I’m sneaking this EP review into our Classic Covers section as it consists of three covers (plus an instrumental version of one of them) and I wanted to add it to both of our playlists. Plus, I’m the boss so I can do stuff like that.
Vonavibe are based in Greece with Canadian infiltration, and they’ve been around since 2016. They rode out the lockdown with their singer in a wheelchair after he was hit by a car and hopefully the release of Locked Up coincides with him being back on his feet again. With plans to release a full album early in 2022, Locked Up is a stopgap to keep their fans happy in the meantime. It’s a small collection, but a good one, and gives a good idea of the band’s sound.
The three tracks they’ve picked are Tears For Fears’ “Mad World”, Linkin Park’s “Bleed It Out” and “Blinding Lights” from The Weeknd (who I’d never heard of until I saw / listened to this song).
“Mad World” has been covered so many times before to the point where the original feels too fast, almost like Curt Smith is in a hurry to get it done. Blame this on Gary Jules super version which pulls the melancholy vocals from the original and gives them the downbeat tone they deserve. This is the version that Vonavibe have gone with. Up to the three minute mark, it’s close enough to Jules’ rendering to be a decent cover but nothing special. And then they add their own special sauce and ramp it up. You know that bit in “Sound of Silence” where Disturbed kick it up the arse? This is what Vonavibe do here, and it really works. Just as you’re thinking “this is OK, I guess…” – boom.
“Bleed It Out” is an angry track, and I believe the first from Linkin Park to have sweary words in it (a fact they even reference in the lyrics). Vonavibe’s version is more stripped back than the original, lacking the production frills of the original and focussing on a more lean, traditional hard rock / metal sound. It works, and it works well, though it’s not got the “wow” factor of “Mad World”.
The final track, I had to look up as this wasn’t a song or artist I’m familiar with. The original definitely has an 80s vibe to it so I can see why Vonavibe have plucked it out, and they’ve really gone to town with rocking it up. It’s probably the one of the three which differs the most from the original (or “obviously the one they’ve based it on” as far as “Mad World” is concerned) in terms of them putting their stamp on it. It really hammers once it gets going and doesn’t let up. I actually quite enjoyed Mr Weeknd’s version, but this is way better.
Filling up the spare space is an instrumental version of “Mad World” which is fine, but the vocals are a major part of the track. I’d have loved another full song on here, but beggars can’t be choosers.
A cracking little covers collection, and a nice stocking filler until the album arrives next year.
Locked Up is out now