Friday, November 08, 2019
New Rochelles - Animal Boy
What's noticeable about the New Rochelles' interpretation of Animal Boy is that it has great reverence for the original - warts and all. You can tell they love this record and wanted to pay proper tribute to it. The band chose to retain the use of keyboards, and I was struck by how similar the vocals on "Somebody Put Something In My Drink" sound to Joey's on the original version. Even when you're dealing with a somewhat polarizing Ramones album, you probably don't want to reinvent the wheel. But while all these versions are largely faithful to the originals, I am pleased to report that the dated '80s production has been updated to sound more like a modern pop-punk record (Yeah, I know some of you wise guys will say that that's even worse!). In particular, "She Belongs To Me" and "Something To Believe In" have been made over in such a way that ought to appeal to fans of post Lookout! Records pop-punk. I'm definitely having a "Hey, are these songs better than I thought?" moment with those two tracks.
Beyond the collectable/novelty factor, I think the whole point of covering an entire Ramones album is the attention it brings to the original version. It had been a while since I'd sat down and listened to Animal Boy. Of course "Bonzo Goes To Bitburg" is great. But upon revisiting the album, I was reminded of several other tracks I absolutely love (the title track, "Love Kills", "Crummy Stuff"). In much the same way that Boris the Sprinkler's version of End of the Century caused me to re-think my entire stance on that particular Ramones album, the New Rochelles have led me to see Animal Boy in a more favorable light. I can't imagine a fan of the New Rochelles not already owning all of the Ramones albums. But if this is your introduction to Animal Boy, it ought to make you want to hear the original. And if this is your first time hearing the New Rochelles, you may be impressed enough to seek out their excellent full-length It's New Too! Anything in this world that encourages more Ramones worship is a worthy endeavor in my book. So I'm giving a big thumbs-up to all parties involved in this project. Now who will dare to take on Halfway To Sanity?