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Various Artists - 2012 - "Sorrow's Children"

(49:06, Fruits de Mer Records)


****+
                 
LINEUP/TRACK LIST:

1.  The Luck of Eden Hall: SF Sorrow is Born 3:26
2.  Sky Picnic: Bracelets of Fingers 3:25
3.  Sidewalk Society: She Says Good Morning 3:27
4.  Hi-Fiction Science: Private Sorrow 4:21
5.  Langor: Balloon Burning 4:14
6.  The Seventh Ring of Saturn: Death 2:56
7.  Senrab Mendips: Baron Saturday 3:30
8.  Extra: The Journey 3:06
9.  Earthling Society: I See You 5:59
10. Jay Tausig: Well of Destiny 1:57
11. The Gathering Grey: Trust 2:43
12. King Penguin: Old Man Going 4:35
13. The Loons: Loneliest Person 3:18
14. The Pretty Things: Loneliest Person Live 1:59

Prolusion. Fruits de Mer Records is a small label that specializes on releasing limited edition vinyl productions, mostly consisting of cover versions of classic tracks from way back then. "Sorrow's Children" from 2012 is one of their more ambitious undertakings: an album featuring new versions of The Pretty Things classic rock opera "S. F. Sorrow" from 1968, interpreted by 13 different contemporary artists.

Analysis. The Pretty Things was a rather influential entity back in the day from what I understand. Recognized as one of the bands that influenced the progressive rock movement of the 70's and an act that popularized refined psychedelic rock in the UK to boot. Personally I haven't had the chance to explore any of their classic undertakings just yet, but after getting familiar with the songs given a more or less new musical coating by bands of today this band and this particular album of theirs have surely taken a high spot in my list of classic material I need to get more familiar with at some point, because these new versions represent a highly compelling acquaintance. SF Sorrow Is Born with its compact arrangement, energetic bass and sweet Mellotron backdrop, the raga-flavored folk music of Bracelets of Fingers and the pumping 60's rock anthem with organ backing of She Says Good Morning a stellar opening to a solid production, kudos to The Luck of Eden Hall, Sky Picnic and Sidewalk Society for their blazing contributions to this disc. Hi-Fiction Science continues the ball with a dampened, drifting version of Private Sorrow, with effective distanced female vocals the main psychedelic trait of note, and Langor continues in a careful, folk-tinged manner initially before hitting of with a blazing, dark-toned and compact psychedelic romp complete with futuristic sound effects on Ballon Burning. The Seventh Ring Of Saturn utilizes cello, acoustic guitar and touches of raga for their take on Death, with a sinister and massive midsection with more of a chaotic arrangement, a darkness that stays on with the fragile going ominous arrangement of Baron Saturday, courtesy of Senrab Mendips, to describe in some detail the first half of this production. The second half is just as strong in variation as the first one, but perhaps not as impressive in quality, depending on personal taste. Still, King Penguins elegant take on Old Man Going, complete with a real sounding classical symphonic backdrop warrants mentioning from the second half, and the striking differences between The Loons take on Loneliest Person and The Pretty Things own live version of that piece inviting to a gentle reflection on how different a cover version can be from the original, and how the original arrangement might not be the one that hits a contemporary audience as much as a good quality rearranged one.

Conclusion. Albums consisting of cover material will always be productions somewhat contested I guess. Personally I have a so-so relation to many such exploits, but have so far been rather impressed by the efforts of the enthusiast label Fruits de Mer in that niche market. As usual for a production released by it, this is recommended material, if you can get hold of it. They do tend to sell out their releases rather quickly, in extreme cases on pre-orders alone. But this one is clearly worth a check with the label for the vinyl enthusiast who would love adding this one to their collection.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 1, 2012
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Fruits de Mer Records


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