|Volume 92, Issue 57
Friday, January 8, 1999
the roof is on fire
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Sitting on an old goldmine
At first glance, the concept behind the soundtrack to Velvet Goldmine seems somewhat dodgy.
Commissioning an all-star lineup of modern day musicians to recreate the musical style and sound of '70s glam rock could have resulted in a minor musical catastrophe imagine hearing Matchbox 20 or Big Wreck trying to wrap their heads around a David Bowie cover. Fortunately, somebody out there knew what they were doing and the result is an engaging and often exhilarating trip into the glittery '70s.
It helps that these selected bands probably owe more to glam rock than any other genre of music. The likes of Placebo and Pulp sound right at home amidst the fat guitar riffs and trashy lyrics pervading this collection. Even less likely glam wannabes like Shudder To Think shine with stunning original contributions. Additional offerings from originals Lou Reed and T-Rex only add authenticity to this already convincing testimony.
Also interesting is the batch of Roxy Music covers done by "supergroup" The Venus In Furs. Comprised mainly by Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead), Paul Kimble (ex-Grant Lee Buffalo) and Bernard Butler (ex-Suede), The Venus In Furs' faithful renditions of selected Roxy Music classics are practically worth the price of admission alone. Even more engaging is Yorke's almost unrecognizable Bryan Ferry impression.
While on paper it all sounds somewhat gimmicky and overwrought, the final product is just as thrilling as the real thing.
With so many bands classified as alternative music, finally there is an alternative to alternative.
The Mediaeval Baebes are a British group who with their second album, Worldes Blysse, are attempting to make classical music hip. The 12 young women who comprise the band play songs originating from the 1300s to the 1600s. They describe themselves as "a 12-strong troupe of multi-national, septa-lingual, lager-swilling, smoking, cursing, tattooed sex goddesses."
Sure it attracts attention, but what about the music? It centres almost entirely around the women's voices and is extremely pleasing to listen to. The lyrics used come from a variety of sources, including 13th century books and poetry, as well as Dante'sInferno.
At their best, the Baebes make beautiful haunting music. Their voices come together to create lush vocal harmonies. The songs presented deal mainly with the themes of religion, love and death, with many standout tracks.
It's best suited for listening to late at night while relaxing, thinking about everything and nothing at the same time. So check it out before these Baebes get mediaeval on your ass.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999