The Screaming Jets – Gotcha Covered
Released: July 27th, 2018
Dave Gleeson // Vocals
Paul Woseen // Bass & Backup Vocals
Jimi “The Human” Hocking // Guitar
Mark McCloud // Drums
Scott Kingman // Guitar
The Jets are back with the much anticipated collection of cover songs, their Australiana Songbook so to speak. I have been chomping at the bit to see what they have done on this record as their previous covers have been nothing short of brilliant. The haunting version of ‘Shivers’ from Tear Of Thought was brilliant as was their version of ‘Ain’t No Fun (Waiting ‘round to be a Millionaire)‘ from the brilliant Living in England Ep worked perfectly live and captured the live feel to a tee. Even ‘Cunnamulla Feller’ was a fun listen. In fact, The Screaming Jets versions of ‘Pretty Vacant’ and ‘High Voltage‘ as B-sides have been fantastic. As a long time fan this album was highly anticipated.
Once I saw the tracklisting, I had this warm feeling deep down that this record would deliver on all accounts. How could a band go wrong with covering a collection of songs of this calibre?
All in all it’s a great selection of songs that will go down incredibly well live, each song a bona fide hit and iconic piece of Australiana. On record it really just fails. The concept is headed on the right track, but again should have only been a touring project.
This album in my opinion aside from three or four tracks is an extremely safe collection of cover songs, delivered in a very safe manner. Production is great, delivery is fair throughout, but sometimes it stands a little too close to the original version and lacks that uncompromising Screaming Jets energy. When it is good it is on point, when it is bad, it becomes almost unlistenable. I have really tried to like this album as I saw potential in it, but I find myself skipping more songs than I end up listening to.
While Gotcha Covered does have its shining moments with the sensational lead single ‘Wedding Ring’ originally by The Easybeats, and ‘Aloah Steve & Danno’ from Radio Birdman, The Jets find their stride and deliver two songs perfectly suited to their classic sound.
Then there is the good, the extremely safe and the downright ugly.
The good moments come from the least expecting songs ‘Overkill‘ by Men At Work, Goanna’s ‘Razors Edge‘, ‘Errol‘ from Australian Crawl and You Am I’s ‘Purple Sneakers‘ all of which are delivered really well. On paper the for mentioned songs should have been questionable and are Dave Gleeson’s shining moments as he nails their delivery. Musically these songs are super safe and extremely true to the original arrangements. The Hoodoo Gurus ‘The Right Time’ is so safe I’m not sure where to sit it. It just misses out on capturing some of the fun of the original.
The extremely safe is the lack luster version of INXS’s ‘This Time‘ is which is disappointing, while Paul Kelly and the Coloured Girls’ ‘Darling It Hurts’ which drags its feet like a zombie in a sprint. ‘Walls‘ by Flowers is another song that fails to get itself off the ground and pack the punch it deserves to. ‘Rain‘ by Dragon is more like a sunshower, enjoyable but predictable and shallow.
The downright ugly comes from the extremely disappointing execution and arrangement of the songs that should have rocked this album. ‘Rock N Roll Damnation‘ is too clean and really doesn’t suit Gleeson’s voice. Being one of my favourite AC/DC songs of all times I had high hopes for this one but it fails in its delivery as it holds none of the conviction or power of the original. ‘Shadow Boxer‘ by The Angels has me asking why given the fact that Dave Gleeson also fronts The Angels. This is a song that is near impossible to improve upon, while the change in the verse structure shows some originality it didn’t provide enough to either make it completely unique or be completely faithful to the original.
The worst track on the album for me was the one I was expecting the most from ‘Gimmie Head’ from The Radiators. On paper The Screaming Jets should have owned this song. It fits perfectly with the cheeky nature and reputation of the band, but the over processed vocals are cringe-worthy, the guitar solo is a complete mess and the fun of this song has been excuse the pun, sucked dry.
While production on this album is great and the song selection near perfect it is the clone like safe execution of these songs that really disappoints. It is well known that The Screaming Jets have some of the finest songwriters and musicians in Australian rock as its members, but on Gotcha Covered they seem intimidated by the originals and stay close by their side, afraid to add a daring ingredient to the mix.
Give me a Spotify playlist of the originals any day of the week. I really wanted to like this album, in fact, I was super excited for its potential. But unfortunately, it missed on far too many occasions for me.
Live I know this collection will kick ass, the crowd interaction and sing along chorus’ that everyone knows will hopefully take these songs to the next level, giving them the adrenaline shot straight to the heart that is sadly missing on this recording. I have faith that The Jets will deliver live what they should have on record.
The Screaming Jets – Gotcha Covered
1. WEDDING RING (Easy Beats)
2. THE RAZOR’S EDGE (Goanna)
3. GIMME HEAD (The Radiators)
4. OVERKILL (Men At Work)
5. DARLING IT HURTS (Paul Kelly)
6. THE RIGHT TIME (Hoodoo Gurus)
7. WALLS (Flowers)
8. PURPLE SNEAKERS (You Am I)
9. ALOHA STEVE & DANO (Radio Birdman)
10. SHADOW BOXER (The Angels)
11. THIS TIME (INXS)
12. ERROL (Australian Crawl)
13. RAIN (Dragon)
14. ROCK N ROLL DAMNATION (AC/DC)
15. GUITAR BAND (Stevie Wright)