Welcome to a new idea I’ve been playing with: doing reviews of cover albums (or albums that predominantly feature covers). It’s another way that I can make this site the Cover metropolis that I’ve always dreamed it could be.

First up is a 2006 release by the West End Girls, called Goes Petshopping.

As you may have already deduced from the name, the Swedish West End Girls are a Pet Shop Boys cover band, with the album featuring 11 tracks that span the Boys’ earlier career from the late 1980’s to the early 1990’s. With the exception of one track, the covers all come from the Pet Shop Boys’ first four albums.

Like the Pet Shop Boys originals, the tracks are all electronica, however the covers are performed in a much more modern style of the electronica genre. In a couple cases, the songs sound like club versions of the originals with Neil Tennant’s vocals replaced by Isabelle Erkendal’s, and that’s not such a bad thing. A freshening-up of those early PSB tracks are enough to revitalize and emphasize the subtly clever wordplay that made the originals excellent in the first place.

Their cover of “Rent” takes on a different meaning with the female vocals, and the sparse instrumentation adds a new depth, and even a little despair to the track. “Suburbia” gets a lush makeover, and the whispered vocals of “Being Boring” gives a seductive charm to the reminiscing lyrics. “Jealousy” has elements of the ballads on Garbage’s BeautifulGarbage album, with a softer baby-doll vocal standing in for Shirley Manson.

The album doesn’t have a lot of warmth, which the Pet Shop Boys’ originals still managed to convey under all the synthesizers and drum machines. But the cold, mechanical, distant feel gives this album a unique style, and does give it enough to stand on its own.

Until I come up with something better to use in place of stars, we’ll use the tried-and-true 0 to 5 method here.
Coverville Score: 3 of 5 stars

Purchase from Amazon: Goes Petshopping