Nadja – When I see the Sun always shines on TV

I promised some metal reviews in my previous post. Well you ask : I deliver.
I haven’t reviewed a Nadja record since like 2007 so what a great place to start.  And this one is deffonetly worth a review.

When I see the Sun always Shines on TV” is a collection of 8 cover songs by Nadja (who’m I hope will need no introduction). It clearly gives us an idea where Nadja got the inspiration for their shoegazing blend of  doom/ambient metal. I know the duo can produce great tracks of their own but how will they fare when they treat songs by other bands. Let’s find out :

My bloody Valentine is the first band to undergo the treatment. And talk about a strong opening. “Only Shallow” was one of the strongest tracks on ‘Loveless” and a great pick. They treat the song with a lot of respect : you can immediately recognise it, even if you are not a MBV fan (you are sure to have heard this track at least once in your life, if you haven’t : get to it.) Aidan sticks to the shoegazer vocal style well (meaning extra fuzz). The chorus riff is  power full but to my surprise the rest of the track is quite gentle to Nadja standards. It’s almost easy listening. Wonder full opener.

The second cut is “Pea” by Codine. I had never heard the original so judging this one was easy.  It’s absolutely lush. Very fuzzy and reverbed opening. The vocals are a lot more prominent here. A very slow and sad track that lends itself well to this kind of treatment. The whispered chorus gives it an extra dimension ; a form of heightened tension. Melancholy with a dark edge and I assume there’s more of a Nadja stamp on this one compared to the first track. The second part of Pea however is very relaxed, perhaps a little bit too relaxed for my liking, but I’m guessing that’s because the original is that way.
Conclusion : so far it’s two out of two.

Next up : “No Cure for the Lonely” by The Swans. This track is a legend. A risky undertaking some would say but Nadja had already tackled this one in a live setting : to the utmost success. Absolutely beautiful stuff , dare I say surpassing the original?  Probably the most melancholic track you’ll hear all year. Highlight of the album.

Nadja covering Slayer is something I had never expected but yes here it is. “Dead Skin Mask” undergoes the treatment just the same. As you can expect this is by far the darkest track but again it just sounds better to these ears when fuzzed out drone guitars and layers of reverb/static are placed  over Aidan’s harmonic vocals. The original is far from my favorite track but this cover version makes  it very bare able.

Next up :  the title track if you will. Anyone born in the 70’ies knows this track and band. A-ha‘s “The Sun Always shines on TV” : Another one of the highlights on the album : completely blows the original away (this can be taken quite literally).

Needle in the Hay” by Elliot Smith is another track I was unfamiliar with so I can only judge the  performance here. Again a great job as Nadja proves they can handle more relaxed songs quite well.  I can’t say more really : good vocal and instrumental performance. The chorus is quite weak but I suppose this is again sticking true to the original.

“Long dark twenties” (by Kids in the Hall) was already out on 7″ and it’s another one of the highlights of the album. The interpretation of the chorus is dark and heavy whilst the rest is again rather lush. Some nice contrasts.
Which brings us to the closer : The Cure – “Faith“. Now I can finally say for the first time : “I like the original better” (had to wait seven tracks for that). Seriously there is nothing wrong with what Aidan & Leah do with the track, but as a fan of The Cure I found little extra appealing to this version (the interpretation came across as quite dark to me). But  7 out 8 is not too bad though is it?

A more than succesfull undertaking, that’s what this cover cd is. I think many a band can be envious of what Nadja do here. A very diverse set of songs all treated with the care and proffesionalism whe have come to expect from Canada’s best metal band. A special shout out to “Klawful”  who made the artwork for the release. Avalanchers representing!  Go get this now!

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