Friday, February 5, 2010

First Listen: The Hotrats, Turn Ons

No, The Hotrats is not a Frank Zappa tribute act, although that would be a good name for one. It is, in fact, Gaz Coombes and Danny Goffey from Supergrass, here performing nothing but covers. But this isn't some thrown-together garage-recorded EP or anything - it's produced by Nigel Godrich, and features a pretty terrific selection of songs.

Some of them are note-for-note, like the Rats' run-through of Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up." But some are radical reinventions. The most obvious is the melodic rock take on "Fight For Your Right," by the Beastie Boys. The Rats also do fine versions of Pink Floyd's "Bike" (Coombes turning in a decent Syd Barrett impression) and The Cure's dip into jazz-rock, "The Lovecats."

The final track is a slow and melancholy version of Squeeze's "Up the Junction," proof that if you look hard enough, you can find the sadness in anything. It's my favorite thing here, and it caps off a little record with modest ambitions - it's just a lot of fun.

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