Domino Records - 2006 - 39 minutes
It seems a strange collaboration at first. And it remains a strange collaboration on the second and third listens. But if you are still listening at that stage, then Tortoise and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's gleefully irreverent journey through their record collections will hold your attention for some time to come.
There is something invigorating about an unlikely combination of artists doing what they do best - and then doing it to other people's music. For this is an album of cover versions, and as the album title suggests, it is not for those seeking faithful renditions of the songs they know and love.
Bruce Springsteen, The Minutemen, Elton John, all three might just be able to recognise what's left of their songs amidst the wreckage. But their music has been butchered with a steady hand, stripped back and built on with an obvious respect for the originals. The results are never boring and occasionally awful, however the better moments, such as Springsteen's 'Thunder Road' and a stately version of Richard Thompson's 'Calvary Cross' see the essence of the source material somehow survive the brutal makeover.
It is not always a comfortable alliance though, Tortoise's trademark swirl of sound constantly shifts, changes and struggles beneath Will Oldham's frustratingly static vocals. BPB's singing always proves riveting when the mood drops to his level, yet doesn't seem too comfortable when his backing band cuts loose. The exception being the Latin-tinged opening track, 'Cravo É Canela' - surely the first time Oldham has sung a song not destined to clear the dance floor.
With such a disparate selection of music it is not surprising that not everything here works, but there is a wonderful sense of mischief throughout that raises this just above the insipid karaoke of countless other cover albums.
Tracklisting: Cravo É Canela - Thunder Road - It's Expected I'm Gone - Daniel - Love Is Love - Pancho - That's Pep - (Some Say) I Got The Devil - The Calvary Cross - On My Own