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Dazed & Confused - A Stoned-Out Salute To Led Zeppelin

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve said for a very long time that unless you are doing a tribute band, when you cover something make it your own. Unless you can bring something new to the table, don’t even bother. In some ways, I think when it comes to Led Zeppelin, that’s even more true. I mean, say what you will about them, but they were one of the best at what they did ever. It’s pretty hard to out-Zeppelin Zeppelin. Besides, if you want to hear the Zeppelin versions, just play those albums. So, I came at this hopeful, but also a bit skeptical. I’ll say that I was really pleased. There is some great stuff here. Most of the bands really got creative. Almost everything here works well. There is even one song that was played pretty similar to the original and still manages to shine. There are some real standouts, but only one or two that are real let-downs.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Whole Lotta Love - Siena Root

I’ve always dug this band. This stomping cover is no exception. This almost feels like the way Deep Purple would do this. It has a great groove to it. The organ is a nice touch and this rocker just works really well. The “freakout” section takes on some serious psychedelia. The organ gives way to a jam that’s very 1960s in approach.

The Rover - Fireball Ministry
Based on this song, I really want to hear more from this band. This is almost like hearing how Black Sabbath would do the song. It’s much heavier than Zep’s version. The closing jam is pretty amazing.
Dazed And Confused - The Cult Of Dom Keller
This is a huge change from the original. It starts with weird keyboards serving as the backdrop for trippy vocals. By the chorus some guitar joins, but it’s still very much echoey, freaky psychedelia. It seems they have changed some of the lyrics, too. This really is a pure psychedelic trip. The mid-track jam feels like an electronic outtake from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album.
Heartbreaker – Mothership
After three extremely successful tunes, this one really falls flat. These guys basically cover the Zeppelin song, in the same kind of style as Zeppelin did it. They don’t have the style or charisma to make that work. This is adequate, but not really something you’ll probably find yourself going back to.
We re Gonna Groove – JOY
I’m not enthralled with this one. The thing is, the Zeppelin version is just sort of “eh.” It’s not one of their best tunes. These guys do change it for sure. They bring it into an echoey, noise driven kind of psychedelia turned punk arrangement. That works pretty well on the instrumental section, but for the vocal parts, it doesn’t do much for me. I applaud the originality. It’s just not my thing.
No Quarter - Dead Meadow
This is closer to the original than some of the others here, but there is enough of a change to make it fresh and interesting. This is more of psychedelia meets stoner rock kind of jam. I like this one a lot. Part of that comes from the fact that it’s one of my favorite Zeppelin tunes. Part of it comes from the changes that are made and the mood that is captured.
Communication Breakdown – Lostage
This is sort of a bit rawer than the original, which was pretty raw, really. Beyond that, they really don’t bring a lot of new things to the table. That said, this thing just plain rocks. It’s so effective. In theory, it shouldn’t work as well as it does, but here you are. It’s the exception to the rule.
Immigrant Song - Electric Eye
There is a bit of a trippy edge to this. In some ways it feels like 80s music. In other ways, it makes me think of the Rolling Stones psychedelic period. I like the fact that they played it very differently from the original. It’s not my favorite thing here, but it works. The trippy excursion into instrumental psychedelic territory at the end really elevates it.
The Ocean – Brutus
This is a harder rocking, more raw take on the piece. It’s closer in a lot of ways to the source material than a lot of stuff here. To a large degree it’s a similar reworking to the one Lostage did on “Communication Breakdown.” This is not nearly as effective, though. It works reasonably well, and the mellower jam mid-track is among the best moments, but overall, it falls a bit short.
Nobody’s Fault But Mine - The Machine
Here we get a really stomping version. It’s almost metal in some ways. It’s raw and a bit noisy. It’s also incredibly cool. It’s not a huge departure from the original, but it really rocks.  They bring some smoking hot jamming to this, too, taking it in new directions.
In The Light - The Fresh & Onlys
Rather echoey and a bit trippy, in some ways this isn’t a huge change. There is a big enough departure to make it work, though.
Kashmir - Indian Jewelry
This is a huge change. It’s trippy psychedelia meets techno. No one will ever confuse this with the original. While they can’t touch the Zeppelin version, this is cool. It also earns plenty of points for originality.
Stairway To Heaven - The Tulips
I love the trippy kind of mellow psychedelic approach here. This is like folk music turned psychedelia. They create some great sounds and textures along this ride. It’s only near the end that the familiar opening guitar part is heard. This song, of all of them here, probably demands a change, and they really provide one. It’s also very good.
Thank You - The Black Moods
While not a huge change from the original, this works pretty well. It’s a bit more fuzz driven and that helps. It’s not my favorite song, but it is not one I’d skip, either.
 
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