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Down The Shops – Even (Cheersquad Records and Tapes)
Even’s newest release, “Down The Shops” is a collection of covers recorded and released between 1996 and 2019.
Many appeared on Even‘s CD and vinyl singles and others are better known from tribute albums. The songs are a mixture of studio recordings and live performances.
While the selection of songs points to obvious influences- Kinks, Beatles, Yardbirds, Master’s Apprentices - it also encompasses less obvious sources such as the MC5 and the Sex Pistols.
Australian bands are included, of course, mostly from tribute albums: The Stems, Hoodoo Gurus, Sunnyboys and, less obviously, The Meanies.
Indeed, the version of The Meanies’ song “ The Reasons Why” is a highlight of the album for me as it was a song I had never heard before, and Even’s reading finds the pop beneath the punk.
The other song I wasn’t familiar with is “True”, written by Mandy Barron and recorded by Even for the “Black Umbrella” CD single. Wally Kempton takes vocal duties here and does a great job. Again, this is a highlight as it is quite different in structure and style to the other songs on the album.
So, is this album one for the fans and completists? No doubt but also it is likely many of those would have a fair amount of these recordings already. For me, it shows the influences that have helped shape the Even sound and the progression of the band over a period of 20 + years.
Rock and Roll Save My Life!