A Touching Tribute

This album probably needs a brief introduction for a UK audience. It was compiled as a tribute to former Miracle Legion frontman Mark Mulcahy;s wife Melissa, who died suddenly in September 2008. Mulcahy’s music inspired various musicians who perform their own takes on his tunes on ‘Ciao My Shining Star’. US audiences will also know Mulcahy from Polaris, the house band he formed for the 90s US TV show The Adventures of Pete & Pete.

Thom Yorke has openly declared himself a fan of Mulcahy’s music and his cover of ‘All For The Best’ opens the album, it’s a slightly chaotic but warm and accessible version with clattering sounds and soft vocals. The National reinvent ‘Ashamed of the Story I Told’, imbuing it with their expansive sound, some subtle strings and plenty of rich rock verve.

The reason why this album works so well is the combination of different styles from the 21 contributing artists. David Berkeley’s honest folk sighs melt into Dinosaur Jr’s effects-soaked mellow rock rambling on ‘The Backyard’. Frank Black’s bluesy contribution ‘Bill Jocko’ is another standout track with a smouldering, heavy bassline and wild vocals. Frank Turner offers an emotional, snarled version of ‘The Quiet One’ which makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention. Touching tunes like the title track ‘Ciao My Shining Star’ remind you of the purpose of this album and give it a special emotional resonance.

‘Ciao My Shining Star’ features 21 exclusive tracks, while 20 further offerings will be made available digitally to promote the album. Whether or not you’re familiar with Mulcahy’s work, as long as you enjoy indie music, you’re bound to appreciate the range of music and the variety of artists adding their take on Mulcahy’s tunes. There have been some great indie compilations this year with the likes of ‘Dark Was The Night’ and this is another winner.