Just humour me, here. In a throwback to the old school, German cover groupÂ The Baseballs have taken it upon themselves to re-introduce the good old juke box to the masses with a fresh bunch of recent smash hits re-imagined with a 50”™s twist. Going back a few years to 1995, a lounge cover music outfitÂ The Mike Flowers Pops group made their name with their audacious attempt to outshineÂ Oasis”™ immortalÂ Wonderwall and gave themselves overnight notoriety. These days, is seems that only a few groups can summon the gall to attempt covers of such well known tracks. Nevertheless, The Baseballs have released a collection of efforts in their lively debut albumÂ “Strike”.
Originally released by JMC Music in May 2009 in Germany, the album has been shipped over to the UK thanks to Rhino Records, and onto our shelves for your indulgence. Featuring massive tracks likeÂ Rhianna‘sÂ Umbrella,Â Angels byÂ Robbie Williams, andÂ Bleeding Love byÂ Leona Lewis, a full 12 track album may have been just a little too ambitious for them to maintain momentum the whole way through. Having said that, however, Strike manages to be entertaining and encouragesÂ toe-tappingÂ from the first minute to last with its quirky, upbeat energy.
Each track has been thoroughly structured to capture the essence of the 50’s with their reworking of these smash hit number ones. There have been a few efforts to cover Rhianna’sÂ Umbrella which manage to inject impetus and emotion to the lyrically sound ‘R&B’ anthem – one byÂ Manic Street Preachers comes to mind – but this is the cover to rule them all. It has taken the concept on a ride and picked up a bag full of happy to share the fun with the listener. It builds up when it needs to and races along with its lively chorus to its happy conclusion, straight into the next sing-a-long,Â Usher’sÂ Love in this Club, which too races along with the same feel good factor.
“Strike” also manages to introduce variety with a slower swing-a-long rendition ofÂ Don”™t Cha (originally byÂ Pussycat Dolls), which still manages to bring a smile to your face with its cheeky question and answer vocals. By the time you reachÂ Angels, you might even feel as though you’ve been taken back in time to listen toÂ Elvis himself. Each track inÂ “Strike” has been thoughtfully put together with finger clicking beats, light and lively baselines and vintage vocals. It almost feels like these tracks were born of the period, rather than simply being a reworked cover version. With its lively bass lines and entertaining vocals and the “dance-a-bility” of this album, it would surely make a welcome addition to a party playlist. It”™s fun, it”™s clever, and in my opinion is a real must buy – even if just as a novelty album. It”™s surely one to lift your spirits with its refreshingly energetic optimism. Clear the dance floor, stick “Strike” on the juke-box and get ready to jive!