Human Drama

Pin-Ups

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AllMusic Review by

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Human Drama took that concept to an even higher level with its third album. Not merely was Pin-Ups a covers album, like David Bowie's own Pin-Ups collection from 1973, but everything about the artwork and design -- from front cover photo to liner notes to back cover concert and studio snapshots -- totally and thoroughly clones Bowie's effort! Certainly Indovina isn't hiding his homage at all, and unsurprisingly two of Bowie's earliest songs, "After All" and "Letter to Hermione," get the treatment here. As a whole, Pin-Ups logically follows on from The World Inside in terms of the effective incorporation of string performances and subtler arrangements, provided by a rotating core of musicians. Combined with Indovina's welcome decision not to simply re-create the songs, but to interpret them through his own band's sound, the result makes for one of the better remake collections around. Part of its appeal lies with the unexpected song choices -- rather than, say, just serving up the goth world's umpteenth reworking of Bauhaus or Cure tunes, Indovina reveals deeper and varied roots indeed, touching on everyone from Mink Deville to the Rolling Stones, Roger Waters-era Pink Floyd to the Kinks, Nico to Joy Division. The two songs by the last artists are especially intriguing -- though "Love Will Tear Us Apart" has been covered to death, the slow-building interpretation here comes across very well, while the string-led variant of "Decades," violin replacing the synth line in the original, works wonders, Indovina's quietly intense singing a marvel. Another revelatory variation is Genesis' "The Carpet Crawlers," liberated from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and turned into a captivating standout, while Tom Waits' lyrics rarely sounded so fluidly sung thanks to the intriguing choices of "Yesterday Is Here" and "Hang Down Your Head."

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