Monday, March 29, 2010

What We're Listening To - The Bird and Bee's Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates

An album of Hall and Oates covers, synth jazzed out.

There is simply no selling or categorizing this album. It is one where either you're repulsed and won't listen, or find the idea so corny you feel compelled to pick it up. Trust me, pick this up.

I don't even know if Daryl Hall and John Oates are worthy of having their music lovingly and appreciatively covered, but if they do, The Bird and The Bee did it.

Inara George and Greg Kurstin, as they did on their s/t debut and Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future, are making music that is loungey and nice. Indie pop for your mom and dad.

But an entire album of Hall and Oates? The beauty is that you know these songs, so they're comforting in that sense. You immediately sing along. Kurstin never wanders too far from the original music. But it's George's voice. It's jazzy and soulful, breathing some new life into Sarah Smile, turning it into an amazing song. She sounds like a direct descendant of Bonnie Rait and Annie Lenox. You can see why Blue Note signed them. She might be on the sidelines, but she's a direct fit at their roster.

All the H&O favorites are here, and you won't be disappointed. Maneater, Private Eyes, Kiss on My List, Rich Girl. And instead of being karaoke, Kurstin and George were very deliberate. There's no snickering, or oversinging. No kitsch.

Not sure if I'd call Hall and Oates masters. But Interpreting The Masters is a lot of great fun. Here's hoping Volume 2 will keep that spirit alive and is better than some other Volume 2's released last week.

Buy The Bird and Bee's Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates


Shelby said...

I'd totally call Hall and Oates 'Masters.' This is a great album.

Adam said...

I liked this concept back when The Residents put out their American Masters series, even though they only got around to covering four artists (James Brown, John Philip Sousa, Hank Williams Sr, and George Gershwin).

Adam said...

And arguably Elvis.