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VARIOUS – All Apologies (CD, Universal Japan)

Posted: April 7th, 2007, by JGRAM

In theory this is the dream ticket for me – Nirvana songs as covered by Japanese rock (J-rock) bands! In theory it is. I was not sure when specifically this compilation came (being an accidental Soulseek find) but the results are most definitely something interesting, if not exactly as desired. Fortunately as most Nirvana cover versions tend to be metalised abortions of classic songs, these versions actually appear to tap into spirit of the band. And dare I mention that I had never noticed before the sheer amount of words Kurt Cobain used beginning with the letters “L” and/or “R”, causing in these examples often several unintentional cultural quirks (eg “Lape Me” anybody?)

It all begins really well with a storming cover of “All Apologies” by Lunkhead, not too dissimilar to the original musically if I am honest but with bass sound several times more brooding than Krist Novoselic was ever allowed. The real early treat comes in the sheer enthusiasm of Mo’some Tonebender’s version of “Very Ape” in which they repeat another chorus adding another third to the song just because you sense they are enjoying playing so much. As mentioned above, the sting of “Rape Me” is taken out of the song as a lady sounding like Lydia Lunch in lounge mode in the guise of detroit7 inadvertently renames the song “Lape Me”.

The more experimental side of proceedings provide the most joys as HIGE’s demented attempt at “Scentless Apprentice” sounds akin to a countrified, delta blues Ween might call a cover version. Semi Shigure manage to whip “Molly’s Lips” into an even poppier state akin to the Lilys before B-Dash sing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in a far too upbeat manner dragging it into Lemonheads and Mega City Four territory. And the less said about Yoshii Kazya turning “Polly” into “Porry” the better.

In a happy turn of events Miyavi ends the record with perhaps the best tribute of the batch as he chips in with a speedy, acoustic version of “Blew” in a pleasingly gruff and gravely manner.

Something of a strange concept but ultimately a very fun reality, this is key example and reminder of how much meaning and energy were in the songs of Kurt Cobain and just how many hidden gems there are tucked away on Soulseek (and other file sharing sites) that would otherwise go unheard by a genuinely appreciative and subtly baying enthusiastic audience.

Thesaurus moment: omoshiromi.

CD Japan


JGram, friend of the stars, chartered accountant and pie enthusiast, likes nothing better than KICKING YOUR SKINNY ASS by way of a carefully-timed half-nelson followed by the CLOTHES LINE! OW! So never, never cross him. His dog Snowy is equally rockhard and will bite your lim bs off in the blink of an eye. And then paw your eyes out for blinking when he's biting you.

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