Almost exactly 40 years ago, Paul and Linda McCartney released the album Ram, written predominantly in Scotland and recorded in New York. Its rhythmic, experimental approach to tuneful pop songs was loved by many ex-Beatles fans and McCartney followers, reaching number one in the UK album charts, and remaining in the charts for 24 weeks.

Most musicians start out by covering their favourite artists, but very few succeed quite as dramatically as Dave Depper, a Portland-based musician who has decided to put out his version of Ram on the album's 40th anniversary. The purpose of albums which cover every song almost straight is questionable: are the artists trying to bring their heroes to a modern audience? Perfect what they saw to be errors in the original? Publicize themselves by muscling in on someone else's fanbase?

Indeed, it is difficult to see why Dave Depper is releasing this. His covers are pretty straight, if a little less raw than McCartney's tracks, and his voice never quite lives up to McCartney's, free of the grit that made the Beatle's vocals so alluring. It's true, though, that Depper's covers are almost perfectly executed, production luscious and addictively listenable. If this was Dave Depper's songwriting, I would definitely say his modern twist on classic rock was going to make him the Next Big Thing. However, they're not his tracks, and they're pretty similar to their aged counterparts, but don't really trump them, so it seems an almost pointless release.

Pointless in terms of originality, that is. A question I asked earlier was, are the artists trying to bring their heroes to a modern audience? If Dave Depper is trying to do this, he has succeeded at least on one count, because I would not have listened to Ram if it weren't for The Ram Project. The Beatles are insanely respected, still worshipped in retrospect - anyone who says they don't like them is considered an upstart who just wants to be different, or one of the musically uneducated. For that reason, added to each band member's huge back catalogue, it's a can of worms best left closed for many young people. Often, we don't want in on something which carries that much weight and history. To be naïve in first discoveries can be worse than to ignore something completely.

Dave Depper is clever in that he makes classic tracks like 'Dear Boy', 'Too Many People' and 'Smile Away', brilliant pop songs with a gorgeous rock twist, fresh and less swathed in history. And these are wonderful songs. Every track holds something different, though all are summery and rich in harmony. Also appealingly, it's clear that Dave Depper is doing this partly for laughs. That makes it more palatable too, I think. His copy of the front cover, for example, with cartoon Dave holding a cat where McCartney held a ram's horns, is fun enough to remind you that he's not trying to steal any thunder. He's just having a laugh, and you can hear it on the album. He describes making this album as a 'labour of love', and even though it's not really his album, I think The Ram Project deserves recognition for its listenability and execution, and the fact that he's done it alone is impressive.

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