Cru­cible: The Songs of Hunters and Col­lec­tors

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Stephen Fitz­patrick

Var­i­ous artists


THE first prob­lem you’d have, in what prac­ti­cally amounts to a re­work­ing of the sound­track of a gen­er­a­tion, is this: who the hell would be game enough to take on that most wrench­ing yet de­cep­tively sim­ple cre­ation, Throw Your Arms

Around Me? It once, a life­time ago, may have been a per­fect gem of a song, with its blunt three-chord struc­ture and love-ever­last­ing lyrics, but it has surely been bug­gered up be­yond all be­lief by a mil­lion high school sin­ga­longs and drunken foolon-a-stool ren­di­tions down the lo­cal. Luck­ily, two of rock’s tow­er­ing fig­ures, Ed­die Ved­der and Neil Finn, have stepped up and given Mark Sey­mour’s sig­na­ture piece a new layer of com­plex­ity. It works. The next ques­tion would be, how do you do jus­tice to an an­ar­cho-demo­cratic mu­si­cal out­fit that cov­ered the gamut from ex­per­i­men­tal per­cus­sion to finely crafted tune­smithing? The an­swer turns out to be that you just let peo­ple have their head — and it comes off re­mark­ably well. The band’s ear­li­est days are well rep­re­sented ( Betty’s Worry or

The Slab, in a slick treat­ment by Oh Mercy; the Pan­ics at­tack Al­li­ga­tor En­gine; and there are two ver­sions of Talk­ing to a Stranger to book­end the piece, the lat­ter, by the Avalanches, be­ing a sub­lime thing). Later years get a de­cent guernsey, too: the Liv­ing End gives Say Good­bye a rol­lick­ing crack and the wist­ful sound of Mel­bourne act Husky comes nicely at the 1989 hit Blind Eye. Disc two con­tains the H&C orig­i­nals, should all this rein­ter­pret­ing have you feel­ing antsy.

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