One In The Chamber Music is the latest offering from Kingston Can-rock vets the Headstones. They’ve gone through their back catalogue and have recorded acoustic arrangements of some familiar favourites. To make the package more enticing, a couple new songs have been added. If this sounds familiar, it should. Big Sugar did the exact same thing just a few months ago. But while Big Sugar played it straight, the Headstones were a bit more ambitious in some of their reimaginings.
“Smile and Wave” features the rarely-seen rock mandolin. “Won’t Wait Again” and “Cubically Contained” also benefit from the re-arranged instrumentation. “Swinging” is effectively transformed from a lo-fi interlude to a sweeping epic. Meanwhile, the Headstones’ cover of “Tweeter and the Monkey Man” by The Travelling Wilburys – radically altered on Picture of Health (1992) – is played straight for a change.
As for the new songs, “Colourless” sounds great and I’m actually curious to hear what an electric version of it would sound like. “Laugh Lines” didn’t make such a great impression on me. As is usually the case with re-arrangements there are a hits and there are misses. “Cemetary” is given the shuffle treatment and while interesting doesn’t pack the same punch as the original.
While I dismissed the Big Sugar acoustic record, I feel differently about One In The Chamber Music. It’s a nice piece of fan service that acts as a fine companion to any Headstones collection.