Long awaited, this compilation. It's been in the works for at least a year and a half, and undoubtedly left a considerable amount of Raymond Watts fans lying sleepless at night, saliva running down the sides of their little mouths while fantasising about what irrational steps the grunting superhero of depraved samplabilly might take next.
So, the fact that this compilation - featuring exclusive tracks from five different projects, with the better part of them smeared all over with Watts' greasy fingerprints - manages to live up to the high expectations imposed on him is a good degree on its own. The two brand new Pig songs presented here seemed like a bit of a step back to begin with. Recorded with the Pig live band, they appeared rhythmically heavy-handed compared to the smattering machine grooves of previous releases. But like all the best Pig songs, these grow from harmless little piglets to dribbling, tequilaguzzling prime swines within the space of a few listens. Gold to shit and back again. "Suck Spit Shit" is a full on metal assault, but still bearing the trademark, almost pop choruses of earlier Pig, whereas "Take" is a slower affair. More spacious and laden with effective orchestrals, it turns into a sleazy boogie. The perfect slowdance for perverts, maybe?
"Volume One" also features Sow doing her first pop song. "No Candy" is two and a half minute of sugar coated rat poison, with Anna Wildsmith actually singing to the bouncy beats of Euphonic. "My House" is, by contrast, a darker affair, that sees her back to spoken word, and a claustrophobic backing track by Watts.
Haloblack provide more of their minimalistic, monotonous electronica rock. "Punch the Deck (Dirty)" is the catchier of the two tracks, and enlists the vocal aid of Watts, but is unfortunately slightly spoiled by a production that sounds way too much like dull 90's dance music. "Vapour", on the other hand, is less melodic, but grows with time and has a nice, crunching guitar sound.
Their CD debut shows Pig Orchestra defiling music history in a suitable fashion. This cover project first go through a rather fabulous version of "Are Friends Electric?", only to then mutilate the ballad "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", where Raymond Watts' vocal delivery finds new, even more deep-throated dimensions than normal.
Rounding the compilation off is the new constellation The Sick, who may or may not be a one-off. Their one track, "The Hard", is a banality compared to the rest, but they should have all credit for ripping Joy Divisions "Isolation" off so shamelessly.
With all the other featured bands having new albums in the pipeline, "Volume One" certainly gives renewed hope about the state of current music.