Sonic Dissonance – Afghan Whigs Tribute Review

Sonic Dissonance
Rating: 4/5

When I first got my hands on Summer’s Kiss, the new tribute album to the Afghan Whigs, I truly felt like a kid with free reign in a candy store. Thirteen songs and I knew how each of them originally sounded. But getting to hear other bands’ takes on the Afghan Whigs just made me giddy. The only problem was where to start? “Retarded?” “66?” “Uptown Again?”

Such a difficult choice that the only answer that felt right was at the beginning, and oh what a joy. It’s rare (if ever) that a band can make a cover better than the original (although the Afghan’s did it with their cover of TLC’s “Creep”) and while none of these tracks are better than the originals, they are all honorable covers.

I think one of the best features to this particular tribute album is that most of the artists are not well known. Apart from Joseph Arthur, Susan Marshall, Mark Lanegan and Zykos, the other nine bands were pretty well unknown to me, doubling my pleasure in the music.

Add in how each of the artists presented very different takes on the Whigs’ songs, and you have the basic principles for a good cover album, because really if you wanted to hear an exact replica, wouldn’t you just listen to the original or hear a generic cover band at the bar?

From Arthur’s almost gospel like cover of “Step Into The Light” to the near punk sound of Sounds Like Violence’s “Sammy,” the gang at Summers Kiss Records did a superb job of picking worthy covers for this album.

Then there’s The Domani International’s (without checking, I’m going to naturally assume the band name was inspired by the Twilight Singers) cover of “Debonair.” As if nailing the guitar work and the emotion of Dulli’s vocals wasn’t hard enough, TDI placed an impromptu keyboard fizzle in the middle of the track that added some dexterity to an already super song.

I think we all know how hard it is to make a truly good cover/tribute album, but luckily in this circumstance, the fine people at Summer’s Kiss Records got it right.

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