Album Review

Better than the Beatles [coll] – [Animal World Recordings]

Max Level   2/4/2006   A Library, CD

A Shaggs tribute, long overdue considering the number of respected artists that have been raving about the Wiggin sisters for a couple of decades now. The playing on the first Shaggs LP was incompetent and bizarre, and thought by many to be a hoax. Then by their second LP they had learned to play their instruments marginally well. All along, though, Dot Wiggin’s lyrics were naively brilliant, and the songs were thoughtful and catchy but in the weirdest childlike way. This tribute CD is a low-budget affair, populated by artists checking in from their normal positions at the furthest fringes of indie-pop. Some are more well-known than others: you can try known quantities Deerhoof, Thinking Fellers, and Ida, or take a chance on obscure projects such as Furtips, Joost Visser, and Plastic Mastery. The lyrics and the simple catchy melodies shine throughout, but most of the tracks take much different approaches, arrangement-wise, than the original versions. Only a couple of them project the sweet clattering majesty that was The Shaggs at their best.

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