. Putting any indie playlist on shuffle would result in a similarly random sample of unrelated singles spanning from the enjoyable (The Ordinary Boys and Group Sounds sport infectious pop hooks) to the audacious (the Cribs and the Harlem Shakes could pummel garages with their grimey guitars) to the annoying (Uncut sounds like Howie Day reinventing himself as a preening post-punk enthusiast).

Most dangerously, though, the album just rounds up a host of hip-rock schlock for the perfectly coifed, like “Potential Futures” from David Bowie doppelgangers, the Duels, and “Rock & Roll Queen” from recent O.C. performers, the Subways. The mind-numbing throbs in Amusement Park on Fire’s “Venus in Cancer” and the foppish synth-pop of Every Move a Picture’s “Chemical Burns” also tip NY2LON‘s balance towards more push-button fillers and less pond-crossing gems.

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