Life Beyond Mars: Bowie Covered
Life Beyond Mars: Bowie Covered (Rapster)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., July 25, 2008
Life Beyond Mars: Bowie Covered(Rapster)
While smartly remaining mostly outside the familiar oeuvre, Rapster's electronica-based David Bowie tribute adds nothing to the canon, while caustically condensing the revolutionary aspects of its subject's transformations into stale beats and hack disco. The lilting lullaby harmonies of Au Revoir Simone's take on Hunky Dory's "Oh! You Pretty Things" opens beautifully unsettling, and credit Kelley Polar for pulling "Magic Dance" from the Labyrinth soundtrack, bad as it is. But Matthew Dear's "Sound & Vision" plays disappointingly close to the hip, Leo Minor's "Ashes to Ashes" is a schizophrenic mess, and Drew Brown drains "Sweet Thing" of its considerable power. Only Nordic avant-jazz trio the Thing completely upends Bowie with its experimental (indistinguishable) retreading of "Life on Mars." At their best, covers should expand the original's possibilities while emphasizing the artist's influential versatility; Bowie needs neither, and Life Beyond Mars is a Thin White Dud.