April 29, 2011

No Future

Every one of us geeks has got plenty of cover songs of our favorite bands. Out here on the internetweblands, are plenty of sites that actually feature nothing but covers. 

In fact many of us have played in bands that paid homage to these bands. Of the 18 songs on here, I personally have been in bands over the years that have performed 7 of em. 

A guy I see in the mirror every morning is playing bass on this one!

NO FUTURE (Released Emotions U.K.)
takes the approach of a “tribute” to the Big 3 of UK old school punk: The Clash, The Damned & Sex Pistols. On one hand you have the slavishly devotional, such as Sex Pistols Experience, with their riff cloning  ersions of “Pretty Vacant” and “Anarchy In The UK”.  The Pistols have turned into self parody, so why bother as a tribute to the originals?

Ladies and germs, the originals, 20 years past the point

The conflict to me is: Punk is spozed to be doing yer own thang, so I am far more impressed by the adventurous rather than the dogmatic. The techno-rappy “Submission” by The Blaggers ITA or the metallic “Silly Thing” with it’s AC/DC tease by Identity are the lure. Sometimes it backfires, ala The Bolsheviks rap of “Holidays In The Sun”, but respect for the attempt. I’d rather hear a car crash than a clone.

The concept works best on The Clash covers. Perhaps because the original band was so diverse and insistent in terms of wearing their influences’ on their sleeves.  The versions of “Capital Radio” (Steve Drewett) and Attila The Stockbroker’s “Washington Bullets” take excursions into world beat- certainly something that mssrs’ Strummer, Jones, Simonon and Headon were no strangers to. These songs totally work- with logical and relevant reworkings. Again, on the covers of “English Civil War (my favorite cover on the album) and “Guns Of Brixton” the songs are re-imagined. “English Civil War” actually sounds like it should pre-date the Clash’s version, taking the song back to it’s 19th century roots.
The only tunes that fall flat are another clone- “Bankrobber”  Anhern & One Steady MDV add nothing (except a Paul Simonon aping of the vox maybe). Bleach sounds remote on “Complete Control” (pun intended), a miscalculation, as the original is as pissed off a song as there ever was.

There are already couple of really good Damned tribute comps out there, and as the least familiar of the three classic bands,  I was a little nervous that the Damned selections here would not be thought as  out as well as the band deserved. Leatherface’s version  starts off baroque of “Melody Lee” before going full force with Frankie Stubbs'  whisper/gurgle vox.
I was blown away by the Malcom Owen lament “The Limit Club”… very compelling and different- totally no frills, compared to the lush original. Still, very moving. “Plan Nine Channel 7” is one of those “holy songs" to me. My only hope was that Exit Condition didn’t fuck it up. They don’t, but there’s nothing particularly adventurous here either. On the other hand, “New Rose” is done as a piece for strings by The Urchin String Quartet. Cool.  “Love Song”… well, Adrenalin AOD did the definitive cover version about 30 or so years ago. So, I wouldn’t have even bothered if I was Red Letter Day.
“Thanks For The Night”, by Robb Johnson totally acoustic, serves as the coda to the album, a complete 180 from Captain Sensible's’ original.

All in all… more hits than misses on some of the greatest songs ever. Worth checking out.



JamesChanceOfficial said...

Very nice...thanks Nazz!

Uncle E said...

Really excellent post, well written and a great topic. The Clash and Pistols themselves had a few famous covers (I Fought The Law, My Way, Bankrobber, etc). When they're done well, they're great, but the majority end up being sad imitations, don't you think?

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

The Pistols played the big hockey arena in my town. One of the handful of arena shows I ever attended. Few years ago that was. Did not know what to make of it from where I stood, in the crease of where the hemp hut would have been if there was a hockey game going on instead of a punk rock revival. It was kind of embarrassing, standing there in the middle of a world not yet destroyed. Jade, from the Dishrags, was standing near me. She too was less than enthused. In retrospect, it was much more entertaining than a Royal Wedding.