The Austin, Texas-based folk duo The Wind + The Wave are Dwight “The Wind” Baker and Patricia “The Wave” Lynn. They met in 2009 when Dwight’s wife forced him to stop hiding in the studio and get out of the house, prompting him to go check out a friend’s band. And Patty’s last band happened to be the opener. They impressed me in a big way with last year’s album From The Wreckage and they’ve continued to impress me with their new covers EP, appropriately entitled Covers One. There’s just something magical that happens when their emotive guitar and mandolin playing meshes with Patty’s gorgeous vocals and Dwight’s harmonies.
Covers One opens with their version of Sia’s mega-hit “Chandelier.” It’s a song that’s been covered more than a few times already, but I have to say that I prefer The Wind + The Wave’s rendition more than those I’ve heard by various cover stars on Youtube. In fact, I actually prefer The Wind + The Wave’s rendition over Sia’s original version. I’ve always thought that Sia’s version betrays itself, the loud, sweeping music making it sound like a perfectly inspiring song when the lyrics are actually pretty gloomy. “Help me out, I’m holding on for dear life,” Patty sings and you really feel that lyric. Sia’s words didn’t quite pierce me the first dozen or so times I heard this song. It was only after reading an interview with her that I finally paid close attention and realized the song was a desperate cry for help from an addict. But you pick up on that immediately when you hear Patty sing her words in this haunting acoustic rendition.
The duo’s cover of Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” follows and packs some very uppity clapping and percussion, the tempo here considerably faster than that of the original. You would think it unwise to mess with such a classic like that, but they’ve totally breathed new life into the song here. It’s not hard to imagine radio stations that play Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers playing this on heavy rotation. Here, the ’80’s classic has been transformed into one of those spirited folk tunes that can even become a hit on pop radio.
Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen” follows and it’s quite good. In fact, it’s almost as good as Lindsay Lohan’s version. Relax, I’m just kidding. It’s infinitely better than Lindsay’s version, obviously, Lindsay’s version being quite the atrocity. (Although, in the interest of full disclosure, I don’t mind telling you that I do like some of Lindsay’s music.) In any case, Patty really pushes her voice here, to the point that she sounds very much like Stevie, which I can’t imagine being easy, Stevie having such a unique voice. But Patty pulls it off. Meanwhile, she still sounds like herself. She just sounds like herself doing an exquisite Stevie Nicks cover and totally doing it justice at that.
Next we have a cover of “Gold Guns Girls” by Metric, one of my favorite bands, and it just so happens to be from Fantasies, my favorite Metric album. I was delighted when I learned The Wind + The Wave were covering it because it’s a relatively little known song that’s deserving of much more attention than its gotten so far. Of course, it would be a shame if this version surpassed Metric’s original in popularity, but then again any attention leading to more Metric fans can’t be a bad thing. Plus, this version is one of the best tracks on this collection, which doesn’t have one bad rendition in the bunch. “Is it ever gonna be enough,” Patty sings, channeling Metric’s Emily Haines perfectly. Of all the songs here, I suppose Emily’s voice was the easiest for Patty to pull off, but knowing that certainly doesn’t discount my enjoyment of this version.
Now, every proper covers collection has to have one cover you would never, ever expect the artist to cover. Here, it’s R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix).” I’m not quite sure what to say about it, however, having only ever heard the original version once. And I didn’t like the song at all the one time I heard it, but The Wind + The Wave’s rendition isn’t bad. In fact, it’s kind of fun. My least favorite track on hand, but I do enjoy it.
“You’ve Got Time,” Regina Spektor’s theme song from Orange is the New Black follows. Although they still have a folk vibe, here Patty and Dwight almost shift into pop rock mode. Listening to this one is interesting for me because I’m a fan of Orange is the New Black and have heard the song so many times watching that. But when I’ve heard it during the opening credits, I’ve just wanted it to be over with already so the show would start. I mean, nobody really likes sitting through the credits of a show, right? So, this is one of only a few times I’ve heard this song and didn’t want it to be over from the moment it started. And it’s actually quite addictive when you’re listening to it because you want to. It doesn’t hurt that this version is actually just as good as the original.
Finally, The Wind + The Wave try on Cyndi Lauper’s classic “Time After Time,” which they strip down to its core, performing it acoustically without any percussion whatsoever. And it’s quite lovely. If you’re making a mix CD or playlist for someone you’re interested in, this would be a perfect track to help them read between the lines. From the opening notes, this version just bleeds romance. If I was getting married tomorrow, I’d probably use this for my wedding song. It’s that sweet. One of the reasons for that is the way Patty and Dwight harmonize during the chorus, their two voices melding together perfectly. You’d think they were a couple, which is probably the biggest compliment I can give them.
There are people who love cover songs and people who hate cover songs. If you love them, then this EP is mandatory listening. I can’t recall the last time a covers EP or album left me feeling so happy each time I listened to it. It’s so colorful with its songs spanning generations, done in different but always exemplary. I can’t recommend it enough. So, stream it or buy it, fall in love with it, and then, if you haven’t already, check out From The Wreckage and fall in love with that, too.