Monday, March 15, 2010
The Holy Roman Army - Desecrations EP
On Saturday, the Guardian had a feature in its weekly Guide supplement entitled "Is it time for your rubbish covers album?" which was highly entertaining, and very pertinent in an era where everyone seems to release a covers album due to sheer laziness or else to make money.
Luckily, the Holy Roman Army don't fit into either of these categories. Desecration is a free EP, where each of the five songs covered have been reinterpreted into the Holy Roman Army's own style, and fit in perfectly with their already established tunes.
So let's follow the Guardian flowchart for the Holy Roman Army?
1. Are you a pop musician?
Not necessarily pop, but definitely music. So we'll go for "Yes".
2. Do you think you are better than Marvin Gaye, Roy Orbison or Public Enemy, or indeed all of them?
Well I can't speak for the band, but I'm going to go with "No" on this one. I'd like to think they're humble enough.
4. Have you have any hits this past decade?
Well, they've only been around a few years, and last year's debut album How the Light Gets In was met to much critical acclaim. So "Yes".
7. How have you spent most of this last decade?
Not sure about the "cocaine" answer, and it's not the money one, so I'm plumping with "Consistently releasing perfectly serviceable, very successful albums"
11. Don't bother releasing an album of cover versions. It's the last dice-roll of a desperate act. Unless you're Johnny Cash. And to be fair, it's unlikely you're reading this if you are.
So perhaps not the best time for Holy Roman Army to release a covers album. It's good for us that they only released half an album then. There are some interesting choices of covers here. It opens with the Pixies 'Wave of Mutilation' which has been beautifully mutilated into something they can call their own. Rollerskate Skinny's 'Speed to my Side' is an inspired choice, and is given a whole new dimension here.
The songs which work the best are Pavement's 'Here' and Bon Iver's 'Skinny Love'. The latter is almost unrecognisable from the original, with only the lyrics left to connect the dots. Holy Roman Army haven't desecrated anything, but rather redrawn and refined in their own fashionable way. A great little EP, and a nice stopgap until the next proper album comes along. Take that Guardian!
Download the album in a variety of formats from ogg to mp3 to flac here:
Or alternatively, have a listen here: