Title: Attrition Covered: Wrapped in the guise of my friend
Release Date: 14th August 2009
Label: Two Gods
“Over the years I have been moved by the many cover versions of our music that started appearing. Always amazed that people were touched enough by our songs to want to interpret them in their own way. I thought it was timely that I put together an album to represent these works. I hope they mean as much to those listening now as they have done to us....” so said the ATTRITION front man and mainstay that is Martin Bowes of this very interesting album. It's a nice idea and it's true that in the three decades that ATTRITION have been producing music they have influenced many of the leading lights in the Electronic, Goth and Darkwave movements.
The album begins with 'Favourite things' rendered by NYARLATHOTEP. It's totally spoken word and as such doesn't really give the album much punch as an opener, but it's well executed and good enough in its own way. 'Which hand' for me is much stronger, performed impeccably by MURDER HAPPENS WITH EN ESCH, being tuneful, intriguing and far more memorable. IMPRINT's version of 'Reflections' is another track that doesn't really spark anything being monotone and so subtle you might miss it altogether, relying on the very good lyrics, but it is so samey you cease to be that interested, which is a shame. There are two versions of 'A girl called Harmony' on this album and this first one by CHIASM is nothing short of awesome. Creepy, sinister and harbouring the lyrics that name the album 'Wrapped in the guise of my friend', I couldn't wish for anything better for this track; it's like Emily Autumn meets the Exorcist. Brilliant!
STROMKERN give 'The Cage' a go, and a very good go at that with evocative pianos and static sounding electronica balanced perfectly against a great solid vocal. 'Two Gods' has an almost French feel to it initially as MY SILENT WAKE treat one of my favourite ATTRITION songs to a very sound treatment that's atmospheric and really does it justice. As ever I'm finding that as the album progresses I'm liking it more and more and 'I am eternity' does nothing to diminish that feeling as HIGH BLUE STAR give a really good performance with a perfect balance of soulful vocal and instrumentation. MACHINE IN THE GARDEN do 'Dreamsleep' next and it's sexy and dark and everything you could hope for, possibly being the best track on the whole album.
'A great design' has an annoying American spoken vocal (sorry but it sounds like the computer in a 1980's Datsun that warns you haven't fastened your safety belt) which is, possibly intentionally, entirely at odds with the breathtaking instrumental work going on in the background. I listened to it no less that four times but the voice killed it for me, although I do concede, given the subject matter, it might have been supposed to, but either way FLUXSYNDROM made me sit up and take notice of their track. ELEPHANT LEAF's 'The Second Hand' soon made me pray for the return of the annoying computer voice as it squeaked popily along being really not great in any shape or form. Thankfully 'Fusilade' by REMORA came and rescued me from the light side, with its threatening and sinister vocals and eerily mounting backing, which creepily and gently gains momentum all through the track. This is another masterpiece.
'KHARB' by TERROTIMO passes by almost without notice but UNWOMAN's version of 'Adam and Eva' is a very bold track with interesting contrasting vocals that compliment the lyrics perfectly, and offers a nice disjointed sounding backing that's something a little different. The musical freak show (and I mean that in a good way) continues with the excellent ACCOLADE and 'Silent minds', which is a glorious slant on this lyrically great track. PATRICIA WAKE doing 'Fate is smiling' is a breathtaking piece of work, and is so beautiful that I could listen to it over and over again with its majestic melancholy. And just as I was starting to think it was all fabulous from here the annoying American computer voiced electro returns to spoil my day, except this time it's not banal and annoying it's actually rather good when I stopped to really take it in. Performed by PROTEA 'Into the waves' is still not a highlight of the album though. And now for the final track and the second version of 'A girl called Harmony' by STOA, which is an interesting note to end on since it's entirely instrumental.... and very good.
I knew this album would hold surprises both good and bad, but the good on this far outweighed the bad and it's an album that I will be happy to listen to again and again. Recommended!
01. Nyarlathotep - Favourite things
02. Murder happens with En Esch - Which hand?
03. Imprint - Reflections
04. Chiasm - A girl called harmony
05. Stromkern - The cage
06. My Silent Wake - Two Gods
07. High Blue Star - I am eternity
08. Machine in the garden - Dreamsleep
09. Fluxussyndrom - A great design
10. Elephant Leaf - The second hand
11. Remora - Fusillade
12. Terrotimo - Kharb
13. Unwoman - Adam & Eva
14. Accolade - The silent mind
15. Patricia Wake - Fate is smiling
16. Protea - Into the waves
17. Stoa - A girl called harmony
http://www.attrition.co.uk/ / http://www.myspace.com/attritionuk
Total: 8.5 / 10