"Covergirl" (Album, 1999) (Jared Louche and the Aliens)
Louche by name, louche by nature? Well, not quite. Although the former Chemlab frontman might not be the ideal first choice for a girl to take home to meet mother, he's far too entertaining to be entirely disreputable. Recently relocated to the UK, and doing the rounds as much on the spoken word/poetry circuit as dingy underground band venues, Louche's last album before he left the States is a constantly surprising, eclectic selection of cover versions.
Covergirl takes in all genres, from Frank Sinatra's Summer Wind to Air's Sexy Boy. It flirts brilliantly with Roxy Music's In Every Dreamhome a Heartache, twisting it into an incredible trip hip lament. There's even an impressive take on Poptones from PIL's classic Metal Box album. To those who know Jared Louche only as the former singer of crossover terrorists Chemlab, the quantum leap to Frank Sinatra may be a little perplexing. Yet, taking Louche without his industrial baggage, he's the perfect modern alternative counterpart. He's a crooner, a showman and has charisma aplenty, but in place of the well-tailored suits, he wears the tight jeans and leather jackets of the archetypal rock 'n' roller. His willowy frame, cowboy hat, gaunt appearance and chain smoking habit are simultaneously genuine and contrived. Louche is the real thing. He has been to most places and done most things, but he never over plays it. Instead, he adds it to his stage persona giving Louche that extra, believable depth of character that emanates all the way from the bottom of his gravelly, Leonard Cohen-like drawl.
Like the finest cover versions, especially those you hear when you're oblivious to the originals, this collection delivers songs that you'd swear were written by Louche, and some of these are pretty extreme reworkings; no easy options were taken during the recording of this album, these are radical mutations. Tempos are altered, meanings are twisted, moods are transformed and new works of art are created in the process. If twenty plus years on the road in American has culminated in Covergirl, I can't imagine what life as an 'Englishman' will produce - but I look forward to hearing it. 7/10
Official Jared Louche website: http://www.jaredlouche.com