After a critically-acclaimed debut album on Tooth & Nail and last year's equally-as-successful follow-up Anorak, Ruth is adding a five-song covers EP to their discography as well. The band has chosen five songs from their favorite (and most influential) artists, and put the Ruth touch on them. The result is what you get on The Covers EP. The artists they've chosen range from old school, like Buddy Holly, to new school like Coldplay, creating what would seem like a rather diverse mixture. But for anyone who enjoys the sounds of Ruth, you can rest assured that it doesn't stray from their normal sound at all.
Up first is an oldie, "Everyday," originally by the late Buddy Holly. What was once a lullaby-ish tune is now given a more upbeat update, complete with hand claps and an acoustic guitar. It's also a good forty seconds shorter than the original. This Covers EP seems to be starting off on a good note. "Dream Dream," made famous by The Everly Brothers, is given the same treatment as "Everyday," with a more upbeat feel than the original (and, in my opinion, a much-needed vamping up from the original). The Everly Brothers' composition was popular in their day, but if Ruth had merely copied the sound, instead of making it their own, the outdated feel of it would be doomed from the start in the year 2009. Ruth then gives their take on Mr. Big's ballad "I'm The One Who Wants To Be With You." The cover version doesn't differ from the original as much as the previous song, but oddly enough does almost resemble Weezer at one point, and Anberlin in the second verse. The vocals do strain a little bit in the chorus when he says, "Deep inside I hope you feel it too," but the rest comes out fairly well. The next cover is of Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason." As somewhat of an unappealing song in the first place, and after the first three covers on this EP, it was expected to have been given a changing for the better. Unfortunately, it may have gone from unappealing to more unappealing, creating a desire for the original. And, sadly, the same can be said for the final track - and the EP's single - "Fix You." Originally by Coldplay, one might expect it to be a good choice for Ruth. And actually, it may have been a good selection for them, but the outcome wasn't quite what I expected. What was originally a soft and somber song written as a condolence for the singer's wife (whose dad had passed away shortly before) is once again turned into a more upbeat song. While the cover by itself doesn't necessarily carry a bad sound, it's a little unsettling to hear "Fix You" played the way Ruth does it.
Cover songs can be tough. A band can do a cover in their own style, or keep it as close to the original as possible, but either way they do it, if it's not done well, it's not good news for your band (Big & Rich covering the Beastie Boys' "Fight For Your Right"? Come on!). And some Christian bands have even gotten their first taste of mainstream exposure with cover songs (like Anberlin, Noise Ratchet and Further Seems Forever through the Punk Goes... compilation series). I don't think any of the songs on The Covers EP are great enough to garner any major attention for Ruth, but then again that probably wasn't even their mission with this EP. And in the end, it's fun and a decent tribute to a few good songs and artists.- Review date: 8/22/09, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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