An excellent cover from the Scottish folk band, and whilst their introductory statements are absolutely on point, their performance is even more so.
They’ve captured the best parts of the original, particularly the reflective, somewhat downbeat elements, and added a raw quality that only serves to enhance those facets. Hearing a song stripped down to absolutely minimal proportions is always an interesting listen, and here it’s a style that completely suits the original work, pushing forth the emotion in the vocal and lyrical content by adding an organic aspect to the backdrop- it ends up being a blend that arguably takes the original song’s content into an area that allows it to properly flourish.
There’s something likeable about hearing it sung in such thick Scottish accents too, and whether that’s just the novelty factor or not remains to be seen, but for now it adds another twist that allows this cover to completely standalone from the original piece. Most definitely worth a listen, and a watch if you’re a fan of good beards.
This single has got some serious longevity. Released almost a year ago, its popularity seems to show little sign of waning, and Jessie Ware now helps to extend its shelf-life even further.
It’s a great feature too. Instead of slipping into the simplicity of just contributing a guest verse, Jessie provides a gently contrasting set of vocals throughout, turning the track into a type of duet that has a fantastically old-school flavour. The original had a strong R&B vibe, but this addition certainly helps drag it across into the soul territory a little, and for those of you that have played the original to death, the extent of Jessie’s contribution makes it a worthwhile rework that you can throw on in place of the original to refresh its sound. Given that it’s been given radio play and acknowledgement by Jessie on Twitter, I’d expect an official release in due course.
Large Pro slides through with an unexpected official remix of Mayer’s excellent lead single, taken of course from the Where Does This Door Go album, due out on 16th July.
The Professor takes the track in a slightly darker, edgier direction, away from its pop origins and into a moodier area. Stripping out the funky production of the original, the remix opens with a piercing guitar riff that sets the grittier attitude of this track off well, before chunky, thudding percussion enters the fray to really dominate the soundscape. Around that drumline are hints of additional melodies, from soft guitar to easygoing synths, but it’s really one that moves forward on the back of that percussion, and though it becomes a tad repetitive, it does end up being a rather hypnotising listen. Pro even comes through with a verse to switch the momentum of the track slightly, and the heavy percussion certainly lends itself well to Large Professor’s cadence, adding a final dash of hip-hop into a remix that seems to span across several genres. It won’t replace the original, but a nice complement to it.
Seperately, they’re both incredible artists in their own lanes, and together here they remain utterly superb. The unexpected collaborative team churns out a blended cover of Modjo’s Lady and Stardust’s Music Sounds Better With You, ably supported by a slightly tweaked version of Sunset from The xx’s own Coexist album for a diverse track that works far better than it should.
Still with me? Good. In addition to providing the instrumentation for Sunset, The xx themselves deliver the ever-memorable hook from the Modjo original, taking it from its originally-upbeat style down into the sombre, moody soundscape they’re always so skilled at creating. It works almost seamlessly, and that doesn’t change at all when Jessie Ware adds her contribution, that being the iconic hook from the Stardust classic; yet again, it blends as smoothly as you could hope for, though Jessie’s natural intensity and passion prevents it from sinking too deep into the percussion, and instead injects that section of the track with a lot of vibrancy. The tweaks to the instrumentation are well-suited in context, with the guitars coming through on a slightly sharper, more lively style that suits Jessie’s work in particular, and caps off what is a unique and enjoyable performance. There are already fans desperate for a studio mix of the track, and fingers crossed that comes through at some point.
Yes. All day yes. Two of my favourite vocalists in the business right now hook up for the first single from Hawthorne’s upcoming album, titled Where Does This Door Go and due out on 16th July, and it’s an excellent track that should get Mayer the widespread attention he’s deserved for a few years now.
The production is a lusciously-layered piece, with funky, bassy guitars adding a vintage soul feel, whilst the accompaniment of thunderous percussion and additional samples brings a modern pop twist; the combination is wholly successful throughout the verses, and culminates in a soft hook packed with airy synths, making for a great transition point between the verses. It’s nice to hear a hook used as a cool-down section rather than the track’s high point of intensity and Jessie Ware’s vocals are perfectly suited to that duty, with her gentle delivery meshing seamlessly with the production and also contrasting Mayer’s own performance. His work is a good blend between his regular soulful style and a more punchy delivery, with the latter synergising with those bouncy guitars in the verses, whilst the former makes for a comfortable segue into the hook. He closes off with a set of additional vocals in the chorus section, adding an upbeat element to Jessie’s hook, closing off a collaboration that I expect to play to death this summer.
Of all the homegrown acts to really make a mark on the UK mainstream scene in the last year or so, Jessie is by far my favourite of the bunch. Whilst my first impressions of her were that she was from somewhere between Sade and something more modern soul, it’s tracks like this that show just how versatile a vocalist she is.
What most impressive here is her ability to completely cap and temper the production. Given the backdrop is lively, full of a classic 90s pop style with a little dash of electro, it’s no mean feat that she manages to infuse the piece with a huge helping of soul, and hence bring it away from being an out-and-out pop track and into something closer to electro soul.
The video fits with that blend of styles, featuring Jessie dressed well in and amongst a set of colourful and unusual characters, and as opposed to most videos dressing their lead in the most outlandish outfit to draw the eye, this works in reverse by allowing her calm amidst the chaos to capture the viewer. It’s nice to see the positive side of her screen presence shine through too, with the performance incorporating both choreography and a little regular, easygoing dancefloor action to keep things relatively believable. Thematically, it’s just a decent night out, but when backed by the great audio it becomes a feelgood, old school-style video that’s a fun and easy watch. Look out for the special edition of Devotion on 15th April.