Since 2002's self titled debut, Blow Up Hollywood have been releasing wonderful paens to love, life and loss, with a healthy side of order of strange ambient soundscapes thrown in for good measure. They've even tackled the dreaded concept album in their time. It's nigh on impossible to pigeonhole this enigmatic band, as they never stand still long enough for that dull journo habit. Blow Up Hollywood is one of the more interesting places to visit in the ever expanding map of underground music, thanks to the joys of the world wide web opening up communication around the ever shrinking globe. Leader Steve Messina now decries the information overload we all suffer and harks for a return to good old fashioned one-on-one communication. I kind of agree with him, but you have to remember that were it not for the internet, I for one would probably never have come across this great band.
As the title of this new album may suggest, this is a collection of songs, instrumentals and soundscapes that never made it onto previous albums. As such it covers the spectrum of their ever evolving sound, from the sometimes Floydian stylings of instrumentals NCK & JCK to Steve's haunting piano and the lived in voice of Kim Wayman on Crash and Slow Down, both songs of warning, the almost free jazz of Cello_Piano_Radio_Woodwind to the avant soundscapes of Caged and More Caged (no prizes for guessing the influences on those two!). When It's Over is what might be seen as the closest thing to defining the group's early sound, where Steve sings another poignant song of loss and regret, one to spin when you need a moment of quiet reflection. NCK starts on an acoustic guitar refrain leading into some soaring lead lines - a truly uplifting piece of music. The instrumental For Jessica shows the band's love of cello as lead instrument and is another fine introspective piece of writing. Kitty Kite reprises a great song from the first album that is borne away on winds in the night. The album closes with Sweet Memory which is a heartachingly sad song again apparently about loss.
What might sound like a disjointed album as it crosses through so many styles is anything but. It may be dark, it may be sad, and it is certainly not commercial, but it is also beautiful.
Why not investigate the band and their philosophy further on their website where you can buy this and their other fine releases. I assure you that you will not be disappointed
4 out of 5