Celebrating quarter-century of merriment with new takes on personal favorites, American genre-benders strut their stuff into the future.
With the rate this ensemble’s releases pop out, it’s not truly surprising the group resort to outside material from time to time, “Streets Of Gold” being the veterans’ third collection of such – and the first issued as a standalone product, with no live or archive documents attached. There’s respectful irreverence in their delivery of covers: the Detroiters don’t try to reinvent the wheel here, preferring to play it like they want and can and, thus, stamping their personality on familiar fare. Which is why, perhaps, the sextet keep close to the original sleaze on songs from artists whose names have associations with Rock City – giving a fresh glitter to ALICE COOPER’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy” where Dick Valentine’s voice and Johnny Na$hinal’s guitar shine and to KISS’ “Strutter” where Tait Nucleus? ivories shoot high – and there’s a hint at their approach in the album’s opener, “Don’t Change” from INXS’s lore, that is ironically quite different, heavier and catchier, than the piece the listeners know and love.
Still, the unpredictability of choice, by the band members and their manager, matters much on this record, and the least expected selections provide the musicians with the vastest space to roll around rollicking and frolicking. So while the rather dry “That’s Entertainment” feels justifiably removed from THE JAM’s pop-punk template, Roky Erickson’s psychedelic gem “Click Your Fingers Applauding The Play” is uncompromisingly taken to the dancefloor for Todd Glass’ cymbals and Rob Lower’s bass to spice it up, although the mighty groove that drives the rendition of James Ingram and Michael McDonald’s “Yah Mo B There” shows the same effervescent infectiousness. Of course, Valentine and Co’s reading of FLEETWOOD MAC’s “Little Lies” should seem especially irresistible, given male vocals, but the reimagining of TALKING HEADS’ “Slippery People” comes on just as mischievously.
And if LOVE’s “Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale” jives so impressively between mariachi acoustics and hard rock, and TIN MACHINE’s “Under The God” gets kicked towards technical ecstasy, the group quasi-languidly slide through PIXIES’ “Hey” only to let it burst into climactic fireworks along the way. These salvos justify the inclusion of new versions of Detroiters’ own hits “Danger! High Voltage” and “Gay Bar” on the album – and why not? It’s a sheer guilty pleasure, after all.