Various Metamorphosis

Some record labels have a very recognisable sound, and that is very much true of Le Grand Magistery, founded by Matthew Jacobson back in 1996. Their roster has always produced classy, sophisticated pop music that walked the fine line between pretentious and inaccessible. But, for the most part, in a good kind of way. Their latest compilation, Metamorphosis, also features bands from two other record labels with very close ties. Oh! Tonito is run by the soon-to-be-wife of Jacobson, and Marriage Records is a label that the two are starting together. The compilation peaks on the very first song, the Music Lover's "This World Vs. The Next World", a wonderful, lushly orchestrated tune that sounds like the kind of song Scott Walker would be recording today if he didn't go off the musical deep end. And best still, there's an album on its way. Most of the other artists follow the usual Le Grand Magistery template (such as Pas/Cal, Always and Scarboro Aquarium Club), but there are a few exceptions to that rule. Montreal's the Snitches sound horribly out of place with an energy level that exceeds all the other bands combined, and there are also two bands, Pfeuti and Cigarbox Planetarium (both from Oh!Tonito), who specialise in instrumentals that are an interesting diversion at least. (Le Grand Magistery)