On PJ Harvey’s 2000 album, Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea, “This Mess We’re In” was a duet with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Now remade by Me Of A Kind, the track can still be categorized as a collaboration, but not of the vocal variety. Instead, the Los Angeles alt-rock band recruited guitarist Earl Slick, best known as David Bowie’s longtime sideman, for their cover.
Me Of A Kind’s frontwoman, drummer and songwriter, Jen Schwartz, met Slick last year while he was touring with the New York Dolls. After listening to her band’s debut album, You Are Here, Slick rang up Schwartz, saying he was interested in doing something together. As it happens, she’d just laid down tracks for a cover of “This Mess We’re In” and sent them off to Slick, who went into a New York City studio and added some guitar parts.
Though Schwartz only sings Yorke’s lines in “This Mess We’re In,” having subtracted Harvey’s half of the duet, Slick’s expert fret work steps in as partner, providing the atmospheric interplay that makes Me Of A Kind’s cover such a dark and stormy stunner.
Interesting studio-geek factoid: Howie Weinberg, who mastered PJ Harvey’s original “This Mess We’re In,” also mastered this new cover.