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coverpic flag England - Full Moon 201 - 01/27/13

Various artists
The White EP
Fruits de Mer Records

Fruits de Mer is the small quality label that appeals to conesseurs who prefer vinyl and music that reverberates of the best pop and psychedelic music from the latter half of the 1960s and a little beyond. The label has specialced in singles, EPs and LPs with cover versions of songs from and new originals inspired by the era mentioned above. Those of you who have bought Mojo Magazine and the likes because of accompanying CDs with cover versions of the songs of classic pop and rock albums know this can be a mixed pleasure. Often the new recordings are weak copies of or don't add anything new to the originals. FdM has higher ambitions and the songs generelly works fine, at least.

Here is a double 7 inch EP with eight songs off the double LP just called The Beatles, often referred to as The White Album, originally released in November 1968. White vinyl, of course. Most of the bands involved, have participated in other FdM projects earlier. Generally the songs sound quite similar to The Beatles' versions. "Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey" by The Luck of Eden Hall is heavier, in a 1970s and 80s way, and has some funny monkey sounds towards the end. Cranium Pie's "The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill" sounds more home-made than the rest here, a freaked-out version with lots of sound effects and elements ranging from "Revolution 9" to "All You Need Is Love". Most of the others are quite faithful, treat the originals with respect and brings forward the same feelings as the originals although they may use different instruments or vocal phrasings to some extent. "Cry Baby Cry" by Three Minute Tease [singer-songwriter Anton Barbeau along with former Soft Boys Andy Metcalfe and Morris Windsor - editor's note] is the strongest of those, gaining strength with a Mellotron in the second half. The vocals are not as not as sharp as on the original, but it still makes my neck hair stand on end in the same way as Lennon's version. Bevis Frond's "Glass Onion" come close with the a bit heavy and casual guitar, the Bevis way. Only "Helter Skelter" by The Pretty Things really stands out. The heavy rock pretentions and aggressions of the original are peeled off and the tempo turned down a bit. It has drone'ish tendencies, hypnotic with somewhat relaxed vocals that gives it a new and interesting vitality. This one is worth the price of the EP alone. The old are still the eldest, as the saying goes round here. Fruits de Mer released a live EP with the elderly quintet last autumn that proved once and for all that this gang has a lot more on offer now than what might be expected. If The Beatles' version had followed the same path as Pretty Things', who knows, maybe the Charles Manson massacres had been avoided.

The only problem with Fruits de Mer's releases is the limited editions. Some of them are very quickly sold out and offered for sale on Ebay the following week at ridiculous prices. The White EP might be one of them already. At least you need to act fast to grab a copy in a reasonable way. (Editor's note: Fruits de Mer don't see this a problem, rather the opposite, it's what they "set out to achieve", according to Andy Bracken in this interview. The limited editions are probably one of the reasons they have successfully built a very supportive community of loyal customers around their label.) Next month FdM will release a 19 inch vinyl album (a 12" LP plus 7" EP) with cover versions of one of Manchester's finest, The Hollies, and a compilation LP with songs by The Soft Hearted Scientists.

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