Various Artists – Off the Board Compilation (2013)


When I found out Will Yip was creating a compilation featuring all the bands he had recently recorded, I was ecstatic and eager to hear new songs by bands such as Citizen, Tigers Jaw, Balance and Composure, Dead End Path, Title Fight and several others. The Off the Board Compilation introduced me to several new bands and has something for everybody. It also features a broad spectrum of punk music – including hardcore, alternative, punk rock and pop punk, as well as some acoustic hits.

The compilation begins with Title Fight’s “Another One,” which is a fast-paced track and an excellent opener. Bassist/vocalist Ned Russin’s vocals are a familiar voice for many people and the song reminds me of something off Shed – an incredible album you should check out if you haven’t already. I personally believe you can’t go wrong with Title Fight, and Yip’s choice to have them introduce the compilation was a wise one. “Another One” leads into “Siblings” by Daylight. If you like Nirvana, you’ll enjoy this track. “Siblings” sounds like a B-side from the band’s most recent LP (Jar), and I won’t deny it’s a cool jam, but it’s probably my least favourite Daylight song. Circa Survive’s “Nobody Can Change” is the third track; surprisingly, this was my first time listening to Circa Survive. The vocals are on the high side and unique, and this is a cool alternative/punk song, but I likely wouldn’t listen to it again.

Next up to play into your headphones or speakers is “New Hollywood.” This song is catchy and, while I don’t know Polar Bear Club too well, I will listen to this song again. The vocalist has a great voice and, overall, this is a solid alternative rock song that you can definitely bob your head around to. Up next is Citizen’s “Cicuta.” I had high expectations for this track, but it’s not my favourite from this band. It seems a little different, as it’s somewhat darker from the Citizen I know. I don’t think this would fit on Youth, so I’m glad it made its way on to here. The ending is the most enjoyable part for me, as it has the melodic and ambient side of Citizen I love. The pace then picks up with “I Couldn’t Change” by Light Years. This is a great pop punk song; the vocals rule, the song is catchy and it’s fast, and I will check out more stuff from Light Years because of this song. It reminds me a bit of Man Overboard, which is a good thing.

Working our way into the Off the Board Compilation, “Gloom” by Sainthood Reps is next. If you’re into Balance and Composure, you might be into this band. This song has a great flow to it and all the instruments sound great. Simply put, this song is solid alternative rock, and it’s definitely worth giving several listens. Koji’s “Breaking and Broken” then takes the stage. This isn’t my favourite Koji song, but it’s a cool song nonetheless. It’s a bit different from any other Koji song I’ve heard, so props to him for that. None More Black’s “The Things That Separate ‘Em” mixes up the pace. The vocals remind me of a coarser Make Do and Mend. This song is undoubtedly a jam, but I probably won’t check out this band.

One of my favourite tracks on the Off the Board Compilation follows, and that is Tigers Jaw’s “Carry You Over.” This track features that relaxing sound Tigers Jaw proves to carry; not to mention that this song was only recorded by Ben and Brianna, but it sounds like the full band played its part. Tigers Jaw can do no wrong. Right up next is Turnover’s “Flicker and Fade.” The acoustic version on Magnolia is awesome, and this version is also awesome. If you like the new Turnover record, you’ll enjoy this song. This song will be played very often during the summer, and I feel that a lot of people can relate to this track. “Euclid” by Pity Sex is next and it’s a very cool song. That slow, gloomy Pity Sex sound is evident, complete with the fuzzy guitar sound. The interchanging vocals work great and this is a perfect song I will listen to on late night car rides.

The fastest song on this compilation quickly hit us after Pity Sex’s song. Man Overboard’s “I Hate Her” is the fastest, shortest, most punk song the band has created. It’s full of energy, and it’s cool Man Overboard did something a little different. Anthony Green’s “The More You Get, the Less You Are” is quite depressing, but the vocals are very unique and this is one of two acoustic songs featured on the compilation. The highlight of this track has got to be the vocals, though. This was my first time listening to Green, and I think I will check out more of his solo stuff. A favourite from this compilation is definitely Balance and Composure’s “Why Do You Leave Us?” The intro sounds incredible and this is Balance and Composure doing what they do best. This track is well composed, and you must check this track out if you consider yourself a fan of any of the band’s work.

The last three tracks end the Off the Board Compilation on a strong note. Dead End Path’s “Nowhere Together” is a solid track and it sounds like something off of the band’s LP titled Blind Faith. Dead End Path’s new LP has not been released yet, so this is likely a sneak peak. The Mongoloids’ “The Horizon” then storms in and, simply put, it’s a sick song. The lyrics strike me, especially “The words you speak you didn’t write / How can you close your eyes at night?” The Mongoloids are dropping knowledge as always and the ending solo is excellent. If you’ve never heard of The Mongoloids before, well, they chose a great song for this compilation. To end the comp, we have Mat Kerekes’ “Wisteria.” This song is beautiful. Mat is incredibly talented and can really stretch his vocal range. The ending is especially wonderful, as it ends this comp on a fantastic note.

Some tracks weren’t the best on the Off the Board Compilation, but, no doubt, this is something music fans of any genre should look into because there’s something for almost everyone.