You now the drill by now check here, here, here and here for the reviews of the previous four NSP albums if you haven’t already read them. Ninja Sex Party are an american band and comedy duo made up of Jewish love guru Leigh Daniel Avidan (In the persona of his alter ego ‘Danny Y Sexbang’) and noted theoretical physicist Brian Wecht (In the persona of his alter ego Ninja Brian) who’s made significant contributions to the scientific community but is now making significant contributions to music along with Danny. Joining them for this album are the band ‘Tupper Ware Remix Party’ who like with the previous album with be doing music for Danny and Brian. Like the previous album this breaks away from the established NSP style and deals with more serious songs, it’s also a cover album where they deal with classic songs from the 1970’s and 80’s but anyways without further adieu on with the review on Ninja Sex Party’s fifth album ‘Under the Covers Volume II’ so enjoy.
‘Africa’ is a cover of a song by the same name by the band Toto and you can hear the original here. The original track just so happens to be one of my favourite songs and so I’d set the bar high for this cover, but considering their success with the previous cover album I knew they’d meet my expectations and I wasn’t disappointed. This song suits Danny’s vocal range well, as with the previous album, they were selective in their song choice making sure to fit the song to Danny’s voice to deliver the best song possible. Like I said I really liked the original and the NSP version hasn’t kicked it off the list but I really do love their version. I think the biggest difference between the two, other than the NSP version having a more steel drum inspired intro is that it’s got a bit more bounce than the original, Danny really does raise his game for this track though, he went from being a decent singer to a great one, and I’m almost certain that’s not just because I love this song so much.
‘More Than a Feeling’ is a cover of a song by the same name by the band Boston and you can hear the original here. Another personal favourite on this album, I think me and Under the covers vol 2 are going to get along fine. I’d actually heard this cover before I sat down to do this review owing to the fact that my partner listened to it the day the album was released and I liked what I heard but you can’t compare actually sitting down and listening to it, to just hearing it while you’re occupied. When I did actually listen to it I was even more impressed that I expected, now this is a fairly iconic track, one that’s appeared in dozens of movies/tv shows and it’s just so bloody good and as they’ve managed to consistently they’ve done the original justice while also doing something that’s a little different. This had an intro I loved even more than the original, softer, more synth but undeniably ‘More than a Feeling’ I was super impressed with this track, which wasn’t just a more electronic cover of the original but a real and honest homage to a great band like Boston. God this cover was good, I was somehow soothing and able to get you up on your feet at the same time.
‘Limelight’ is a cover of a song by the same name by the band Rush and you can hear the original here. As a huge fan of Steel Panther I was excited for this song because alongside TWRP, the guitarist Satchel (Russ Parrish) from Steel Panther is also featured as on this track. Also knowing that Danny loves Rush, like myself I might add, and them having to Rush covers on the previous track I wasn’t at all surprised about seeing one on this album. And they picked Limelight, one of my favourites as well. I was really excited to see what NSP did with the intro for this song, which I loved in the original, simple and yet it still sends shivers down my spine. They kept it, and it’s as perfect coming from them as Rush. I liked this cover a lot, Danny’s voice again works really well compared to the original and I don’t have any complaints but it wasn’t quite as good as the previous two tracks.
‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ is a cover of a song by the same name by the band Def Leppard and you can hear the original here. Again, I really love the original, and I know this song makes a great cover, it was one my my favourite tracks in the jukebox musical ‘Rock of Ages’ so I was interested to hear what Danny and Brian could do with it. It’s a lot more fast paced, and that’s saying something since the original was pretty fast paced, I tend to write these while listening and I raced through this one because I started to take pace from the song. While it is fast I don’t think they rushed it, they just gave it a bit more intensity and speed which i think actually helped the track.
‘Something About You’ is a cover of a song by the same name by the band Level 42 and you can hear the original here. I know people that like Level 42 and this song, and I have nothing against them but they aren’t my favourite group but this is a good song and perhaps because I don’t like or dislike Level 42 I felt that NSP and their cover were actually better than the original. I especially loved the electronic riff at the beginning, it added a little bit of whimsy and silliness to the track and overall, not only do I stand by the statement that this surpasses the original but I think it stands up as a really good song on its own.
‘In Your Eyes’ is a cover of a song by the same name by Peter Gabriel and you can hear the original here. The original has a very distinctive melody and tune, its very simple and earthy and it stands out more on vocals than some of the other tracks NSP have chosen to cover, but I expected Danny to rise to the challenge capably as he has done so far on this album and on Volume 1 of Under the Covers. And he really did meet that challenge, NSP also went for a different melody, softer and slower and more obviously melancholic than the original but It fits both Danny’s voice and the lyrics. I think again this is an occasion where the cover trumps the original, now I love Peter Gabriel and Genesis but this cover is just great.
‘Heat of the Moment is a cover of a song by the same name by the band Asia and you can hear the original here. Okay so this track, instantly makes me think of Supernatural, and the whole Tuesday special, “Pig ‘n a Poke with a side of bacon,” thing. But removing the whole Supernatural connection, I love this song, and I could easily listen to it every Tuesday, I’d extend that to this cover which more than lives up to the original. NSP’s version if functionally very similar to the original, more bass though for a start and as is the standard for NSP it has more electronic parts but overall it’s a faithful rendition that’s enjoyable on its own because Danny’s voice adds something unique to the track.
‘You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)’ is a cover of a song by the same name by the band Dead or Alive and you can hear the original here. This song, always makes me think of a comedy routine by Greg Davies and on top of that It also happens to be an excellent song. The NSP cover has more percussion than the original for a start, and much like with their cover of ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ they kicked things up a notch, with a much faster than the original rendition of the classic Dead or Alive track. I really liked this cover and think it’s one of my favourite covers on this album.
‘Don’t Lose My Number’ is a cover of a song by the same name by Phil Collins and you can hear the original here. I honestly don’t remember the last time I heard this track but I had a lot of fun listening to it, the full 6 minute version on Youtube, with all the banter and talking at the original, I was kinda hoping NSP would have a go at that bit as well but then again I’d expect them to copy the accents and that’s never a good idea. Overall I really liked this track, in this case the original is the clear winner out of the two but standing alone it’s a really good track.
‘I Wish’ is a cover of a song by the same name by Stevie Wonder and you can hear the original here. I knew as soon as I listened to the original that the NSP cover would be awesome, I guess I just suspected that Danny would do this song just right, or maybe I was just excited to hear him try it. And as I expected it was awesome, Danny’s voice isn’t exactly the same as Stevie Wonder but he manages to find that sweet spot where it’s unmistakably like the original but a little bit different, this is one of the tracks on the album that’s most similar to its original counterpart and that’s good. That being said they do ramp it up just a little bit as they’ve done with several tracks on this album.
‘Your Wildest Dreams’ is a cover of a song by the same name by the band The Moody Blues and you can hear the original here. My only experience with the Moody Blues before listening to this review as their cameo on The Simpsons, but after listening to this track not only am I a fan of them but again I get to see NSP do a great rendition of a brilliant an 80’s classic. I think what I liked about the cover version most was that it didn’t change too much, again the biggest difference is just Danny’s unique voice which fits in well with the melody. I think this is another personal favourite from the album.
‘Rocket Man’ is a cover of a song by the same name by Elton John and you can hear the original here. So far when talking about these tracks, where relevant I’ve talked about what it reminds me of, and in this case how could i not mention the practically iconic cover of this song by Star Trek Alumni William Shatner, which you can check out here. Anyway moving away from what other people have done, NSP done their cover of Rocket Man really well, and it certainly sends us off with a bang. I won’t say that Danny’s is as talented a vocalist as Elton John but he really gives this track exactly what it needed, and backed up by excellent instrumentals from ‘Tupper Ware Remix Party’ you get your money’s worth.
And that’s what I have to say about ‘Under the Covers Volume II’ by the band Ninja Sex party and if you want to get your own copy then you can buy it here on Itunes and if you want to have a listen before you buy then check it out on Spotify. Also if you want to keep up with the latest from NSP then check them out on Facebook, Twitter and on their personal website. Also if you want to see the music videos for the various NSP tracks as well as behind the scenes stuff then check out their YouTube channel.
First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org