The brainchild of Mel Bampton, host of radio station Triple J's breakfast show, Mel in the Morning, the cleverly titled Triple J's Like a Version is the Australian alternative to the BBC's Live Lounge and Ireland's Today FM's Even Better Than the Real Thing. Based on the concept of current chart artists performing acoustic covers of their favorite contemporary songs and modern classics, the series has spawned an impressive five-hits compilations since 2005. Like its predecessors, the sixth volume features a more indie-centric lineup than its British counterparts, with the likes of native folk-pop singer Jonathan Boulet and Brisbane rock band Yves Klein Blue joining more internationally renowned artists like Mumford and Sons and OK Go. One of the country's biggest musical exports, the Temper Trap, kick off proceedings with a campfire rendition of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark," but also have their own hit single, "Sweet Disposition," given the Like a Version treatment on an ambitious reworking by nu-soul duo Space Invadas, which unfortunately fails to capture the uplifting spirit of the original. Elsewhere, Regina Spektor performs a minimal but spell-binding piano-led interpretation of Radiohead's "No Surprises," Jen Cloher and Jordie Lane lend an enchanting folk vibe to MGMT's "Electric Feel," while Grizzly Bear turns the lo-fi electro of Hot Chip's "Boy from School" into a haunting Baroque ballad. Of course, the more interesting moments occur when artists step outside their comfort zone to produce something completely unexpected. Hip-hop outfit the Last Kinection forgets about any notion of credibility by tackling Snap's "Rhythm Is a Dancer," adding an authentic reggae and dubstep edge to the Euro-pop classic; U.K. garage rock Band of Skulls provide a timeless, bluesy retooling of Goldfrapp's electro-glam stomper "Strict Machine"; while jam band the John Butler Trio serve up an enjoyable, countrified revamp of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back." Not every rearrangement is as successful. Darren Hanlon turns Phil Oakey and Giorgio Moroder's glorious synth pop classic "Together in Electric Dreams" into a plodding and pedestrian barroom bore, while the Boat People's singalong adaptation of "Bulletproof" removes the ice maiden veneer of the La Roux chart-topper. The very nature of the compilation means there's always going to be a few skippable tracks, but overall, Like a Version, Vol 6 is an intriguing listen which is home to several artists' best work.
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