Review by Paul Kerr
Stars After Stars After Stars (Volare; CD)
A covers album can be a risky proposition, but Spike Priggen has chosen his material with care and reworked it with style and panache. There are good versions of obscure tunes such as 'Be Married Song' by Ward Dotson, Spike's old buddy from his Liquor Giants days, and a Jacobites tune, 'Only Children Sleeping'. On both songs a lap steel is used to great effect and without any overtones of country. On tunes by slightly more well known artists, Spike and his band give the songs reverential and melodic makeovers. The original artists would barely recognise 'Questioningly' (The Ramones) or 'I'm 18' (Alice Cooper) but I am sure they would be pleased with the new versions. Spike has a good voice that sometimes has the breathy quality of Freedy Johnston, another power pop veteran who has yet to receive the success he deserves. At other times he reminds me of Michael Stipe; in other words the guy can really sing.
After years playing as a sideman in classy US indie guitar bands like The Liquor Giants and Dumptruck, Spike's released his first album in 2001. The self-penned tunes received such critical acclaim that I'd like to track down a copy, as his approach to covers shows style and flair.