Singles Club: Saints & Lovers

I’m Myspace friends with New Yorkers Saints & Lovers, and recently I’d begun to notice the repeated posting of a bulletin about getting a free download of their cover of “Atmosphere.” You know, the breathtakingly gloomy Joy Division song (and yes, I realize that is kind of an umbrella term for a bunch of their songs). Now, I like covers a lot. However, there are certain songs (and certain bands) that I feel should never, ever be touched as far as covering songs go, because there is no feasible way that the greatness of the original could ever be matched (as in, you better be damned good if you’re gonna touch the Rolling Stones’ back catalogue, though the Concretes did a hauntingly lovely version of “Miss You” a few years back). Occasionally, I think bands will better the original. I feel this way about the Smashing Pumpkins version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” for example, though I know that’s definitely not a popular opinion.

But I have digressed. Back to the Saints & Lovers/Joy Division matter at hand. I must admit, I was hesitant to give the song a chance. Because I don’t care who you are, you’re never going to do it like Joy Division. You will never have the wounded, raw quality that Ian Curtis brought to the song, nor will you be able to replicate those drums pounded so hard they would have cried out in pain, if drums could feel. That being said, I have to say Saints & Lovers did a pretty good job. The trio manage to stay true to the feel of the original without aping the Joy Division sound, instead relying on their nouveau shoegaze vibe to see them through. They extended the song quite a bit, it clocks in at just under eight minutes. The intro reminds me a bit of the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club song “Salvation,” but then it kicks into gear and becomes more recognizable. And all in all, it’s not too shabby. It doesn’t give me chills the way the original has been known to, but it’s got a certain something about it. Definitely worth a listen or several.


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