CLASH STASH ACTUALLY CUTS CRAP
A Track-By-Track Clash Tribute That Cuts The Crap
TUESDAY MAY 8, 2007 AT 4 A.M.
BY DON ALLRED
The Sandinista! Project, conceived and produced by veteran journalist and studio supervisor Jimmy Guterman, is a two-CD, four-year urban renewal of the Clash's 36-track, three-LP sonic cosmopolis. Released in 1980 (when punk could seem as old as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, though rather less successful politically), the original Sandinista! addressed and sometimes sounded stressed by the clash of identity and adaptability. Most of the many various artists on TSP tap into the achievement and potential of this drive-and-be-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, still rolling with the dice.
More clearly than ever, these songs embody the risks and payoffs of conflict. On the new version of "One More Time/One More Dub," ex-Voidoid Ivan Julian tilts galaxies of guitar through rippling immersions of 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 plays 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' theramins swoop like patrols of lost souls pressed into service over grinding post–Oil Age reggae beats. Project only stumbles when it stays too close to original versions—unlike Wreckless Eric, rattling and wailing, "Stepping out a rhythm that can take the tension on/Stepping in and out of that crooked, crooked beat." Now I get it!