An interesting release of covers this, there’s something utterly ramshackle about it all that’s enormously appealing. And I’m yet to fathom whether this LP is an attempt at being uber-trendy to the point of the calamitous gaucheness or the work of someone who is completely indifferent to the idea of being a musician. It’s certainly worth a listen though, and it could be one of those releases whose tracks just nag away at you throughout the small hours of a sleepless night.
The opener Terry sedates the original (done by Twinkle back in the mid sixties) to the point that it sounds like it’s been recorded from deep in the confines of a secure ward or an outtake on a long lost Morticia Adams tribute LP. It’s hypnotic and not a little menacing in a Mittel Europa way. The following track, Yoko Ono’s Yang Yang highlights (surely not deliberately) the bass line from Grooving on an Inner Plane (maybe this is where Robyn H got the name Soft Boys from…) and makes some kind of electronic death dirge from it, care of some siren noises. But it’s pretty great nonetheless. End of the World is a sprightlier take on an old sixties love song, (mix Thunderbirds and Motown with some Val Doonican sentiment and you’re halfway there); though this version still sounds like it’s from an underwater realm. The sixties vibe is carried on in a very different way with a dub version of Masters of War though it’s difficult to ascertain just how we got from Bob to this. This version crushes Bob, callously grinds his muse into the ground, demolishes his resistance like an indifferent matron sticking the anti polio jab into a weeping schoolboy’s arm. It’s that cruel, even to the point of going on for over 7 minutes. The dub take at the end of the LP is a lot better it has to be said.
Officer, Officer (I don’t know its provenance, sorry) is one of the more immediately appealing tracks, built on a restless urban tap and not a million miles away from post punk as practised by some of the more murky bands of that era. Another cover, Sadness Hides the Sun is a mournful lament done like a teenage Nico would have covered it with a hairbrush for a mic. It’s a pretty great take on a great number. I Go To Sleep, however literally gets put to sleep by the version here. It’s a magnificent hatchet job and a clear illustration of the workings of sedatives.
So what to make of this? Utterly intriguing, a little too clever maybe and downright shit in parts but I can’t stop playing it. This could be one of those records people play in wonderment or revulsion. Take your pick.