Cheap Girls / Noise by Numbers - Under the Influence Vol. 15 [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Cheap Girls / Noise by Numbers

Under the Influence Vol. 15 [7-inch] (2011)

Suburban Home

I don't feel like the cover gets enough credit in today's rock ‘n' roll landscape, often being relegated to B-sides or collections that seem thrown away from their inception. Somewhere along the way the practice of the cover song became bullshit filler and I can't for the life of me figure out why. You see, there is a long tradition of bands making up much of their repertoire covers and devoting precious LP space to such endeavours. I think this is because when done right, there is nothing quite like breathing new life into an old favourite or shedding light on an otherwise lost gem. That is why I can really dig on Suburban Home's Under the Influence singles series, really giving the spotlight to the cover. In Cheap Girls and Noise by Numbers' 15th (!) installment of the series, each band takes to task a song off of what can arguably be considered *modern classics." At the very least, what we have here is competent and respectful, and at most we get a reinvigorating experience.

Cheap Girls chooses to cover "My Wandering Days Are Over", which originally appeared on Belle & Sebastian's debut album, Tigermilk. Now, I think Belle & Sebastian are a great band, don't get it twisted, but sometimes when I listen to them I can't help but think of high tea at grandma's house and people that are afraid to hug. Cheap Girls' version does retain a lot of the core that made the original great: a fantastic sense of melody, good vocal interplay and some tasteful organ bringing up the rear. Yet there is a considerable guitar crunch added, a driving drum beat and a removal of the string and horn parts that didn't really add much to the whole jam-out-with-your-clam-out approach. Instead of the crescendo at the end of the song with the aforementioned keys, horns and random percussion, Cheap Girls go for a guitar workout that would make J Mascis proud, and some spacey vocal effects that are so much better. I'm not sure I've ever let loose so much listening to a Belle & Sebastian song and I'm not sure I will again.

Noise by Numbers' cover of the Jesus and Mary Chain's "Betweenn Planets" is a lovely marriage between garage and surf pop...much like the original. Not much to say about it, really–it is well-executed and shows respect to the source material, but it lacks any unique charm that makes you want to listen to it alongside the original.

So yeah, if you have some (tiger)milk money laying around (holy shit I'm fucking hilarious) I suggest picking this up for the Cheap Girls side alone, and if you flip it over there is a nice song there as well.