Various Artists

A Gift from a Garden to a Flower: A Tribute to Donovan

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A Gift From a Garden to a Flower: A Tribute to Donovan features 18 Donovan songs covered by bands who travel in the Darla universe of indie pop and rock. Pas/Cal starts the collection off right with a joyous, sunshine-filled take of "Oh Gosh," complete with a surprisingly good trombone solo. Most of what follows is first-rate turn-of-the-millennium indie music as well. Highlights include My Morning Jacket's lush and spooky take on "Wear Your Love Like Heaven," the Photon Band's trippy West Coast-influenced "To Sing for You," Great Lakes' echoey and beautiful version of "Teen Angel," and Ashley Park's stately country-rock redo of "Widow With a Shawl (A Portrait)." One of the most interesting aspects of a tribute compilation is to see what kind of liberties the artists take with the source material. For the most part, the groups here are a respectful lot, but Sweet Trip winningly turns "Sunny Goodge Street" into a glitchy, bubbly dance track; Lenola turns "Atlantis" into an eight-minute guitar freak-out; and the unfortunately named Watoo Watoo turns "Jennifer Juniper" into a low-key, slinky bit of indie electronica. As with most compilations, there are a few less-than-stellar moments scattered here and there among the gems. Some of the bands let down their side with weak vocals (Lowlights, Screen Prints) and some treat Donovan's tunes too seriously and turn them into dirges (Pale Horse and Rider, the Blood Group). The low point of the disc is Color Filter's ill-advised destruction of "Hurdy Gurdy Man," which manages to combine bad arrangements and weak singing. Still, for the most part the record is a success, full of energy and fine songs. A Gift From a Garden to a Flower: A Tribute to Donovan is worth picking up just to hear the track by 2002's most exciting new pop group, Pas/Cal.

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