Headless Heroes – The Silence of Love (2008)
Probably one of the most futile types of albums in the recording industry has got to be the covers album. No matter the pedigree of the band or the type of songs they cover, they are always dodgy affairs. This because of one simple rule ; you just cannot beat the original. Yet, I cannot help investing in them. The is a perverse joy in discovering a band who actually manage to outdo the original completely. It is rare but it does happens.
Which leads us to Headless Heroes, a covers band but with one difference. At the helm there is Alela Diane. For those who don’t know Diane released her stunning debut in 2006 and we haven’t really heard her distinctive voice since. The backing band consists of the best session musicians in alt rock, some notable ones are Joey Waronker ( Beck) and Josh Klinghoffer (Beck, Red Hot Chili Peppers),
Yes there is strong musicianship here but what about the artists being covered?
Again this is another strong point as the band have chosen more obscure bands, the most obvious being The Jesus and Mary Chain’s ‘Just Like Honey’, other than that the rest are more cultish, hell there even early 00’s long lost group I am Kloot are covered here!
So now since we covered (no pun intended) the basic ingredients for a decent covers album, we now have to see how the whole thing is executed. Luckily I’m pleased to say that the band have steered away from sounding like the original song. The aforementioned ‘Just Like Honey’ is turned into a slowed down folk number, Daniel Johnston’s ‘True Love in the End’ is more ornate than the original, The Gentle Soul’s See my Love is a string drenched masterpiece and the gem here is Philamore Lincoln’s ‘The North Wind Blew South’ which lifts you to the heavens with it’s beauty. Not to mention that Diane’s voice is in fine fettle and it really keeps the whole project together.
Considering that none of the material on this album is original, Headless Heroes managed to do something which is rare, that is taking making other people’s songs uniquely theirs and forging their own sound in the process. Whether this is a one off or not, it would be interesting to see what elese can be offered in the near future (plus it’s a good stopgap for February’s Alela Diane album!)