SIX PAX - Thank You For These Songs!

Six Pax - Thank You For These Songs!

17 songs
59:15 minutes
***** *


Cover bands are a national institution in Luxembourg, and week after week they draw crowds the punk community can only be jealous of. That' s why it's probably not a surprise that we have our first punk cover band now! But did they have to release a CD so early on?

Principally I am a huge fan of well done cover versions, but enjoy them best in the context of a band's original material or when there is a concept behind them. Six Pax got the idea to make a cover band from Me First And The Gimme Gimme's, the undisputed kings of cover punk, but where Me First always restrict their albums to one single concept (only movie songs, sixties pop,...) and rarely cross the thirty minute limit, Six Pax offer sixteen cover versions who only have in common that they are from the 50s to the 90s, thus fit to be played on the RTL Oldie station.

Technically there is not much to lament about. Except for Gilbert's vocals who sounds best when he's singer the faster songs but comes across a bit fragile during the more melodic moments, Six Pax really are top notch performers. Again nothing to be surprised about, as the band members are or were active in Toxkäpp, Lecter MD, Rise Up, Broken Stars, Petrograd, Skol, Boltrope, Skinflicks, d'Rotzbouwen,... and the list goes on. Six Pax also take care not to make carbon copies of the songs they play, so you het the Beatles' Hey Jude with a outro borrowed from a Roxette song, and that's really funny. Also the Intro which mocks TV themes from a time when we were still young (Capitaine Flam, Magnum P.I., Benny Hill) is a refreshing take on the idea of what a cover version should be like, and I love especially the double kazoo solo at the end of the track. The first two regular songs are also winners, with the George Harrison penned Here Comes The Sun showing Six Pax at ease with easy going pop music, and the lesser known Fleetwood Mac song Go Your Own Way sounds as if it was meant to be a punk rock song. From here on, unfortunately, the fun gives way to routine. Elvis songs never really bothered me, and there are two on the album. The Temptations' My Girl is nice but doesn't really surprise. The late Frank Zappa's Bobby Brown plays with tongue-in-cheek gay clichés, but was more humorous in the original version. Stand By Me (Ben E. King) and Beds Are Burning (Midnight Oil) are in their original form already so annoying that no cover version can save them. Hey Jude, as mentioned before, works again very well, but then Beatles song are generous material to play with. Misirlou (Dick Dale) features Patrick Kleinbauer on guitar, making the whole thing sound as covered by S.M.U.S. Tears For Fears' Shout is again an originally annoying and now unsavable track. There She Goes was already a big hit when covered by the sectarian Sixpence None The Richer and still works out alright. Abba's Mamma Mia is also ok, but the too often covered These Boots Are Made For Walking (Nancy Sinatra) makes you wait desperately for the last official cover version: Mike Oldfield's Moonlight Shadow is another winner! A broken attempt at a Bonnie Tyler song makes you wish they made it right, and then there's some more talk and jokes before after a small hour the CD is over.

I bet Six Pax are a great and entertaining live band, and maybe they should have made this therefore a live album. This debut album has a good half dozen enlightening cover versions. Six Pax try hard to add an ironic distance to their music, they even provide atypical punk instruments like kazoos and a brass section, but over the course of an entire hour, they do not always manage and risk falling into the same traps like regular cover bands. Next time a shorter album with a purpose would make it much more interesting.

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