I played Foster The People’s Torches in my car for months this past summer, feeling young and carefree with my windows rolled down and scaring old ladies with my powerful bass. “Pumped Up Kicks” must’ve rattled around in my eardrums, coursed through the breeze 50 or 60 times. Not once did I make a real effort to discern the song’s lyrics. Had I done so, the upbeat, bouncy indie-pop number might have had a far different effect on me. Perhaps more sinister in nature.
What Vermont fivesome Chamberlin have done with their cover of Foster The People’s summer hit is stripped away its diversions — no synth or popping beats to be found — and gotten at the core of the story. And what emerges is a much darker picture, albeit still a melodic one. Chamberlin’s guitarist Ethan West admitted that he and his bandmates never paid much attention to the words either, but once he and his bandmates absorbed what was being said, the motivation to record this pared-down version was sparked.
Chamberlin covered other indie darlings in a session recorded in a remote Vermont cabin, and called it, appropriately enough, Cabin Covers EP. This take on Foster The People is a really good example of what making a cover your own statement sounds like. From the tweeting birds that fade into the familiar guitar melody, to the decidedly somber and haunting vocals delivered by lead singer Mark Daly, this cover is a winner. Everything works.
Proceeds from sales of the EP go to benefit those in Vermont who were affected by Hurricane Irene this summer.
(Cabin Covers EP is available now here)