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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tangerine Dream

Under Cover

Review by Gary Hill

The concept of bands doing albums of covers seems to be a trend that’s gotten popular in the last decade. In fact, I also reviewed the new Nektar disc of covers in this issue. I know some people don’t like this kind of concept. Personally, I do. I’d have to say that this is quite a strong release and I like it quite a bit.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Cry Little Sister

I’ve never heard the original of this tune. The Tangerine Dream version is lushly arranged, slow moving and powerful. There’s a tasty guitar solo in the piece. While it’s good, it seems to go on a bit too long.

Everybody Hurts

Here they turn their attention to REM. No one would ever mistake this for the original version; instead this is a pretty, keyboard infused rendition. The melody lines were pretty and poignant in the original recording, as they are here.

Precious

Depeche Mode might seem like an obvious choice for Tangerine Dream. This keyboard infused, moody number works really well and does feel a lot like the original band. I’ve always liked Depeche Mode a lot, so it shouldn’t be a shock that this is one of my favorites here. I’m particularly fond of the instrumental breaks here.

Space Oddity

With more of an electronic, lush, progressive rock approach, I like this version of the tune a lot. Of course, with a song that’s this good, how can you really go wrong?

The Model

One wouldn’t expect a cover of a Kraftwerk tune to start with flute and piano. Indeed, this is one of the most organic, and least electronic cuts on the set. That sets it up as stark contrast to the original. I really like what they’ve done with this, turning it into a cool prog ballad. It’s quite pretty and quite potent and has some definite symphonic instrumentation at times.

Wicked Game

Amazingly enough, they play this one pretty close to the original. Sure, it’s got more proggy elements added to the mix, but then again, there were always hints of prog in the tune if you ask me. I really like this version, but I’ve always been a sucker for this song, anyway.

Hotel California

This is arguably the most altered cut on show here. They really give it the kind of treatment you’d expect from Tangerine Dream, layers of lush atmosphere in a slow moving prog cut. It really brings a bit of a spooky tone to the thing. The guitar solo section does pull it closer to the original, but those proggy elements remain there and echoey vocals afterward add a different layer to the whole thing.

Suzanne

They’ve turned this Leonard Cohen song into something that feels a bit like a cross between Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode. It’s pretty, moody and a highlight.

Heroes

Back to David Bowie, this is a more electronic cut. I like it, but it’s perhaps a bit too much like the cut that preceded it.

Forever Young

The lush, electronic arrangement suits this cut that was originally done by Alphaville. It’s a good one. It’s dream-like, but it does seem to go on a little too long.

Iris

Originally by the Goo Goo Dolls, I’ve always loved this tune. Here they bring that Kraftwerk meets Depeche Mode vibe to the number, and it works remarkably well. The instrumental section includes some cool guitar sounds.

Norwegian Wood

This is a live rendition of the Beatles song.  They do a great job of making this their own while still retaining a lot of the vibe of the original. It’s got some definite psychedelia and more of a guitar presence than we hear on a lot of the disc.

Hallelujah

Another Leonard Cohen cut, this is quite mellow and atmospheric. Comparisons to Depeche Mode clearly work well.

Wish You Were Here

Here they tackle a classic Pink Floyd number. Musically it feels a little slow, but otherwise mostly unchanged. The biggest difference comes in the vocals and particularly pronunciation of certain words. This is solid, but not a real highlight of the disc.

 
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