Dream Brother: The Songs Of Tim And Jeff Buckley – Various Artists

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

As cults go, you can’t get much greater than father and son Tim and Jeff Buckley. Both were blessed with an extraordinary talent for song writing and voices to melt the coldest of hearts and both eerily suffered untimely deaths at 28 and 30 respectively. You could say it was in the genes.

But Tim Buckley was far from the model father – he hardly knew his son and died from an overdose of heroin and alcohol in 1975 – it is more the tragedy of Jeff, who drowned in 1997, that casts the myth in a poignant light. Nonetheless, some may argue that grouping the songs of both singers together as one work is a clumsy way to pay tribute, and fans of cult artists tend to be notoriously hard to please anyway…

So, rather bravely, here we have DREAM BROTHER, a collection of covers of works by both singers by the likes of The Magic Numbers, Micah P Hinson, Adem and Clayhill that manage to be both reverent and different simultaneously. As an exercise in evoking the intended mood of the originals, these songs work well, but there is something underwhelming about the pastoral whimsy of most of them.

Only BITMAP’s twisted electronica take on ‘Dream Brother’ and ENGINEERS’ haunting ‘Song To The Siren’ (which let’s face it, can’t fail to tingle the spine) stand out, while the remainder tend to meander where the originals astonished. It’s back to the age-old problem with tribute albums – and that’s without taking into account the stature of the artists being covered.

One for the curious (and relaxed) Buckley fan only.

3 stars