Capgun Heroes -- The Naked Raygun E.P.
In this tribute EP, Chicago's Capgun Heroes pay homage to another of the Windy City's most beloved punk outfits in Naked Raygun, and the fidelity with which the three cover songs on this disk capture both the spirit and energy of the originals makes it quite clear just how much the former appreciate the latter. Each of the three tracks on this disk were originally penned by a different member of Naked Raygun and each cover preserves the stylistic hallmarks that makes the originals so memorable.
Track 1. "Rat Patrol." Given that John Haggerty's hook-laden guitar riffs helped solidify Naked Raygun's sound, it is fitting that the tribute EP opens with a Haggerty-penned song featuring one of his best-known riffs. While the more polished quality of the Capgun Heroes version of the track lacks the tinny charm of the 1985 original, the vocals carry the performance. Whereas Jeff Pezzati's voice is merely one instrument among several in the original, Joe Capgun powerful rendition of the lead vocals and a fuller, more resounding set of backing whoas really add some punch to the cover.
Track 2. "Knock Me Down." In Capgun Heroes' version of 1985's "Knock Me Down," the band preserves the melodic heart of Pezzati's songwriting, but replaces the occasionally jangling guitar, sometimes plaintive vocals, and less prevalent percussion of the original with a heavier, harder-driving sound.
Track 3. "I Lie." Prior to leaving Naked Raygun to join Steve Albini in Big Black, Santiago Durango showcased his beefier guitar sound on this anthemic gem on 1983's Basement Screams. As is the case with their version of "Knock Me Down," Capgun Heroes really lean into the heavier qualities of the song with Joe Capgun subtly adding a modicum of grit and heft to the vocals that help the track sound both faithful to the original and consistent with the Capgun Heroes' own budding catalogue of melodic Chicago punk.
Sobriquet Grade: 82 (B-).