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LA rock outfit All Good Things certainly know how to write a tune.

Three bangers in a row in the form of Kingdom, For The Glory and The Comeback established them as a musical force to be reckoned with, all coming from their debut album for Better Noise Music, A Hope In Hell.

But, as if to prove that All Good Things can make not just great music of their own, but can also breathe fresh life into those from other artists, the band has released a special EP of covers just in time for Christmas.

The Distance features five tracks originally recorded by Cake, Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, The Weeknd and Linkin Park, an eclectic mixture to be sure but also well within the capabilities of All Good Things.

Opening with The Distance from Cake the all too familiar cry of “reluctantly crouched at the starting line…” signals intent from the get-go, but already you can hear All Good Things are wanting to put their own slant on things.

This is a more beefed-up version, adding an urgency that until now had not even been lacking. The guitars are meatier and the vocals dripping with grit, already suggesting the sweet smell of victory at the podium.

With no disrespect to Cake at all, this version is an absolute pearler. Think Ferrari versus Valiant on the racetrack complete with the smell of burning rubber, and you are on the right track. Awesome start.

The Pretender by Foo Fighters is up next, and All Good Things will have to be on point for this one, considering only two days ago I saw Dave Grohl and the gang deliver a spellbinding version of this very song live.

To their credit, All Good Things pay the ultimate respect to Grohl by not even trying to mimic his style or version, instead delivering the track a touch more subdued than the original to start with before building urgency as the song progresses.

I can actually understand the lyrics on this version without the cries of thousands of Foo fans screaming over the top, which is a major plus. I’m no muso, but I get the feeling this would not be an easy track to cover – especially with Foo Fighters being one of those bands loved by everyone – and the fact All Good Things even tried is credit to their vision. The fact they nailed it is even better.

I’m not familiar with Blinding Lights from The Weeknd, and after hearing the intro I can see why. Not much inspiring here.

Which isn’t directed towards either the original band or the ones paying tribute to them, but it’s one of those dreamy, airy and tempered tracks that generally give me wind.

In saying that, this is a live version from All Good Things, and it does gather a touch of starch in places and obviously has mass universal appeal.

But I have never been one of the masses.

A live rendition of Iron Maiden’s Aces High is up next, and ANYONE who takes on the might of Maiden either has massive wavers or a target on their back – or both.

The familiar guitar intro sets the tone in a stuttering fashion before pulling back slightly in order to make room for the unmistakable guitar assault that follows.

Vocalist Dan Murphy has a great set of lungs on him and to his credit throughout this EP has not once tried to emulate those of the bands to first record these songs.

Instead, he sprinkles more than enough of his own DNA through the tracks without completely bastardising the originals, in doing so creating enough disparity between the two to indicate this is not just another cash and/or attention-grabbing fill-in between albums.

Andrew Bojanic and Miles Franco lose little in comparison to Adrian Smith and Dave Murray on guitar, while bassist Liz Hooper emulates the great Steve Harris with enough of her own brush strokes to make this take on Aces High pretty much as good and or as close to Iron Maiden as you could want.

Let’s see how they go with a live take of Numb by Linkin Park

Immediately the soft tones of keyboards stand out beautifully before the acoustic guitar kicks in and Murphy eases in over the top.

This is a haunting and emotional rendition of what is already a highly emotive tune, delivered with a casual restraint that accentuates the mood.

To be honest I am not a massive fan of the original version, but All Good Things have managed to capture a rawness of sorrow that flows even better acoustically. Why did I even doubt them?

At a time of year when more Christmas songs are thrown about than even Rudolph could lend his ears to, it is refreshing to see a band try their hand at something different and infinitely more challenging.

They have not only managed to pay respect to the music of five important and influential bands of this century, but they have done so with a healthy splattering of their own musical psyche.

Merry Christmas All Good Things, and thanks for not covering Mariah Carey

Get The Distance and other releases from All Good Things https://allgoodthings.la/music/

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