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Where's Neil When You Need Him?


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Performer Notes
  • Neil Gaiman: Rose Berlin, The Oddz, Schandmaul.
  • Personnel: Thea Gilmore (vocals, acoustic guitar); Azam Ali (vocals, hammer dulcimer); Stephin Merritt, Claudia Gonson (vocals); Dean Garcia (guitar, drums, programming); Tommy Dark (guitar); Loga Ramin Torkian (electric guitar); Carmen Rizzo (keyboards, synthesizer, programming); Gregor Mackintosh (keyboards); Glenn Sorino (drums).
  • Audio Mixers: Dean Garcia; Mark Hawley.
  • Audio Remasterer: Jon Astley.
  • Liner Note Authors: Patrick Rodgers; Neil Gaiman.
  • Recording information: Mother West; Planet Grey Studios; Polar Mother.
  • Author: Gerard Way.
  • Illustrator: Dave McKean.
  • Arranger: Matthias Richter.
  • As concept albums go, Where's Neil When You Need Him? is stranger than most. Neil Gaiman is not a musician; he's a comic-book author and screenwriter. Although this album is credited to him, he appears only as a commentator in the liner notes. The actual music is provided by 17 bands and solo artists, all of whom are fans of his work and each of whom were invited to write a song about one of his stories or characters. Thus references to Sandman, Coraline, wolves, goldfish, and mirrors abound, and the songs themselves vary across quite a wide spectrum of styles, from Tori Amos' voice-and-piano minimalism to Schandmaul's Teutonic folk-rock, and from Azam Ali's Middle Eastern exoticism to Thea Gilmore's sturdy roots rock. As you might expect, it's something of a mixed bag, quality wise: Rasputina impresses with their industrial/orchestral "Coraline," and Gilmore's "Even Gods Do" is another powerful contribution. Less impressive are the icky "Come Sweet Death" by Voltaire (note to Voltaire: you need to ignore people who tell you that death is either cool or romantic), and Amos' contribution, which is overwrought and self-involved even by her own considerable standards. But overall, the album offers a fascinating array of musical interpretations of the work of one of America's more interesting graphic artists. ~ Rick Anderson
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