While Cary Brothers is a successful singer-songwriter in his own right, placing his songs in movies and tons of TV shows, he’s also no stranger to tackling others’ tunes on occasion.
His 2007 debut album, Who You Are, included a cover of Thompson Twins’ “If You Were Here,” later picked for the 2010 soundtrack to Easy A, where it caught my attention. That same year, Brothers’ sophomore set, Under Control, featured a cover of Level 42’s “Something About You.” (One of the perfect pop tunes of all time, it must be said.)
Now the Los Angeles-based musician has gone full-tilt interpretive on a new EP. Covers, Vol. 1 features Brothers’ takes on INXS (“Never Tear Us Apart” ), Yeah Yeah Yeahs (“Maps”), David Bowie (“Absolute Beginners”), Matt & Kim (“Lessons Learned”), and Duran Duran (“Ordinary World”). Helping Brothers out on the EP is an impressive trio of female guests, with Priscilla Ahn, Butterfly Boucher, and Rachael Yamagata all backing him on different tracks.
My fave of the five covers is “Absolute Beginners,” which Bowie wrote and recorded for the 1986 film of the same name. Brothers takes what was a pretty straightforward, rock-based love song and shapes it into something utterly transcendent. Some fantastic synth bits and Boucher’s vocals make “Absolute Beginners” sparkle and shine like new.