Label: Mute Records

Review by Warren Mayocchi

LaibachTheSoundOfMusicOver the years cover songs have constantly been produced and included by artists alongside an album of originals. Sometimes an entire album might be a variety of cover songs, and rarely an entire album is devoted to covering another entire album. In 1970 Booker T and the MGs recorded “McLemore Avenue” (covering The Beatles“Abbey Road”). Pink Floyd‘s “Dark Side of the Moon” has spawned classics such as “Dub Side of the Moon” and “Doom Side of the Moon”. Laibach have released a few cover versions during their career including an almost complete version of The Beatles“Let It Be” in 1988. Thankfully the band create personal impressions in their cover music rather than soulless note-for-note versions. Thirty years after the “Let It Be” release Laibach have recorded their version of “The Sound of Music”. Is anyone unfamiliar with the movie and associated soundtrack? To me it seems unlikely, however I have been a fan of the musical since early childhood, so it is hard to imagine a life without “The Sound of Music”. The cover art for the album shows a Korean theme, reflected in the slightly altered “Maria” vocals; “How do you solve a problem like Korea?” Laibach have a long career, and this album continues their usual style; a politically touched, industrial/experimental album. Here they sound not unlike the Crash Test Dummies. Keeping in ‘cover version’ theme, particularly similar to the Crash Test Dummies Christmas songs like “Jingle Bells” and “White Christmas”. However, most tracks on “The Sound of Music” include contrasts of sweeter vocals to play against a low, raspy lead vocal. The album was undoubtedly conceived in 2015 when Laibach performed in North Korea. Closing the album is a welcome speech they received in the host country. Laibach is a terrible rock group. Their music videos use pornography. Indeed this group is considered as neo-Nazi. […] So, without trust, without confidence, we cannot invite you here.” Many times the vocal treatment provides sinister tones to what were originally exuberant tracks of innocence. Consider, “Girls in white dresses, with blue satin sashes […] these are a few of my favourite things.” Imagine the line sung by a older gentleman who sounds gruff, well-traveled, and in a mood for sombre confession. “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” adds an extra dimension to Meat Loaf‘s wolf with the red roses. “You are sixteen, going on seventeen, maybe it’s time to think, better beware […] I’ll take care of you.” Other songs like “Do-Re-Mi” – originally a simple song – become problematic without the drive of youthful energy. My stand-out favourite track is “Lonely Goatherd”. It combines the sinister, innocent, industrial backing, and nostalgic re-interpretation to maximum effect. It has a music video (link here) so you can see what the album is like, however this song is a high point, so embrace the remainder of the album with this in mind and you will be delighted by the re-imagined result.

Rating – 82/100

 

Tracklist

  1. The Sound of Music
  2. Climb Ev’ry Mountain
  3. Do-Re-Mi
  4. Edelweiss
  5. Favorite Things
  6. Lonely Goatherd
  7. Sixteen Going On Seventeen
  8. So Long, Farewell
  9. Maria / Korea
  10. Arirang
  11. The Sound of Gayageum
  12. Welcome Speech

 

Links

facebook.com/laibach

twitter.com/Laibach

laibach.org

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