Duncan Sheik

Covers 80s

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For his stroll through his back pages, Duncan Sheik selects bands that were very big among Anglophile college rock fans when he was a teenager, which gives this record a bit of a sly unstated motive: he’s picking acts that relied on synthesizers and stripping any vestige of electronics away, sometimes taking all recognizable elements of the original tune with it. These gentle strums, plunked pianos, and whispered harmonies certainly suit the well-tailored contours of Sheik and his audience as they come to terms with impending middle age but the folky bent of these arrangements also carries a self-satisfied patina of authenticity, as if he’s elevating the tunes to a canon by removing them from their origins. Perhaps it will take such a soft, spare setting for some finally to acknowledge the skill of New Order and the Cure for crafting songs, but chances are they’ll nod off before they grudgingly nod their acquiescence.

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