Fotocrime, the Louisville post-punk project spearheaded by former Coliseum frontman Ryan Patterson, are at work on Alcoves, a new EP of covers that’s coming out at the end of the month, and they’re dropping a different cover every week. Thus far, Fotocrime have taken on Leonard Cohen’s “Avalanche” and Government Issue’s “Jaded Eyes,” and that “Jaded Eyes” cover features assistance from Jawbox’s J. Robbins. Today, Fotocrime have also given us their version of a great Portishead song.
Portishead released the bleak, percolating “Chase The Tear” as a one-off benefit single in 2009, and it’s still the last original single that the Bristol legends have released. (Portishead finally followed it last year when they covered ABBA’s “SOS.”) The Fotocrime cover is pretty faithful, though Patterson’s baritone delivery gives it a whole different tone. Fotocrime’s version has backup vocals from Janet Morgan, who is married to J. Robbins; Morgan and Robbins are the co-leaders of the Baltimore band Channels. Below, listen to Fotocrime’s “Chase The Tear” cover and the Portishead original.
Talking about the cover, Patterson says:
Covering Portishead’s “Chase The Tear” was the most daunting of the group of songs I selected for this EP. Their songwriting and production are always impeccable, and Beth Gibbons is one of the all-time great singers. Portishead has been massively influential for me and are one of a handful of touchstone artists that endlessly inspire me. They were also very important in my personal interest and exploration of synthesizers and sequencing. The way Adrian Utley and Geoff Barrow combine the organic and electronic is pure perfection.
“Chase The Tear” is the last new original song they have released to date, and it’s one of my favorites in their catalog. In attempting to cover it, I tried to deconstruct each element in an almost archeological way then recreate or interpret the sounds using my own instruments. Nick played guitar on the track with perfect vibrato and tape echo-saturated panache, while Will sat behind the drum kit for the stripped-down motorik beat. Attempting to sing Beth Gibbons’ tender falsetto was not in the cards for me, so I gave the vocals my own gravely interpretation and invited my friend Janet Morgan to lend her gorgeous voice to the track as well, giving the track her proper English sheen.
It was mind-blowing to see the footage of Portishead performing again recently, and I truly hope they release a lot more music. It was very exciting to cover this song I love so much by a band that means so much to me.