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Recording:
  Anthology 4  
 
Artists:
 

various artists who have recorded at Henhouse Studios

 
 
Label:
 

Henhouse

 
 
Release Date:
  2004  
 
Reviewed by:
  Indoor Miner  
         
 
Rating:
   
         
 
Review:
 

Henhouse Studios is a 'community recording studio located in Venice, California that records bands for free in exchange for the right to film them'. Now, I've not watched any of the video footage so I can't comment on that, but I can tell you that Henhouse has also has released an album by former Doors drummer John Densmore together with an Iranian chap called Reza. Whatever his reasons for not exploiting his past by taking part in the current version of his former band that substitutes the late great Jim Morrison with a bloke from Birkenhead who thinks he's a native American, Densmore is a man with far more dignity than his two living former bandmates, Messrs Manzarek and Krieger. They, of course, decided that what the world needed right now was the 21st Century Doors (re-named following a Densmore lawsuit apparently.)

But what about this album, I hear you ask. Well, it's a mixed bag for sure. With such a wide selection of material here, it's not all going to appeal to one listener no matter how broad his (my!) tastes are. But, don't be put off by that because there's some good stuff here. Anthology Vol 4 opens with Naked by Fan Faction, a track that sounds like a Living Color number sung Muse style - you know, all bursting with heartfelt emotion. This wouldn't normally be my cup of tea, but it's so well done that I was grudgingly won over.

Highlights include Ethan Livermore's The Dead, a playful number that for some reason reminds me of Mink Deville's Spanish Stroll and which gains extra points for rhyming 'Mary' with 'cemetery'. Sonja Marie's contribution reminds me of a less dancey version of Nena Cherry's Buffalo Stance. Fans of Randy Newman will love Peter Holland's Friends Like These, whilst Nikki Hong's Stay Awhile will almost certainly appeal to anyone who likes to hear female singer-songwriters sing sweetly about not wanting to let someone go, whilst gently strumming an acoustic guitar. Not normally my bag by any means, but it's a lovely number all the same. And those wanting something noisier could do worse than Drunk Acrobat, who will surely appeal to fans of Queens of the Stone Age, as the singer sounds uncannily like Josh Homme.

There are also several really good reggae tracks by Boom Shaka, Diplomat, and Big Cat Beyond Rhythms Backfire, whilst the light, frothy Just Hope by Badfish also manages to include some skanking and a nice bit of dub. If these were coming out on some scratchy Jamaican 7" single, people would be raving.

I'm less keen on the Cattywompus and HB Surround Sounds tracks, but Asian Fetish Brigade the best band name I've heard in ages! has a certain charm, featuring as it has a MOR type female singer belting out some old fashioned standard. Definitely not what I expected from a band called Asian Fetish Brigade.

And, going back to my earlier mention of Densmore, Doors fans will be interested in hearing a number that concerns itself with his past. Xtreme Unction is Michael C Ford and Ray Manzarek's track about the artist formerly known as Jimbo. It's riveting stuff, with Ford reciting lines about parasites feeding off Morrison's poor dead bones, whilst Manzarek (who hasn't been averse to feeding off his former bandmate's dead bones himself!), plays some real Doors-like keyboards, albeit on a piano rather than organ.

So as I said, this is a mixed bag, but a quality mixed bag all the same. And let's be honest, even the worst moments here must be better than hearing a white English Apache attempt to sing Light My Fire.

 
         
 
Related Links:
 

http://www.henhousestudios.com/
Here is a full review of Ray of the Wine by Reza.

 
         

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