Who And Who review
schrade at akrobiz.com
Sun Jan 16 20:09:01 CST 2005
Repost from Relayers. Written by Alan who may be having trouble
posting here, as we all seem to be.
Subject: Who And Who review
Some time ago Lauren broke the news of a Who-covers compilation called
"Who And Who". It's by Austin-area bands, done more-or less in the
vein of "Who's Not Forgotten" - a bunch of bands take one track each,
and do as they like with it. There was a one-off last month of all the
bands getting together and performing their tracks for the CD release
party, which unfortunately I had to miss.
First out of the box, Armenia City in the Sky, by the Moonlight Towers.
A credible version, nice vocals and echo. Only criticisms are that
the vocalist (deliberately, I will charitably assume) chooses a flatter
note than in the original on the "IN" of "Armenia City in the sky", and
the selection is played a bit faster than the original, which seems to
me to rob it of some power (of this, far more later).
Next up, The Kids Are Alright by Superego. Good harmonies -- again a
credible version -- but too fast for my taste.
Sparks, by Peglegasus. Oh, my God. From the opening notes, you'll
want to scream "SLOW DOWN." I'm actually starting to wonder by this
point if the whole CD is sped up by some error or another, but I'm
going to give the producers the credit of assuming that in this digital
age, the CD accurately reproduces what was really played. These guys
rip through the song just about as fast as humanly possible, perhaps
erroneously thinking that speed=power. It doesn't. When they suddenly
slow down to "majestically" crash into the ending chords it gives the
impression that they, too, are glad it's over.
A Legal Matter, by King Tears. Jangly, enthusiastic, the ghost of Keith
looking in on the drumkit from time to time. Very brisk, but given the
comic nature of the song I'll refrain from saying it's *too* fast.
Baba O'Riley (spelled correctly), by Tia Carrera (no, not THAT Tia
Carrera, a band). The first track to consciously vary from the
original version. Dreamy guitar opening, no synth. Quite reminiscent
of the opening of The Doors' "The End". Bassy. Grinding, sweet
feedback backing "Don't cry..." Sadly, vocals strained a little beyond
tolerance on "Teenage wasteland". Properly majestic, crashing ending,
massive cymbal washes. Keith should approve. Substituting a guitar
solo for the synth at the end isn't an unqualified success, but
overall, thumbs way up on this one.
A Quick One While He's Away, by Saratone. Female lead vocalist with
female, and males backing. "Cool", thought I. The a capella opening
is fine. Then, alas, once the instruments kick in, the speed problem
resumes, to the point where they actually lose some of the harmony on a
note or two. Good loud volume. Almost certainly learned this from the
Smothers Brothers' performance rather than the original recording (no
that that's a bad thing), judging from the vocal tweaks. Speed up even
more at the end ("forgiven"), perhaps just to prove they can.
Cousin Kevin by Mandible. Finally! one at about right speed. I could
actually see this one being an alternate take by The Who, even down to
the vocals. Very faithful to the original. You'll miss some of the
sonic tricks Pete put in, but you'll appreciate others that Mandible
put in (a ticking clock during the opening, for one). A sweet one for
Heaven and Hell, by Grand Champions. Appears to be learned straight
off Live at Leeds, even reproducing the opening dump-dump-dump-dump
before the song proper, as John checks his strings. A loving
reproduction of the Leeds sound and fury all around, even to Pete's
solo. Nice job.
Young Man Blues, by The Dynamite Brothers. Live version, the only one
on the CD. Still a bit fast for my taste, but maybe more forgivable in
person. The audience is loving it, anyway. Snarling, but just a touch
of self-consciousness in the vocals...singing a song he's heard, rather
Love Ain't For Keeping, by Milton Mapes. Nice, heartfelt rendition.
Simple instrumentation, on-key vocals. Again, thumbs up.
Join Together, by Rockland Eagles. Starts off rocking, nice duet
vocals. However, the guitar comes in with wailing feedback, and from
there, the song is played more as an assault, a command rather than an
invitation to "Join Together", an impression that is only increased by
the rasping lead vocal. I do like it more on a second listen, though.
Pinball Wizard, Jawwas. Another clear example of playing too fast.
Nice vocals, but it's as if they're trying to prove they're better than
The Who by playing faster then them. Gives up the ethereal, wondrous
quality of the original for a blitz. Good vocals.
Eminence Front, by Lowery 66. Will make you stop and think. Starts
off with one single, repeated, monotone piano note, blessedly slowly.
Effects -- scraping strings, synth -- are added one by one. A liquid
synth track performs the function of the repeated duh, duh-duh duh of
the guitar in the original. A lone vocal, very intimate. Actually puts
some party noise in before "come and join the party". Not until the
second verse does an actual guitar come in for the duh, duh-duh duh.
Ominous, and slightly menacing. A melancholy violin wends its way
meditatively behind everything else. In short, better than the
Summary: Erratic. Individual tracks range from A to, frankly, F.
Overall grade: B+.
Available at http://www.amplifierstores.com/wandwhcocd.html, $12.99.
- SCHRADE in Akron
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