Franco-Spanish label Unknown Pleasures has become a specialist in making great tribute albums. After a first Honoris dedicated to Death In June, we have a new one focused on The Sisters of Mercy and The Sisterhood. In the past, the label also published a tribute to the music of Genesis P-Orridge, one dedicated to Daniel Darc and his band Taxi Girl and another to the incomparable Noir Désir.
Among the artists who homage Andrew Eldrith’s classic band, we can find some familiar names from the label such as Cold synth act Selfishadows, Goth rockers The Raudive, the post-punk from Versari or Chris Shape, composer of the magnific Shape to Deform. Together with them, there is also this year the great collaboration between Kill Shelter and Antipole, Years of Denial, a band that we have repeatedly praised lately and Deathtrippers, a formation that we know thanks to the great Dead Wax compilation. The line-up of this compilation also includes Sébastien Faits Divers, who is collaborating again with the label boss HIV+ as they already did in the Death in June tribute, where we could also find the Gothic Folk of Opium Dream Estate. There is also a series of acts that we were not so familiar with, like the darkwave of Swesor Bhrater, the post-punk/shoegaze of Delphine Coma, the Goth rock of A Wedding Anniversary (formed in 1988) and Karloz M. with his projects Stranger Dreams and MNFCTR.
After talking about the bands, let’s say a few words about the covers Chris Shape, Swesor Bhrater and Years of Denial are the ones who take the material closer to their territories: the first one creates a breakneck synthwave track, the second one gives it some 80s vibes that remind me of Microdisney while the French/Czech duo tries to join the Sisterhood but their admission is denied, so they keep their personal sound in part thanks to Barkosina Hanusova’s characteristic voice.
Talking about the rest, Kill Shelter and Antipole highlight magnificently the melancholic of “Nine While Nine.” A Wedding Anniversary proves to be good alumni with their cover of The Sisterhood. Classic “Marian” sounds even more Goth thanks to Selfinshadows. Delphine Coma are quite respectful with “Amphetamin Logic” as well as Deathtrippers with their “Burn.” Versari presents an original take of “Heartland.” Sébastien Faits Divers together with HIV+ make the most of “Flood II”, one of the most apasionantes compositions of Sisters of Mercy, adding some electronic touches and using the freedom that the original gives them. At the end of the album, Opium Dream Estate makes “Some Kind of Stranger” a track even more disturbing and melancholic and The Raudite get along perfectly with the atmospheres of “Colours.” As a bonus track, we have a quite original cover in French of “Flood I” by Maman Küsters.
In summary: can the album be enjoyed by Sisters of Mercy fans? Yes, sure. Is it worth it to listen to these new covers? Undoubtedly. Is the CD interesting for those who want to find new bands? Absolutely, I have added to more bands to my “To follow” list. Are we going to be better persons after listening to it? That’s difficult as not even Eldritch’s great band managed to achieve it.