If you're anything like me, you've been sitting around going, "Man, when is Miniature Tigers going to follow up Mia Pharaoh, their acclaimed album released earlier this year, with a mixtape of covers including the theme song from NBC's smash hit from the '90s, Friends?"
Well hold on to your pants, Ross and Rachel: the answer is now. The band released 10-song record via their Tumblr page late last week titled Truffles II, and on it the band covers some of my favorite tunes of all time, like "Ram On" by Paul McCartney, "Baby It's You" by The Shirells, "I Should Have Known Better" by The Beatles, teams with The Spinto Band for a Harry Nilsson classic (and a half, squeezing in a little of the Nilsson-crooned hit "Everybody's Talking"), and the hardest working band in late night, The Roots, for their own "Lolita." (For more on the band's collaboration with The Roots, check out our review of their 2010 show together.)
It's all pretty good -- okay, really good-- but call me crazy, the cover The Rembrandts jangle-pop sitcom theme is the best thing on the record. It plays out the way a great cover should, utilizing the recognizable melodies of the original, but twisting the key and changing the mood. With phased guitars, lush reverb, glistening guitars, and a haunting read of the songs lyrics (which when you listen with fresh ears are pretty damn solid for a theme song), the song is recast as a soulful, psychedelic gospel jam instead of television-ready pep. (Complete with the signature claps!)
It's all about context, I guess. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that like some of the more recognizable tunes on the record, like bands thoroughly Tiger-fied version of Elton John's "Daniel," there's no irony or winking nods. That's how I want to hear "I'll Be There for You," a gorgeous, aching jam, stoned and "stuck in second gear," a subtle, quiet ode to reassurance.
I could be wrong, of course, and it's a joke on me. But that's sort of the beauty, right? You don't have to think that The Rembrandts 1995 record L.P. is an underrated killer of a pop record (see "April 29") or know or care that Rembrandt Danny Wilde was a member of the highly explosive L.A. power-pop combo The Quick (once again, go to the tape for proof). All you have to do is put on headphones and listen.
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It's hard to be ironic when no one else can hear what you're listening to, right?