In Svbterranean’s Album Dissections, artists break down the construction and/or lyrical themes of their records track by track.
On his most recent EP release, Rake and Roads, UK multi-instrumentalist Chris West and his Crawling for Carrion project delivered sludgy renditions of Townes Van Zandt‘s “Rake” and Portishead‘s “Roads”. West agreed to take part in our Album Dissections series to talk about the construction of these cover songs. Check out what he had to say below.
Over the years I’ve been collecting a list of songs that aren’t heavy songs or metal in any way but I can tell will translate well in a heavier context. The original song hooked me as soon as I heard Townes’ lyrics and the mood fit the bill perfectly for this project.
The version first released by Townes has all these orchestral melodies sprinkled throughout so I took those parts and arranged them in one section. As for the main verse and chorus parts I wanted to keep them close to the original in terms of being chords with just a touch of riffing thrown in.
The drums were played by Thomas from Wight and recorded in Darmstadt Germany while I was there with Glanville. Another aspect of this project is that I enlisted the help of various friends and musicians I’ve met over the years.
I recorded guitars, bass at my home studio after that and then arranged with Jake to record the vocals. I’d played with him in Landskap. His voice was perfect for this and he was a Townes fan as well.
Roads came together much faster. Earlier this year I heard the opening Rhodes riff for the first time in years and realised it would work well on guitar. I’ve been jamming on drums with Pete from Elephant Tree for a new project and every now and then we swap over as he likes to play a little drums as well. Rake was very carefully worked out and put together so I did the opposite with Roads. We jammed it a couple of times and then recorded the drums and main guitar live.
I’ve worked with Chan from Vodun before, she has an incredible voice and she was a natural choice for vocals. To finish it off I wanted a solo and I’d kept Hobson in mind after recording The Bothers Keg. I like his playing and his style and he was happy to step up for this project.