• Spell
  • Seasons in the Sun (Mute) 1993 
  • Mississippi (Island) 1994 

Of all the covers albums issued in the ’90s, Seasons in the Sun is surely the only one consciously intended as a statement of satanic aesthetics. A collaboration between all-around bad guy Boyd Rice and ex-Strawberry Switchblade singer Rose McDowall, Spell is a lot safer to hear than contemplate. That’s a shocking statement, considering the high noise/chaos level of Rice’s previous sonic experiments; the peaceful, easy feeling of this soft, pretty folk-rock record is truly shocking. The selection of tunes is consistently ironic and offbeat: John Leyton’s ethereal Joe Meek classic “Johnny Remember Me,” a couple of Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood obscurities, the Terry Jacks hit sapfest that provides the album’s title, Bobby Sherman’s “Free Now to Roam” and (natch) “Rosemary’s Baby (Lullaby Part 1).” Disconcerting only in context, Seasons in the Sun grows a sweetly sick flower.

[Ira Robbins]