Various Artists – Crowd Anthems LP
You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate the hype machine of melodies that is the new comp from Epitome Music, Crowd Anthems, but for those of us who are, you’re not likely to find another album out there this season with as much energy and intensity as this one is packing in spades. Anthony Hugh contributes a smashing wave-starter in “Hype Factor” that will have your heart racing, your blood pumping, and your mind ready to embrace whatever action is about to come flooding onto the field before you within seconds of hearing its opening bars. John Garilli gets us started off right in the tracklist with a stomping “Arena Hype” that is everything its title would imply it is and more; driven by a one of a kind gallop and an infectious vocal harmony that will have everyone in the room on their feet in seconds, this song is undeniably one of the cornerstone compositions on the LP (but, let me tell you, it isn’t the only one by a longshot). If my experience with this record has taught me anything, you too will be doing as Marsianik instructs in “Hands Up” much as you’ll want to “Unleash the Beast” with Tommy Hynes, because Crowd Anthems – more often than not – has a way of moving its listeners without ever introducing lyrics into the big picture.
Big beats are everywhere we turn in this LP, and I’m not just talking about the strutting swagger percussion of “Root for the Underdog” by Justin Rogacki. Dexterous drum numbers like “The Warrior” from Malo Adams are impossible for even the most diehard of wallflowers to deny, and in the steady rhythm of a track like David Volmer’s “Victory Lap” or Ben Haynes’ album-defining “Stadium Anthem,” we’re reminded of all the emotions that make taking part in the audience activities which transpire at most any sporting contest so much fun to begin with. Crowd Anthems tells us a story without ever uttering a single verse, and to me, that’s something that should be celebrated rather than dismissed as old fashioned in 2020 (and I seriously doubt I would be the only critic to say as much this February).
Listeners who live and die by the muscular melodies that traditionally accompany the greatest of championship runs need to make a point of picking up Crowd Anthems this year, because at the end of the day, it’s sporting some of the most potently addictive party-ignitors of any compilation you’re going to get your hands on before the commencement of the NBA Finals. There’s no pretentiousness for us to sift through in this LP, nor is there any of the anti-cathartic bombast that has plagued a lot of other records like this one in recent times – instead, we get pure content, zero filler crowd-pleasers that have been neatly packaged for anyone to get into and enjoy. The bottom line? Instrumental enthusiasts and passersby alike would be hard-pressed to find another album quite like Crowd Anthems right now, and that’s putting it very mildly.