The dB's were one of the acts in the early '80s that would be a cornerstone for several pop/rock bands of the '90s and beyond. But they never truly got the acclaim or recognition they deserved. Nonetheless, the Paisley Pop Label has assembled a wide array of artists to pay tribute to the band and, more importantly, their lovely pop gems, with Stand-Ins for Decibels: A Tribute to the Db's. The set begins with Bill Lloyd doing justice to the feel-good, summery Beatlesque pop of "Neverland" that recalls early Tom Petty. Meanwhile, some of these songs are revamped quite nicely, including the funky, island feeling of "Cycles Per Second" performed by Lisa Mychols. This tune, which could be compared to one by the Bangles, sometimes includes a Wall of Sound but despite being rather busy, it works very well. The strengths and contemporary sound of these tracks only reinforce how seminal the band was, particularly with the infectious pop/rock rumble of "If and When" by Spike Priggen. The tightness of each track is very apparent judging by a well-crafted and horn-tinted "Dynamite" performed by Don Dixon. And later on, this feel is revisited on the sugary sweet "Lonely Is (As Lonely Does)" by Jill Olson, despite having the fadeout slightly snipped. A few cover versions are somewhat hokey, including the rather tedious, polished pop of "Working for Somebody Else" that sounds like a duet of Billy Joel and Lee Ann Womack. In truth, it is Cockeyed Ghost and Evie Sands. The first roots-oriented surprise is how great "White Train" comes off, with its galloping bridge that falls apart courtesy of Last Train Home. This vein is mined again with a edgy and ragged "Think Too Hard" by the Hanging Chads. But even this pales once the soft, Cowboy Junkies-like waltz of "Moving in Your Sleep" starts with Ali Smith providing rich vocals. But generally these songs run the gamut in terms of genres, with a folksy, country sway driving the laid-back toe-tapping "Nothing Is Wrong" performed by Brown Mountain Lights. Perhaps one of the weakest of the lot, however, is the rather run-of-the-mill effort from the Milroys with their pseudo-adult contemporary flavoring during "From a Window (To a Screen)" which recalls Sixpence None the Richer. Even the home stretch contains a few gorgeous nuggets, including the Byrds-like "Molly Says" which Tim Lee nails. Not to be outdone is the Keith Richards approach from Ray Mason during "I Lie."
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AllMusic Review by Jason MacNeil