Kwabs – ‘The Wilhelm Scream’ (Originally by James Blake)
James Blake’s music has always had that soulful, jazz singer strain running through it, teeming just under the washed out surface of echoing beats and thawed synthesisers. Here Kwabs and co. tug at that particular string on ‘The Wilhelm Scream’ with soft melodies and Kwabs’s resonant baritone, bringing to the surface the seductive jazz ballad the song always had the potential to be.
Ayanna Witter-Johnson – ‘Roxanne’ (Originally by The Police)
As a multi-award winning musician with degrees in Classical Composition from the Trinity College of Music and Manhattan School of Music, as well as winning local venue competitions and being invited to tour with accomplished sitarist Anoushka Shankar, you could say Ayanna Witter-Johnson is something of an over-achiever. Appearing on her debut EP Truthfully, her solo cello take on pop masterpiece (and impetus for an intensive drinking game) ‘Roxanne’ is something to behold. Her soaring voice is both yearning and mournful, while her poised arrangement brings brooding classical sensibilities to Andy Summers’s tense, jazzy chord voicings.
The Low Anthem – ‘Home I’ll Never Be’ (Originally by Jack Kerouac)
Based on a little ditty Jack Kerouac wrote one night (tentatively titled ‘On The Road’), this rollicking barnstormer comes from The Low Anthem’s third album Oh My God, Charlie Darwin. While this version owes a lot to Tom Waits and Primus’s previous arrangement, it is the ramshackle energy generated by Jeff Prystowski’s clattering percussion and Ben Knox Miller’s reckless holler which makes this rendition rattle along with the same energy it’s author’s prose was famous for.