Various Artists – I Saved Latin! A Tribute To Wes Anderson

I Saved Latin! A Tribute To Wes Anderson

I Saved Latin! A Tribute To Wes Anderson

Alongside colourful visuals and distinctively deadpan acting, the esoteric films of Wes Anderson would be lacking without their well-curated soundtrack choices.  Masterfully-skewed towards lesser-heard wares from The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, The Faces, Nick Drake and likeminded others, a comprehensive anthology of Anderson’s film scores for the likes of Rushmore, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Darjeeling Limited would be a dreamy pleasure.  Re-licensing such material would however be a record label’s legal nightmare.  This is where this latest tribute album from American Laundromat Records provides a roundabout lower-budget solution.

Compiling 25 tracks across 2CDs and a bundled limited 7” single, I Saved Latin! – named after dialogue plucked from Rushmore – cherry-picks many of the best Anderson film score selections to be reworked by a handful of indie-rock veterans and raft of relative unknowns.  Naturally, initial attention will gravitate towards the ‘named’ attractions and for the most part their goods are wholeheartedly delivered.  Thus, Matt Pond recovers his pastoral charms (after some weak recent releases on his own) through a rueful chiming rendering of Jackson Browne’s oft-covered “These Days”; Juliana Hatfield contributes a faithful yet keyboard-twisted version of Elliott Smith’s “Needle In The Hay”; Kristin Hersh largely unplugs for an elegiac husky reading of Nick Drake’s already gorgeous “Fly”; Telekinesis! tackle The Kinks’ “This Time Tomorrow” with uplifting lustre; and Joy Zipper (on the bonus 7”) unfurl a sultry swoon through The Faces’ “Ooh La La.”  Only Mike Watt – with his new sidekicks The Secondmen – squanders his reputation as a much-loved veteran with a sludgy mangled makeover of The Stones’ “Street Fighting Man.”

Whilst the remaining cast of lesser-known contributors might be less characterful, the fact that most of them embrace a shared autumnal aesthetic, which closely adheres to Anderson’s whimsical vision, is no bad thing in sustaining a collective mood.  Hence, Escondido proffer a lovely languid boy/girl interpretation of the Dave Davies-penned Kinks nugget “Strangers” (also rewired wonderfully fairly recently by Wye Oak); Tea Cozies re-cook Cat Stevens’ “Here Comes My Baby” with a spirited garage-jangle; Tele Novella unpeel a bittersweet take on VU’s “Stephanie Says” and a joyous run through Robert Fuller’s “Let Her Dance” (the latter appearing on the 7” shared with Joy Zipper); The Ghost In You wispily wander through John Lennon’s “Oh Yoko”; and Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s serenely deconstruct Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust.”

Inevitably, not everything quite makes the grade across I Saved Latin! but the hit rate is higher than you might feasibly expect for a compilation of such length; which is all testament to American Laundromat’s improving quality control and self-evident devotion to the project.

American Laundromat Records