What would you get if you channelled the spirit of Black Sabbath through the sound system in an old haunted house fairground ride? Well besides a bizarre idea for a crossover theme park you’d also have possibly the closest approximation of the sound of Bristol four-piece Turbowolf. This is the first release since last year’s eponymous full-length début and comprises entirely (as the title suggests) of covers; a bold move which has not always been pulled off by other bands in the past.
The EP blasts into life with a version of ‘See Through Head’ by The Hives, managing to somehow sound even more frantic than the original thanks largely to the drumming of Blake Davies carrying the track relentlessly from start to finish. If there is one criticism of this song it would be that the vocals of singer Chris Georgiadis sound somewhat lost at the beginning but otherwise an incredibly solid start.
The next track, a cover of MGMT’s ‘Electric Feel’, starts off with a haze of electronic noise before the familiar bass line kicks in. It’s not quite as you would remember it though, with a slower, sludgy sound as if the entire track itself is being dragged from the musical swamps of 2008 when the original was released. The trademark Turbowolf snarls are here replaced by a more melodic falsetto which completes the altogether psychedelic affair.
What follows is perhaps the least known track of the bunch, a version of ‘Captain Caveman’ originally by noise-rockers Lightning Bolt. The track itself is a beast, lurching disjointedly from riff to riff in truly manic style. What is perhaps most impressive is that the band have somehow managed to decipher the lyrics, seriously go and listen to the original, it’s impossible.
The closer is a track which has been a part of the band’s live set for a little while now, a version of Jefferson Airplane’s ‘Somebody to Love’, itself a cover of folk-rock band The Great Society. At first listeners may struggle to hear the similarities through the first 40 seconds of ambient sounds but as soon as the meat of the song explodes, there should be very few heads not bobbing along in appreciation of what truly is a classic song with the band’s unique spin on it.
In summary Covers EP Vol. 1 is everything a good covers record should be; enough of a change in sound that the band has well and truly placed their imprint on every single one of the songs, but not so much as to ostracise fans of the originals. If you were not already a fan of the band then unless you are a super-fan of any of the bands listed above, this may well be the best place to start; giving a good impression of the band’s sound whilst being familiar enough with the songs to grab hold. As for existing fans there is no doubt this is a must, neatly filling the void left since the last album and whetting the appetite for what is hopefully in store on the next original release.