I may have written this before but when my stack of Pink Floyd tribute CDs threatened to become bigger than actual Pink Floyd albums I gave up buying those. Most of the time these albums are quite rubbish anyway and consist of artists who only sell records to their grandmother. I mean, who has ever heard of Stinking Lizaveta and their Matilda Mother cover on the Like Black Holes In The Sky album? Actually that track is quite good, you can have a listen by clicking on the image below.
Hoshizora No Drive
It was Göran Nystrom from Men On The Border who reminded me of Love You, a (mostly Italian) Syd Barrett tribute album that was going to appear on the 6th of January 2021. I immediately pre-ordered it, in the heat of the moment, so to speak.
I wanted to have a look at the artists and bands involved and the fact that I couldn’t find them anywhere made me fear for the worst. It is never a good sign if even the record company keeps the actual performers a secret.
I could only hope this wasn’t going to be another Hoshizora No Drive. That is a 2008 Syd Barrett tribute album from Japan that I once received from the head guru of Birdie Hop. Most songs on it sound like Godzilla with a toothache.
The Madcap Laughs Again
Mojo had a Madcap Laughs Again CD in 2010. It only scored 53% on the Late Night forum, based on 18 votes. I gave it a 4 myself but the passing of time has somewhat sweetened my opinion, based upon the three or four tracks that aren’t totally shite.
Stand out tracks are Mark Almond’s version of Late Night and Field Music’s Terrapin, although Eternal Isolation, the administrator of the Late Night forum, found that it sounded like a shampoo commercial. But that was 2010, we’re a decade later now.
The blurb for Love You goes as follows:
Our project is to collect, for the first time, all the songs Syd Barrett recorded after his experience with Pink Floyd. To realize it we invited many artists from various parts of the world – Italy, Mexico, France, Ireland, UK, USA, Sweden, Japan, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands – and asked them to choose one song and re-arrange it in their own way.
Well, let’s be honest, that’s just standard promotional chitchat.
The sixth of January 2021 passed by without a trace and it took until mid-March for the album to finally arrive, proving once again that the terms Italian and Efficacy will never match.
Update 2021.04.01: according to Luca Ferrari the delay was due to problems at Gonzo Multimedia, an English company, BTW.
So enough dilly-dallying let’s play the CDs and publish one of those Holy Church reviews in telegram style.
TERRAPIN - ANDREA ACHILLI (Italy) 2'59"
I like the chill-out arrangement but the singing is below par. 5.6/10.
NO GOOD TRYING - LUNA PARK (France) 3'15"
Nice try, but again, the singing could be much better. 5.4/10.
LOVE YOU - EUGENE (Italy) 2'24"
Turning Love You into a novelty tune à la Devo. 5.9/10 for the effort.
NO MAN'S LAND - HUMUS (Mexico) 2'27"
Power version but (again, sigh) average singing. 4.8/10.
DARK GLOBE - BLUEMOSAIKO (Italy) 2'26"
Nice arrangement but… yeah, I’m repeating myself… 5.2/10.
HERE I GO - MAX ZARUCCHI (Italy) 4'52"
0/10. A track Italians invented the word vaffanculo for.
OCTOPUS - SHERPA (Italy) 4'02"
Very close to the original. With some extra effort, this could’ve been an excellent cover. 6.4/10.
GOLDEN HAIR - IN THE LABYRINTH (Sweden) 7'41"
It starts close to the original, then it glides into a surprisingly nice Indian raga prog-fantasy. Unfortunately, it loses its momentum after a few minutes. This could’ve been saved by adding some uplifting beats. 7.3/10.
LONG GONE – BARYOGENESIS (Italy) 3'27"
Close to the original, it has potential but gimmicks can’t save it. 5.3/10
SHE TOOK A LONG COLD LOOK - ALANJEMAAL (Italy) 5'55"
This starts promising with an intro that puts you on the wrong leg, which – in my opinion – is always a good way to tackle a cover. The singing is – again – awful and what is left is a good old space rocker… 6.9/10.
FEEL - HIS MAJESTY THE BABY (Italy) 3'37"
This is the Luca Ferrari who gave us the quirky Fish Out Of The Water in a previous century. Beautifully written (in Italian), but badly translated into English (not by him, I might say). Unfortunately, his track on Love You is an experiment gone bad. 3.0/10.
IF IT'S IN YOU - HENRIETTA AND THE FIVES (Italy) 3'45"
Despite the quite traditional rendition (with raga influences) I’m going to give this a 6.8/10. At least it is a track that tries to achieve something.
LATE NIGHT - DUNCAN MAITLAND (Ireland) 3'39"
A nice cover from this ex-Pugwash musician. It stays close to the original but manages to bring the message over. 7.0/10.
OPEL - GALERIE 65 (USA) 5'43"
It starts by slowing down the song to a very intimate level. There is a nice instrumental bridge before the song ends with a less convincing epilogue. 6.0/10.
DOLLY ROCKER - THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE (Italy) 3'16"
5.6/10 for the effort. The original is not really great either.
WORD SONG - QUARTO STATO DELLA MATERIA (Italy) 4'37"
I was looking forward to this. The original has got virtually no tune and we all know that the lyrics are an experimental mess. The band QSDM turns it into a REM-like tune. 7.2/10.
SWAN LEE - HIBUSHIBIRE (Japan) 4'07"
This is Hoshizora No Drive all over. The freakbeat outro can't salvage the intro, unfortunately. 3.0/10.
LET'S SPLIT - MICHELE GENTILE (Italy) 2'54"
This one took me by surprise. This could well turn into my personal summer hit. I’ll play it on my radio show one day. 6.9/10.
TWO OF A KIND - DAVE HARRIS & ZEUS B HELD (UK) 2'29"
From Rick Wright’s teammate in Zee, here is Two Of A Kind that might well be a Rick Wright tune anyway. It’s a fun tune and that is how I look at it. 6.3/10.
ASTRONOMY DOMINE - BORIS SAVOLDELLI & UMBERTO PETRIN (Italy)
Turning Astronomy into a lounge jazz fantasy. The intro is quite brilliant, but I sense that this tune could’ve been much better. It lacks some salt and pepper, so to speak. 6.0/10.
End of CD1 with an average of 5.5 points out of 10.
BABY LEMONADE - ST 37 (USA) 6'08"
The musicians try imitating the Baby Lemonade intro and fail at it. Then they try imitating Syd’s vocals. They fail. Then they try to imitate Hawkwind but Hawkwind does it better. 4.8/10.
LOVE SONG - LA FORMA DELLE NUVOLE (Italy) 3'31"
Close to the original, quite folky with a few unexpected surprises which made me add some points. 6.1/10.
DOMINOES - SULA BASSANA (Germany) 5'46"
Tries to give Dominoes an experimental – slightly Floydian – feel but the result is not immediately satisfactory. This is one of those songs that has potential and is asking for better treatment. 6.8/10.
IT IS OBVIOUS - STEREOKIMONO (Italy) 3'30"
Making pub-rock out of Barrett, although the song explores many musical territories. Nice try. 6.6/10.
RATS - PHOSPHENE (UK) 2'14"
Phosphene is John Cavanagh, whom we all revere for his Floydian knowledge. He has tried to turn Barrett into a minimalistic industrial electronic outfit à la Front 242 but doesn’t quite succeed. 4.0/10.
MAISIE – THEEUNFORESEEN (Belgium) 4'04"
Maisie is a somewhat underrated track by Barrett and with this cover version, it will certainly not grow in popularity. 4.7/10.
GIGOLO AUNT - THE AIRWAVES (Sweden) 5'10"
It's OK but could've been a bit more daring and original. With over 5 minutes it takes much too long. 5.8/10.
WAVING MY ARMS IN THE AIR / I NEVER LIED TO YOU - LUCA RAIO
Song #1 is a folky carbon copy of the original, not bad, but not really inventive. The surprise lies in the bridge between the two parts. Part #2 tries to bring a more emotive version of I Never Lied To You, which has always been one of the more poignant and powerful moments of Barrett, but it fails miserably. 6.1/10.
WINED AND DINED - KABLE (USA) 4'04"
Close to the original. No frills, no thrills. 6.4/10.
WOLFPACK - KEEPER OF ATLANTIS (USA) 5'37"
Yep, it’s again one of those. 3.3/10.
EFFERVESCING ELEPHANT - BOTTI & PAVONI from GREENWALL (Italy)
At least a track where some fantasy has been used. It might even have been sillier for me. 6.5/10.
BIRDIE HOP - TRESPASSERS W (The Netherlands) 3'14"
Yep, it’s again one of those. 3.5/10.
LANKY PART 1 - ALFREDO LONGO feat. SEBA PAVIA 4'31"
A jam imitating a jam. 5.0/10 for the effort.
MILKY WAY - MEN ON THE BORDER (Sweden) 5'10"
A (shortened) track from their Blackbird album. See our review here: Blackbird: Fly Into The Light. One of the very rare occasions on this compilation where you can hear there is a tight band behind the song, rather than a hobby project. 7.2/10.
BOB DYLAN BLUES - JOSS COPE (UK) 4'17"
A man and his guitar in a great version of this tune. 8.0/10.
RHAMADAN - MORNING SCALES THE MOUNTAIN (USA) 9'43"
The story of how Syd and Jerry Garcia met, in syncopated pandemonium. 6.7/10.
VEGETABLE MAN - NICK BENSEN (USA) 3'59"
It’s OK, I guess, but it’s not spectacular. 6.0/10.
End of CD2 with an average of 5.7 points out of 10.
Conclusion: 5.6 points out of 10.
What I feared about this tribute album came true. It's a mixed bag with about the same amount of nays and yeas. A single CD, with half the songs weeded out, would’ve sufficed. (And weirdly enough the average score would then have been 6.66 points out of 10.) What is even more perplexing is the fact that a great part of the human race seems to have lost the ability to sing but that this doesn’t stop them from doing so.
But at least all of the artists can now proudly say to their grand-mum: "Look bonny, I’ve got a record out."
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥