I stumbled over the band Young Statues on aÂ jaunt through Bandcamp’s archives forÂ music related to The Magnetic Fields,Â asÂ their EP of cover songsÂ -Â descriptively entitled CoversÂ – features aÂ version ofÂ “California Girls”.Â And a pretty a good version!Â In my opinion, better than the original.
While a greatÂ little song, I find The Magnetic Fields‘ original version nearly unlistenable due to the song’s ending, where theyÂ repeat the end chorus line (“They will hear me say, as the pavement whirlsÂ / I hate California girls”) for one entire minute. While I’ll be enjoying the songÂ up until that point, the ending always leaves me groaning.Â Young Statues onlyÂ say the end line twice,Â wrapping the song neatly up at the two minute markÂ -Â not overstayingÂ its welcome byÂ adding an additional minute, like the original. As they say, leave your audience wanting more.
Other than being nice enough to not drag on at the end like the original version, the arrangement and theÂ performance are really lovely. Relaxed and stripped down, with some light background guitar reverb (or at least I think that’s what it is) giving a polite nod toÂ the distorted sound of the original.
The only other song on the Covers EP I’m familiar with is the cover of Billy Bragg’s “A New England”. While notÂ a bad cover, I’mÂ far less enthused withÂ it. Rather than going theirÂ own way, they practically recreate the 1991 session version with Kirsty MacCollÂ (which you can hear here), complete with getting a female guest vocalist. So I don’t feel I have a very good reason toÂ opt for their versionÂ rather than the original sessionÂ version. The other twoÂ songs on the EP are both fine, but neither really grabbed me. Perhaps if I were familiar with the originals.
Anyway, my featured songÂ is, of course, their cover of “California Girls”.
As for the band itself and their original music, they seem to be riding the line between indie rock, and more standardÂ American teenage radio rock. I love the vocals, and the melodies aren’t bad, but theirÂ arrangements can get a bit too dull and repetitive, with the blaring electric guitars and drums. They definitely have potentialÂ and some decent songs under their belt. I just hope they experiment a bit more, and perhaps start leaning more towards indie than radioÂ in the future.