It must be bad being the odd one out in a community which is so tight.
Think about it. Here is this magical genre thatís exploding with new artists and fans, but you just donít feel you belong.
This is exactly the case with a small Sacramento band called The Deftones. They were once apart of the group and now they do everything in their power to stay away from it! Chino Moreno publicly admitted that they werenít comfortable within that community, and that they were purposefully avoiding any contact with such bands as Limp Bizkit and Korn. They just didnít want to be associated with THAT kind of genre which was invested with hype, and ego. And what a smart move that was. Because, as well all know, The Deftones are capable of far more than just that!
Nice and Easy Does It Every time
So in moving away from the crowd, Nu-Metal began to fall apart as over-hyped albums tumbled and fell, and creativity dwindled. The band rather quietly went on vicious touring sprees, and slowly, album after album has gained critical acclaim.
With Around the Fur, people realized The Deftones werenít messing about. It was hard as nails, and pushed the envelope in terms of progression. But none more so than their 3rd album, White Pony. This album showed a different side to The Deftones., full of experimental tracks, slow moving time-signatures, creepy ambience from their DJ, but most of all it showed balls. To go from a seriously hard rock band to this album, and still gain critical acclaim shows us that The Deftones are more than just a flash in the pan. They had talent.
The most recent album, Deftones (which was originally going to be called ďLovers"), is a step back into hard rock territory, but not without its differences. Combining eerie and disturbing backdrops of sonic walls, the guitars were tuned down to drop A or something on some songs, which showed that The Deftones could still rock out. The heavy ambience and unbelievable vocal progression from Chino has made the self-titled a masterpiece in its own right, a classic within its repertoire.
While we await the new album sometime next year, their label Maverick decided to give us something to tide us over till its arrival. Itís a B-sides album with loads of covers and acoustic versions of some of the highlights in The Deftonesís career. That and its pretty damn good for a rarities album...
First thing youíre likely to notice in these songs are the often obscure choices the band made to cover. From Sade to Duran Duran, to Helmet and Cocteau Twins, this was going to be a different ride than most would assume.
The album starts of with a Jawbox cover called Savory. Itís a slow stomping song, with great instrumental work, but most of all shows some of the best clean vocals from Chino ever. Most songs on the album do actually with some exception in the acoustic versions. Its a neat songs with a great hook. ďOne hand will wash the other!".
There are some disco-oriented songs on here too. Wax and Wane is a Cocteau Twins cover with a macarbre guitar guiding the way, but its all pretty childlike getting to the chorus. The ambience Deftones created works well with this genre as well. No Ordinary Love is also unusual. Itís a cover from Sade who is mostly recognised as a great singer, and R&B artist. Itís quite cute as Chino tries to replicate the song with his almost feminine crooning. Itís a slow song, chilled out, and more background music than anything else.
Simple Man from Lynyrd Skynyrd is next up. Itís a nice song, but lacks the aura Deftones creates with songs. But I guess itís just a cover, and as a cover itís pretty decent.
Some of the more hard songs on the album include the Helmet cover Sinatra, and the rare Crenshaw Punch which was at a time only available overseas. Sinatra is an excellent cover song. It reminds me of the atmosphere in the self-tiled album, disturbing. Chinoís whining only makes it more ominous, with exceptional instrumental work from the rest of the band. I especially love the E-Bow type sound running through the backdrop.
Teenager (idiot version) is just a remix of the original on White Pony, but sounds almost exactly the same. I skip it mostly because it bores me, but it is a really chilled-out song with merits. Black Moon is a Hip-Hop type song and features Cypress Hill. Itís a great song, but once again, not very in-your-face. Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want is a Smithís cover, but itís done wonderfully. Itís playful, and yet very sombre at the same time. Some if these covers on the albums show that Deftones really take pride in their work, which has indeed brought them this far in their career.
I left the last two covers for last as they seem to stand out from the rest. Firstly, If Only Tonight We Can Sleep by The Cure, performed at their ceremonial event on MTV. Itís an amazing live version with eastern-type instruments, and the remarkable Chino voice to guide the way. They really were the stand-out act that night. Next, The Chauffeur by Duran Duran. Now this is more like it! This sounds as if it could fit in exactly into White Pony and it wouldnít skip a beat. Itís dark, subtle, and fragile, until the end where it explodes in the main riff distorted. This is where the DJ with his great talent comes into play, layering it with textured sonics and a backdrop of intensified emotion. Simply put, itís brilliant.
There are also a number of acoustic versions of songs here. Change (In the House of Flies) starts off immediately with background e-bow type sounds and an acoustic type drum-beat. Most of the acoustic songs are mostly the same with the exception of the last one, Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away). This acoustic version is quite remarkable. It has managed to changed the whole mood of the song by making it feel a bit more up-beat. Chino romantically croons ďFar away...." as if it is his last performance, and the rest of the band modestly brings out the differences in the song by the more acid-jazz type of chill-out style. That was the best acoustic version I have ever heard from a band, but that is actually what Iíve come to expect from The Deftones.
There are a few flaws however. I mean, this is not going to be the next Deftones record. Itís got obscure song choices, most of whom you will have to do some research on before remembering who they were. Some of the rare songs also have some bad recording quality, and listening on headphones will prove that, and makes it sometimes difficult to listen to. However, itís not all that bad, and can be over-looked quite easily.
Truth be told, I actually really like this record. It got lots of nice covers, nice ambience, great acoustic covers, and for those of you drooling for more Deftones, a little turn-over till the new album comes along.
Certainly worth your money if you love Deftones. A great collectorís piece.
1. Great Covers
2. Amazing acoustic songs
3. Great singing from Chino
1. Sound quality dwindles somewhat
2. Some songs are a bit boring
The Flabbit Rides High