ALBUM REVIEW: Dead Formats, Vol. 1 – Pure noise recordings
In collaboration with Pest Blue Ribbon, Pure noise recordings have released the first volume of what will hopefully be a series of discs showcasing the label’s roster covering punk, emo and ska songs that influenced the 90s and early 2000s scene. The project itself is more of a labor of love – a chance for recording artists to pay homage to the various bands that helped shape their love of music and introduce them to a whole new scene, and, of course , the love that encouraged them to start writing and recording their music, and maybe just encouraging the next generation to start their own bands. So the cycle continues.
When you look at the list of tracks, there are certainly names that are immediately familiar to you, like STATE CHAMPIONS, SEA ROUTE and HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS, as well as songs that will trigger a nostalgic trip for many of us. Although with that nostalgia comes a bit of fear: are these songs going to be ruined?
The answer is no. For the most part anyway. The album is filled with plenty of solid pop-punk and rock covers, including STATE CHAMPIONS‘ version of How old am I, TO HIDE covering fell in love with a girlIand LOVE SONGS IN SPANISH run a race We’ve had enough. One thing that can be a problem with a band covering certain tracks is an odd juxtaposition between will it sound uninspired or will they “ruin” it. But throughout this record, we see many examples of artists taking often classic songs and making them their own.
For instance, HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS‘ cover of Upside down remains a solid rock cover that they manage to slip into that trademark that lets you get to know them with the vocal harmonies that are both rough and clear. Where there is RED CITY RADIOthe cover of To advance where they might stay true to the original, but they make it their own by making it sound rougher and less polished. But it works, and you still find yourself smiling and singing.
However, there is a track here that you will watch and immediately go “Oh no”: Welcome to the Black Parade. It’s fair to say that it’s an almost dangerous song to cover, we all know the track so well that the slightest change is enough for us to consider it blasphemous. be fair to BIG BROTHER, it was brave of them to attempt it, but this time the risk didn’t quite pay off. Instead of being anthemic, we’re instead presented with a version that sounds almost preachy, as if the song’s message is slapped in our face; it just doesn’t have that feeling of punch and instead you feel let down.
Luckily, to make up for that, we have what can arguably be considered the most remarkable cover; FOUR YEAR STRONGit is to take Brain stew/jaded. It can’t even be put into words other than to say they nailed it, did it justice, and made it theirs with no disrespect to the original. Surprising.
For a record full of covers, there’s hardly a moment where you get bored or cringe as the bands cover classic songs. Sure, there will be songs you don’t know, but now you can discover something new thanks to an artist you love. The most important part is that the bands on this record are not trying to improve or show off during these songs. You know it’s a labor of love as if to say; “here is a song that we love and that helped influence us, let us present it to you”.
Dead Formats, vol. 1 is set to be released on August 26 via Pure Noise Records.
Like Pure Noise Records on Facebook.