Label: Cooking Vinyl Release date: 05/07/10 Link: Myspace Buy: Amazon The Maximalist is one of this year’s great ‘lost’ albums. It showed Thomas White to be a polymath of musical enthusiasm and wonder, and covered pretty much every genre you can think of. On his tour to promote that album, he dabbled in a few covers including the centrepiece of the album – Warren Zevon’s ‘Accidentally Like A Martyr’, and now he releases this as an EP alongside four other covers of songs by a range of musical legends. ‘Accidentally Like A Martyr’ is not a drastic departure from the stunning original but White does do it justice, his softer and higher but-no-less emotive vocals complementing the more orchestral backing he brings to the fold. The backing vocals in the chorus really add an element of conviction to his take. He doesn’t try to modernise it, and still lets the track tug at the heartstrings as much as Zevon’s did, and the striking guitar solo remains. The next track on the album is a marked departure as White now goes on to tackle Mission Of Burma’s ‘That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate’. The original was a two-minute blast of in-your-face post-punk and again White takes the ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach, just it sounds a tad more progressive and definitely owes a lot to his band The Electric Soft Parade. Or maybe ESP owe a lot to Mission Of Burma. He’s clearly having fun and it’s nice to hear the song being sung rather than screamed, of which there was surely temptation to do. Everyone knows ‘We Have All The Time In The World’ and it takes a brave man to take on Louis Armstrong, especially in a quirky Badly Drawn Boy-esque fashion. I’m not sure White quite gets away with this one, as the cheesy keyboards start to grate by the halfway point of the song although the rest of the instrumentation is decidedly different and alluring. Far more like it is White’s touching tribute to Mark Linkous with ‘Little Fat Baby’, one of his true idols and the frontman of Sparklehorse. Understated, melancholic and beautiful but sparingly used piano – in every note he sings you can almost hear White welling up. The last track on the EP is Isham Jones and The Ray Miller Orchestra’s ‘I’ll See You In My Dreams’, a classic used in the film of the same name from the 1920s. White is just the latest in a long line of performers to try his luck on this but his delicate and restrained delivery helps him stamp his own authority although never too forcefully. The love Thomas White shows for all these artists and songs shines through, and on the whole it is a heartfelt tribute to acts that have shaped his life and songwriting. A fascinating collector’s item for his open-minded fans. Photobucket