What does it sound like?:
To these ears, this is pretty terrific stuff. We have four core bands from LA’s 1980s “paisley underground”. Each band covers three songs by the other three bands and gives each song their own twist while retaining its original essence. Hence The Bangles’ creamy vocals, The Dream Syndicate’s “sonic noise-making freak wagon”, Rain Parade’s latter-day gothic cathedral soundscapes and The Three O’Clock’s pop smarts are all mixed up and sprinkled over the bastards like fairy dust.
I particular like Steve Wynn’s vocal on Rain Parade’s You Are My Friend in which he re-lives the fractured friendships with Karl Precoda and Kendra Smith that lead to the dissolution of the first version of The Dream Syndicate.
Elsewhere the The Three O’Clock unearth hidden bubblegum sensibilities in The Dream Syndicate’s Tell Me When It’s Over and The Bangles give the The Three O’Clock’s impossibly catchy Jetfighter the vocals it always deserved.
But, really, it’s hard to single tracks out. It’s all good, with the only weak points being Michael Quercio’s vocals (aforementioned DS track excepted) and The Bangles’ tendency to cleave too closely to the original arrangements.
There’s an excellent set of sleeve notes with various protagonists recalling the scene at the time and what each song means to them and why they chose to cover it. Steve Wynn’s take on learning The Bangles’ Hero Takes A Fall was written about him is particularly entertaining.
Above all, you can feel the love: for the music, for each other and for time gone by. I reckon everyone involved in this project had a great time doing it and it shows.
What does it all *mean*?
Goes well with…
Might suit people who like…
The paisley underground, obviously. If you liked any one of these bands then I reckon you’ll like the whole album.