Multi Ultra – Price I Pay
Typical bands will go through dozens of members, shifting personnel regardless of whether they achieve any type of commercial success or not. Bass players and lousy drummers are usually the culprits as they go missing, quit, or explode like Spinal Tap’s own gallery of percussionists.
It seems to cause bands endless headaches. Yet, after years of experiencing disappointment, I realize bands might be focusing on the wrong things. Get a singer that can sing! Not a lot of bands have those. They’re a minority. They’re sought after like marquee names in a Hollywood blockbuster. Get one of them and find someone to write decent songs, and you can get someone to hum along to the bass lines.
Nashville newbies Multi Ultra, sound like they possess such a voice. Their single Price I Pay deals with the usual topics of the evil capitalism wrecking the life of young dreamers, but it’s the pleasant groove and, especially, the sound of that voice that is likely to convince you even if the words were sung in Mandarin, in which case this would’ve arguably been a song about the merits of capitalism instead.
Mere Child – Under the Ivy
There are artists whose influence is so large that they get quoted left and right, too often for them to be able to do anything in terms of filing copyright lawsuits. There are also those that despite being immensely popular and who, although have been immensely important to many, escape this by virtue of being nearly impossible to imitate.
Kate Bush cruised on a very thin line between avant-garde and pop music. She made her debut when she was a teenager. Her music featured a voice that could sway maddingly into the highest registers, complex instrumentation and pedantic lyrics that rarely resembled anyone else’s work. Were it not for the artist’s personal sense of style and grace, her music would long ago have been labelled as “prog”, a kiss of death for many musicians in the same generation.
Under the Ivy may be a rather more traditional Kate Bush song, but just like any of her work it takes a tremendous amount of courage, and considerable musical abilities to cover. Mere Child is up to the task. The production choices give the piano ballad a dream-pop sheen. The percussion makes this version feel modern. And, trickiest of all, the vocals manage to channel the melancholy and sense of loss expressed in the original with great poignancy. Some songs are best left uncovered unless you are able to do a job this good.