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Silkworm | You Are Dignified (12XU)
Silkworm's last release proper, 2002's 'Italian Platinum', may well have passed you by completely, but this record is something different altogether - a collection of covers, the concept for which was originally suggested by label executives who felt that Silkworm's previous work was somewhat 'misunderstood'. So, away the band went to record their own interpretations of their favourite classics. What 12XU can't have expected was the band to return with stripped down, acoustic takes on songs from Shellac, Pavement, Bedhead, Robbie Fulks and Nina Nastasia, intended, in the words of Silkworm guitarist Tim Midgett, as "five little love letters." Nastasia's That's All There Is sounds as perfect as the 'Blackened Air' origina, but it's the band's unusual takes on Fulks and, more startlingly, Shellac, that make this a truly unique 'tribute' record. Prayer To God is a pretty harrowing song in it's original guise, but when reduced to the bare threads of a composition, it cuts deeper than Albini and co could have ever imagined. Its starkness is almost too much, but it is the only suggestion of darkness on an otherwise gloriously upbeat offering (surprisingly so, but the versions of And Then... and Let's Kill Saturday Night are inarguably brilliant) that won't see Silkworm propelled into the mainstream any quicker than they would with their own material, but will introduce a whole new audience or two to their quite remarkable repertoire.

Mike Diver
June-July 2003