During the time of their existence Pizzicato Five were like Neil Young: either you loved them or you hated them. By the time they broke up on 2000 they seemed to have few supporters left.
What were the charges against them? Putting out too many records that sounded similar. But God Is My Co-Pilot did THAT, and no one hated them for it.
Music and Words of Pizzicato Five: A Tribute Album is a 17 track affair that I find quite pleasing. There are a large variety of sounds on the disc. Qypthone's cover of It's a Beautiful Day sounds most like Pizzicato Five. Everything is in place: the Japanese female vocals, the J-pop music, and the mood of fun.
Rip Slyme's cover of Non-Stop To Tokyo is a great example of the new spin many of these artists put on the tracks they cover. The first time I heard this band's work was on Fantastic Plastic Machine's remix record 'Contact.' Rip Slyme covered the FPM song Black Dada with style.
A frustrating fact about this compilation is that only four of the artists have names printed in English. The other 2 artists (besides Qypthone and Rip Slyme) with English names are Hair and Reggae Disco Rockers.
Hair do a version of the Pizzicato Five song One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Barbie Dolls. With female vocals and analog electronics, Hair sound like they might have been on the Seattle label Slabco.
Reggae Disco Rockers (nice name!) cover Such a Beautiful Girl Like You as an upbeat reggae song with female vocals.
Here is a track by track summary, including the tracks performed by artists I cannot name:
- The CD starts off with a version of Stars. It is a singer/songwriter version with a picked acoustic guitar and a male vocal.
- Next is The World is Spinning at 45 RPM. This version starts with piano and a male vocalist with a strange voice like a howdy doodie doll. The song progresses into an upbeat stings and female chorus number like you would hear in a Broadway musical.
- Qypthone really cook with It's a Beautiful Day. I especially like the wordless vocal part in the middle of the song.
- Rip Slyme turn in a version that is one of my favorite tracks on the disc. It is pure J-pop with a hundred different elements thrown in, none of them seeming like they would fit, yet all coming together fine. There is more than a touch of ska, some harmonica, a bit of barbershop, and plenty of Japanese accented male vocals in English.
- The Pizzicato Five song 'A New Song' is covered by a band with a Japanese name. In the CD booklet the photo of them matches the sound: 4 guys in tuxedos with blue jackets. They sing in 4 part harmony chorus just perfectly. There is plenty of brass, strong tambourine, and a sold bass and drum in this cooking track.
- They All Laughed is played as a female vocal cocktail jazz song. The sparse arrangement and brushed drums are fully in character with the upright bass, tinkling keys and jazz chords of the guitar.
- Drinking Wine is played as a meringue that swings! This is a treat, with male vocals and hip swinging action. The percussion is as strong as any track by Yaegashi Comoesta. Very nice brass and keys as well, with a trombone solo as slippery as the beat.
- Wild Strawberries has a killer bass sound (Fender bass played with a pick) and a rock solid tambourine part, matched to the snare beat. The vocals are female and Japanese. The song moves along with flair. There are strings which are not cloying.
- A Message Song is a male vocal crooned pop song which sounds too much like mainstream pop for these ears.
- The World Without has keyboards that remind me of the 70s bands Supertramp or 10cc. There are reed thin female vocals and a rhythm machine beat. It all works well together.
- All About Me is one of the songs I don't like. It is a live track with a male vocalist/pianist. His voice reminds me Tymon Dogg in 'Lose This Skin,' from The Clash album Sandanista.
- Hair's version of One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Barbie Dolls has twee female vocals, a shuffling rhythm machine beat, and piano which recalls David Bowie's Aladdin Sane. It is enjoyable for all of the six minute length.
- La Guerre Est Finie has male vocals, an acoustic guitar, and strings. Later in the track an electric bass and some tympani appear. The melody has a vaguely Beatle-ish feel.
- Reggae Disco Rocker's version of Such a Beautiful Girl Like You shines like the sun. It is a feel good song you just can't help but move to.
- Triste rocks out in a go-go way. The tambourine is shaking, the bass and snare are tight, and the brass counterpoints a male vocal sung with energy. There is a fierce Isley Brother's styled guitar solo in the middle.
- On The Sunny Side Of The Street is a quiet piano ballad with male vocal. Not one of my faves, for sure.
- Magic Carpet Ride closes out the CD. It is a female vocal sweeping pop song with horns and strings.
Based on the fact that I liked nine of the seventeen songs on this disc I'd say it is a worthwhile investment, should you run across it in your record store of choice. My very favorites were numbers 4, 8, 14, and 15.