THE BEST OF
PANDAIMONIUM, METROPOLIS RELEASE:
SEPTEMBER 13, 2004 REVIEW:
OCTOBER 1, 2004
2004 will go down as the year of the
retrospective, the year of the best-of...
the sheer number of them has been
more than enough to satiate me for
a long, long time. Clan of Xymox now
step up to bat with their own entry.
The tracks from the "Farewell"
era were picked by the fans. Two songs
from each Clan album going all the
way back to their debut long-player
in 1985 were selected by the band.
There are some great moments to be
found on this new one from Clan of
Xymox. The brilliant "Consolation"
springs to mind here as does "There's
No Tomorrow". However, he also
has re-recorded classic, and I do
mean, classic songs. The ones in question?
"A Day", "Stranger",
"Louise", "Back Door"
and "Muscovite Mosquito".
This was something I wish he hadn't
done. Truly, if ever there was an
error to be made, tinkering with any
of the tracks from the first two Clan
releases would rate right up there
with what he did under the Xymox moniker
in 1991 when he spliced "Phoenix
of my Heart" with "Wild
Thing". All of the nuances and
textures which I have loved about
these five old songs have been utterly
ironed out. "A Day" has
been rendered into mindless future
pop dance shite; "Louise"
has had it's pacing altered, and not
in a good way, either. Moorings has
destroyed the timing of the song by
virtue of the verse/chorus structure.
The heart-rending pauses and builds
which made "Back Door" a
soundtrack for my younger days are
gone. Completely gone. The very idea
that one could improve on a work like
"Muscovite Mosquito" is
sheer folly. This favourite of mine
is not even recognizable what with
the levels of the instruments being
tweaked with. I am beside myself I'm
so goddamn angry. These songs can
stand on their own by virtue of their
merit, they don't need to
get tarted up.
People seem to have forgotten that
the first two works by this band featured
Anka Wolbert and Pieter Nooten as
members. It was not always the Ronny
Moorings show. And of course, isn't
it interesting that the parts I so
enjoyed - ones which I suspect were
theirs - have been eradicated from
these new versions? Some would be
dismissive and state that these versions
are the ones which get played live.
Fine. Keep them live but don't sully
the originals in the studio. Time
marches on for the Clan, but the last
time I checked, grave-robbing was
still a crime.