The buggers are back… With another tour just about to kick off, Tragedy return to decimate your eardrums with another bunch of classics-turned-metal, and this time even the album title is a homage to classic 1970s literature. As is the rather disturbing internal artwork. Ugh.
If you know Tragedy, you know what to expect and this is as good a collection as they’ve ever done. As with 2015’s The Solo Albums, they’ve strayed a bit from their original remit of Bee Gees/70s/disco numbers and included a Prince track, and one originally by Rick Astley.
The lead single from the album (discounting “Dear Santa…” that was released as a Christmas promo) is the updated “Stayin’ Alive”, which seems an odd choice given that it’s a reworking of one they’ve already done. The production is definitely better than 2008’s version from We Rock Sweet Balls… but I’d have preferred another original cover (if that’s not an oxymoron) as otherwise it’s very similar.
Some tracks do work better than others, but they’re all given the Tragedy treatment with wailing guitars and crunchy riffs and the occasional “Hey, wait a minute – wasn’t that…” flurry of notes from other songs chucked in. For example some chugging that sounds very much like Heart’s “Barracuda” hidden away in the intro to “Funkytown”, and some Slayer opening “Never Gonna Give You Up”.
The latter track, once it gets going, is a little too close to the original during the chorus but has a great bridge section two thirds of the way through. Highlights this time around are “Funkytown”, “Maneater” and “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”, though that’s probably as I like the originals. Such is the way of doing covers.
Special mention must be given to “Little Red Corvette”, though. It’s this album’s ballad when it kicks off, then builds into an absolute rocker. Essentially it follows the flow of the original, but gentler at the start and harder at the end – pushing the extremes. I don’t know what the Purple One thought of people covering his work, but this one’s been done really well and certainly doesn’t besmirch the 1982 classic.
Like Hayseed Dixie, you know what you’re going to get with Tragedy – and you know you won’t be disappointed. You also know you’ll get a belting live show and you can enjoy Tragedy across the UK on the previously announced dates (fully updated) where they’ll undoubtedly be playing some of the new stuff. With any luck, they’ll have managed to lose that dick Lance at an airport somewhere as well.
The Joy of Sex is out on February 24th