This year has seen so many covers collections released. From rock to pop to jazz, it seems every genre has seen any number of covers records, to the point that it has made the whole field somewhat trite. Yes, there are some covers sets that standout, but for the most part, the field has really become one big mass once again. Enter Punk Rock Factory’s forthcoming record, Masters of the Uniwurst. The 22-song record is the most standout of this year’s new covers records. That is due in large part to its featured songs. They will be discussed shortly. The band’s performances of the featured songs also plays into the record’s presentation and will be addressed a little later. Staying on that note, the songs’ sequencing plays its own important part to the collection’s presentation and will be discussed a little later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this 34-minute record. All things considered, they make the record the best of this year’s new covers records so far.
Punk Rock Factory’s forthcoming record, Masters of the Uniwurst is unquestionably the best of this year’s covers sets so far. That is due in no small part to its featured songs. The songs in question are punk rock takes of classic kids’ TV shows from the 80s and 90s. Given, it is hardly the first time that any act has taken on such songs, but it’s also an approach that is not overly taken for covers records. Powerglove is well-known for doing such. There are also compilations of theme songs from kids’ shows covered out there, but again, they are compilations. Keeping that in mind, that the band would take this avenue is worthy of applause in itself.
Adding to the reason for applause is the mix of theme songs that the band opted to take on in this collection. The band did not just take the easy route and cover theme songs that others have taken on. Yes, the band took on the theme songs from the likes of The Flintstones and Pokemon and even Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, but it also took on theme songs from other shows, such as Goof Troop, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and even M.A.S.K., as well as Animaniacs, Denver The Last Dinosaur, and Round The Twist. Simply put, the band chose a relatively solid mix of familiar shows and theme songs, and some equally well-known shows whose theme songs have been less covered. That balance continues to show the importance of the record’s featured songs. It shows that the band put a lot of thought into the record’s body. It shows the band members wanted to make sure if from only this element, audiences became engaged and entertained. Keeping all of this in mind, the record’s songs are just a portion of what makes this record stand out. The band’s performances add their own layer of enjoyment to the record.
The band’s performance of each song is important to the record’s presentation because of the updated touch it gives to each classic theme song. Case in point is the band’s take on the theme song from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. The band stays true to the source material here, yet somehow, with its punk influence here, the song actually proves even better than the original. Whether that is because of the guitars, the vocals, the drums, or everything together, the fact of the matter is that this song, which even boasts some classic metal influence, really gives the song a welcome update. Longtime devotees of the series (and the TMNT franchise) will easily find this a welcome take on the song. On yet another note, the band’s take on the Arthur theme song (yes, the band even takes on the theme song from Arthur, which was originally updated by a well-known member of the Marley family)shows the importance of the band’s performance in its own way. Yes, it is another punk rock opus, but the band still stays true to the original, even including the slightest hint of reggae along with the collective chorus to make this such a unique and surprisingly enjoyable take on another classic theme song. And then there is the band’s take of the Saved By The Bell theme song. The original song had a little bit of a rockabilly vibe about it. In the case of this performance, the band’s punk take amps up that take while, again, staying true to the source material. It is another unique approach to a theme song that has rarely if ever been covered by other acts well-known and otherwise and considering the stylistic approach and the energy that results from the performance, shows even more why the band’s performances are so important to the record’s presentation. Taking this into consideration along with the band’s performance of the other songs examined here and those in the rest of the record, the whole leaves no doubt as to the importance of the band’s performances. Even with its importance, it is still not the last of the record’s notable elements. The record’s sequencing rounds out the most important of the collection’s elements.
The sequencing is so important to the record’s presentation in part because it ensures the theme songs and shows do not get redundant. Put in more layman’s terms, the sequencing ensures that throughout the album’s run, the songs (and shows) do not just stick to one era or another. Thundercats, an anime show takes audiences back to the 80s. From there, the band moves forward to the 80s with the theme song from the still very popular Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series. The band sticks to the 90s from there as it takes on the theme song from Arthur. The show itself is completely different from the other two songs, and so is the theme song in terms of its original stylistic approach and sound. The diversity in shows and theme song styles and sounds continues fluidly from there, from the easy, lighter Goof Troop theme song to the more energetic Animaniacs theme. Again, this is in reference to the original songs. The band’s take on them does well to honor those original takes, again. From that point on to the record’s end, the changes continue throughout, doing their own part to keep the record engaging and entertaining.
The ordering of the content at the surface is just part of the importance of the record’s sequencing. The sequencing also ensures the record’s energy remains high even as the song styles change. At no point does that energy pull back. It stays high from beginning to end, ensuring even more, audiences’ engagement and entertainment. Taking this into consideration along with the role of the sequencing in regards to the content’s general ordering, the two items pair to show wholly why the sequencing is just as important to this record as the content and the band’s performance thereof. All things considered, they make this record the best of the year’s new covers compilations so far.
Punk Rock Factory’s forthcoming covers set, Masters of the Uniwurst, may not be its only covers collection (it took on a number of Disney songs in its most recent record), but it is still a welcome new collection of covers from the punk outfit. That is due in large part to its featured songs. The songs are a collection of songs, some of which are more often covered than others and some of which are lesser handled from shows that are themselves a balance of well- and lesser-known kids shows. That balance of content is itself reason enough to audiences to take in this record. The band’s performances of the record’s featured songs adds its own touch to the presentation. That is because the performances in question amp up songs that were already catchy to begin with while staying true to the source material. The record’s sequencing rounds out the most important of its elements. That is because it ensures the collection’s aesthetics add their own important touch to the whole. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the record. All things considered, they make Masters of the Uniwurst the master of this year’s field of new covers compilations. Masters of the Uniwurst is scheduled for release Friday.
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