Album Review – Pete Yorn Sings The Classics (2021) (Shelley Music)
Covers albums have never really worked for me. Perhaps the need for every artist, semi-artist or wannabee artist, to hoist untold acoustic versions of Wonderwall and A Bridge Over Troubled Water on Facebook during the various lockdown periods, cemented such an aversion.
Pete Yorn’s covers album deserved my attention primarily because a) It’s Pete Yorn for heavens sake (say no more!) and b) his interpretation of tracks by very ‘un-classics’ acts like the Pixies, The Stone Roses and Kirsty MacColl immediately pushed my intrigue and cool buttons in equal measures. Unsurprisingly for such an artist, breaking my ‘no covers’ rule proved an astute decision.
The best of the album is the most left field and the least faithful to the original versions. Here Yorn imbues skewed desperation into the trembling vocals of Here Comes Your Man (Pixies), New Age (Lou Reed) and I Am A Rock (Simon & Garfunkel). Like no other, this man can create a sense of emotionality out of subtle obtuse. It’s just ‘his’ way.
However, Yorn does not just thrive on a sense of weird and has always been able to drift gloriously through the various nuances of pop rock, with the bouncing, chopped out melodies of Lay Lady Lay (Bob Dylan) and the more laconic fluttering jangle of Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To) (Diana Ross) and They Don’t Know (Kirsty MacColl) being particular highlights.
It’s taken me a couple of weeks of repeated listens to finally feel comfortable in saying that this is my favourites covers album in the last two decades. Great stuff and mercifully not an acoustic Wonderwall or Bridge Over Troubled Waters acoustic version in sight !!!