Various Artists

A Tribute to Public Image Limited

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Like Ginger Baker, Tony Williams, and a dozen or so other people, Martin Atkins once drummed for Public Image Ltd., and now he has honored his former band by organizing a tribute album. Anyone familiar with Atkins' post-PiL activities won't be surprised that it comes from his own label and involves a number of artists he has known, respected, and played with throughout the years. While it would be kind of wrongheaded to think of any PiL cover as sacrilege, since the group took pride in disregarding sacred rock conventions during its first few years (much more so than the Sex Pistols), there's nothing here that's worth getting worked up about, whether you're a PiL freak or a fan of some of the groups that provide the covers. Like most tributes, it needn't be heard more than once. Flat reproductions (the Winterbrief's energy-starved "Bad Baby"), intriguing interpretations (Irmin Schmidt & Kumo's "Banging the Door" brings a different form of menace), and failed experimentations (Jared Louche's languishing, lumbering "Poptones") are provided in roughly equal numbers. One of these groups should've picked a song off 1992's dismal That What Is Not, only to play it as if it originally belonged on one of the first three albums. That would've at least been a funny statement about PiL's drastic slide.

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