It would seem that cover albums are all the rage right now, and throwing their ovoid hat in the ring are the now-independent alt-rockers,. And of all the cover albums I’ve heard this year, this one is head and shoulders above the rest. Okay, enough references to the noggin.
Not only are these great versions of great songs, but The Lemonheads have changed their style a bit since I last heard them (on their single, “It’s A Shame About Ray”—yes, it’s been a while since I checked into them). I know Dando has been doing quite a bit of acoustic noodling since then, and it shows. The band has become a tribe of highly skilled interpreters who in all cases have made versions equal to the original and, in some cases, even surpassed them. For example, their take on Gram Parsons’ “I Just Can’t Take It Anymore,” the first cut on the record, sounds at first blush like it’s pretty similar to the original. They even sing in a country drawl. But the honky-tonk sound has been replaced by a spritely acoustic strum, almost like ‘70s sunshine rock band America. It’s just different enough to make you do a double take. All the songs are like that: Just tweaked enough to be unique, but still similar enough to qualify
as loving tributes. The record was produced by (Butthole Surfers), but none of his band’s raw aggression is here (thankfully—it would be inappropriate), and Cornershop’s Anthony Saffery, whose slick pop sensibility is all over this project.
In case you’re curious, other covers include punk (Wire, Townes Van Zandt), and virtually unknown electic bands (Randy Alvey & the Green Fuz, Fuckemos). The album also has a few guest stars. Kate Moss appears on “Dirty Robot” (originally by ) and Liv Tyler shows up on “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” (Leonard Cohen). Both do a much better job than you’d expect. And the icing on the cake? See below.), ‘60s psychedelia (“Dandelion Seeds,” originally by July), Americana (