On first blush, it would appear that the architect of the new Love and Rockets tribute album was just pulling random names out of hat. How else do you explain one hit wonders Better Than Ezra, alongside more indie-minded artists like The Dandy Warholâ€™s, Frances Black and up-and-comers War Tapes?
Itâ€™s not until after you listen to the complete album â€“ all 18 tracks â€“ that you realize the genius behind the seemingly hodgepodge collection of contributors. The songs of Love and Rockets, a band all too often overshadowed by peers like Joy Division and The Smiths, sound fantastic given the varied takes on their Goth pop songs. Even aforementioned 90â€™s alt rockers Better Than Ezra, a band more associated with frat parties than brooding British rock, does a decent job of injecting a little of their sunny New Orleans pop rock into â€œSo Alive,â€ one of Love and Rocketâ€™s best known songs. Blacq Audio also does an impressive job on the title track â€œNo New Tale to Tell.â€
But with nearly 20 songs, not all are going to be winners. Puscifierâ€™s â€œHoliday on the Moonâ€ could have been left back at the studio and War Tapesâ€™ cover of â€œLove Meâ€ plays it too safe and sounds pretty much like they are simply trying to mimic the band. All and all, a great tribute to a band that deserved more attention than they ever got in their prime.
Top tracks: â€œSo Aliveâ€ and â€œNo New Tale to Tellâ€
Rating: 8 out of 10
Various Artists â€“ New Tales to Tell: A Tribute to Love and Rockets / CD / 2009 / 18 Tracks / Justice Records