Dusted off classics, unhinged
The bands Jet, Muse, The Zutons and Nine Inch Nails walk into a bar… Oh, what an epic bar scene that would be, but this lineup is not a crappy joke, but a real-life mix of some of the best musicians 2020 has to offer. The Jaded Hearts Club, as they are known, released their debut album You’ve Always Been Here to solidify their newfound position in modern rock ‘n’ roll.
Armed with a selection of classic covers, this album astutely proves their prominence and capability as a group. Formed by Muse’s Matt Bellamy (on bass) and industry mover Jamie Davis, The Jaded Hearts Club’s album rummages through record crates for lost classics to rediscover them as blatant rock anthems. Speckled with Bellamy’s crackled vocals and unhinged guitar bellows from Miles Kane and Jet’s Nic Cester, the tracklist is underpinned by the distorted fuzz that distinguishes the sound of countless Muse albums. You’ve Always Been Here starts on hallowed ground with Bellamy’s gramophone-crackled “We’ll Meet Again” and ends with a suffocating “Fever” to tie off the album.
The Jaded Hearts Club cover of Four Tops’ classic “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” may have been nurtured in the style of Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” (thanks Nic). Nonetheless, it is magnificent and maintains the soul of the song itself with Cester’s raspy vocals. This was the band’s first music video as well, depicting the intimacy of recording during a pandemic with the showmanship for a live audience. To follow is the rocked-out cover of Richard Berry’s “Have Love Will Travel,” with a magnificently violent saxophone riff. This song fell victim to some serious guitar voodoo.
One crate-dug rock classic includes Marvin Gaye’s “This Love Starved Heart of Mine (It’s Killing Me),” got a psychedelic tint, but keeps the rarity of the track. This also includes The Isley Brothers’ “Nobody But Me,” but it tramples over onto itself and falls victim to rock ‘n’ roll stampeding. Polished with the signature sci-fi treatment of Muse, their cover of Shocking Blue’s “Long And Lonesome Road” is aggressive and reaching. Tightened by rhythmic drumming and vicious bass riffs, the track is a new coat of paint for this song’s repertoire. Cester’s vocals direct the song right into a supermassive black hole, for the better.
The band’s cover of “I Put A Spell On You” from Screamin’ Jay Hawkins contains the screamin’ and the taunt of the original song. Coated with more punishing guitar trickery from Graham Coxon, the song cruises in an open-top Cadillac all the way back to the 1950s with a contemporary sound. In the trunk, they also carry Bradford and Gordy’s rhythm, and blues hit “Money (That’s What I Want)” with a strained demeanor and underpinned bass mastery from Bellamy.
Back with the sound of Jet, the band’s cover of The Isley Brothers’ classic “Why When The Love Is Gone” became the helpless puppet for Cester’s malevolent voice to take a classic into this century. Rock ‘n’ roll covers are a thin line to cross, but Cester proves to add a new flare without jeopardizing the music. In similar stampeding, Cester transforms Chris Clark’s “Love’s Gone Bad” from the dancy tune of 1967 into a sonic relationship fight in the year 2020.
You’ve Always Been Here is carefree and commemorative, without the sensitivity. The Jaded Hearts Club brush off the dust of classics and unload a new sound and attitude without sacrificing the lyrics. But even if one finds themself as a rock or soul musical genius, this album is sturdy enough to withstand the berating criticism for covers of one’s favorite songs.