Lê Almeida - (covers) pt. 1

(covers) pt. 1, Lê Almeida
Transfusão Noise Records, Brazil
Rating: 71
by Enrique Coyotzi

So, I’ll declare it straight away: I’m truly mesmerized by this collection. Cover releases are something to be skeptical—a dangerous territory to step in. Despite my distrust, attentively examining the possibilities, it shouldn't necessarily turn out into something disastrous. It was proven by Cat Power. She broke hearts with the marvelous 2000 must The Covers Record, where she adopted twelve compositions by other artists while making them totally her own. A similar panorama surrounds discordant boy Lê Almeida’s (covers) pt. 1 EP.

Packed by five distortion-fed, electrically scrumptious, non-hits belonging principally to bands blooming in the early '90s (save for Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”), the Transfusão Noise Records’ founder accentuates why noise is an accompanying trademark for his netlabel. Bringing to the table the stripped-down elements utilized in Chan Marshall's eminent The Covers Record, digging a whole different spectrum, Lê Almeida also adapts a homogeneous flavor through a short but electrifying ride, each of the songs (recorded between 2009 and 2012) in his unpolished, lo-fi style, standing somewhere between No Age's sweatier, head-hammering slices off Nouns, and Ty Segall's ever permeating playfulness, shaded by rancid alcoholic breath.

Two personal favorites attracted me initially to explore this gem: Nirvana and Pavement. "Marigold" and "Loretta's Scars," a pair of die-hard fans' treasures of these legends, sound surprisingly correct under the garage rocker's precise English diction and filthy chords that feel like home. They resemble a time machine traveling back to the '90s, reminding us why this music shaped us thirsty, raw guitar work lovers in the first place. The most pleasant discoveries come via bands I had never heard of before. Bunnygrunt's "1000% Not Creepy" doesn't upgrade on the original version, yet sparks as the EP's most savage slap. However, the cooled-down take on Brazilian cult ensemble Second Come's classic "Run Run" won my heart. Speaking to fellow Fonograma writer Pierre Lestruhaut regarding my excitement for discovering this track, he stated how Second Come had "nothing to envy Pavement."

And neither does the devoted dirty guitar-licks conjurer. Following "Run Run," the EP properly concludes with the California hipsters cover—faithful to Slanted and Enchanted's version, simultaneously transmitting a refreshing, up to date air. (covers) pt. 1 shines a green light of why we should be expecting a second offering. If it's as good as the first one, we wouldn't mind Lê Almeida to keep gracing us with familiar mementos of missed, simpler days where an outstanding riff perpetuated, unlike many of the gone with the wind Internet buzz.