Reviews Cliff and Ivy American Saints

Cliff and Ivy

American Saints

Every now and then I come home from the supermarket and think to myself, while unpacking: I should not have gone there while being hungry. It is empirically proven that sending me out to get some food while being hungry is not a tried and tested, best in class inventory management solution. I think this should be recognisable for you all, am I right? This type of behaviour occasionally slips into other aspects of my life. A couple of weeks ago I was craving more death rock for example. My personal collection did not suffice any longer. I could not have picked a worse time to browse through the promo-bin, but I did. And now I have to deal with the consequences of my behaviour. Oh, will I ever learn?

Enough about me, enter Cliff and Ivy, Alaska’s goth duo. No, back to me for a small bit. This type of statement ticks all the wrong boxes. This is like saying I am my father's favorite son. Which I am, being his only son… So, Cliff and Ivy. American Saints boasts a list of guest musicians that should by them some credit. Getting Rikk Agnew to play on most songs of your record should mean something. Once I started browsing through the track list I started wondering: is this a cover cd, I know so many of those titles? Delving a wee bit deeper and checking the credits I see: this is a cover cd. This is where I started worrying a bit. Cover cd’s can work out two ways. It can be really enjoyable, or it is a complete train wreck and with every song you think: I think I prefer the original. I am afraid this album is one of the latter. 

“Raw Power” is a song that is exactly that: raw and powerful! I thought it was nigh impossible to strip that song of its power. Even the version of Guns ‘n’ Roses was acceptable, in my opinion (growing up on a steady diet of Guns ‘n’ Roses might make me biased). Cliff and Ivy manage to make this song sound tame and it shouldn’t be! In fact, I imagine Iggy at the age of 134 (that man cannot die, can he?) being more raw and powerful than this version. 

Next up is “Pissing In A River” which is a much more mellow song. This should be Ivy’s chance to shine with her vocals. Instead, this song shows how uneven her vocals are. I don’t know if it’s on purpose, but she seems unable to hold a steady note longer than two seconds. I strongly advise Ivy to stick to more upbeat songs. I am not a big fan of her voice, but she manages those faster songs just fine. The placement of this song also shows that Cliff and Ivy have something to learn about album pacing. The bit of energy their version of “Raw Power” imposed is gone after this and needs to be rebuilt.

The best two songs on this album are “Mommy, Can I Go Out And Kill Tonight?” and “Teenage Lobotomy”. You would have to put in a shitload of effort to ruin those songs. Still, I like the original songs better. Especially “Mommy, Can I Go Out And Kill Tonight?” sounds a bit weird with a modern and clear production. That early 80’s underground punk production is part of the charm of the original song. 

I have been harsh on Alaska’s goth duo and that doesn’t seem entirely fair. They do sound like they enjoy what they are doing, which should be worth something. This alone makes me feel a bit unfair, but I try to judge this record on the music and not on the intention. So, sorry, Cliff and Ivy, no matter how much you enjoyed making this record, I did not enjoy it and the score represents that. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go back to my death rock collection and try to sate my appetite for that style with those records. 

4.5 / 10Dennis
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4.5 / 10

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