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Tanya Donelly and the Parkington Sisters - Tanya Donelly and the Parkington Sisters

  by Adrian P

published: 6 / 10 / 2020

Tanya Donelly and the Parkington Sisters - Tanya Donelly and the Parkington Sisters
Label: American Laundromat
Format: CD


Tanya Donelly teams up with The Parkington Sisters for a homespun yet well-crafted covers collection

In a recent interview for Uncut magazine, Tanya Donelly confessed to an initial reluctance to pursue her “first premeditated covers project” album. This was somewhat surprising, given that Belly’s bounteous B-sides were once laden with imaginative extractions from the songbooks of Jimi Hendrix, Tom Jones, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Harry Nilsson. Moreover, her more recent Bandcamp-only solo-traded retakes of material by onetime peers Buffalo Tom and Madder Rose as well as Mama Cass and Yazoo - recorded after but released before this new LP - have confirmed a strong knack for cutting fond, fun and finessed cover versions. That said, rewiring other non-originals here and there, free from the pressure of making an album-sized showcase, can produce a different set of results compared to tackling a set en masse, something that Donelly appears shrewdly conscious about with this full collection of other people’s songs. In seeking a more holistic standalone approach, in-part to seemingly avoid accusations of this being a throwaway or indulgent endeavour, we find instrumental and backing vocal duties given over to the sibling quartet of The Parkington Sisters (in turn bolstered by guitarist/bassist Jon Evans and drummer Matthias Bossi) to free-up Donelly to concentrate on delivering radiant vocal performances. Although disappointingly, there are no crate-digging radical choices in terms of the composition-picking process, it’s hard not to be charmed by this extended-family assembled affair, which crucially doesn’t overstay its welcome, with nine songs spread across just half an hour. Whilst the world didn’t necessarily need further versions of Michael Nesmith’s ‘Different Drum’, Leonard Cohen’s ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’ and The Kinks’ ‘Days’, their gorgeous rearrangements here, in the baroque-chamber-pop settings that dominant the record, are both balmy and rousing enough to warrant their umpteenth reworkings. With such recognisable standards providing anchoring, the remainder of the collection zooms in on slightly lesser-known cuts from still famous artists, with equally strong remouldings. This leads us to a wonderfully slow-prowling through The Go-Go’s ‘Automatic’, a twangier reappraisal of The Pretenders’ jangling ‘Kid’, a swooning re-swoop through Wings’ jammy ‘Let Me Roll It’, a serenely sensual re-reading of Echo & The Bunnymen’s ‘Ocean Rain’, a calming pizzicato rendering of Split Enz’s ‘Devil You Know’ and a hushed ensemble-vocal-led reawakening of Mary Margaret O’Hara’s ‘You Will Be Loved Again’. Though at times this eponymous conjoining of Tanya Donelly and The Parkington Sisters does occasionally stray a tad close to being too over-tasteful and could indeed have benefitted from a few more radical selections of material, it possesses nostalgic yet fresh warmth that celebrates the talents of all those involved.

Track Listing:-
1 Automatic
2 Dance Me to the End of Love
3 Days
4 Ocean Rain
5 Let Me Roll It
6 Kid
7 Different Drum
8 Devil You Know
9 You Will Be Loved Again

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