Who And Who review



Scott Schrade 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.

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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 
CK fans.

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 
than felt.

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 
original.

Summary:  Erratic.  Individual tracks range from A to, frankly, F.  
Overall grade: B+.

Available at http://www.amplifierstores.com/wandwhcocd.html, $12.99.

Cheers
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- SCHRADE in Akron




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