Various Artists

A Fair Forgery of Pink Floyd

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Why the hell do we need yet another Pink Floyd tribute album? Because we desperately needed this one. First of all, this is a localized project involving bands from the U.S. West Coast that all recorded their versions in the same studio, ensuring steady quality standards. Second, the artists come from various backgrounds, anywhere between metal and country-folk. Third, they cover all of the group's career, not just the sacrosanct trilogy (Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and The Wall, in case you really needed to ask), including many of Syd Barrett's buried treasures ("Lucifer Sam," "Bike," "Corporal Clegg"). And when's the last time you saw a song from The Final Cut ("Not Now John," fantastically unrecognizable thanks to North Green) pop up on a tribute album? Disc one is devoted to artists already tied to Stanley Recordings. It is the most satisfying one, since almost everyone takes serious liberties with the original songs. In a bold move, Yortoise stripped "Money" from its bass riff, revitalizing it in unbelievable ways. 50 Cent Haircut gives "Breathe" a double-speed alt-hillbilly treatment, while Quetzal dives into a heart-ripping country rendition of "Mother" (cajon, accordion, and a beautiful violin solo) and Graham Parker sits down with his guitar and pulls off an acoustic folk reading of "Comfortably Numb." The list goes on and on, each track reinvented. After that much excitement, disc two is a bit disappointing, but only because most of the artists chose to emulate the original versions. But there are nice finds, like Mike Keneally's "Astronomy Domine," the aforementioned "Not Now John," and S.A.M.'s "Hey You" -- very heavy, with a sharp contrast between verse and chorus and a doom-laden coda. But the cherry to top it all off is the closing track, a "'5 Minute Version' of the Wall" (actually six and a half minutes long) by Rat Bat Blue, where each track from the album is touched while keeping lyrics logical, keeping track of rhymes, and retaining the overall feel of a song. A tour de force!

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