There can be no doubting the impact that The Smiths made during their, all-too-brief, recording career. While various members went on to other projects following their split, they have failed to have the impact that they did as a unit. As frequent rumors of a reunion comes and goes, The Smiths are, it seems, in actuality, no closer to reforming. With this fact, fans are stuck with old recordings to state their love for the iconic British band – until now.
‘Hand In Glove – The Smiths Tribute’ may not boast the most well-known cast of recording artists, but the Vanilla Swingers, True Tone, Vampire Slayers, Home, Questionface, Pulse, Loomer, Underwater, I Buried Paul, Skinnys 21, Edison Shine, Thee Chinadoll, Q-Burns Abstract Message and Rosewater Elizabeth all make a decent job of re-imagining classic like, ”What Difference Does It Make,’ ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes out,’ and of course ‘Hand In Glove.’
Whether it is The Vampire Slayer’s ska-influenced takes on ‘What Difference Does It Make?’ Home’s whimsical rendition of ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side,’ or an understated ‘Hand In Glove’ from the Vanilla Swingers, this 14-track selection fails to disappoint. While some renditions stay fairly faithful to the originals, others take a slightly more experimental turn, such as the 80s synth-pop feel of Questionface’s, ‘Frankly Mr Shankley.’
Elsewhere, Pulse delivers a saxophone-blessed, lounge-style version of ‘Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me,’ while Loomer brings a melancholic edge to ‘Death Of A Disco Dancer.’ Underwater bring a dreamy, ethereal, feel to ‘This Night Has Opened My Eyes,’ before I Buried Paul deliver their funky, head-nodding, break-beat assisted, ‘Handsome Devil.’ Next up, a bass-heavy version of ‘Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others is followed up with a great, fuzzy, post-punk, version, of ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out,’ courtesy of Edison Shine.
A string arrangement helps carry Thee Chinadoll’s ‘Girlfriend In A Coma,’ before Q-Burns Abstract Message offers a, techno-tinted, instrumental version of ‘Reel Around The Fountain.’ The collection is rounded off with a hauntingly delicate take on ‘I Know It’s Over’ from Rosewater Elizabeth.
All-in-all, this tribute album is a fine collection of tracks, which vary from relatively true renditions to be more abstract takes on the classic material. While the selected tracks don’t encompass all of the finest moments from The Smiths’ back-catalogue (we would love to hear someone take on ‘Ask’ or ‘Sheila Take A Bow,’ for example) there is plenty of hope for a second volume of this enjoyable collection. Well worth investigating, this album is certainly ideal for drunk fans of The Smiths!