Category: Compilations / Industrial / EBM
Album: Re:Covered Vol. 2 – A Tribute to Depeche Mode
Blurb: A cover album that is acceptable when at its best and worthy of pitching into a fire when at its worst.
Apparently of the opinion there aren’t nearly enough Depeche Mode cover songs in the world already, including their previous 2009 release Re:Covered, Alfa Matrix returns with another 30-plus track cover compilation, Re:Covered Vol. 2 – A Tribute to Depeche Mode. With one additional Depeche Mode album to draw tracks from and repeating tracks less than the previous release, Vol. 2 hits a slightly larger variety of tracks from the band’s ample library, but unfortunately, it routinely fails to do anything adventurous with the source material and irritates far more than it interests.
The compilation starts off nicely enough with the rather straightforward synthpop remakes of “Sea of Sin” and “Dream On” that act as mildly dance floor friendly versions of the originals. Malakwa impresses with its total reworking of “People Are People,” making it virtually unrecognizable, and Kant Kano also does quite a nice job with its versions of “Black Celebration” and “Nothing’s Impossible” with Ayria offering vocal additions on the latter, but fails to impress with “Behind the Wheel” with its overly processed vocals and completely random samples. Also of note is Unter Null’s take on “Everything Counts,” which is a surprisingly soft recreation of the track from the usually gravelly voiced act, but it shows part of the problem with the album itself as it lacks Unter Null’s personal stamp and feels like a recreation, not an adaptation. While much of the compilation features very predictable, yet inoffensive recreations of Depeche Mode’s work, there are plenty of aural assaults that are sure to send any fan of the original tracks into a rage. Acylum’s “World in My Eyes,” for example, recreates the track with a harder edged electro beat, but inexplicably alternates between acceptable male vocals and a downright wretched female vocal performance that switches between being horribly off-key to blandly dictating the lyrics. Speaking of wretched female vocals, there is also HausHetaere’s cover of the classic “Personal Jesus,” which just fails on every possible level with its sloppy production, random non-synced vocals, and composition work to rival the worst school talent competition, leaving the listener wondering how a cover so utterly inept ever managed to make it onto the album, suggesting a complete and total lack of quality control in the formation of this compilation. While the album’s other failures aren’t quite as offensive, they still do little to help make the album worthwhile. For example, Krystal System’s “Master snd Servant” is easily one of the most boring tracks of the album and I:Scintilla’s “I Want It All” is an unbelievably typical, super saccharine “dance club mix” that sounds like it belongs in an edition of Dance Dance Revolution.
Disappointingly enough, Re:Covered Vol. 2 as an Alfa Matrix release only features artists from the label, showing the first sign that the release has no issues with incestuous relationships. Like sleeping with your cousin, this compilation strongly suggests there’s something inherently wrong about a cover album from artists of such closely related genres and styles. In the vast majority of cases, nothing really imaginative or daring is done with the covers, driving the music into a creative dead end, and other than one or two exceptions, the few tracks that show little semblance with their originals are the mutated crimes against humanity that should never have seen the light of day. There are definitely a few gems to be found, but those familiar with the work of Depeche Mode will find irritation much more often.
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Trubie Turner (Flexei)