Covering a song as classic and romantic as Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” is no easy task. Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee) and brother Keith Spencer (Swearin’) take an admirable stab at it. Waxhatchee, a one-woman group led by Crutchfield (and bolstered by Spencer’s drumming), released sophomore hit Cerulean Salt this past spring. The debut album for Swearin’ came out last summer.
Now the siblings come together to write and record material that doesn’t quite fit with the angsty folk-punk of their main projects. The main goal of Great Thunder, the collaboration, is “to not feel like we had to start a band and make a certain genre of music,” Crutchfield said in an interview with Under the Radar. The duo’s first effort is the Strange Kicks EP. Among original tunes as diverse as the new wave “Wormhole” and “Kees”, which sounds like a Cerulean Salt outtake with its contemplative, restrained rock anchored by Crutchfield’s vocals, is their “Fade Into You” cover. While the original is tough to beat, the duo makes a good case for themselves. Grounding a song that floats longingly in the clouds works well for the couple, and knowing their relationship status helps give the song the romantic bent that their version might be otherwise lacking, due to its pop-heavy synth and disco dance beat.
While Great Thunder may not be as instantly engaging as its members’ individual projects, it’s fun to listen to the couple work together, really having fun playing as a duo. Their cover of “Fade Into You” may not win them any accolades, nor does it achieve the transcendent greatness of the original, but who can’t appreciate the sentiment behind this deeply talented couple jamming out to it together? Where the original is devastating and heart-breaking, Great Thunder’s version is fun, rocking, and a real joy to listen to.