The true joy of covers isn’t just hearing how a band interprets and presents a particular song, but also getting to compare the original to the cover. Or, in this case, the cover to a cover. Brooklyn based surf punks Shark? just dropped their new single, “Big Summer (Summer Ale)”, and if you flip over to the B-side, you’ll find “Game of Pricks”, a cover of the Guided By Voices track from 1995’s Alien Lanes. A short scour of the internet later, and another cover of the same song pops up on A Sunny Day In Glasgow’s debut EP, The Sunniest Day Ever. So the only natural thing to do would be to compare them all.
The original GBV cut is just under two minutes in length, characteristically lo-fi in recording quality, and at times it’s hard to hear what Robert Pollard’s singing about because his voice is buried in the mix. Shark? take “Game of Pricks” and amp it up; the drums are bigger, the guitars louder, the vocals bordering on melodic shouts more than anything else. A Sunny Day In Glasgow’s version is odd, a hybrid of shoegaze and traditional folk music. There’s the droning and melodic guitars, but they’re set against mandolin to balance out the electric/acoustic scale. Stream all three versions of “Game of Pricks” below, and decide which is best (or just enjoy the differences).
A Sunny Day In Glasgow (2006):
Guided By Voices (1995):
The Summer Ale single is out now via Old Flame Records.