In what may possibly account to a stroke of marketing genius, some bright button has had the idea of getting all the new psych upstarts to cover a song from legendary psychedelic warriors The Doors. By giving a song each to these artists they ultimately aim to gain more fans by enabling an easy way in to the psych movement and offering songs which are ingrained in the consciousness of all music fans. A great idea on paper, in reality a bit of a mixed bag.
One of the major issues faced here is that these bands are meant to be listened to over the course of an album. A single song does not do them justice and being restrained to a cover stifles rather than allows creativity. Which is a shame but if it helps these bands gain more followers then who's to argue.
So gripes apart, what of the songs? Well, we get off to an outstanding start with Elephant Stone's 'LA Woman' which turns a blues song into a drone epic that swirls its way into your mind and creates psychedelic imagery of the best variety. It takes a classic song and delivers something special.
The Black Angels version of 'Soul Kitchen' is just as outstanding and may be the one song here that truly channels the spirit of The Doors. Soaked in Californian sunshine it evokes a weirdly nostalgic feel whilst also doing something completely new to the song. Indeed, this may even surpass the original.
Psychic Ills are a disappointment in that they do a straight-laced cover of 'Love Me Two Times' and then we hit a home run of sorts with Dark Horses' mysterious 'Hello I Love You', Camera's motorik instrumental version of 'People Are Strange' and Dead Meadows' 'Crystal Ship'. There does seem to be something lacking though and this may be a result of the argument in the opening paragraphs of this review.
And then Sons of Hippies happen. Their version of 'The Soft Parade' totally deconstructs the song and creates a psychedelic rambling which would have been quite at home in one of the communes back in the 60's. It's nothing like the (rather rubbish) original and is the biggest surprise here.
'Riders on the Storm' is tackled by Dead Skeletons and only they could possibly have done it with such aplomb. Downright dirty and bluesy, it's a creepy ride down the bad trips of your mind. The mood is not lightened by Wall of Death who turn 'Light My Fire' into a mysterious epic by bringing the drums and bass to the fore and hiding that over familiar keyboard riff.
Clinic continue the great streak with a version of 'Touch Me' which is nothing like the original. It's scary and electronic as only Clinic do best and is another fine highlight. However, the less said about 'RoadHouse Blues' by Vietnam, the better.
So far it's been up and down with some very fine covers and some substandard ones. Geri X lift our spirits with 'Love Her Madly' but who will be brave enough to cover 'The End'; that one song which totally belongs to Jim Morrison? The Raveonettes, that's who and by god they do a great version.
Stripping away all nastiness they turn it into a celebration of 60's counterculture and it feels almost joyous as it glides down its merry way. Gone are the psychopathic ramblings and in are joyous exclamations. It''s a real treat and one that may divide many fans of The Doors.
It's a bit of a grab bag then but all in all it's pretty worthwhile. It's difficult to see much of a shelflife though and will only really be played as novelty value before you scurry back to the (peerless in some cases) originals. That's they way with cover albums though, at least you know sort of what to expect.