Pitchfork Reviews UMass “Paranoid Android” Cover

by Dylan on April 6, 2004

Pitchfork Media has reviewed the UMass Front Percussion Ensemble’s cover of “Paranoid Android” in their We Are the World section. They gave it 3 and 1/2 stars.
The review-
Whether it’s a high school pep rally or a Georgia Bulldogs football game, I’m a sucker for marching bands. And I must say, it’s nice to see the University of Massachusetts shun the tried-and-true Souza standards in lieu of art-rock with their drum line rendition of Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android”. The band made this live reworking of the OK Computer classic available on their website a few weeks back, and the degree to which the band captures every nuance of the original is remarkable. Of course, there are no squealing guitars, or howling vocals– that would be cheating– just loads of xylophones, chimes, snare, cymbals, and some wicked bass drum and timpani action.
The mallets bouncing across chimes and xylophones start the track off soothingly, but the tension builds with the addition of martial drumming. These cats bring on the full register of angst and melancholia in Radiohead’s multi-sectioned opus without sacrificing a bit of the ear-to-ear grin-inducing attack of live percussion. All told, it’s a loyal rendition and a triumphant translation of the original– and if nothing else, the UMASS Front Percussion Ensemble has created a testament to the power of quality songwriting.
But while we’re at it, let’s lay the cards on the table: If Atlanta A&M would’ve pulled out something like this during the BET Southern Classic at the end of Drumline, there’d have been no need for the tie-breaking showdown with Morris Brown. And seriously, having Petey Pablo join in always seemed like cheating.
Should you have missed it, you can download the track here.



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