The secrets of a memorable cover version are often to take something unexpected (easier said than done) and then to give it a unique twist that makes it more than just a copy of the original. Nothing worse than something that sounds like a carbon copy of the original. When this works it can be brilliant, and when it doesn’t it can be a real car crash. Some big bands have failed in this endeavour, so how do veteran UK metallers Panic Cell do ?
Well, step 1 is to take something unexpected, and I am pretty sure that Seal’s 1991 pop-soul ‘classic’ fits comfortably into that category. So mission accomplished there.
Step 2 is to give it a unique twist, and here the verdict is not so clear cut. Rock bands taking pop cheese and adding some guitar to it is nothing new, and the cheesier the original the less likely it is to work.
Panic Cell have by and large succeeded here though. The song is still going to be familiar to anyone who remembers the original but is different enough to stand on its own right. It also sounds like the band had fun doing it, which helps.
The sense of covering Crazy becomes obvious when you see Panic Cell live. Bands like this are all about having fun at gigs and in Crazy they have chosen a song that, whether you want to admit it or not, you just know the lyrics to. Well the chorus at least.
A highlight of the recent Damnation festival was the entire crowd of gnarly metalheads singing along when Panic Cell played this. Even if you don’t know anything else in the set, you’ll probably know this. It may not be high art, but by god it’s good fun.