Midnight in the Patch
Tribute to the Smashing Pumpkins
A disparate batch of largely unknown bands comes together to record a bunch of covers of a popular band, making for a dubious •tribute.• Sounds like Cleopatra•s usual recipe for disaster, doesn•t it? I mean, they churn out a couple of these things a week, right?
Well surprise, the Smashing Pumpkins tribute Midnight in the Patch is not on Cleopatra, and it isn•t bad, either. The bands here offer diverse interpretations of Billy Corgan•s compositions, ranging from Solomon Burke, Jr.•s soulful, upbeat •Today• to Dark•s goth/post-punk •Zero•; from The Da Capo Players• chamber string instrumental takes on •Disarm• and •Tonight, Tonight• to Razorblade Smile•s very 1982, darkwave version of •Bullet With Butterfly Wings• (miscredited to 1000MPH on the back cover); and from Jimmy and the Tercels• countrified •Rhinoceros• to Minstrels• quirky electro-pop •1979.• While I•m not sure that the album succeeds in its cover-stated mission to •perfectly capture the spirit of the Pumpkins• music, that sense of tense paradox, of being simultaneously adrift in an ethereal dreamstate yet caught in the grip of brutal reality• (did Corgan write that himself? Sounds pretentious enough…), it is a very interesting curiosity, and one I believe would prove worth a listen to anyone with a passing familiarity of these songs — and something the band•s many hardcore fans should pick up, as they will devour it and debate it endlessly. Midnight in the Patch is far better than you•d expect it to be; maybe even better than it had a right to be.
Vitamin Records, PO Box 39439, Los Angeles, CA 90039