Febrvvm - Cross Over and Turn: Cover Versions
Released off label 2022
This review was commissioned through Ko-fi. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint.
There’s a certain animosity I have towards cover songs. While I am not entirely against it, I often find myself rolling my eyes at attempts to either duplicate or be greater than the original. This is because most artists cannot surpass or even get to the standards of the original song. Sure, there are exceptions (Johnny Cash with ‘Hurt’, anyone?). But they are so few and far in between that’s it is very, very hard for me to find covers that I actually enjoy. Industrial rock, metal, and gothic artist FEBRVVM is one such artist who has taken it upon himself to release a cover album with nods to Low, Cigarettes After Sex, The Cure, Deftones, and others. And I can tell you that FEBRVVM’s “Cross Over and Turn: Cover Versions” is not helping the scales tip.
The first cover he commits to is for Low’s ‘Lullaby’. What I will say about the cover is that FEBRVVM gets the music right. Echoing the original’s faint, guitar-based acoustic structure, FEBRVVM brings in a slightly rougher edge but still remains true to source. Where it falls apart is with his voice; rather than sounding strong and sincere, his vocals come off as choked up. Also, often times I can hear him taking his breaths in the mic, which is never a fun sound to hear.
The next song to be covered is ‘Ruby’ by tweaker, featuring Will Oldham. Now, I’ve never been a fan of this song to begin with, so odds weren’t in its favor in the first place. The ambiance in the beginning equally matches the sordid expression tweaker was going for in the original. But once FEBRVVM blasts his raw guitars, it no longer sounds good and is quite upsetting. Again, FEBRVVM’s vocals aren’t great either. Hardly able to retain any of the original’s emotions and again coming off as choked up sobs, it’s not good.
Cigarettes After Sex has their song ‘Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby’ redone. Again, the same problem with the vocals remains; they are quite feeble and aren’t at all empowering as the original version came off. And though the ambient background is decent, what makes CAS’s original version so powerful is in part of Greg Gonzalez’s voice. The cover of ‘Pills I Took’ is brought down a bunch considering the country, hillbilly vibe of the original is now gone. FEBRVVM opted to completely strip the beat from the song and made it into a ridiculously slow and boring piano ballad. Now there’s another version of this song I don’t enjoy.
At this point, I suppose I could go on, but I do not feel like continuing to go through each and every single one of these covers explaining just why they don’t work. Whether it’s FEBRVVM taking away what made the electronic and mystical beat in The Cure’s ‘The Walk’ so fascinating, decapitating The Sisters of Mercy’s gothic charm on ‘Nine While Nine’, or just putting shame to Leonard Cohen’s ‘Famous Blue Raincoat. No matter what small praises I threw at FEBRVVM throughout this review, the fact remains that none of his covers even come close to the originals. This is the case of getting a fine cut of prime rib, grinding it up, and creating a meatloaf out of it instead. There’s no reason to commit to such a deed. If you can’t match the original’s quality, then there is no reason to touch it in the first place. The whole album, to me, is pointless. Three out of ten.Sep 05 2022
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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