Shanti Project Collection,

Various Artists


Over the past few years a sizable number of bands have been slowing and quieting down. The five acts presented here—Red House Painters, Low, Idaho, Hayden, and Misc—approach the mellowing factor from their own particular vantage points. Each has contributed a few spare tracks to this album, which will benefit the Shanti Project of San Francisco, an AIDS outreach program.

Red House Painters are the strongest contributors. Two unusual covers, Genesis’s “Follow You, Follow Me” and Neil Young’s obscure “Midnight by the-Bay,” are given workovers. Mark Kozelek’s voice remains one of rock music’s most affecting, and the interplay between acoustic and electric guitars makes for a satisfying maelstrom. The rest is a mixed bag. Low prefers the ethereal, providing what could be the soundtrack to the work of Edgar Allan Poe. Hayden suffers from whiny self-pity but redeems the almost parodic sentiments with attractive melodies. Idaho, sadly, seems derivative and uninspired. Misc is an ambient recording piece from the project’s producer that neatly rounds out this collection.


Rob O’Connor