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The Haunting of the Smiths

Like everyone else in the world, I've recently been captivated by the amazing vocals of Janice Whaley, so much so that I absolutely had to get a copy of her version of Meat is Murder.

For those that have missed what she's up to, Janice is the artist behind The Smiths Project. Not only is she trying to create a cover of every Smiths song by the end of the year, she's doing it entirely a capella with just her own voice layered several times over to produce the harmonies.

I dread to think how long it must take to produce each song, let alone the entire catalogue, but the result is absolutely haunting.

The Smith's 1985 album Meat is Murder was there only UK number one, but it didn't sound quite like this. With each track Whaley manages to retain much of the original character of the songs whilst giving them a completely new life of their own.

Every track brings something different from her voice. However, the real highlights have to be "How Soon is Now?" (not actually on the UK version of the original) and "Barbarism Begins at Home" which really show off the range of sounds she can achieve, and "Meat is Murder" which shows her at her most haunting.

All the tracks in the project are being made available for a limited number of free downloads and after that are available via the Smiths Project page on bandcamp. As a taste, here's her version of How Soon is Now:

(Direct Link)

and for comparison here's the original.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
25th Oct, 2010 22:12 (UTC)
That's very impressive, but not entirely a capella.
25th Oct, 2010 23:24 (UTC)
"The music contains no instruments- everything you hear was made using only my voice and basic effects/editing techniques. I use pitch-shift to drop my voice down for bass lines, but otherwise there is no pitch correction involved. Each song contains anywhere between 30-50 layers of vocals and take as many hours to complete over several months."


"This one took me a while. Johnny's famous guitar rhythm was very tricky to duplicate with voice without sounding totally obnoxious. I ended up creating a steady bass note beat of voice dropped down an octave, mixed in a layer of the same track reversed, and panned everything hard left and right. I built the rest of the song on top of that."

OK, possibly stretching the definition of a capella slightly, but it probably fits most definitions (admittedly probably because they hadn't thought of this when they came up with the term).
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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