“It makes me happy to see the ironic cover song begin to lose popularity with indie rockers. The concept’s condescending and full of quirk-for-quirk’s-sake bullshit and everything else that makes people hate hipsters—not to mention it’s completely tapped out humor-potential-wise. I’m guessing that not a single one of the dozen covers the Laureates recorded last year to give away on the Internet was ironically inspired. Their sources—Velvets, Yo La Tengo, Soft Boys—brought eccentric sonic visions to bear on sweetly simple pop structures, which is pretty much what the Laureates are up to, and if the remakes’ fealty to the original material laid the Laureates’ influences bare the group didn’t seem too embarrassed by it. The covers did well by their originators, and the new LP Spells does a good job of living up to their legacies. Recorded to an eight-track tape machine, the ten songs are noisy but uncluttered, bringing enough dirt and echo into the mix to keep things interesting but leaving the heavy lifting to the songwriting itself. As far as that goes, I’d put money on the wager that R.E.M. and Big Star were up for consideration for the covers project at one point or another, and although none of the songs jump out as obvious classics for the ages, I’m sure a lot of bands with similar inclinations could improve their shows by adding one to their set list.”
Jump over to the original article to check out the rest of the local releases for this week.