Album Review: Straight To Video – “The Sequel”
You may remember Straight To Video as being the side project of Teenage Casket Co’s “bassist of a million bands” Rob Lane. They put out their debut EP a couple of years ago featuring guest appearances from various members of Bowling For Soup, Kitty Hudson, The Idol Dead, Enuff Z’Nuff, JD & The FDCs and even Let Loose, and it was a fun five tracks worth of ’80s movie cover versions.
Given the good reception, it’s perhaps not a surprise to see S2V back for the time honoured sequel, this time with one side comprising of ’80s new wave covers and the other side comprising of mid to early ’90s grunge-pop covers. And as with all good sequels, a lot of the stars of the previous effort return for a second outing with a few new faces along for the ride as well.
Laney himself handles vocals on a couple of tracks including a sparse acoustic guitar and synth rendition of Simple Minds’ Don’t You Forget About Me, which works surprisingly well. Other highlights include Laney’s TCC bandmate Rob Wylde blasting through Nelson’s Two Heads Are Better Than One (from the Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure soundtrack) and the return of none other than Mister Robin Effin’ Black on vocals for a cover of Paul Westerberg’s Dyslexic Heart (a good reminder of how much we’ve missed the one time Intergalactic Rock Star while he’s been gone).
But the key is that even the songs by bands you might not have such fond memories of still sound great. If like me you were of the generation that grew up circa 1995 as Britrock was on the rise and grunge was fading away into a watered down corporatised version of its former self, then it’s probably safe to say that The Gin Blossoms and The Goo Goo Dolls are the sort of bands you remember as being terminally uncool at the time. But the renditions here of Till I Hear It From You (from the Empire Records soundtrack) by the former and Two Days In February (featuring Paul Miro from Apes, Pigs & Spacemen on vocals and guitar) by the latter are actually quite toe-tappingly good. Kudos to all involved for pulling that off and more than anything else, it’s the mark of a good covers album that even the songs you weren’t a fan of first time around are done well enough to make you hit the “repeat” button once the CD’s finished.
A worthy second effort from Laney and one that you're well advised to seek out. Straight To Video - The Sequel is forty minutes of sunny harmonies and upbeat melodies with an impressive guest list, all of whom can give themselves a pat on the back for a job well done, as can the mastermind behind the whole operation for carrying it off so well. If the cold winter days have been getting you down a bit of late, then this should be the perfect tonic to see in the spring as the days get longer and the weather gets warmer.