Various Artists - "Never Lose That Feeling Volume One"
(Club AC30 2005, AC3020582)
From Aural Innovations #33 (March 2006)
This is a tribute to England's (mainly early '90s) "shoe-gaze"/goth scene, with various groups covering various groups. There's a very cohesively-produced sound throughout, and generally it's quite melodic while lushly distorted, but not as noisy as you might expect from the "SG" tag, tight and evenly mixed throughout, occasionally backed by keys. The tunes and most of the groups are new to me, so there won't be any comparisons and judgements as to the "cover" aspect of the material. (My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins often come to mind.) There are some pretty drab songs here (but mom always told me...)
So these are those that shine: Andrew Kenny (American Analog Set) alluringly croons Spiritualized's pretty acoustic melody "Angel Sigh" to open the disc. Another major fave, Trouble Everyday, does Slowdive's very intense "When the Sun Hits", the choruses exploding heavily into grand riffing, fx and screaming treated vox. Amusement Parks on Fire offer My Bloody Valentine's "You Made Me Realize" (from an '88 EP) - heavy-ass power-chords and dual vox. Ariel's version of Swervedriver's "Blowin' Cool" is good cosmic droney riffage. Echo Orbiter's cover of Medicine's poppy "Never Click" utilizes an irresistable electronic beat, goofy-happy melody and whiney vox. Televise's spaced riffs, Brit-vox and beautiful chorus is their excellent rendition of Ultra Vivid Scene's "Mercy Seat". Douglas Heart's "Allison" was written and performed originally by Slowdive; femme vox, keys, soft horns, a sad epic feel that recalls Hawkwind's "Spirit of the Age" (I feel like a pest referencing that song so often, but it seems to be a template...). Audiotransparent's take on Curve's "Frozen" is a sweet love song with ultra whiney/nasal vox, nice reverby organ and latterly an upstanding string melody.
Those are the hits, the misses will probably be hits for some (goes without saying, I guess). Anyway, if this is Vol I, I expect a Vol. II, so we'll see where they go from here.
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Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg