Chuck Ragan / The Loved Ones - Give and Take [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Chuck Ragan / The Loved Ones

Give and Take [7 inch] (2008)

Ten Four

The concept of bands covering each other's songs on split releases may be nothing new, but the novelty of hearing it has yet to wear off, especially when the bands doing the covering don't really sound alike; the bands are often able to bring a fresh perspective and perhaps even breathe new life into these songs by flipping them on their heads and taking them in completely different musical directions. Chuck Ragan and the Loved Ones teamed up for the Give and Take split 7" and both offer enjoyable renditions of one of each other's songs that keep the messages of the songs intact while conveying them in extremely different ways.

Ragan tackles the opening track from the Loved Ones' fantastic Build & Burn, "Pretty Good Year." While some might think "Brittle Heart," "3rd Shift" or even "Louisiana" would have been better choices for him to cover, those songs are much more in line with Ragan's approach with his original material and likely would have made for less interesting, by-the-numbers covers. Hearing Ragan take on the fastest, most punked-up track from Build & Burn and transforming it into a powerful, mid-tempo folk ballad gives the song an added sense of gravitas. A tambourine helps to keep time, and some well-placed slide guitar and background "ooh"s in the chorus give the song depth.

The Loved Ones take on "For Broken Ears" for their side of the record and it's immediately apparent that Dave Hause is trying to ape Chuck Ragan's singing style, either consciously or unconsciously. The band utilizes both an organ and a horn section in their version (in place of Ragan's harmonica in the original) with surprisingly positive results, and once the song kicks into full gear about a minute in they sound fully at home, making the song their own. The drumming here by Mike Sneeringer is also especially impressive, and that added energy helps to mold "For Broken Ears" into something that would've sounded at home on Build & Burn.

Give and Take is a real treat for fans of either Chuck Ragan or the Loved Ones, and a neat collectors' item for all the vinyl nerds out there. Both acts brought their usual 'A' game and it certainly shows in the finished product.