Ciao My Shining Star: The Songs Of Mark Mulcahy
Covers compilation Ciao My Shining Star brings together a broad range of bands to cover the songs of influential musician Mark Mulcahy - with the aim of raising money to support the artists and his daughters after the tragic death of wife and mother Melissa Mulcahy.
Mulcahy and his prior bands Miracle Legion and Polaris were never big names in the UK (I've seen him once, supporting J Mascis & The Fog in 2001), and as a result the featured acts are predominantly American. It's the haunting keyboards of Thom Yorke's cover of All For The Best that are attracting most of the attention however, with its electronic Postal Service-like atmosphere serving as a reminder of the differences between Radiohead proper and Thom Yorke's solo career - all electronics and twitchy breaks.
The National also make their song their own, though Ashamed Of The Story I Told is more direct and immediate than their own work, Further contributions come from Dinosaur Jr, Frank Black, Mercury Rev, Ben Kweller and Josh Rouse amongst others. Mulcahy's talent seems to be his thought provoking lyrics, which no doubt was a big part in attracting such a wide range of admirers - and in the light if his family situation, those lyrics often seem touchingly poignant.
While many of the bigger names are up front on the album, there are many gems tucked away. However, as is often the case with these covers compilations, it's perhaps too easy to get people involved and the album does run a little long - muddying the lines around what were the highlights, while not inviting too much replay. In the digital age however, a chocolate box of covers like this is born to be cherry-picked for a playlist.
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