Friday, May 22, 2009
Pajo - Scream with Me
2 Hybrid Moments
3 Where Eagles Dare
5 Teenagers From Mars
6 Devil's Whorehouse
7 I Turned Into A Martian
8 Horror Business
Experimental cover albums generally tend to disappoint. Usually an artist’s motives for interpretation are sound, yet the final product is rarely impressive, often belittling the original work. Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon), known for his “interpretive covers,” has reconstructed a myriad of works ranging from Francis Scott Key’s “The Star Spangled Banner,” to various AC/DC tracks, to an entire collection of Modest Mouse songs (Sun Kil Moon – Tiny Cities). The problem with Kozelek’s covers, as with others who compose hyper-experimental covers, is that frankly, no one really cares. All he really did (and this is no knock on Kozelek’s earlier work like Down Colorful Hill, just his questionable later years) was write a completely unrelated song with his own trademark musical style. Then instead of writing lyrics that could tie a noose around any listener’s neck, he used the author’s original ones…obviously.
Unlike Kozelek’s frequent use of “poetic license,” David Pajo’s relatively unknown, vinyl only release, Scream With Me, finds a tolerable balance between interpretation and reiteration. As you’ve probably guessed, the record takes a rather sobering look at a collection of songs from the original Kings of the Underworld, The Misfits.
Pajo is probably the most important guitarist since the late 80s, and even though this record doesn’t really add to his impressive resumé (Slint – Spiderland & Tweez, Tortoise – Millions Now Living Will Never Die & TNT, Royal Trux – 3 Song EP), it does serve as an intriguing work backed by a semi-original idea. I’d like to note here that I have been acoustically covering “Hybrid Moments” for over two years now, leading me to believe that Pajo’s been using me as his own personal fountain of creativity. Hence, semi-original.
Anyways, if you the thought 3-chord punk couldn’t be simplified any further, then you’ve been misled. Pajo takes punk’s musical manifesto and turns it into very simple lo-fi acoustic jams. Pajo follows the chordal tonality of each song, then turning the power chords into natural chords more suitable for the tenderness of plucking and finger picking. Pajo’s feeble vocals could bother some, but I found them to be pleasantly human.
You’re not going to find a whole lot of progressive jazz riffs, piercing harmonics, spastic time signatures or anything else that made Pajo a Louisville legend, but there is a great way to enjoy this album: build a camp fire deep within your local wilderness destination, crack open a few cold ones and indulge in one of the most epic sing-a-longs courtesy of Pajo, and of course, Dr. Glenn Danzig.