Peppermint Radio is Kate Walsh’s fourth album and sees the British singer songwriter take on well known UK songs, break them down and give them a twist. Walsh takes on Blur, EMF and Eurythmics to name a few, in this piano led odyssey and features songs which have influenced Walsh’s musical life. The album has a delicate air, as Walsh’s vocals are interwoven with atmospheric harmonies and minimalist instrumentation.
Walsh has taken on a huge task to convert the listening public to her versions of these well known songs. Sometimes it works really well, sometimes not quite as well. Prefab Sprout’s ‘When Love Breaks Down’ starts with an airy vocal effect and gives Walsh another shot at being featured on Grey’s Anatomy. The track is not as well know as some of the others on the album, maybe that’s why it works.
Surprise number one has to be ‘Unbelievable’, EMF’s 1990 hit. Despite there being other versions of this, Walsh’s version takes the track reworks the overall arrangement so as only the lyrics are familiar. Very Clever.
Walsh’s whispery vocals on Lullaby try to echo Robert Smith’s on The Cure’s original but its not quite there. There are, though, some great wind up toy sounds throughout the track. Walsh’s tries to put her individual stamp on each track but Blur’s ‘Beetlebum’ is immediately recognisable and is although it builds up towards the end, lacks a killer punch.
The first single to be taken from ‘Peppermint Radio’ is ‘A little Respect’, the 1988 Erasure track. What do you know about this track? Probably most of the lyrics and the fact that it’s an upbeat danceable track. Listening to track, I keep wishing it would speed up a little to be even half as bouncy as the original.
One track I didn’t expect to hear on this was a cover of The Shamen’s, ‘Move Every Mountain’. Seeing as I danced my ass off to this in clubs in the early nineties, it’s an altogether strange experience. Again, this is a piano led with delicate vocals, not bad until half way through a fuller lounge sound kicks in and knocks the wind out of the track. It takes some guts to take on Eurythmics’ ‘Who’s That Girl’, Annie Lennox has made such a mark that it’s an unenviable task.
As an eighties kid ‘Save A Prayer’ was always a favourite. This version gets a really good arrangement, great build up, great harmonies, addictive handclaps. This should definitely be a single.
It’s not a bad album overall, maybe some of the tracks are a little too well known to get past the memory of what they originally sound like.
Download: Unbelievable, Save A Prayer