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Various Artists

The Matinée Hit Parade

(Matinée; US: 30 Oct 2007; UK: 3 Dec 2007)

The Californian label Matinée loves songs that are jangly, modest in scale, neat in enunciation, tidily formed, and often wistfully expressed—short bundles of gentle catchiness without bluster, without brag. This tenth-anniversary compilation is a collection of new songs from both their star acts and newcomers to their label. The highlight is perhaps “Call to Prayer” from The Guild League (a side project of The Lucksmiths’ Tali White). The narrator, visiting Turkey, notices not only the “wind off the Aegean Sea / That whips the high clouds silently” as he looks over the war graves at Lone Pine, but also the good bread and hospitality of the locals. It makes an interesting postscript to Eric Bogle’s “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”. Some of the tracks on Matinée Hit Parade are not as strong as others, but, as other commentators have already pointed out in other reviews, none of them are duds. A strong compilation.

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