In order to do a cover version well, there are generally two approaches in order to avoid getting egg on your face (and avoid steam coming out of listeners’ ears). The first is to do a faithful approach, and treat it with reverence. The second – potentially both more risky and rewarding – is to radically re-work the track.
The impressive thing with Hackney Colliery Band‘s interpretation of Nirvana‘s ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ is that they manage to keep the spirit of the original – intense, brooding rage – whilst turning it into a jazz workout that makes it a fresh way of hearing it. Even though there are no vocals on their version, it connects utterly with the music. While Courtney Love may have raged at Lana Del Rey for seemingly not properly understanding the song when she covered it (they later toured together), here the East London nine-piece collective take the song to a whole, new level. Best of all is the fact that it doesn’t come across as a novelty.
It’s taken from their forthcoming Live album, which is released on May 12th. On May 26th they will play their biggest headline show to date at London’s KOKO venue.
Check out their other work on SoundCloud.
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