Covers albums can swing two ways, attempts at slavish replicas of the original songs or those instances where the artist recasts the songs in a new light, with their own personality and style at the forefront. Dan Brodie has successfully taken the latter route with a collection of songs that reveal some of his influences and spotlight his accomplished and affecting way with re-interpretation.
The source material here includes numerous titans of the music world – Bob Dylan, Prince, Iggy Pop, Paul Simon, Merle Haggard, Motorhead – plus a trio of Brodie’s own compositions that easily hold their place amid such defining artists.
Invariably Brodie invests the covers with a brooding, gothic country pall, taking them into the shadows and finding their dark corners. Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’ is impressive in its new form. Devoid of its bounce and pop it could be a message from a kidnapper to his intended victim. That murder ballad mood permeates the album in the way that Nick Cave might also approach the songs. Prince’s ‘Take Me With U’ retains a distant electronic pulse that is coloured by Brodie’s high and lonesome vocal, taking the song into a world of melancholic desperation.
Metallica covered Motorhead’s “Damage Case’ but it never sounded like this, a heartfelt and fragile meditation on a wounded soul. Dylan’s ‘Standing In The Doorway’ lifts the pace of the slow-swaying original and hits gothic-country trails with added urgency and cold-hearted menace, suggesting revenge is just around the corner.