After album ‘VII: Född Förlorare,’ which had a cover song by Landberk on it Shining released a single for Förtvivlan, Min Arvedel with another cover of Alice Cooper’s ‘Prince Of Darkness’. Obviously caught by the covers bug, now we have an EP from the Swedes with no less than four more songs by other artists on it.
As far as the first track is concerned it is probably well known by most of you but the others are all far more obscure and are all artists that may not have been heard by many outside their country of original release. Having said that as they all appear to have been published there originally by the likes of EMI and Universal they were no doubt quite well known at home.
First we have Katatonia ‘For My Demons’ which appeared as the opening cut on the excellent 1999 album ‘Tonight’s Decision.’ Not many could manage to pack it with the heartfelt emotion of the original but Shining are not any old band and Kvarforth is not any old singer. His natural sounding vocals work magic and he sings somewhat gorgeously in a clean fashion and keeps things completely on course and true to the original, do not go expecting any death grunts. Witt’s drumming falls with precision over the back of the number and the twin guitar harmonics from Niklas and Huss perfect things with consummate ease making this virtually as perfect as the original. You even think as it finishes that it is going to be followed by ‘I Am Nothing.’
Unfortunately it isn’t.
Now I can see the appeal of tackling what is no doubt a massive commercial hit in Sweden but Kent song ‘Utan Dina Andetag’ is a painful listen as far as I am concerned. This is a Eurovision sounding song that you could well imagine going into the competition, winning through the rounds and getting quite a lot of points. Looking for info I see they are classed as an alt-rock band and this must be one of their ballads. It is cheesy as hell even if it is sung with emotion and the guitars are ‘nice,’ it’s far too sweet and icky for me. Next we have ‘Kung Av Jidder’ from Imperiet who it would appear were an 80s Swedish rock band and very influential on the new wave scene at the time. I can see that from this song as it has that 80s stadium anthem rock vibe about it that reminds a bit of Brit bands such as Simple Minds. The vocals are delivered in a lower range and are nice and expressive and even though it is sung in Swedish it is an incredibly catchy number. Finishing off we have a band who I have at least heard of somewhere down the line Poets of the Fall from Finland (obviously Shining decided against making it an all Swede affair) whose ‘Carnival Of Rust’ gets the cover treatment. This was the title of a number one album in its home country and starts in a fragile fashion with acoustic guitar and vocals. Again it is incredibly emotive and when the drums and the guitars and bass come in properly it is evident that this is a song that is excellently composed and one that is deserving of its mass popularity. Again not having heard the original I cannot say how closely Shining have stuck to the original but I would imagine that it is pretty much note for note.
So in a way this EP is a brave move but then again it shows a band doing what they want to do! The Katatonia cover was one that will no doubt be well liked by the group’s fanbase the others will either open or close minds. I enjoyed three of the numbers but will be happy to never hear Kent again, so as far as I’m concerned it’s a case of can’t quite win em all. Now what about album VIII?
(6/10 Pete Woods)