I only have a little bit before I need to head out to my show of choice tonight but that’s not going to stop me from filling this little gap in my day with something productive. Productivity comes in the name of ‘Cover and Concepts’ from Rye Catchers. I was warned, when pitched this album, that this might be the only album where RATT and Cole Porter fit together so to say I was intrigued and ready to dig into this would be an understatement.
The album kicks off with the original track, “Creeping On Me”. This opener does a great job of laying out this band’s unique and amazing style. It has an almost 80s vibe to it with the heavy synth sound but, at the same time, there’s something fresh about it. Maybe that’s just because I really don’t spend too much time digging into 80s music but, regardless, it caught me. Another thing that caught me with “Creeping On Me” was the power that comes through this track without the song ever feeling over powerful or anything like that. All of the layers come with their own brand of power and intensity with the vocals being in the spotlight the majority of the time yet the balance between all said parts throughout this song is perfect.
As “Stupider” took over my house, I realized that this 80s power-pop vibe is just the style of this band and I was here for it. This is another anthemic and powerful track that comes complete with horn embellishments that absolutely add that little chutzpah that I was looking for. This song was made for a rom-com from the 80’s. It has this distinct “ending credits” vibe to it with how triumphant it is and just the overall bounciness of the track. This is a fun listen and was definitely a favorite of mine on this album.
“Nothing You Say”, the third track on this album is a cover of a song from Paul Kneevers. Paul is a local recording studio owner in Milwaukee, WI and, after hearing this track, I know I’m going to have to go down the rabbithole that is Paul Kneevers. Vocalist Nikki Simmons really hits all of the right notes when it comes to this song but, on top of that, there’s a very dancey and infectious beat behind this song that instantly had me hooked. Although it definitely feels a bit more dated than some of the other tracks thus far, I attribute that to just the overall 80s vibe and feel like “dated” isn’t meant in a bad way here.
We go back to an original piece with the fourth song, “5G” but we get to see a whole new side of Rye Catchers on this track. Things calm down ever so slightly. Don’t get me wrong, there is still an undeniable sense of energy throughout this track but it’s just a bit more low-key than the previous songs. It didn’t take me long to catch on that some of the lyrics in “5G” were the same as “Stupider”. This is where the ‘concepts’ part of the album title come in and it is genius. “5G” is a reimagined version of “Stupider” which had me so excited. I loved how this showed the amount of creativity behind this band and Rye Catchers songwriter and producer David McClintick Roberts.
As the fifth song rolled around, the RATT reference from the pitch email made sense. This fifth track is an amazing cover of RATT’s hit song “Round and Round”. The cover definitely gives you the 80’s hair metal vibes that you would expect from RATT but there’s something a bit more theatrical and cinematic with what Rye Catchers did with this track. There’s still the power and the ballad-like energy that came with the original but, if I’m being honest, I love the creativity put into this cover and think that it may rival the original for being the better of the two tracks.
“Bite the Worm” is another original song from Rye Catchers but it almost feels like a cover with how different it feels from the other originals that have played thus far. Dazzling guitarwork takes the stage for this one from JP Mourao (Selena Gomez, Snoop Dogg). That matched with brilliant bass lines from Isaias Elpes (Gloria Estefan, Dave Grusin) give this song a new sense of life. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still this powerful 80s stream that runs through this track but having these two legendary Latin performers on the track gives “Bite the Worm” a flare that I wasn’t quite expecting.
Rye Catchers goes back to covers for “Captain of Her Heart” originally by Double. This track shows the delicacy that this band is able to do and I feel like nothing shows this more than the shift in the vocals. Instead of being powerful and triumphant, the vocals have a more tender and almost airy quality to them. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still this fire behind every note and word in this song but, overall, I just found this to be a bit more laid back and almost mature when compared to some of the other tracks on the album.
Before the final two tracks on ‘Covers and Concepts’ is “Interlude”. At only a minute and ten seconds, this is the shortest track on the album which makes sense being that this is the “Interlude”. That being said, this little track can not be ignored. Echoed vocals with electronic music happening off in the distance make this an ear-catching and lush transition into the final two tracks of the album.
Instead of ending the album with two back-to-back bangers, Rye Catchers continues to focus on more of the tender side of the band with “Always the Same”. Again, I was just completely struck by the vocals throughout this song. The vocalist has this way of taking her time with the words that deserve time while rushing through others that do not hold the same amount of weight. It’s a subtle thing but something that stood out to me throughout this album and I feel like I heard this element a bit clearer during this song.
Rounding out this amazing ten-song album is “Night and Day”. This is a jazzy little number which completely shifts the game. The vocals are sultry and smoky creating a perfectly atmospheric song that will have you with your head lost in the clouds almost instantly. There’s something chill a la KT Tunstall in this song but also something that ends the journey that is ‘Covers and Concepts’ absolutely perfectly. It’s as if Rye Catchers are trying to ease you back into the real world after this rollercoaster ride without a shock to the system.
All in all, I found ‘Covers and Concepts’ from Rye Catchers to be all over the place stylistically but so full of heart and power. Every song brought something new to the table which kept the listening super fun and kept me captivated throughout.
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