The punk rock covers super-band known as Me First and the Gimme Gimmes have released their seventh full-length studio album, this time paying homage to the best of the best from the queens of pop… and Culture Club.
The album kicks things off with a heavy guitar-driven version of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” with a slow first verse and half time chorus that shakes things up nicely. The second track, “Straight Up” from Paula Abdul, opens with a horrendously grimy yet fitting bass line from Fat Mike before Spike Slawson’s vocals chip in and make you realize that The Gimme’s have gotten pretty good at twisting songs on their head, seeing as this track could hold up on its own as a straight up punk track, rather than just a punk cover.
However, one of the album highlights comes in early at track 3, which is Cher’s “Believe.” The song contains a delightfully cheesy electronic sample tone playing over the intro, and even cheesier vocals from Slawson that make you feel a compulsive need to dance… that and you begin realize you know more words to this record than you thought you did. These three tracks are worth a good listen as they perfectly display three different ways to tackle a punk cover. The heavy guitar style, the genuine punk sounding twist, and one hundred percent cheese. However, due to the very nature of the band, there is no shortage of cheesy moments on this album (for instance their take on Dolly Parton’s “And I Will Always Love You”).
That being said, that is not all this album has to offer as it occasionally gives things a serious shake up, for instance the acoustic rendition of “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion, which even features an accordion chiming in every now and then. That, and Spike brings out his ukulele for Madonna’s “Crazy for You,” complete with harmonies and a smooth saxophone.
Although there are some pretty impressive covers being dropped on this release, such as their impossibly melodic yet punk mesh of The Carpenters hit “Top of the World,” when all is said and done, It’s a Me First album, so going in you get pretty much what you expect: a fun album that, like the rest of their works, fades after a couple of listens… then will no doubt return a couple of months down the road and all the fun will be restored into it. Though delivering nothing really new, the album gives you a reason to not be embarrassed the next time you are caught singing Barbra Streisand.
Are We Not Men, We Are Diva is out now on Fat Wreck Chords.