When State took our first trip down to Blessington Lakes for Knockanstockan earlier this summer, it was the quirky, laid-back atmosphere and sheer variety of less-than-famous music on offer that impressed the most. Like the festival, this album passes up on some of the biggest names in the local scene (you won’t find anything by festival stars like And So I Watch You From Afar, Axis Of, Sounds Of System Breakdown or NoveauNoise, for example) in favor of an overall atmospheric. That’s not to say the other acts won’t turn up later: this compilation is ‘volume one of four’, all of which will be released before next summer’s festival.
What this compilation does extremely well is create a strong flow to the music. Despite the variety on offer, the jazzy licks of Ivan St. John drift nicely into the comic American-mid-west blues-rock of Hot Sprockets, and the downbeat, multi-speed rock of New Secret Weapon. Stirring vocals on Wyvern Lingo’s ‘Herbert Park’ bring back Sunday morning yoga in the chill out area; Enda Rielly’s modern folk styles have us picturing Blessington’s hills, while Liz Is Evil and the ever-manic Enemies recall late-night bouncing in front of the colorful truck stage. Other highlights include BiPolar Empire, whose indie blues is a fresh and bubbly, and closer Scarecrow Disco, who slow things down almost to a grinding halt in the heartwarming ‘Your Parrot’s Low On Batteries’.
The cleverness, though, is in the track listing. Too many compilations sound like a forced merger between unacquainted bands; this flits through the genres enough to please most but still maintains its character. It works as a sample of some of the lesser known acts flitting around the Irish music scene, but also as a taste of the kind of sounds you can expect to lap up whilst supping on bargain cans under the umbrella mushrooms and organic décor of Knockanstockan. If you didn’t head down this time round, you’ll probably find a host of these loyal acts back again next year. This might just give you the nudge you need to block out your diary.
The Knockanstockan Compilation will be launched at Sweeney’s Mongrel On Dame Street, on Saturday the 11th of September 2010. The event will start at 5pm, with busking and three floors of music, as well as the festival’s KnockanShop. The compilation will also be available at Tower Records, priced at €9.99, with five albums also containing prize ‘golden tickets’ which give free access to next year’s festival.