I approached this one with trepidation — covers of Nirvana songs? That’s sacrilege, isn’t it? Add to that the fact that this is a local San Francisco disc and I found myself questioning how sustained any quality on here could be. I’m such a musical snob. And it proved me wrong, because Nearvana is excellent. The disc opens with Storm Inc.’s version of “Rape Me,” simply and poignantly rendered in an initially startling gender-reversal (Tori Amos’ Strange Little Girls concept springs to mind). The female vocalists on this release really shine and highlight the feminine energy Cobain uncovered in his writing. Birdsaw’s cover of “Something in the Way” is breathtaking (I have no qualms in saying I find it totally superior to the original) and it combined with “Rape Me” are worth the price of admission alone. There’s more to be discovered, though: straight-up grunge and punk renditions sit alongside experimental pieces, and almost without exception, the original vision of Nirvana is preserved and added to with poise and tact. This album is essential. Forget the legally-thrashed-to-death Best-Of: the spirit of Nirvana is here.
Tinnitus Records: http://www.tinnitusrecords.com