One of the most vital things about music is how it can bring people of all kinds together with ease, whether as fans or as fellow musicians, and the latter couldn't be any more true for Dan Crane and Amanda Walker, otherwise known as Ray & Remora. A twenty-year age difference is no obstacle in their friendship, and allows two perspectives of significant songs released in 1994 to combine as one in an explosion of electronic and beat-heavy recreations that are just as noteworthy as their source material.
The bouncy "Like a Fool" capitalizes upon the dreamlike nature of Superchunk's indie/punk original, with Crane and Walker's dual vocals layered on top of sparkly electronics and guitar lure the listener straight into a euphoric haze that we're only awakened from by the handclap-worthy interpretation of Pavement's "Gold Soundz". Retaining the lo-fi essence of its prototype, Ray & Remora's version lifts the acoustic renderings and transforms them into something not at all out of place on the dance floor.
The first song off 1994 to receive video treatment, "Say It Ain't So" pays its respects to Weezer's melancholy tune while becoming just as much its own, transposing the guitar into piano, while snappy beats and climbing synths accompany Walker's forlorn vocals, while on the other hand, if you weren't previously familiar with Sebadoh's "Skull" you might be surprised that the breezy, cavorting number from Ray & Remora's first incarnation was that of solid indie rock, but both versions . "Feel The Pain" is another one that deviates heavily from its Dinosaur Jr. rock original, but the sparse arrangement gives room for the opposing messages expressed to be fully absorbed ("I feel the pain of everyone, then I feel nothing"), made all the more lush by Walker's dual vocal layers, as she calls and answers to herself.
Rounding out the EP with a cover of Guided By Voices' "The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory" Ray & Remora lift the four-track feel of its source into a chilled-out atmosphere complete with tempo breakdowns during the choruses that draw out the song's funkiest qualities before bidding us farewell for now. As noted with "Skull", if you listened to 1994 unaware of its concept the imaginative creativity involved in crafting all six songs to sound fresh and modern in 2014 makes it easy to view and appreciate them all on their own merits without instantly jumping to compare them to their originals, and for as much as some of the fans of the bands covered are adamant that good music doesn't exist these days (a statement I disagree with), I'd like to think that even if Ray & Remora's style isn't to everyone's personal liking that they could still appreciate the group's interpretations on an objective level. The honest actuality of these covers coming straight from the heart and Crane and Walker's pure love for the songs and bands behind them should be enough to swing those who might be otherwise unconvinced, so if you're looking for a new take on some of your favorite older songs or want to further accustom yourself with ones not as inscribed to your memory, Ray & Remora's intergenerational take on the matter should satisfy you!