Under Review: Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby – Two-Way Family Favourites

As the third of four prominent covers albums to come out this year, Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby’s Two-Way Family Favourites stands head and shoulders above both Nada Surf’s and The Hotrats’ collections (the forthcoming Crushes from Mates Of State may yet trump them all, but that’s another story).  Named for the British Forces Broadcasting Network’s request show, the album features dreamy takes on the couple’s most beloved artists’ songs.  Unlike The Hotrats’ Turn Ons, which too shyly ran through a dozen obvious songs, Two-Way Family Favourites features selections that range from the very familiar to the puzzlingly obscure.  In the area of the former is ABBA’s “Fernando,” which Rigby reimagines as a delicate and vulnerable ode to the adventure of the touring musician.  Another instantly recognizable moment is found in opener “Put A Little Love In Your Heart,” which is presented in a hazy swath of psychedelic swirl.  The lesser-known choices are the ones that really define Two-Way Family Favourites’ character, and show off Eric and Amy’s true musical fandom.  Tom Petty’s “Walls” gets a heavy-hearted tone and PF Sloan’s “I Get Out Of Breath” is a delicious slice of lo-fi folk pop.

Two of the set’s most unusual inclusions are “Endless Wire,” the title track from The Who’s 2006 release, and the brief “Scotland Then & Now,” which combines “Loch Lomond” with the Bay City Rollers’ “Bye Bye Baby.”  In an interview I did with Eric and Amy, Eric explained that the choice to include a recent Who track was not to trivialize Townshend’s classic material, but to simply reinterpret a beautifully composed song.  Regarding “Scotland Then & Now,” the duo recalled a road trip through Scotland where they would sing various songs to pass the time.  That’s a good representation of Two-Way Family Favourites’ overall tone: a pair of music lovers playing their favorite songs just for you.  It’s not the kind of thing that will have the widespread commercial appeal of certain other covers albums, but fellow music lovers will find that Eric and Amy’s Two-Way Family Favourites are sure to be favorites of their own.

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~ by E. on June 18, 2010.

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