Do The Time Warp, Power Pop Style
As one could gather from their material separately, Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs are influenced and in love with every facet of ’60s pop music. In their first collaborative effort, Under the Covers Volume 1, they take a shot at performing fifteen of the songs which they’re truly smitten with. The result is a collection of already great songs set awash in the power pop that Sweet is known for with a assistance from the sweet, somber-voiced Susanna Hoffs, formerly of Bangles fame.The song selection is like a mixtape that an obsessed audiophile would give to someone, maybe a love interest who lives un-privy to musical greatness of the past. With songs from Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Velvet Underground and others, Sweet and Hoffs deliver top-shelf performances that give proper respect while sometimes provide nice updates to the material.
The pair of Neil Young songs (“Cinnamon Girl” and “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”) are performed as straightforward as possible with more energy from Sweet as he works his electric guitar with maximum precision throughout each track. Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” undergoes a startling metamorphosis from an archetypal folk ballad to perfect pitch guitar pop via the backing band and sunny backing vocals from Hoffs. Other standout moments include an energetic rendition of The Who’s “The Kids Are Alright and an upper-echelon Beatles remake in “And Your Bird Can Sing.”
That Sweet and Hoffs chose these songs shows both good taste and audacity because covering material of this caliber and historical status could set artists up for failure. However, Under The Covers is a shimmering testament to these songs of yesteryear with a firm base in today’s world.