Various Artists

Shots in the Dark

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The mid-'90s lounge revival has also spawned corresponding contemporary space age pop revivalists, meaning that this Henry Mancini tribute album -- a project which would have had few takers just a few years previously -- probably had no problem assembling its 20 participants. These are mostly acts who come from the rock world to the lounge, not vice versa. Friends of Dean Martinez, Poison Ivy (from the Cramps), and Man or Astroman? (whose fuzzy blast through "Touch of Evil" is one of the collection's highlights) are the only artists that are even moderately well known, unless you want to count a newly waxed effort by '60s surf-psychedelic guitarist Davie Allan. Like almost all tribute albums, it's an uneven affair, usually presenting a rock-oriented take on Mancini classics like "Baby Elephant Walk," "Peter Gunn Theme," "The Pink Panther Theme," "Days of Wine and Roses," and "Moon River." Most try to strike a balance between reverence and original interpretation, with varying degrees of sucess; the more daring ones, like Br. Cleve's sci-fi take on "Push the Button, Max!" and Nan Vernon's vinyl-scratched, cheap organ rendition of "Moon River," are the best.

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