CD Review

V/A – “.2 Contamination”

By Theo DeRoth

.2 ContaminationTribute albums… These can be very dodgy. Too often, there’s maybe two good tracks on them and the rest are just lousy. And the original artist is so much better that anything anyone does to his or her music, the result just seems lame. What to do, then, with this Bowie tribute?

Listen to it!

In all honesty, this has to be one of the best tribute albums I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. Many of the covers on this album give really interesting spins on Bowie’s songs; some, in my opinion, almost surpassing the originals. The Dresden Dolls, for example, do a predictably great job in stripping Life on Mars down to its bare bones while preserving the best points of the original. The Metrosexuals do a wonderfully dark version of Andy Warhol and, as one would expect, Voltaire’s cover of China Girl is a handsome re-arrangement of Bowie’s original.

There are some lesser-known gems on the collection, however. Starlit’s Modern Love is one of the sexiest songs I’ve ever heard anywhere, blending jazzy torch stylings with an industrial smash. Abbeyvain’s Quicksand is angry and gorgeous. Mr. Russia’s Boys Keep Swinging is pretty good, too, and Ahab Rex’s version of The Heart’s Filthy Lesson is laid back but classic. The Haitian Hate Gods’ cover of Little Wonder is a pleasant surprise, too. While at first it seems to simply be loud for loud’s sake without much to redeem it, after a listen or two it really grows on you.

However, I said it was one of the best tribute albums I’ve had the pleasure of hearing, which doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Some tracks seemed like rather baffling missteps on the parts of their creators, while others were simply dull. Lying Delilah’s Within You, though not even two minutes long, seems to drag and Meg Lee Chin’s Heroes just doesn’t seem to go anywhere. But even at two discs, there are remarkably few songs that you wish weren’t there. There’s also a noticeable coherence to the album. Even though the artists featured are very different from each other, the change from one track to another never jars. This is an admirable achievement.

.2 Contamination should take its place in any dark music lover’s library, and will be appreciated by a much wider range of people than just the Coverville or Bowie-obsessed crowd. I would recommend .2 Contamination to all those who want to hear a lot of good songs done well – that is, virtually anyone.

Contact Information:
Failure to Communicate
Post: 33954 Wooded Glen Dr., Grayslake, IL, 60030, USA
Phone: (847) 624-7474

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