Volume Three of Under The Covers finds Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs covering some more of their favourite songs, this time from the 1980's (the two previous releases covered the 1960's and 1970's respectively).
If you've heard the previous albums then you'll know what to expect - the album has a mixture of familiar and unfamiliar songs and Sweet and Hoffs aren't interested in radical reinterpretations - they prefer to remain faithful to the original recordings. Whilst this has led some to dismiss these records as little more than karaoke, there's always something of interest, particularly the soaring vocals of Hoffs, to make these albums worthwhile.
Some songs are a perfect fit for Susanna Hoffs - The Pretender's Kid, Kirsty MacColl's They Don't Know and The Go-Go's Our Lips are Sealed. Others, like Elvis Costello's Girls Talk and Roxy Music's More Than This, are less obvious, but she still manages to make them her own.
Sweet shines on some of the more obscure selections, such as REM's Sitting Still, The Beat's Save It For Later and The Bullrushes, originally recorded by The Bongos.
XTC's Towers of London is a great choice as well, there are several XTC songs which would have been more obvious - Senses Working Overtime for example - but although Towers is a left field choice, it sounds really good.
Like the two previous albums this is well worth a listen. It's not an album that will change your life - it's simply the sound of two people enjoying some of their favourite music.
As already pointed out, Volume 3 of the absorbing Matthew Sweet & Susannah Hoffs 'Under The Covers' series focuses on the 1980s. Their interpretations of personal faves from that era are really engaging and entertaining - of course, with any covers album, there's a couple of less memorable entries (for example, their version of The Go-Gos 'Our Lips Are Sealed' is litle more than a superior karaoke turn), but there's also some genuine surprises - for example, Hoffs singing Roxy Music' 'More Than This' is a tremendous reworking, and Sweet does a surprisingly listenable version of The Smiths almost uncoverable 'How Soon Is Now'. Similarly, going for more obscure REM material ('Sitting Still') and The Bongos ('The Bulrushes') as well as the excellent XTC cover, 'Towers of London' add a lot of helpful light and shade.
Bearing in mind that both Sweet and Hoffs made their own musical emergence in the 1980s gives this album an added edge, and it's an album I can only highly recommend to fans of the duo and those who enjoy a (predominantly American) trawl through some fine songs from the decade that Taste Forgot!
Here’s another love letter to pop music from 'Sid and Susie', this time raiding the Eighties for their latest trove of gems.
It’s great fun but, along with Vol 2, it somehow lacks some of the joy, energy and invention of their Sixties collection; likewise the production falls slightly short of the lush succulence of Vol 1. That said, this is still a very enjoyable collection. Like its predecessors, it's a discerningly chosen set of songs, with each number lovingly retooled and beautifully performed. There's a real British slant to the running order this time around, with The Smiths, The Beat, The Pretenders, Echo & the Bunnymen, Elvis Costello, Tracey Ullmann and XTC all present and correct. In every case, the American accents and West Coast harmonies work surprisingly well on these quintessentially British tracks.
Not quite a rave review, but this is still a pleasant, foot-tapping slice of nouveau-nostalgia which any fan of Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs will enjoy.
on 29 January 2016
W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L.......check this out. If you have interest in music this is worth a listen. So is Vol 1 and Vol 3...kinda of a revisiting of history only with more Rickenbacker's...I fell in deep unrequited love with SH when she appeared on "The Tube" when they played 'The Soft Boys' song "Going Down To Liverpool" (er, more than a couple of decades ago!). Dagnabbit she's STILL as hot as she ever was, which is a minor aside, because she has such a wonderful voice/style. Great complimentary and simpatico interplay here between the two folks, harmonies, guitar playing etc.
on 27 January 2014
I have both of the previous albums that Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs recorded covering the 60's and 70's mixing more obvious choices with more eccentric songs such as the Yes cover on the 70's album. With this album the two reach the era that they became known in the music world although there are no Bangles covers on this album,there are songs by Elvis Costello, XTC, Tom Petty and The Smiths. The arrangements are not radical but they are enjoyable songs such as 'Girls Talk', 'Save It For Later' and 'Towers Of London' are all very enjoyable. as I have said this album is not going to change the world but if you want a relaxing listen then you cannot do much better than this.