Frank Turner, Jonah Matranga, 90’s covers. What could be better? Well, if Walter Schreifels had a track on this compilation, that would be something. What! He’s on here too.
Memoria: A Tribute To The Alternative 90’s is, as you might just have guessed, a compilation of 90’s alternative rock covers. Bands like Rage Against The Machine, Weezer, Pearl Jam and, of course, Nirvana are all covered here by some really great, albeit lesser known, artists. I was really surprised by how great a compilation this is actually. I’m not a fan of covers, they tend not to be as good as the original, and when you’re dealing with bands like the aforementioned you’re walking the fine line between brilliance and disaster. Thankfully, most of the tracks here fall on the better side. Some of them, not so much.
Compilations like this always make an interesting listen. In fact, being brutally honest, had it not been for the artists mentioned in my header I don’t think I would’ve given this a second look. As I said, covers really don’t appeal to me in the slightest. They have to really be good to impress me. Now, that’s not me being a super musical snob or anything, I just seem prefer the originals. In fact it’s artists like Morrissey and, the oft mentioned, Mr. Turner that showed me what a good cover can be. The artists here, for the most part, have taken beloved songs from the 1990’s and made them their own.
A lot of the artists covered in Memoria are known the world over. However, there are a few artists here that just don’t ring a bell. Take Frank Turner’s cover of Sally for example, I had never heard of Kerbdog before hearing that song and I really like it. I think that’s where the strength of this collection lies. I have too much of a connection to the better known artists and I tended to just want to listen to the original version instead of the cover. That’s not to say that the songs here are bad, on the whole each artist does a great job. I just think that the majority of listeners will still want the original.
For me the standout tracks were Sally, Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away) and When You Sleep. You see, I was drawn to the tracks covered by Schreifels, Jonah and Turner because they’re artists that I enjoy listening to, whatever they’re singing. I think that’ll be the story for the majority of people who buy this. They’ll buy it for the artists they want to hear and would do regardless of the collection.
On the whole I think Yr Letter have done a great job putting this collection together but, whilst they’re all great songs in their own right, I think a lot of people would’ve opted to pick and choose rather than get the whole thing. Still, a good tribute to great music.