Dice - If The Beatles Were From Another Galaxy

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Scene Records
Catalog Number: 4620-3
Format: CD
Total Time: 55:46:00

Dice's If The Beatles Were From Another Galaxy is the German quartet's ninth album, all with spacey themes. Not all the pieces are Beatles tunes, but three of them are. The best part of this rather good CD is the lead guitar playing of Peter Viertel. For those who love expressive guitar lines, you'll agree with me about Viertel. His is one that would fit nicely next to Steve Rothery, Karl Groom, Gary Chandler, etc. I think maybe the Groom comparison is the most apt, as I also find, on this CD at least (and especially with the first and last tracks, "Welcome To The Future" and "To Live Again," respectively) I am reminded of Shadowland. It is mainly because vocalist Christian N?v? often sounds like Clive Nolan (who, coincidentally, are both C.N.). N?v? plays also slide-guitar, bass and mellotron, joined by Henry Zschelletzschky on keyboards and background vocals, Viertel on guitar, Dirk Zorn on bass, and Thomas Bunk on drums. "Galaxy" is a very spacey piece, as you might expect from the title. This is a very laidback, languid piece, with a very nice, easy-going guitar solo from Viertel (it's a sound that also vaguely recalls early IQ or Marillion), the walking, backing rhythm carried by bass. "Virus" is a throaty, driving guitar led prog rock piece with a dance beat. I think really of quirky 80s synth-pop, the artier stuff that kinda got lumped in with the new wave of the time, but yearned to be something more, influenced by the future-world depicted in some of the movies of the time. (Tron comes to mind especially...).

The "simple" song "God Bless You John Lennon" seems "normal" in comparison to the other tracks, taking what appears to be a basic rock rhythm to pay homage to Lennon. You might say it also pays homage to his Rock 'N' Roll period, whereby Lennon made homage to rock 'n' roll classics of the 50s. "To Live Again" has hints of Rush feel about it in the distorted guitars and keyboards, but as I said above, it's of Shadowland that think mostly. This is the second longest piece at 8-plus minutes ("Galaxy" is 12-plus), is perhaps the most spacey of the tracks, though only by a matter of degrees. The lyrics are minimal, so it's mostly an instrumental.

So... if the Beatles were from another galaxy, as Dice posit, what would they have sounded like? Though Dice make changes to the Beatles' songs, their original forms are still recognizable. "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" is a quirky interpretation, sort of a slow funky disco version, somewhat psychedelic... okay, differently psychedelic than the Beatles' original version. "Fool On The Hill" gets a vocal effect, as if sung through a megaphone, and a much slower pace - the instrumentation is sparse, most keys, light percussion and church organ; guitar rises up out of the mix however for the solo, and sweet this one is. "Penny Lane" is also slowed down, sung with treated vocals, and is ... well, spacey. It seems sparser than the original, which becomes apparent during the solo, where you expect all the brass... it's only keyboards, that aren't even brassy at all.

While you might think this album would be mere novelty; good for a laugh maybe, given the concept, it holds up on its own quite well. It's not played as kitsch, but as serious spacey interpretations of Beatles' classics that lend themselves to spacey arrangements. I can't see them doing it with "I Want To Hold Your Hand," for instance, so the Abbey Road and Magical Mystery Tour material is perfect (you can see which one inspired the album artwork). And though I find something lacking in the rendition of "Penny Lane," this is an album that doesn't wear out its welcome, and that's mainly due to the non-Beatles tracks here which aren't mere filler. A well-done and thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Welcome To The Future (7:44) / She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (4:52) / Galaxy (12:15) / Fool On The Hill (5:32) / Virus (6:46) / God Bless You John Lennon (4:42) / To Live Again (8:20)

Christian N?v? - lead vocals, slide-guitar, bass and mellotron
Henry Zschelletzschky - keyboards, background vocals
Peter Viertel guitar
Dirk Zorn - bass
Thomas Bunk - drums

1979-1993 (1996)
Live 1983 - Rauhe Konzerte (1996)
Nightmare (1997)
Space Rock Live (1998)
Silvermoon (1999)
Dreamland (2000)
2001 - Dice In Space (2001)
Waterworld (2002)
Cosmic Prog - Live (2003)
If The Beatles Were From Another Galaxy (2004)
TIME in Eleven Pictures (2005)
Without Vs. Within Part 1 (2006)
Within Vs. Without Next Part (2007)

Cosmic Prog - Live (DVD) (2003)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin DE

Added: April 4th 2005
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.dice-band.de
Hits: 1152
Language: english


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