Thursday, 19th July 2018. 10:41:22pm ET
Reviews CD Reviews Gothic All About Eve- Iceland


Artist: All About Eve
CD Title: Iceland
Label: Jamtart through Voiceprint Records
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 3/22/04

All About Eve's Iceland is a 7 track CD containing a mixed bag of covers, originals, and remixes, all with a winter/Christmas theme. The first true studio release by the band since the early 90s, Iceland is a good (albeit not great) release that showcases an updated sound and a few new tracks.

The disc kicks off with a great (and somewhat unexpected) cover of Wham's "Last Christmas" that converts the cheesy holiday classic into a beautiful, upbeat ethereal pop track with Cocteau Twins-esque atmospheric elements. Unfortunately, the second track on Iceland takes a turn for the worse. "Walking in the Air", a cover of the memorable song from the animated holiday classic The Snowman, is an uncharacteristically mediocre and ultimately quite disappointing reworking of a brilliant song that substitutes the original's beautiful melodic content for bland minimalist electronics, sparse electronic percussion, and monotonous vocoded vocals. While the band's intention seems, perhaps, to have been to turn the piece into more of a stark, wintry soundscape, they failed in creating a sense of atmosphere and, in the process, butchered a great song.

Next up is a new version of the band's classic "December", cleverly titled "December Revisited". With its beautifully melancholy ethereal atmosphere and Elizabeth Fraser-esque reverb-drenched vocals, it's definitely a standout track. The following song, the somewhat low-key "Melting", proves to be another good track with its more straightforward mellow melancholy pop sound and a chorus that's almost reminiscent of Depeche Mode.

Track 5, "Cold", is a moody keyboard-centered instrumental driven by a slow, simplistic rhythm and anchored by a steady, smooth bass line. Unfortunately, at 7 minutes long and with little melodic variation, it manages to wear out its welcome. The sixth song on Iceland is yet another surprising cover, this time being a beautiful ethereal version of Queen's "A Winter's Tale" centered around beautiful, lush layers of keyboard strings and vocals that transform from unprocessed to vocoded and back throughout the song. While "A Winter's Tale" is arguably the best track found here, the disc unfortunately ends on another slightly low note with a second version of "December", the "Amnesia Mix", a mostly instrumental drum/electronics-heavy remix that, while not horrible, isn't particularly memorable and sounds a bit out of place here.

While All About Eve is a band certainly deserving of the respect they've earned, Iceland is something of an uneven Christmas compilation that is, ultimately, a decent but fairly unexceptional album. You'll find a few gems. You'll also find a clunker or two. Everything else falls somewhere in between. Hardcore fans will likely find the disc's strong tracks to be worth the purchase price (a price that American fans, who will likely end up paying over $20 after shipping for the 7-song disc if ordered directly from the band's website...more if bought elsewhere, may find a bit a high). However, considering the varying quality of the material and the fact that most of the disc is made up of covers and reworked versions of previously released material, it's probably not a CD for casual fans or those with a passing interest in the band.

 

All About Eve website: www.allabouteve.net

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