Monday, 22 January 2018

This Is My Street (Daytrip Records)

No music scene has pilfered the British Swinging Sixties songbook quite as shamelessly as the one crudely dubbed Britpop. Guitar bands decided to stop making singles that sounded indie and wanted to write classic pop again. The movement of wanting to write songs that sounded great coming out of the caff radio and whistled by the postman was triggered by the twin polls of the release of the Beatles' Anthology series and Ian MacDonald’s faultless Fabs almanac Revolution in the Head. It's perhaps then unsurprising that it's the Beatles that were most pastiched. Not just the riffs and the lyrics, but everything from the drum loops to the haircuts and interview sound bites. When Britpop relocated to London, suddenly swinging again and a hub of creativity, it was the Kinks turn to have their back catalogue ransacked.

And of course what a back catalogue it is. The run of singles on Pye from 1964 to 1970 is an incredible body of work. Each record slightly better than the last and each bringing something new, unique and exciting to the party. 1964's All Day and All of the Night manages to sound drum tight and marvellously unhinged all the same time. It was the the first punk single, ripped off wholesale on the Doors' Hello, I Love You and covered faithfully by the Stranglers. It was the blueprint for the pre-Tommy career of the Who. Ray Davies seemed to ooze confidence and verve and each record sounded more sophisticated and interesting than the last. Tired of Waiting For You sounded slightly sulky and utterly terrific. See My Friends sounds like the party described by the kid who had smoked too much pot. The arguable high point coming in '67's Waterloo Sunset. It's not so much the sound of the record but the feeling it evokes. It's so ridiculously evocative ('chilly, chilly is the evening time') that it's like stepping into a painting. It sounds like London in the same way The Drifters' On Broadway sounds like New York and Ghost Town sounds like the Thatcher era in the Midlands.

Still Britpop almost steadfastly refused to doth their collective caps to the Davies song writing cannon save for furtively ripping it off. Only Blur's Damon Albarn seemed to want pay homage, with a slightly too sleepy reading of Waterloo Sunset (a post breakdown Davies plays guitar and looks on bemused) on TV's The White Room. Luckily, Indiepop is not so shy to give credit where it's due, as displayed on Daytrip Records' compilation of Kinks covers This is My Street. And what lovingly wonderful record it is.

Cosines kick off with a sleek, confident version of Someone Stole My Car from 93's Phobia album. It's very bold and slightly glam and drags the song from the red neck saloon to the urban wine bar. It's instantly infectious and beautifully executed.

Slightly more out there is Los Bonsais take on All Day and All of the Night. It sounds like fuzzed up cross between the Mary Chain and Velvet Underground. It's slightly stoned, very cool and sexy as fuck.

Equally thrilling is Picture Book by The Just Joans which sounds all the world like The Fall at their most unhinged with a shade of Talking Heads thrown in. It's really brilliant, slightly piss takey in the best possible way, a tad bonkers and totally ace. Imagine Mark E Smith bouncing on Buckfast.

The School's Animal Farm is a delight, like a Sylvie Vartan cover version-slightly bashful but lovely, all tambourines, harmonies, and fringes. Gorgeous.

I'm Not Like Everybody Else by Sweet Nothings is a proper belter. A twitchy, angry version that captures the claustrophobia of the original whilst bringing it's own earthy slightly grimy twist.

Darren Hayman's weighs with a lovely piano led wistful reading of Come Dancing. It's just on the right side of woozy and impossibly pretty. It ends with a Ronnie Lane-esque jam and would sound perfect in an old boozer after five pints of Best Bitter.

Eux Autres deliver a driving take on A Long Way From Home. It's proper road trip material this, managing to make Ray Davies reflective original sound like Bruce Springsteen.

Stephen Todd's Bontempi version of No Return sounds like Smog at their most reflective. A brave and oddly moving reading.

Little My slightly fey but faithful take on Autumn Almanac is impossibly pretty. It's lovingly delivered with warmth and is delightfully twinkly.

Wendy Darlings trashy Spector-ish take on Stop Your Sobbing is like a gritty girl group, bubblegum picked off and chewed from the pub floor. Wonderful stuff.

Simon Love's pastoral reading of Till Death Us Do Part is a stunner, aching and very very beautiful. It sounds like a what a Noel Gallagher record sounds like in Noel Gallagher's head.

Laura K's breathy and poptastic version of Victoria is a breezy treat. Airy, sweet and rather lovely, it's faithful treatment recorded with real love and affection and will steal your heart.

It takes balls of steel to cover a standard like Waterloo Sunset, but happily Catenary Wires are more than capable and their version is very very beautiful. The vocal ping-pongs from sweet to sour, from darkness to light, from the dirtiness of the river to the brightness of the taxi light. The harmonies are exquisite and and the lend the song a confidence and verve. It's shimmery and lovely and would make old Ray dead proud.

'THIS IS MY STREET' - a compilation of Kinks songs performed by indiepop artists, released by Daytrip Records on the 16th of February 2018 9AM GMT.

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