Idol Records' latest split EP joins two of Dallas' polar opposites to cover each other's songs. The results? Well, for some reason, the pAper chAse hid its guitars while recording Will Johnson's "The Riot Jack," leaving the usually beastly band with only piano, synthesized strings and a processed drum loop. Unfortunately, that means the cover places too much focus on John Congleton's vocals, which also lack their normally manic quality, and the end result is a decent song that could have been much bigger.
On the other hand (er, side), if the PC's "I Did a Terrible Thing" was a goose-stepping, snaggle-toothed Tin Man of a song, then Johnson pried its body open with a screwdriver and harmonica to free its big, beating heart. His four-track rendition removes both the tempo and production of the original, but in the process, Johnson has boosted the trust-torn lyrics with a weight that only his warbling voice and broken-down acoustic guitar can create. Furthermore, Johnson transforms the nervousness of the original into a seven-minute heartbreak, and the result is epic and beautiful.