Various Artists

For the Dead in Space, Vols. 2 & 3

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AllMusic Review by

Even given that Tom Rapp is one of the more celebrated cult rock figures owing to his recordings both on his own and as the figurehead of Pearls Before Swine, it still comes as something of a surprise to find a full double-CD tribute album of Rapp covers. It's not that much of a surprise that most of the artists on the compilation are far more obscure than even Rapp, with a few exceptions like Thurston Moore and Mike Watt (who recorded "Fourth Day of July" together), Alastair Galbraith, and Bardo Pond. Some of Rapp's better-known songs are interpreted, such as "These Things Too," "Rocket Man," "Uncle John," and "Sail Away," though as is almost inevitable on a record with covers of 27 different Rapp tunes, some of them may be obscure even to fans of the songwriter. The mood is largely in keeping with Rapp's original vision -- gentle, eccentric acid folk with streaks of mysticism, aggression, and poetic whimsy, though in keeping with most tribute projects, they modernize the arrangements without challenging the quality or distinction of the originals. It's not all updated psych-folk: Moore and Watt's "Fourth Day of July" is pretty straightforward aggressive rock and Gentle Tasaday's "Snow Queen" has a gothic drone, though it's hard to imagine many Rapp/Pearls Before Swine fans jumping for joy at Aspera's electronic dance-rock treatment of "These Things Too." The collection adds a nice bonus in the form of an actual 1967 track by Rapp himself, "Translucent Carriages," which is a different version than the one released on Pearls Before Swine's Balaklava album.

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