I’m always a bit suspicious of covers, especially of such iconic songs as this. After all, is there anything to be gained by offering a new take on such songs? There is certainly a lot to lose. For every Jeff Buckley majestically owning Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, you have hundreds of Guns ‘n’ Roses desecrating the honour of Dylan’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door. For every Kirsty MacColl’s sublime pop take on Billy Bragg’s A New England, there are numerous Fall Out Boy’s murdering Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart.
So what is the knack of revisiting such hallowed sonic territory and producing something that works? Well, you could ask Ferris Durden because their take on this Beatles’ While My Guitar Gently Weeps is the perfect blend of freshness and familiarity. This version deftly takes in the nuances and subtleties of the original whilst giving it a slightly rockier sheen, but not so much that it ever feels like they aren’t aware that they are working with a bonafide musical treasure. And, if the original is draped in haze and harmony, they opt more for power and poignancy; if the original is emotive, this is passionate.
Of course, what helps is the skill of the players involved, walking into the territory of late sixties Beatles and Eric Clapton solos is not something one does unless fully armed with the right musical prowess. Paul Wesley delivers the lyrics with a similar delicacy as the Harrison original and S J Warman’s guitar work is spot on considering that he was covering the same ground covered by three of the world’s finest musicians, namely Harrison’s acoustic, Lennon’s tremolo-infused eclectic and Clapton’s now-infamous lead breaks.
Covering such a song is a brave move, and ending up with a version that feels both faithful and yet adds some new spice to its sonic story is quite an achievement. Quite an achievement indeed.
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