Monday, May 16, 2011

Rave On, Buddy

There are some new kids on the block, taking on old classics from the vault. The artists might not be necessarily considered new - but they're rock children in comparison to the legend their honouring. Buddy Holly, one of the most influential pioneers of rock n' roll from the 1950s, would be proud to know that some of today's most popular and innovative rock stars have taken it upon themselves to cover a whole whack of his feel-good, geeky rock classics.

Rave On, the wonderfully addictive Buddy Holly tribute album, features the likes of Cee-lo, My Morning Jacket, Florence and the Machine and Lou Reed - to name only a few. From what I've heard of the releases so far, you can't really go wrong - especially with what came out ofThe Black Keys (naturally), Paul McCartney, Julian Casablancas and Modest Mouse.

The Keys took a crack at "Dearest" (below), and in my mind - hit it out of the park. Quiet, popping guitar licks against a cool bass line and tumbling drum give the song it's prom dance appeal, while Dan Auerbach’s milky blues vocals kick it into modern gear. A cute snapping beat punctuates the sunny flow of the song, and part of you will be able to picture the Keys all suited up in pale blue ensembles, two-stepping behind their guitars at the Town Hall summer fling.


The Strokes' lead singer Julian Casablancas croons the title track "Rave On", maintaining the composition of the 50s rock classic with a touch of surfer guitar and layered harmonies. His raspy, relaxed vocals add a Brit-pop, Ramones sort of feel to it - and as is the case for anything from Casablancas, I'm into it.
Paul McCartney lends a veteran superstar hand on "It’s So Easy", bringing his wise rock n' roll experience to the meeting table of young cover artists. Those perfect Beatles-esque harmonic back-up vocals make an appearance behind McCartney’s legendary, sexy squeal and... he's still got it.
And lastly, my favourite of the bunch, because it possesses (in my mind) the perfect components to a cover track, is "That'll Be The Day" from Modest Mouse. It's lovely in that it honours the original, while creating a completely new dynamic in its re-vamped state. Sweet and simplistic lyrics are conveyed in lead Isaac Brock's typically waltzy manner - but don't be fooled by the acoustic plucking loop the tune begins with - because before long, the growl of the electric and a beautiful string arrangement rush in to spice things up. The song is so much more than a cover - it's sweet and reminiscent of Holly's talented songwriting, but fascinatingly original in that it sounds like Modest Mouse, and Modest Mouse only.


Pick this hot commodity up on June 28, 2011 - I can only imagine how jolly the other covers will be!

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