Toke Along with Scala & Kolacny Brothers, Then See Them at the Independent Tonight
Behind the buzz: Anyone claiming mystification at this Coachella-bound rock choir needs a sharp rap across the skull with one of those dildos left over from a Die Antwoord video. You'd think cultural memory of a lopsided pair of South African rappers would grease anybody's conceptual skids for a Belgian girls' choir bobbing to the surface of the international pop scene with churchy-sounding covers of indie-rock classics. But then there's no grappling with the higher functions of the pop-crit mind save with blunt instruments. Speaking of the latter, I advise you to twist one off and fire up this Atco CD now making the rounds.
Today's weed: Strawberry Cough, an indica of pungent repute.
Ark the angels come: I dislike Metallica anyway, so anything done to
"Nothing Else Matters" would leave me flinchless at best. The
Herculean dollop of powdered sugar Scala and the brothers dump over
the tune strikes me as an improvement, getting us to the truth of its
overwrought sentiment at once. Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" really
doesn't need this kind of cookie-sprinkle treatment, so the results
induce more giggles than awe. "Champagne Supernova" is little without
the Gallaghers' teeth in each other's necks, and "Ironic" even less sans
Alanis and her stripped-raw nerves, so efforts to reimagine these come
heavily freighted with WTF?
U2's "With You or Without You," on the
other ear, is ennobled by the S & KB makeover, which replaces Bono's
familiar hambone vocals with equally impassioned restraint. Lyrics to
Depeche Mode's "I Feel You" and "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon are
just precious and pompous enough to fit in this sanctified context.
If there's modern rock in heaven, there must be a helluva choir: The
original numbers are more interesting than the novelty-rock
surrounding it, with "Masquerade of Fools" a pop baroque standout in
the manner of David Axlerod's doomier orchestral meditations of the
late '60s. The live version of Radiohead's "Creep" loses a lot of
its punch when bulked against my memory of Prince's cover at
Coachella 2008, and the whack taken at Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen
Spirit" is, by the time they take it, nothing you haven't imagined
Psychoactive verdict: If your idea of happy buzztime listening is
Enoch Light & the Light Brigade's The Best of the Movie Themes 1970,
your Album of the Year dropped early and S & KB's lengthy back catalog
will make you consider installing stained-glass windows in your skull.
Also: Scala & Kolacny Brothers play the Independent tonight.