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Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby - Two-Way Family Favourites

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Artist: Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby

Album: Two-Way Family Favourites

Label: Southern Domestic

Review date: Sep. 23, 2010

The story that Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby have floated to explain this record is that the couple worked up a set of covers so that they could play the bars of France, where they currently live. But since they live in the Limousin region, which is France’s second least-populous region (after Corsica), they had about as much success with that plan as you’d expect them to have had if they done the same thing in South Dakota. But even if they lived in Brooklyn or London or Paris, the songs on this record wouldn’t be much of a meal ticket. That’s because these fiftysomethings are both oddball pop obsessives who can’t help but put a quirk in there somewhere, even when they’re covering mega-hitmakers.

But their sketchy commercial judgment has a lot to do with this flawed but lovable album’s charm. If they’d wanted to connect with a big audience by playing a Who song, they could have played “My Generation” or “Baba O’Riley” or even “Athena.” Instead they played “Endless Wire,” a song hidden in plain sight on the Who’s less-than-loved most recent album; it doesn’t matter that it’s a really moving performance, no one is going to recognize the song. If you’re going to cover a Tom Petty song, why “Walls” from the She’s The One soundtrack? Again, it’s pretty swell, but who’s going to know it? And while I’m sure that the Flaming Groovies are legends in Eric and Amy’s minds, not to mention those of Yo La Tengo fans of a certain age, a heartfelt version of “You Tore Me Down” is not going to crowd many dance floors.

Even the people most likely to get it are likely to not get something on this record; I for one can’t understand why anyone would want to sing Abba’s “Fernando," but that’s why CD players have skip buttons. Most of the time, the duo stay on the right side of pop nerd-dom, turning out one scruffy version of a song you didn’t know you loved until you heard them do it after another.

By Bill Meyer

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