Patron Saints of Pop
An apostilary homage to Fleetwood Mac (Undercover, Inc.)
By: Alex Steininger
Paying homage to a band they love, Undercover, Inc. enlisted the help of twelve independent bands ranging in location from their hometown of Portland, Oregon all the way East to Rosendale, New York for help on an album dedicated to Fleetwood Mac. Funny enough, the catalog found inside the CD re-enforces the idea that they are fans, rather than people capitalizing on the bands name. "We didn't know they were getting back together. We're really fans!"
Bringing in various bands, all with their own sound, always means you're in for a surprise. On this disc, each band has their own unique sound, and no two bands sound alike. Now, I'm not the biggest fan of diverse projects like this. I like my various artists stuff to be centered around one sound, or one particular topic of interest (such as a tribute album). And, as is very evident from the title of this disc, the reason here is to pay tribute to Fleetwood Mac. If I were a fan of Fleetwood Mac that would fall under the category of topic of interest, but I'm not, so going into this disc I wasn't sure what to expect. And when I popped in the disc to listen to it, some songs blew me away and a song or two even pushed me to skip them (after the initial first listen.) Home's cover of "Gypsy" kind of gave me mixed emotions. I liked their version, yet I liked the original a lot better. One of the few Fleetwood Mac songs I actually recognized, and their version just didn't live up to the original. Of course, as many of these bands will tell you themselves, no one could do justice to the originals. Maybe so, so on that regard, this song was pretty good. Quirky and different, this number takes a few listens to get into, but once you're into it, you'll really enjoy it. Call me a sucker for a hometown band, but Portland, Oregon's very own Semisweet blew me away. Definitely the best track on this CD, this number was pure sugar pop with a kick. Fronted by female vocals, which I just LOVE, this song has a lot going for it. Never hearing the original (at least not that I can remember), I can't tell you whether or not this number is anything compared to the original, but Semisweet's version is nothing short of sweet! The Lucky Strikes' jazz/swing version of "Never Make Me Cry" was another album stand out. Great horns led the band, while a nice rhythm section also helped it out a lot. Smooth vocals added even more credibility to the song, making it another number I'm sure even Stevie Nicks and gang would enjoy. Two songs I couldn't get into, though, were Reservoir's "Walk A Think Line" and Jumbo's "Tusk," covered from the album of the same name. They were just too different and exotic for me to enjoy.
Even though I had my reservations about this album, since I'm not familiar with many Fleetwood Mac tunes and am not a big fan of compilations with many different sounding bands, Undercover, Inc. did a good job of getting good bands to pay tribute to a band they love. I'll give this compilation a B-.
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