Review: Gunther Prague’s album Wax Mask
There really is no rest for the prolific Gunther Prague.
Sandwiched in between their debut album Wax Mask and the recording of its follow up in America comes a covers EP of six handpicked, obscure favourites of the band all ripped limb from limb and stapled back together the Gunther Prague way.
Proceedings are kicked off with The Falls beautifully crude tale of lude football hooliganism Theme From Sparta FC. And with such violent lyrical content this tune is the perfect pick to be given the raw GP treatment. The guitar has added fuzzy sleaze and the whole thing is faster and more ferocious than the original which is very fitting to the snarls of “English Chelsea fans this is your last game”.
Even the meat loving quiff machine Morrissey isn’t safe from receiving the heavy treatment on his song Ouija Board Ouija Board with guest vocals coming from long time friend of the band Hywel Roberts. And to tell the truth mozza and The Smiths have never done it for me but throw in some screeching lead guitar behind that poetry and I’m all ears.
Stalin Wasn’t Stalin is a crude two minute reincarnation of 70’s punk. Full of political angst it could slot perfectly into The Clash’s debut album right alongside White Riot or I fought The Law (another example of a cover song becoming its own unique creation). The song is cover of a cover (which is an inception level of covering) the original being a 1943 U.S propaganda song in support of Stalin’s efforts to repel the German invasion and then re interpreted on Robert Wyatt’s album Nothing Can Stop Us from 1982 it tells of the selective political memory during the cold war.Themes that are rather relevant in today’s political landscape, clever choice guys.
But its not all heavy guitars as evidenced in cover of Zebra Katz Ima Read with help on the cover from friends Sororicide. And the cover of this rap song remains faithful to the genre but adding in a low fuzzy bass line that is a constant throughout, it might just be my favourite thing on the ep. And although bitch is said 87 times in the original it is far from a misogynistic song. Zebra Katz describes himself as “black, queer and other” and explains it a lot better than I can in this interview if you want to dive deeper, https://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/may/25/zebra-katz-interview-ima-read
This is a covers EP but the original songs are used more as inspirational starting points to create something new and with all the sleaze you know and love from The Prague.