Surfer Blood - Covers

by D R Pautsch Rating:5 Release Date:2017-10-13
Surfer Blood - Covers
Surfer Blood - Covers

Who doesn’t love a cover version?  From those that faithfully pay homage to the source material to those that completely reposition a classic they are frustrating, revealing and perfect prisms of what makes a song successful.  After all the sign of a truly great song is that it can be repurposed and still sound fresh and wonderful.  There are bands that have made whole careers out of doing this and others that just dip their foot in the pool.  Four albums in and a significant change in members has brought Surfer Blood to release a limited set of covers.  Artists as diverse as Cream, Outkast and Pavement are given the soft guitar treatment in what would appear to be a loosening up of the new line-up ahead of future releases.

The selection of songs isn’t the most inspiring but does not always pick the most obvious cuts of the artists covered.  The selection is certainly interesting, however on a lot of the numbers it feels like all the rough edges have been sanded off to leave a very smooth and often too clean version of the songs.  Hey Sandy is shorn of its intro and is a jangle guitar number without any real stand out moments.  Hey Ya by Outkast is given an almost cowboyesque working over which would probably benefit from more whip cracks and punch than this effort which is a little lightweight.  There is nothing wrong here, none of the covers are bad, nothing as excruciating as something like Elbow’s skiffle attempt at Independent Woman.  However, almost every song here makes you want to go back and listen to the original and in every single instance the original is superior.  The best efforts here are really where the rough edges are left intact, such as The Breeders' Little Fury.  The version here keeps the choppy rhythm and edge to good effect.  However, it isn’t quite as good as the original.

After four albums Surfer Blood have changed, the shame is that they haven’t changed much of the music here when perhaps a bit more of an original take on these numbers might have led to a better result.

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