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(48 min, Musea)
TRACK LIST: 1. Speak to Me / Breathe 5:41 2. On the Run 3:15 3. Time 6:57 4. The Great Gig in the Sky 4:38 5. Money 6:22 6. Us & Them 7:32 7. Any Colour You Like 4:11 8. Brain Damage 3:50 9. Eclipse 2:04 10. Where We Belong 3:56 LINEUP: Billy Sherwood - keyboards; guitars, bass; drums; vocals Tony Kaye - organs Alan White - drums Robbie Krieger - sitar; guitars John Wetton - bass; vocals
Prolusion. Billy Sherwood is tireless in his desire to rediscover the legacy of the most commercially successful Progressive Rock act of all time, Pink Floyd, by doing "all-star" tribute albums to them. For "Return to the Dark Side of the Moon", which follows "Back Against the Wall" and some other related works, Billy has once again gathered more than twenty musicians whose names are familiar to anybody who's on friendly terms with Rock music. As usual in such cases, I've included in the lineup above only those musicians who have more or less solidly contributed to the recording, in descending order.
Analysis. One of the, say, accidental participants must be mentioned however. This is the famous actor Malcolm McDowell, who acted in no less than a dozen of cult films, apart from the others, and has played a leading role in English director Lindsey Anderson's immortal hymn to the times of the Hippies, the surrealist movie "Oh Lucky Man!" Malcolm does lead vocals on the first song Breath and he is the only singer in this project who could have totally, down to the smallest details, reproduced David Gilmour's distinctive, instantly recognizable singing. So it's much due to McDowell's talent that the thing sounds nearly indistinguishable from its initial version, as if it were performed by Pink Floyd themselves. The same words are topical regarding its follow-up, the instrumental piece On the Run. While the further tracks reveal digressions from the originals, the distinction exists mainly only on the lead vocal level. Each of the nine songs from the primary source features a different singer, and since the voices of all of them don't resemble each other or those of David Gilmour and Roger Waters either, the overall vocal palette appears to be typical of The Alan Parsons Project rather than Pink Floyd. Well, such a trick is an integral part of probably any tribute album, and I have touched on the matter only because on the instrumental plane "Return to the Dark Side of the Moon" quite precisely repeats the original (even though the material wasn't played from scores for sure), the choral parts being delivered much in accordance with the canonic ones too. Otherwise everything is fine. Besides, there is a surprise in addition. Unlike the first source, this CD features the tenth track Where We Belong. Penned by Sherwood, this is a ballad-like number, which splendidly logically continues and finishes the line highlighted on the last track from "Dark Side", Eclipse. It's both a pleasant surprise and a suitable conclusion for the CD at the same time.
Conclusion. I normally have no time to listen even to immortal Prog Rock classics and I don't remember when I listened to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side" for the last time. All in all, I experienced a great pleasure when hearing this CD, especially since "The Return" has no flaws and is excellently executed. What's most important however is that the spirit that made the original a classic for all times and nations is kept here.
VM: May 1, 2006
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