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Greg Laswell - Covers II


by Kevin Wierzbicki

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As the title of Laswell's latest indicates, this is not his first venture into interpreting other people's music; the singer and keys player released a set covering the likes of Kate Bush and Echo & the Bunnymen in 2009. So after a decade of releasing his own music including last year's Next Time, Laswell is once again paying tribute to some of the songs and players that have influenced him along the way. And again he's picked an esoteric batch of songs to cover and he kicks the set off with a take on "Something in My Heart," originally done by Norse electronic duo Röyksopp. At a slightly slower tempo and with strings replacing the synths Röyksopp used on the melody, the song's sense of aching is also enhanced by vocals from Molly Jenson who duets with Laswell on the cut. Jenson also sings on three of the album's other cuts, including a take on Depeche Mode's "Never Let Me Down Again" and Peter Gabriel's "Don't Give Up." While Depeche Mode performed the former as a buoyant march, here the duo wring emotion out of the cut by slowing it down to the pace of a dirge, and for "Don't Give Up" the pair reverse the roles on the vocals with Jenson singing Gabriel's part while Laswell sings the counterpoint originally sung by Kate Bush. The Verve's "Lucky Man" is the other tune that Jenson sings on. Laswell handles all the vocals himself on the album's remaining four cuts, an interpretation of PJ Harvey's "A Place Called Home," an adventurous reading of "Crank" by Catherine Wheel, Placebo's "Without You I'm Nothing" and a haunting version of the Psychedelic Furs hit "Love My Way." By stripping everything down here Laswell really gets to the meat of each song, using deep introspection to reveal layers of the songs that might only have been hinted at in the originals.

Greg Laswell - Covers II
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