The Langley School Music Project – Innocence & Despair

The Langley School Music Project does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a collection of songs performed by sixty Canadian school kids and their music teacher, recorded between 1976 and ’77 in a school gym on a two-track tape deck. The only instrumentation is what they could beg or borrow (I think the line was drawn at stealing…) and includes acoustic guitars, piano (both played by the teacher) and xylophones, simple drum kits, and the like played by the children. There is one footnote in the little booklet accompanying this album that describes the little girl with a bass guitar, repeatedly plucking an open string, standing next to a small Marshall amp that was still taller than she was. Lo-fi it most definitely is.

All the tracks are cover versions, ranging from The Beach Boys to David Bowie and taking in Lennon and McCartney, The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac en route.

So, why should you spend your hard earned cash on this? The answer is in the title really. The children take these well-known tracks and give them something new. They take you by surprise and, against all the odds, can sound fantastic. Tracks like Good vibrations and God Only Knows are given spooky almost sinister interpretations – like you might imaging the Midwich Cuckoo’s school concert might have sounded. There are a couple of excellent solo performances (The Long and Winding Road and the brilliant Eagles cover Desperado) that can have you transfixed.

The voices are not excellent by the way, they falter and merge on occasions – but that only adds to the strange emotions being evoked by these unconventional interpretations.

Now I would be lying if I said it was uniformly good. There is some toss on here. I think the whole thing would be better off without Saturday Night, Mandy and the always god-awful (whoever sings it) Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft.

That aside, this is well worth a listen – although you will love it or loath it.

Label : Basta Music

Release Date : Out Now

Website :

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