Apr 30

[review] Vivid Covers – A 20th Anniversary Tribute to L'arc~en~Ciel

As cover albums go, Vivid Covers chose a tough act to follow.  Twelve tracks of some of L’arc~en~Ciel’s most memorable songs covered by relatively unknown musicians.  Though Cleopatra Records is known for releasing compilations and cover albums, Vivid Covers is the first to cover a well known Japanese artist.

“Niji” was boring the first time around and it’s a snooze-fest as a cover.  At first, I didn’t realize this was a cover.  Keshiki plays the song with little to no variation from the original.  Even the vocalist sounds like Hyde.  Lemon Drop Kick chimes in on the second track, “New World.”  For a pop-punk band that normally plays with fun energy, their cover of “New World” is unenthusiastic and plodding.

It isn’t until Caffe-in’s refreshing take on “flower” that you get a track that’s unique while remaining true to the spirit of the song.  The flourishing keyboard bits have been converted to simple, punchier guitar bits that highlight their vocalist’s cute voice.  The musicianship is spot on and clean. Every slight change seems deliberate, enhancing rather than taking away from the original.  Caffe-in totally owns it.

There’s a pretty piano version of “Anata” sung by Kaoru Enjoji.  “Lies and Truth” is interesting up until Poel’s off-key singing starts. I’m hoping for a real gritty, metal version of “Dune” by Orochi, but it never wanders out of a safe zone of quasi goth-rock.

Since the song recordings were done at different studios, there’s no consistency in the production quality.  Some of the tracks sound like someone is singing karaoke while others are wonderfully mastered.  Vivid Covers is a laudable effort, highlighting a diverse group of artists that L’arc~en~Ciel has influenced.

Cleopatra Records website – http://www.cleorecs.com/
Official L’arc~en~Ciel website – http://www.larc-en-ciel.com/