Dramarama

Looking Through [Eggbert]

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With the Beatles connection of the title and band name continued via a photo of its author, John Lennon, with his eyes blocked out that appears in the packaging, one could be forgiven for assuming this was nothing but a Fab Four tribute on Dramarama's part. The truth is a little more complicated -- as the reissue's liner notes obliquely reveal, the band had basically recorded more material than anyone was going to release at the time, so while the cream of the tunes became Stuck in Wonderamaland, the rest surfaced as this collection. Augmented by a further nine tunes from those sessions for its mid-'90s American re-release, Looking Through is at once a rough-and-ready tribute to many different things garage, from '60s forebears to early-'80s punk/wave, and a chance for Dramarama's own special blend to surface. Generally everything sounds less finished than on official Dramarama releases -- a touch more electric, recorded live and duly ripping along. John Easdale's own vocals sometimes don't sound like himself, but at other points -- as even a cursory listen to songs like "Long Long Gone" show -- it's very much him. At its best, Looking Through offers up tracks that could have easily made a full-blown Dramarama album -- the melancholy emotional confusion of "Come (To Meet Me)" is especially fine, while the glam snort and surge of "Catastrophy" is one of their best cuts all around. The most consistent treat throughout comes thanks to the many different covers, starting with the ripping version of Stevie Wonder's "I Don't Know Why" that opens things up. The Faces' "Ooh La La" gets a sweet, uplifting acoustic take with some great Easdale singing; other solid revamps appear for the Chocolate Watchband's "Sweet Young Thing" and the obscure T. Rex album cut "Sun Eye."

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