Friends and Lovers -- Songs of Bread

Is there anyone who hasn't merited a tribute album? This time around, 1970s soft-rockers Bread receive props from indie-rock admirers and progeny. The band's specialty was a very melancholy, limpid, romantic gentle-rock -- Belle & Sebastian without the sarcasm, sort of. To re-create it, Friends and Lovers enlists a great deal of local talent: ex-Tarnation Paula Frazer's country-meets-Procol Harum "Everything I Own," the Moore Brothers' transformation of "Look at Me" into an ache-laden ancient British Isles ballad, and Cake's rather straight-up "The Guitar Man." Elsewhere, Oranger decorates "Make It with You" with "A Day in the Life"-type freakout, and a Brazilian and drum 'n' bass-flavored "Baby I'm a Want You" from Call and Response sounds like Karen Carpenter singing from beyond with the Thievery Corporation. Friends is amazingly consistent throughout -- there's a palpable feeling of the performers' affection toward these songs, minus the smug irony sometimes blighting "tribute" sets.


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