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The Pulltops - Have You Ever Seen The Rain? (self-released)

4 May 2024

I started a review recently by listing all the songs that I considered sacred, in that they should never be covered, that they were not only holy but also already perfect. I talked about the usual fare, Buckley’s take on “Hallelujah” (being the exception to the rule), but also about songs by Kate Bush, Bowie and Joy Division but I could easily have added the song in question here, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”

But the music makers in that earlier review (The Silent Era covering “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” if you must know) managed to convince me that I might, in that instance at least, be wrong. I’m sort of thinking that I am wrong, too, in this one.

The problem with tackling covers is that you can’t win. Either you stay faithful to the original, and people quite rightly say, “So, what’s the point?” or you put your own spin on things and get people asking if you think you know how to improve on an already great song. The art is to marry up both worlds. It is a trick that The Pulltops pull off to perfection here.

Having slowed the song down into an ambient americana drawl, almost to the point of becoming funereal and eulogic, they power it with a solitary drum tattoo and build the rest of the sonic structures from just distant harmonies and distant sonic washes, atmosphere and anticipation. And the result is truly majestic.

Does it surpass the original? No. Yes. Perhaps. I guess it all depends on your mood. This is one of those times when I am more than happy to have my theories and arguments blown right out of the water. I only wish it would happen more often.

The Pulltops