LISTEN: Austin Glam-Rockers A Giant Dog Cover “Neon Bible” in Its Entirety
Merge Records continues their 30-year anniversary celebration by commissioning an energetic cover of Arcade Fire’s second album.
Musically, Neon Bible sounds kinda like a punk record written by a group of sheltered kids who were forced to recreate their favorite Relient K albums with the instruments lying around their church’s band room. Arcade Fire’s SNL performance of “Intervention”—complete with an obliterated (acoustic) guitar donning a Haitian proverb written in tape—was a rallying cry for punks with messenger bags who found London Calling to be way too abrasive, a triumph of underground culture storming the network airwaves with heaps of repressed anger and church-folk getups.
While yesterday’s news that Austin glam punks A Giant Dog covered the whole record may not quite have been expected, the homage makes sense. Finding creative workarounds for AF’s baroque instrumentation in the form of buzzing synths and louder and, well, more-electric guitars, the recreated eleven tracks are astonishingly reverent to the original source material, even embracing familiarly Arcade Fire maudlin strings on closer “My Body Is a Cage”—all with a certain pick-it-up-pick-it-up-pick-it-uuuuup je ne sais quoi.
Similarly on-point is the record’s cover art, which looks like an embroidered patch of the iconic noble-gas Bible with what appears to be an asshole as the focal point. “Recording a cover album, we felt like actors in a movie,” the band explains of the decision to use the Jennine Turow–designed artwork. “Taking someone else’s lines and embodying those emotions, and expressing those ideas through our own selves, made us portals of human expression…and that’s why the album artwork is an open butthole.”
The release is a part of Merge Records’ year-long 30th anniversary celebration, which includes four surprise-released full-length LPs for subscribers of their Born Under a Good Sign subscription series. You can stream or purchase a copy here.