The Fox Lies Down: A Tribute To Genesis
(Purple Pyramid 1998, CLP-0287
From Aural Innovations #5 (January 1999)
Cleopatra/Purple Pyramid continue to crank out the tribute discs and once again have released something of a novelty disc for SpaceRock fans. Eleven tracks of mostly Gabriel-era Genesis tunes, six of which are by SpaceRock, or space related bands. The results are interesting if not particularly mindblowing.
Mother Gong covers "In The Beginning" from the very first Genesis album. Gilli Smyth's vocals layer over a techno/tribal percussion beat. The best part of the song is her famous space whispers, perhaps processed a bit, that fill a kind of synth role. Also from the Gong camp is Daevid Allen and Solid Space covering "Visions Of Angels" from the Trespass album. Though musically quite faithful to the original, Daevid's vocals are perfect for this mellow choral song and indeed may be the one track here qualifying for better than the original.
Spirits Burning does a rousing version of "Return Of The Giant Hogweed". I didn't care for the vocals but musically it is quite good. The band retains the metallic edge of the original, but Don Falcone's keyboard work manages to make this very much their own rendition of the song.
Darxtar's version of "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" is the eighth track on the disc, but was the first one I played. I just couldn't imagine what Darxtar would do with this song and predicted it would be the wildest tune on the disc. It turned out, however, to be most unrecognizably Darxtar. Not bad mind you. They just seem unsure where to go with the song. And the track ends so abruptly (I mean like someone turned off the tape in the middle of it) that I wondered if whoever did the final mix was in a hurry and screwed up. Strange.
Architectural Metaphor covers "The Waiting Room" from the Lamb Lie Down On Broadway album. Probably the best Genesis album for Architectural Metaphor to choose from, the Lamb has some truly amazing guitar sounds making this a great vehicle for guitarist Greg Kozlowski. Also from the Lamb is Controlled Bleeding doing "Broadway Melody Of 1974". Pretty faithful to the original, Gabriel vocals and all.
That's about it for the space bands. The remaining tracks include Brand X covering "Can Utility And The Coastliners", and The Flower Kings covering "Cinema Show". Both are faithful renditions of the originals, though both also feature some pretty fiery guitar work. Partick Moraz covers "Los Endos" and John Wetton covers "Your Own Special Way", the only two post-Gabriel selections. They were also the most boring which I blame on the artists and not the fact that these are later era tunes. Honestly, it sometimes boggles my mind that Wetton was once part of one of the most influential bands in rock history. Finally, John Ford of the Strawbs covers "Carpet Crawlers". A folky sound with a slight reggae beat, the was a very good variation on the original and one of the better tracks on the disc. As I've said before, the best cover tunes are ones in which the musicians take the original and somehow make it their own.
Anyone want to make bets on what band Cleopatra will do a tribute to next?
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz