String Band Twisted Pine Offer Up Distinctive Covers EP ‘Dreams’ (EP REVIEW)


One might think it’s a bit early in their infancy for string band Twisted Pine to offer up a covers EP. Having written every song on their well-received debut, Dreams might have been conceived as a stopgap of some sort, one designed to give them ample time to write more material of their own origination. After all, a lifetime’s worth of accumulated compositions goes into an initial outing, but there’s a lot less time allowed for a follow-up.

Consequently, it’s understandable that this perky and playful ensemble might want to bide their time and simply offer a set of songs that betrays both influences and intents. While many outfits and artists that aim to revive some standards make no attempt at all to re-imagine the music, Twisted Pine do just that, remaking each of these songs in ways that reflect their own distinctive style. Some of the material is all but unrecognizable unless one leans in and listens, but even then, the group’s giddy approach tends to dominate in ways that ensure these tunes become their own. “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” is the most obvious example; after a prolonged instrumental intro, the high pitched harmonies turn the song into a carnival-like romp that belies the original psychedelic setting. Likewise, “Heart of Glass” and Elton John’s otherwise obscure “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’” are similarly inspired and playfully persistent. An unlikely version of Bill Monroe’s “Kentucky Waltz,” re-imagined as “Funky Kentucky,” creates another offbeat impression.

The offering that comes closest to emulating the original is the title track itself, a sweeping fiddle-fuelled take on the Cranberries’ cooly conceived seminal setup. Driven by their undeniable instrumental dexterity, Twisted Pine prove their prowess and make a formidable impression in the process.

Photo by Hannah Cohen Photography

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