(Bad) Cover Version #10: ‘Anarchy In The UK’ by Frazier Chorus (1989)

The origin of the cover: B-side to ‘Sloppy Heart’ (the 1989 re-issue)
Original recording artist: Sex Pistols
Grade: C

Now, this is a surprise.

A whimsical, fey and quaint woodwind-stroke-percussion heavy pop band – which was fronted by Martin Freeman’s brother, of course – covers the Sex Pistols.

For a band that was viewed as overly nice and twee, it was a bold direction to take.

It has a bold sound, too. The ambient arrangements would not seem out of place on a soundtrack and it also features some of their most ambitious sounds.

In retrospect, you can definitely see that the group was moving away from the organic sound of ‘Dream Kitchen’ and ‘Typical!’ to the indie-dance styling of ‘Nothing’.

Despite this, and the nature of the Sex Pistols’ original, it is a surprise that this sees the group at their most sedated. Even by Frazier Chorus’ standards, it’s a bit too relaxed.

It also doesn’t help that the textured production overshadows the old-fashioned intrigue and quirks of Frazier Chorus’ early sound.

Give them credit, though; it’s an unlikely cover and a very interesting experiment.

It’s just a shame that its concept is the most intriguing thing about it.

The peculiarities of this cover adds immediate curiosity and, while this ensures that it is passable, something is missing and it leaves you feeling ravenous afterwards. It even sounds rather empty and unfulfilled at times.

It’s harsh to criticise a band for doing something different, especially when it was a b-side to ‘Sloppy Heart‘, but Frazier Chorus really could have done more with this cover.

And it really does show.


2 Responses to “(Bad) Cover Version #10: ‘Anarchy In The UK’ by Frazier Chorus (1989)”

  1. 1 JP
    October 13, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    There’s nothing “bad” about it; it’s a brilliantly executed work and a pleasant surprise. It’s eminently listenable and even shocking to a certain extent. What’s the difference between this and the Pistols’ own “disco” medley? This one ranks right up there with other excellent atypical covers, just like Aztec Camera’s “Jump.”

    • October 13, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      I never said that it was “bad”, JP.

      The track was awarded a C grade (some cover versions in this series have received F grades, and others have received A and B grades) which, in my eyes, states that it is a good/decent but flawed cover version.

      That’s why the title of this series [(Bad) Cover Version] is bracketed – to ensure that different types of cover versions are covered, both good and bad. Also, in an earlier blog post, I gave Frazier Chorus superlative praise, and they’ve released some really good stuff.

      But you’ve raised some good points, JP, nicely put.

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