Various Artists “Forty One Sixty: The Songs of the Shambles”

The Shambles were a San Diego power-pop band in the ’90s, mostly. They did not get the star treatment that other acts did, but they were quite a gem. Somebody in their infinite wisdom decided to create an album of Shambles covers, and here we are. A few San Diego acts are on there, but acts from as far as Serbia provided the 24 tracks on this record.
Liebling are from Denmark and performed “Survive.” It’s a very enjoyable listen and one that could create new Shambles fans as well. “Blurs Somewhere” is done by Happy Losers, who are from Spain, yet the band is not called Perdidores Felices. Well, I guess it’s not for me to say.
The Sleepwalkers are listed as being from California, but it doesn’t say where. They do “Days & Maybes.” This song actually is in Spanish. It is enough to make me doubt the track listing. “Plan of Action” sounds like Dance Hall Crashers are covering it, but alas, it is The Kingpins, straight from Canada.
Anna Troy was perhaps inspired by the to-her local band and contributes “31968.” Mod Fun’s “Nothing Can Be Everything” is quite sharp, as is “Innocence Becomes You” by the Ringles. But the best of the best is when Rachael Gordon decided the extra “a” in her name meant she could cover “Fun at Your House.” What a performance! It really offers up everything you could want. And she’s from San Diego also. It must be something in the water.
Marie Haddad has the sweetest voice of anyone on the record, and she sings “Where You Are” with a stripped-down subtlety that makes me want to buy cage-free eggs at the farmers’ market.
All the songs are good, but then that’s probably because the Shambles were good. This album may have a limited audience, but every member of said audience ought to pick this one up.

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