Penelope Houston

Snap Shot [EP]

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All-cover projects, whether EPs (as this is) or full-lengths, are usually stopgaps between releases that are destined to be footnotes in an artist's career. If this is a footnote, however, it's a highly enjoyable one, and considerably above the average for all-cover discs. That's mainly because Houston chose unusual material for this five-song EP that will be partly or wholly unfamiliar to all but the most thorough collectors, interpreting songs by the Pentangle ("I've Got a Feeling"), the Flying Machine ("Maybe We've Been Loving Too Long"), the Band ("It Makes No Difference"), Shocking Blue ("Love Machine," with lyrics rewritten by Houston), and Colin Blunstone ("Though You Are Far Away"). Also, however, Houston makes them over with her own winsome folk-rock-indie pop style rather than treating them too reverently, so that even the Band cover sounds rather poppy. Another high spot is the wholly acoustic "Though You Are Far Away," in the melancholy folk vein that Houston has visited, either frequently or sporadically, since her late-'80s Birdboys album.

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