4 Jan 2013
The White E.P Review
Fruits de Mer Records Double 7" E.P
While the increasingly patchy series of Beatles tribute albums released by Mojo magazine over the last few years may suggest that interpreting Beatles tunes is a passtime for either the brave or the foolish exclusively, the folks at Fruits de Mer haven't let that stop them giving The White Album a go here, albeit in truncated form.
George Martin is of the opinion that The White Album should have been cut down to a more concise format, but even he would probably rub his head in puzzlement at the eight tunes chosen to represent this eclectic and often ramshackle classic.
Fortunately some of Fruits de Mers most high profile contributors are on hand to make this an unlikely triumph.
Predictably, Cranium Pie offer the most radical reworking - their version of "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" ups the creep factor considerably during the verses, and in the fantastically perverse manner that we've come to expect from them, they pretty much bypass the chorus altogether in favor of some lovely Canterbury style progressive jazz breaks. I'm sure John would approve.
On a more surprising note, The Pretty Things, surely a band who've earned the right to rest on their laurels should they choose to do so, have chosen probably the most obvious tune here, "Helter Skelter" and given it a moody neo-psychedelic makeover that sounds more like Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" at times than Paul's original primal rocker.
Elsewhere the arrangements tend to be more faithful, with added psychedelic embellishments that give you an idea of what some of these songs could have sounded like if they'd originally been recorded a year or two earlier. Anton Barbeau's new outfit Three Minute Tease make "Cry Baby Cry" sound like a "Magical Mystery Tour" outtake, while Jack Ellister has correctly come to the conclusion that everything sounds better with bells and backwards tapes.
An unparallelled success then. Why can't the more celebrated artists who contribute to the Mojo compilation show this level of invention?
As always with Fruits de Mer releases you can expect this limited edition double 7" to sell out very quickly. Order it here while you still can, or try the nice folks at Norman Records.
Check out an excerpt from The Pretty Things "Helter Skelter" :