Last month, Mutual Benefit released an album-length cover of Vashti Bunyan's 1970 classic Just Another Diamond Day — an act of tribute initiated as part of an ambitious series by the website Turntable Kitchen. Now, the site is prepping a major sequel, in which Death Cab For Cutie singer-songwriter Ben Gibbard remakes Teenage Fanclub's career-making 1991 album Bandwagonesque song for song. In "The Concept," Gibbard stretches Teenage Fanclub's work from six minutes to a whopping eight.
Otherwise, these aren't radical reinventions; the central statement behind Gibbard's take on Bandwagonesque seems to be that he loves the record a lot. But his new version does function as a charming showcase for everyone involved: The singer's approachable warmth dovetails nicely with the idiosyncratic yet still airtight songcraft at the heart of the Big Star-loving Scottish power-pop band. Gibbard makes the case that the album he's tackling is a modern classic, and he's got a point.
"Bandwagonesque is my favorite record by my favorite band of all time," Gibbard writes via email. "It came along at a pivotal time in my musical life, and I've loved it for over 25 years. It's been such a blast taking these songs apart to see how they work and then putting them back together again."
For his part, Teenage Fanclub singer-songwriter Norman Blake writes that he's both honored and impressed with the new take on his best-known album. "I was thrilled and extremely flattered when I heard that Ben Gibbard had decided to cover Bandwagonesque in its entirety. Needless to say, the re-imagining of the album by this very talented fella is both inventive and deftly executed."
Ben Gibbard's Bandwagonesque comes out July 28 via Canvasback Music/Turntable Kitchen. It's also available via Turntable Kitchen's monthly "Sounds Delicious" vinyl subscription series.