Various Artists – The Wall Redux

Like the noble slice of pizza, a cover song, if done well, can be amazing. And if it’s not, it’s still pretty good. It’s tough to cover well-known songs and albums by famous bands because music becomes our lexicon and fans know every little nook and cranny of a track. This is the case with Pink Floyd and their iconic double album The Wall. Luckily Magnetic Eye Records and their incredible “Redux” series is here, and they always do a bang-up job of assembling the talent. Covering the entirety of The Wall seems both ambitious and a little crazy too. While The Wall is lower on my personal list of Floyd favorites, it’s as important as it is beloved by the masses.

Starting things off with Melvins and ‘In The Flesh’ you see the course this album is going to take right away. Some faithful renditions, but a lot of left turns, and liberal license was taken, which is fine with this listener. Musically it’s pure sludgey Melvins with a lot of weirdness baked in for the vocals. Low Flying Hawks take on ‘The Thin Ice’ is also uniquely them. Like a funnel drip of drone guitar and magic mushrooms. This is a good start.

For the nearly impossible task of the main event of the first part of The Wall, Ghastly Sound, Sergeant Thunderhoof, and Sasquatch have to match up to the ubiquitous “Another Brick In The Wall” suite of tracks that are arguably the most famous nine minutes of music the band ever composed. Ghastly Sound does a nice job on ‘Another Brick In The Wall Part I’, injecting some funky glaze into the track. The brief middle with Sergeant Thunderhoof nails the difficult delay guitar ripped off by a bunch of 80s bands, including U2 for about 90% of their songbook. Great vocals here too. Finally, for the rock radio staple ABITW pt.2, Sasquatch does a solid job making the song their own with more stoner and psych rock and less disco. This pleases us.

Once you get past the first part of the collection, you not only get into the deep cuts of the album, you get the real depth of the performances. ASG takes an amazing if faithful turn at ‘Mother’. Mos Generator, we never knew you could sing so sweetly as on ‘Goodbye Blue Sky’. Wow! Domkraft’s ‘Empty Spaces’ and The Slim Kings’ earthy blues funk of ”Young Lust’ are solid.

The end of the first half of the album will amaze you. Worshipper totally owns the challenging ‘One Of My Turns’. Spaceslug’s ‘Don’t Leave Me Now’ and the incredible ‘When The Tigers Broke Free’ by Year of The Cobra, just kill it. Greenleaf also turns in a very solid rendition of ‘Another Brick In The Wall Pt. III’.

Much like the main album, the final sides of The Wall have the best songs. Summoner’s gripping version of ‘Hey You’ just cuts into you. Scott Reeder does justice to ‘Is There Anybody Out There?’. Mark Lanegan’s ‘Nobody Home’ is the best individual performance of any track here. Selfishly I kind of want an entire album of Lanegan and Melvins covering Pink Floyd together.

Another heartstring puller, ‘Vera’ gets the full torch treatment by Ruby The Hatchet, with a sick vocal take. ‘Bring The Boys Back Home’ would be difficult to recreate with just a band so Sunflo’er doesn’t try with a brief lo-fi instrumental. Mars Red Sky does a solid job on major guitar anthem ‘Comfortably Numb’, as expected.

The final tracks of the album are chopped and screwed like the original. Open Hand does a good job on ‘The Show Must Go On’, complete with cooing backing vocals and saxophone. Solace rips on the sequel to ‘In The Flesh’, with a beat for beat retelling. Pallbearer’s ‘Run Like Hell’ is sensational and is in the top three cuts here. WhiteNails shocks and awes through the underrated ‘Waiting For The Worms’. ‘Stop’ and ‘The Trial’ are covered well by Blue Heron and Church of The Cosmic Skull respectively. ‘Outside The Wall’ brings things to a close with Yawning Man’s lo-fi/sci-fi guitar army mutations.

As usual, all the little details are right, including the Gerald Scarfe inspired artwork on every single. Twenty-six tracks in all and an unenviable task of recreating maybe the best double album ever. Magnetic Eye Records proves once again these albums are terrific and essential, like the bands assembled here and the greater MER roster.

If all these covers don’t satisfy your mega-Floyd jones, you can pick up the companion Best of Pink Floyd Redux with great covers by Howling Giant, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel, Creepers, Red Mesa, Ruby The Hatchet, Domkraft, Forming The Void, Year Of The Cobra, TTops, Sergeant Thunderhoof, Somnuri, and ‘Yawning Man’.

8.0/10 (The Wall Redux)

7.0/10 (The Best Of Pink Floyd Redux)

KEITH CHACHKES