Album:Crushes (The Covers Mixtape)
Release date: June 15
Rating (Skip, Stream, or Buy): Skip
Covers records are risky and therefore largely hit-or-miss - Cat Power's The Covers Record is inoffensive, but a little boring; Sun Kil Moon's Tiny Cities brilliantly re-imagined Modest Mouse's sound; Johnny Cash's American IV: The Man Comes Around gave a reverential intimacy to Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode. Now we have Mates of States' Crushes (The Covers Mixtape), which is neither inspired nor innovative.
The opening track, a cover of the mopey San Francisco band Girls' "Laura," is a fun listen, peppy and soaring, but eventually the record just gets too rah-rah (as will happen with MOS). "Son et Lumiere" is a mess, losing all the intensity of the Mars Volta original, and I really don't think Tom Waits would appreciate the repetitive "yeah-yeah-yeah-yeahs" they've added to "Long Way Home," a formerly-poignant, soulful song that wanders dangerously close to Miley Cyrus territory here.
The worst is when the songs just start to sound robotic. When Lindsey Buckingham first sang the line, "one thing I think you should know/ I ain't gonna miss you when you go" on "Secondhand News," he did it with a joyous kind of disdain - here it comes off as rote and unemotional. Reimagining favorites and lost gems can be inspired, but what Mates of State has done is reduce a decent group of originals into a plastic pop singalongs.