Blind Herd of Sheep
A Compilation of Berkeley High Bands (El Sabado Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Two seniors from Berkeley High School, a school widely known for producing some great punk bands, decided to release a compilation of bands that currently attend the school, as well as alumni. Half the compilation was funded by grants that they applied for: the Berkeley Schools' Excellence Project (BSEP) and Berkeley Public Education Foundation (BPEF).
The compilation is quite eclectic. They go from punk, which is the main focus of this compilation, to bluegrass (Charles Kratz), rap (Expendable by Nature), and electronica/dance (The Full House). Ska, pop, rock, R&B, and various other musical forms also find their way onto this disc, making it a mixed bag of almost all the genres and sub-genres you can think of.
The downfall to this compilation is the sound quality and the development of a lot of the bands on the compilation. Although tracks form Pinhead Gunpowder, Fang, and Engine 88 help give everything a bit higher quality sound, the majority of the tracks are roughly recorded, which is clearly demonstrated in the sound (which should be expected, since a lot of the bands are in high school and don't have the recording budget like Pinhead Gunpowder does).
But that's not all. The band's seemed under developed; a lot of them don't seem ready for the studio, as they need to work on their sound a bit more before putting it to tape. And that is the biggest contributing factor that hurt this disc. Of course, that too should be expected since, again, a lot of the bands are in high school. But, besides a few exceptions, while listening to this disc I often found myself skipping tracks and playing with the volume control on my CD player to make each track the right level for listening.
I love compilations with a very strong theme to them, as this disc has. But, due to the lack of experience found throughout, its point was often lost on me. I couldn't really get into it, but do respect and value the hard work and clever ideas put forth by Josh Carman and Heath Friedland (the two seniors who made this possible). I'll give it a D.