The origin of the cover: Album track on ‘Teenage Kicks’
Original recording artist: The Undertones
Regarding chart success, spin-off singles from the children’s television drama, ‘Byker Grove’, have been a very mixed bag.
PJ & Duncan AKA, Point Break, Freefaller and Summer Matthews all reached the UK Top 40, but a similar number of acts flopped.
Two other flop acts, meanwhile, included two ‘Byker Grove’ actresses: Jayni Hoy and Donna Air.
In December 1994, Hoy and Air teamed up with fellow ‘Byker Grove’ star Victoria Taylor to release ‘Love Your Sexy…!!’, under the Byker Grooove! band name, for the Christmas market.
The one-off single sounded like a no-frills version of Shampoo and, unsurprisingly, never peaked beyond Number 48 in the UK Singles Chart.
And, although the trio still participated in music magazine shoots during the early months of 1995, Taylor left the music industry, and Hoy and Air were known as pop duo Crush by 1996.
Their sound was lighter, and had some traces of airheaded Britpop, but they still struggled to make a commercial breakthrough: ‘Jellyhead’ stalled at Number 50 in February 1996 and their follow-up single, ‘Luv’d Up’, fared little better, peaking at Number 45 in July 1996.
Also, they released their début album, ‘Teenage Kicks’ (which included THREE songwriting collaborations with Saint Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell), in Japan and South Korea. And that’s where it begins to look a bit more interesting.
Yes, that’s right, the album showcased DONNA AIR COVERING ‘TEENAGE KICKS’. And that’s exactly when this cover stops being interesting.
Technically, there isn’t much wrong with it; there’s a little bit of light Garbage, with splodges of Sleeper and Pulp elsewhere.
But, while ‘Jellyhead’ and ‘Luv’d Up’ were faintly catchy, this cover has very little to offer.
Crush have gone down the credibility route and, even if it does sound perfectly competent, no thought or imagination has been put into this cover.
‘Teenage Kicks’ just sounds depressingly familiar to the original, and not a single foot-tap was made while listening to it.
Don’t get me wrong, this could have been a lot worse. After all, the sheer thought of Donna Air covering John Peel’s favourite song is enough to drive anyone to the bottle.
But, to be perfectly honest, hearing a car crash of a cover would have been more entertaining than a vapid interpretation that just plods along to the next album track.
You won’t remember a single second of it, trust me. It’s that pointless.