Kepi and Friends – Full Moon Forever LP
(Pirates Press Records)
After having already reviewed Kepi Ghoulie’s “other” album released this year (the Ramones In Love LP), I can say with regret that I approached Ghoulie’s output this annum in the wrong order. Full Moon Forever is a really good album which features covers of songs by bands like The Cure, Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, The Cars and the Jesus and Mary Chain among others, and nothing on it lags hard enough to get boring – all of which are not claims that Ramones In Love can make; and so that makes this album superior. Ramones In Love just feels like a “we could so we did” affair, and only a shadow of its counterpart, here.
The A-side of Full Moon Forever opens with the largest and most ambitious cover the band could manage (and anyone could possibly imagine), David Bowie’s “Heroes.” That first cover is a genuine surprise (both in construct and execution) too; opening with almost harmonic peals of feedback, the cut quickly finds its rhythm (which plays a little faster than the auteur’s original version of the song) and seeks to simultaneously give tribute to both the song and its authorin addition to stamping it with Ghoulie’s own style. Some purists may try to balk at the fact that Ghoulie’s impressions of “Heroes” rob the song of its inherent regretful tone (because it plays too fast) as well as the incredible palette of emotions with which Bowie imbued the song (the vocal performance here features a fraction of the emotion that Bowie’s original featured) but, even so, listeners will already be hooked to hear what more the album might offer by song’s end. True, this version of “Heroes” is not as good as Bowie’s – but it features more than enough bait to get listeners to keep following along.
…And does the pattern of emotional robbery ever continue immediately, after “Heroes” sets the precedent for this album. Many listeners will recoil in revulsion at a cover of The Cure’s “The Perfect Girl” which completely strips the song of its senses of loss and regret before installing which sounds like it could have been played by The Senders or The Heartbreakers in all the wrong ways, in its place. The album does manage to recover from that misstep with its version of Iggy Pop’s “Take Care Of Me” and then manages to to surpass the quality of some of the original versions with Ghoulie’s covers of The Dead Boys’ “Don’t Worry Children” and “Catch” by The Cure before closing out the proceedings strongly with a cover of T. Rex’s “Cosmic Dancer,” which makes the most of the song’s examinations of loss without sinking too deeply into the sense of self-indulgence which ruined the original version of the song.
…And then the needle lifts again from the record after “Cosmic Dancer.” Examining the tenor of how this review makes its way along, readers might be confused whether this album is any good because my review of it seems so imbalanced. I can definitely say that there are some good covers on Full Moon Forever and that they are definitely worth checking out – the problem is just that the pacing of the album feels awkward and the weaker covers appear in the worst possible places in the album’s running. Simply Said, Full Moon Forever makes listeners work harder than some might contend is reasonable in a set of cover songs. [Bill Adams]
Full Moon Forever is out now. Buy it here, directly from Pirates Press Records.