Video Spotlight: Sprawl II Goes Acoustic


As a frequent visitor to the internet, I consider myself a bit of quasi-expert on online video.  So, as I was watching Trampled By Turtles‘ excellent bluegrass/folk cover of Arcade Fire’s Rebellion (Lies)  for The Onion AV Club’s consistently satisfying Undercover 2012 series, I couldn’t help but be reminded of another excellent Arcade Fire cover. In late March, Hey Ocean! (a Vancouver based folk-pop trio) and Aidan Knight (a Victoria singer-songwriter and musician) teamed up to create what has quickly become one of my favourite covers of all time.

The music  is gorgeous, but it certainly doesn’t hurt that they covered Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains), a song that I nervously call my favourite from Arcade Fire’s extensive catalogue.

Everything in this cover is exactly where it should be: percussion, flute, violin and brass enter slowly when needed, adding thickness to the sonic texture. Other times, however,  they recede, letting the vocals and gentle guitar playing shine. For a semi-acoustic piece, the cover is surprisingly slow-burning and moody, something that nicely complements  the new-wave feel of the original.

Rumour has it that Hey Ocean! have recently added  this cover to their live set. If you want to catch them live, they’ll be playing gigs in New York and Los Angeles before stopping in a few cities across Canada, finishing at Montreal’s Osheaga Festival in August:

Hey Ocean! Tour Dates:

05/21/12 – Piano’s New York – New York, NY

06/02/12 – Boootleg Bar – Los Angeles, CA

06/10/ 12 –  Open Sky Music Festival – Edmonton, AB

07/06/12 – Mariposa Folk Festival – Orilla, ON

07/08/12 – Keloha festival – Kelowna, BC

08/03/12 – Osheaga Festival – Montreal, QC


4 comments on “Video Spotlight: Sprawl II Goes Acoustic

  1. Quite, quite, beautiful. I love it, thanks for sharing!


    • Brennan McCracken says:

      No problem! What I find most interesting about this cover is how they reinterpreted the original new-wave instrumental using more traditional instrumentation.


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