Opening the four bands/sixteen songs compilation Four by Four: Volume 1, out on Lunch Records, is the Boston quintet Taxpayer, who build on a satire of idiom with a tower of solid kicks and jock-rock mixed with fuming indie-rock. They’re at their best on “Bugs in Amber” and “Medic,” two whipping rock anthems that burst with pretentious intelligence and electro-dance regularities. Following suit is the Fever Monument, a band comfortable with their creamy pop that resembles a mix of Irish punk with early Social Distortion. They draw together an innovative style within their imitation on “I’ve Benn Wrong” and “Rumor Mill,” tracks that group running riffs with rockabilly bass lines. There are also some missteps on Four by Four by Easthampton, MA outfit Red Door Exchange, who, through their tracks, tend to blend awkward guitars rhythms, aggressively silent drums, and crackling vocals.
But the highlight of the album lays in tracks nine to 12, all by the Boston-born/New York bred Indie-rock troupe Morning Theft. “Keep it Like a Secret” harmonizes and mesmerizes with soft bellows and silky condensed currents, while the direct and edgy “You’ve Failed Me as a Friend” has vocalist Rob Holmes screaming his heart out and guitarist Peter Kim shredding in equal umbrage.
All in all, Four by Four is an eclectic hum collection of four distinct bands with much to offer and much to give.