Various Artists

Sing a Song for You: A Tribute to Tim Buckley

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The music of Tim Buckley is usually referred to with quiet, reverential whispers of an almost religious nature. That's the sort of approach found across the 17 tracks of this tribute album as well. Many of the artists here, inluding Brendan Perry and Ian Masters (here performing as part of the Friendly Science Orchestra) are worshipped on a similar, if smaller, scale by fans of alternative music. Quite a few of the artists giving tribute paid their dues on 4AD, in bands such as Dead Can Dance, Pale Saints, Cocteau Twins, and, well, Mojave 3. Since Buckley was considered to be a sort of experimental, ahead-of-his-time singer/songwriter, it's odd how close to the vest these artists approach their covers. Such a statement is certainly not a knock on the album, but the lack of experimentation does make for a kind of sameness in texture across the tracks, leading to perhaps a few yawns. At least the bands are pouring their hearts into their reproductions. Mojave 3 has never sounded more passionate about a song as the band does on "Love From Room 109 at the Islander." Ian Masters, who has shown some very unique, original sides to his musical output in his post-Pale Saints days, keeps the wacky sound effects to a minimum on "Because of You." Mark Lanegan's cover of "Cafe" is effortlessly cool and beautiful at the same time. The Czars' brittle rendition of "Song to the Siren," which closes the collection, is definitely one of the many standouts; it's one of the most touching covers you're likely to come across anywhere. The great wonder of the tribute is that all of the artists stick to their signature sounds while still providing faithful covers of the source material. It's a testament, one would think, to the talent of Tim Buckley that his songs work so well across the diverse styles of these modern performers. Fans of Buckley or any of the artists performing herein should be most pleased with this tribute.

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