Covering all the bases
FAR more than just a fad, Triple J’s Like A Version has become an institution.
Over the past half- decade the series has transformed itself from a ‘‘ bit of fun’’ or a novelty segment on the morning show, into a who’s who of the music scene.
Didn’t get a look in? Your act’s probably not as popular as you’d like.
Episode number seven sports a slew of great acts giving fabulous performances.
Some simply transpose other people’s lyrics on to their own style.
While others grab their chosen song by the throat giving their fresh new live interpretation of a favourite tune everything they’ve got. It sounds like a subtle difference but it’s really not.
This 23- song album starts with one of the station’s favourites, Pumped Up Kicks, this time delivered delicately by Owl Eyes with a sprightly baseline, bell melodies and organ lines. There is never a bad time to bust out a whistle, either.
Art vs Science add some welcomed funk and bounce to the already funky and bouncy Daft Punk hit Harder Better Faster Stronger. The sensational Sarah Blasko transforms Outkast’s Hey Ya!. Her version is slower, quieter, acoustic- driven but it still smoulders and swings with the same intensity as the original. Perfect.
The first real surprise comes from local rapper Dialectrix covering ’ 90s alt- rock anthem Buyme A Pony. It is quite simply crazy. And great. Also worth a mention is the spooky guitar and ‘‘ just right’’ vocal tone on Eskimo Joe’s Gotye cover.
The songs these performers pick tells us something about them.
Personally I’ve found Paul Dempsey to be an unbearable sad sack from about the second or third Something For Kate album onwards ( AKA the time they traded fuzzy rock guitars for plucked acoustic guitars).
Anyway, his selection, Bat For Lashes’ mystical, velvety, weeping song Daniel was a shock. But a pleasant one. He not only does it justice, he makes it his own.
Occasionally people miss the mark, such as Plan B who don’t offer anything except a watered- down version of Kanye West’s confessional smash hit Runaway.
Obviously, not every song the station recorded could ( or should) get a run here.
However, a glaring omission was The Holidays and their strong version of Wolf Like Me by TV on the Radio.
Many people would say it was the highlight of Like A Version last year. Perhaps Triple J couldn’t clear it with the band?
Once again this year the station filmed these performances as well as recording them for the album.
The DVD is great fun. It shows off an often cramped studio space and the calm or panic in an artist’s eyes as they strive to do a contemporary’s song justice.
Only 15 of the 23 get their video on the second disc – slight bummer but not a deal- breaker.