Tuesday, June 28, 2016


A Track-By-Track Clash Tribute That Cuts The Crap
                                                     TUESDAY MAY 8, 2007 AT 4 A.M.
The Sandinista! Project, commissioned and assembled by long-game rock journalist Jimmy Guterman (The Self-Portrait Project may someday follow) is a two-CD, four-year, complete urban renewal of the Clash's 36-track, three-LP patchwork high-rise. Released in late 1980 (when punk could seem as old and established as still-peaking Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, though rather less successful politically), the original Sandinista! was stoned, bold, nostalgic, speculative, and stress-tested by the DIY clash of identity and adaptability. Most of the many various artists on TSP tap into the achievement and potential of this driving, driven undercurrent. The Mekons' Jon Langford and Sally Timms (with Ship And Pilot) get New Orleans street song "Junco Partner" higher, lighter, and tighter than the Clash can; blue notes are bluer too.
More clearly than ever, these songs embody the risks and payoffs of conflict. On "One More Time/One More Dub," ex-Voidoid Ivan Julian tilts galaxies of guitar through rippling immersions led by Iranian-American chanteuse Haale, as his bass pushes notes almost deeper than feeling, with constant harassment from ex-Lounge Lizard Dougie Bowne's drums. Julian also deploys guitar on "The Call Up," one of the original set's strongest tracks. Here, re-tuned voices still keen warnings to "young people down through the ages," while The Lothars' ancient Space Age theramins swoop like patrols of lost souls pressed into service over grinding post–Oil Age reggae beats. Project only stumbles when it stays passively close to original versions—unlike Wreckless Eric, rattling and wailing through what was once a little too sweet, "Stepping out a rhythm that can take the tension on/Stepping in and out of that crooked, crooked beat!"


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