Saturday, November 26, 2011

REVIEW: The Antlers - "VCR (the xx cover)

Grade: 76% (C+)

The xx are a tough band to cover. On their excellent 2009 debut, they shot lyrics back and forth between male and female about love, sex, and the stars. Their ambience is difficult to reproduce, even when they perform live. However, on the Antlers take of the track "VCR," they don't try to be anything they aren't. The Antlers clearly know what they they can do and what they they can't do. Rather than try to perfectly emulate, they do a half-their own version and half-replication. They keep the ambient noise, but produce their own. They keep the down-emotion lyrics but don't try to get too cute with the vocalization. They keep the repeated synth pattern throughout the song but they dial it back and shield it. It's missing the driving baseline and the dueling voices, but it still maintains the original's attitude and spirit. While it is still further from the original than it is closer (it is over a minute longer than the xx version), this track is a good example on how to bridge the gap between musical styles while covering an act that is not entirely within your own soundscape. 

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