Bob Mould season was only last month and here we are back in Hüsker Dü territory.
Faithful covers are one beast. A tribute to the original is all well and good. Covers that take the song in a new direction for the sake of it can fall flat by losing the thing that made the song worth covering in the first place.
Sometimes what a cover adds to a song raises the original, the band who wrote it and the coveree (that’s a word!) to a new level. An echelon of rock family tree immortality where the genetic code is broken. When a three piece punk band from Ireland covered a three piece punk band from Saint Paul with a decade between the two recordings no one expected… This.
A string laden widescreen Gothic horror retelling that slowed things down to a blackest melodrama unfolding before your very ears. One in which the tale became both compelling and truly terrifying.
OK, the narrative of the recently departed Grant Hart’s original track is all intact. The detailed dialogue of a killer picking up a girl from the side of the road and planning her terrifying end was all there in the original on Zen Arcade. It was (for me) only in reading Hart’s obituaries back in September that I learned it was based on a real case in the Twin Cities.
What Therapy? have added with their massive orchestral production and by singing symbolically what Hart did as spoken word, is the feeling of a classic Hammer Horror Opera.
It’s hard to listen to without getting creeped out. I think this is what Tony Iommi meant when he said he wanted to make music that sounded the way Horror Movies looked.