Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Review: Various Artists – 'A Strange Play – An Alfa Matrix Tribute To The Cure'

'A Strange Play – An Alfa Matrix Tribute To The Cure'

Picking up where the two Depeche Mode covers albums left off comes the Alfa Matrix rosters tribute to another huge group of the 1980s in the form of 'A Strange Play – An Alfa Matrix Tribute To The Cure'. Tribute albums can be a patchy affair and if you can take a slack handful of memorable covers away at the end of the listening experience then you've done pretty well. With this in mind Alfa Matrix have crammed two CDs worth of tracks into this release to give the best spread of talent and styles possible. And it does have its ups and downs, but the tracks that work well manage to carry the weight of the few that fell short of the mark.

Tracks such as 'The Love Cats' by Junksista, 'Just Like Heaven' by Lovelorn Dolls, and 'Friday I'm In Love' by Cosmic Armchair in particular with their airy Euro-pop leanings tend to fall short of the mark. Yes, The Cure were principally a pop act, yet what has kept their profile in the public eye for over thirty years has been their dark and slightly demented edge. With this in mind the straighter covers tend to provide the weaker points of the compilation. However when the bands inject their own styles heavily into the mix the results are much more exciting, and thank fully this is the case for the majority of the album.

The albums undeniable stand-out tracks include 'Lullaby' by Cynical Existence, 'Burn' by Essence Of Mind, 'Lovesong' by Sebastian Komor, 'The Figurehead' by Schwarzblut, 'The Baby Screams' by Armageddon Dildos, 'Why Can't I Be You' by Plastic Noise Experience, 'Sleep When I'm, Dead' by Neikka RPM, and 'Trust' by Acylum which see the artists incorporate their unique styles in a much more organic and natural way. The kind of songs that are not trying to be Cure covers, but rather see the bands making the songs their own.

'A Strange Play – An Alfa Matrix Tribute To The Cure' is a mixed bag, but there is something for everyone here. The artists' forays into ebm, industrial, synthpop, and pop rock makes for a varied and interesting listening experience and in some cases add a radical reinterpretation of the source material.  

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