by Alexandra Mrozowska
— Sr. Columnist —
The tendency among the renowned acts to record the cover albums paying homage to their early influences seems to grow these days. It always evokes mixed emotions among listeners – especially those who dare to think the lack of new, original ideas might have been the cause of that sudden desire to pay tribute to one’s music heroes. It has to be admitted that the cover albums are usually somewhat of a filler among the respective artist’s works, no matter how good the delivered versions would have been. Also, they quench the fans’ thirsts only to certain extent. In the case of Steevi Jaimz, the former Tigertailz singer whose most recent full length saw the light of day almost a decade ago, the cover album might not have been exactly what his listeners waited for. Obviously, that doesn’t mean that Time Machine, a cover compilation released with the guitar player Phil Vokins (ex-Persian Risk, ex-Tyrant and Wrathchild) under the moniker of Jaimz Vokins is a worthless album. Actually, it’s quite the contrary.
Time Machine starts with “Babylon’s Burning,” originally a 1979 song by the Punk Rock act The Ruts. Jaimz does his best Punk-ish impersonation here, successful at proving that Glam Metal and Punk are not that drastically far from each other style-wise. His interpretation also sounds surprisingly genuine as far as conveying the message of the angry and the disillusioned is concerned. And talking about disillusion – “Look At Last Nite” is a bitter Slade song off their Slayed? album, here reproduced in all its glory minus Noddy Holder’s signature howl in the song’s outro. Phil Vokins steps forward in the third track which is the duo’s take on Rory Gallagher’s “Philby,” a groovy and feisty piece of Blues Rock.
Some may find the choice of Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind” as the next song on the album a bit surprising. The sentimental, wistful ballad doesn’t quite match Steevi Jaimz’s usual style, but even more surprisingly, the singer rises up to the challenge with a less polished yet heartfelt performance. “God In Louisiana,” first recorded by ex-Sex Pistols guitar player Steve Jones, retained the sinister aura of the original albeit with a slightly Southern Rock vibe added to it. A theme song to the 1974 film of the same name, “Stardust” abandons the psychedelic, a bit Bowie-esque sound of the original in favor of emphasizing the track’s Blues element. It therefore becomes a confession of a weathered Rock singer, something Steevi Jaimz might have felt particularly comfortable at after years of experience in the music industry.
“Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves” is an atmospheric vocal duet between Jaimz and ex-The Runaways singer Cherie Currie, the latter being notably good at recreating Cher’s signature notes known from the original performance of the song. The 1970s being still on Jaimz’s eponymous time machine, he delivers rather unremarkable version of Tom Petty’s “The Wild One, Forever” before revisiting his Punk roots again with Magazine’s “Shot By Both Sides.”
Next to the last song on the album, “Shot By Sides” precedes what is ‘only’ a bonus track but also perhaps the best cover and also the biggest surprise for Steevi Jaimz’s staunch fans. It’s a re-recorded version of Tigertailz’ 1987 single “Livin’ Without You.” Stripped down to an acoustic arrangement, its choruses no longer big and catchy, the song turns out to be the real highlight of the entire album. This proves there was some point in all that unplugged craze in the early and mid-1990s. Perhaps there’s no exaggeration in Glam Metal artists saying that the songs we associate with the genre’s larger-than-life aesthetics were really nothing but fueled-up and electrified tales of love and life written on a cheap acoustic guitar…?
Overall, Time Machine is an enjoyable journey back to the past provided by the duo of Jaimz and Vokins, and perhaps it’ll remind their peers about some obscure tracks of their youth. It may also teach the younger listeners a lesson about ‘70s Glam Rock, Punk and everything in between. And isn’t that what the cover albums are for…? Other than that, the versions the duo delivers are hardly a novelty, and their adherence to the original sound of every song fails to surprise a listener (with an obvious final exception to the rule). Let’s hope it’s only a matter of time when the apparent musical chemistry between the former Tigertailz singer and the current Wrathchild guitarist results in genuinely new material.
Genre: Melodic Hard Rock
Steevi Jaimz – vocals
Phil Vokins – guitars
1. Babylon’s Burning
2. Look At Last Nite
4. If You Could Read My Mind
5. God In Louisiana
7. Gypsies Tramps & Thieves (ft Cherie Currie)
8. The Wild One, Forever
9. Shot By Both Sides
10. Living Without You (Bonus track)
Label: AOR Blvd. Records
Hardrock Haven rating: (6 / 10)