Lisbon, Portugal’s Beautify Junkyards came to my attention last year with their 2-song single on Fruits de Mer Records, and then earlier this year with their contribution to Fruits de Mer’s Hollies tribute. They did such a stellar job with the cover songs on those releases that they’ve decided to make their debut full length an all covers set.
There’s quite a variety here, including the songs from the single: The electronic and spacey keyboard colored rendition of Nick Drake’s From The Morning, and the flowing folk-psych with symphonic backdrop take on Os Mutantes’ Fuga No. 2. Other songs that are stylistically ripe for Beautify Junkyards’ interpretation include Vashti Bunyan’s Rose Hip November, which is treated similar to the Nick Drake cover, being largely faithful to the original, but spicing things up with spacey effects, plus some potent choral vocals. Bridget St John’s Ask Me No Questions goes into trippy dreamland with the instrumental break. Linda Perhacs’ Parallelograms is one of the most tripped out avant-garde folk songs I’ve ever heard, and Beautify Junkyards do a decent job with it but can’t outdo Perhacs’ experimental chutzpah. I love the drifting flow of Donovan’s Song of the Naturalist’s Wife. The covers of Heron’s Yellow Roses and Roy Harper’s Another Day convey the gentle acoustic-folk of the originals. But the single best track of the set for me is the out-in-left-field dreamy acoustic-folk interpretation of Kraftwerk’s Radioactivity. This is my idea of a cover song, with the band taking the original and making it completely their own. Really beautiful.
In summary, it’s clear that Beautify Junkyards are an outstanding acoustic-folk-psych band, and they’ve got my attention, but now it’s time for them to get crackin’ with some original songs. I did notice in the promo sheet that they are working on an original score for the 70s animated movie Fantastic Planet, to be presented live in film festivals. Now that could be interesting.
The album is being distributed through Clear Spot: http://www.clearspot.nl
Digital distribution will be through iTunes, Spotify and Amazon
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz