Friday, July 10, 2009

Pajo - Scream With Me

Former Zwan member records a full length album of unplugged Misfits covers. And that's it. Always slow, always gentle acoustic fingerpicking, always vocals done in a near whisper. Over in 25 minutes. A no bullshit description of a no bullshit recording.

Because we're dealing with the songbook of what is surely one of the ten or so greatest pop/rock oriented acts of all time, of course these melodies are going to be a bit of a challenge to sabotage completely. Even when clouded in a stubbornly consistent mood that remains unshakable throughout the album's duration, the timeless brilliance of "Hybrid Moments," "Teenagers From Mars," and "Where Eagles Dare" never ceases to shine through in all its aurally pornographic glory.

The "substance" part of the equation is so strong that it keeps Pajo from wandering too far up the ass of the "style" part, to the point where there's just nothing bad a person can really say about a release like this. Certainly the arrangements found in these interpretations could not be much more radically different sounding when compared with their source material, yet how likely would it be for a full-on compositional reconstruction of these songs to not suck ass? There's no need for Pajo to go all Mark Kozelek on us here. Scream With Me is a celebration of the Misfits' knack for tunefulness, for which the group's original lineup remains the finest in the whole pop-punk business. To alter that aspect of the songs would be eschewing their most noteworthy attributes.

Yes, "a no bullshit recording," indeed. Straightforwardness is key here. In his fingerpicking patterns, Pajo is going for something a tad more unassuming than Bert Jansch or the aforementioned Mark Kozelek. Arranged and laid down to tape on a whim? Perhaps. But lovingly so. That "alone in a bedroom with a 4 track at 3 A.M. trying not to wake the neighbors" vibe is in full swing, tape hiss and all. This shit is so scaled down that it makes Weed Forestin sound like Sandinista!, so surprisingly infectious once you get past the crude presentation that it makes Blue Corpse sound like White Box Requiem, and so refusing to show any musical variation whatsoever that it makes White Box Requiem sound like Blue Corpse.

Every song selected is a classic of the highest order, no question there. More than half the tracks are A+ highlights pulled from the undeniable Static Age release, after all. However, is a little something from Earth A.D. too much to ask? Not saying that this should be any longer or that I personally feel the need to replace any one of these perfectly acceptable cover versions, but could he have at least thrown in that album's poppiest, most coverable (in this context) track? "Bloodfeast"? The str8est of str8 bangers?

Guess I'll hold out for the outtakes EP. Maybe we'll be treated to some Famous Monsters jams (just kidding, man, what a crazy thing to say but I said it anyway.)

Rating: Very, very enjoyable. IMHO.

Download Link: "Hybrid Moments"... I lied, there are some slight yet fairly obvious melodic alterations made here. He's such a cutie, though.

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