On an album of Tom Waits covers one should rightly expect some derelict bravado and gruff to make it a credible cover album. But when the vocals are delivered by the divine Scarlett Johansson, you’re already treading in different waters. Add music which offers deeply layered and evocative soundscapes from a deft lineup of musicians that includes members of Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, TV on the Radio, and a guest appearance by David Bowie, and you’ve got something altogether different than one would expect on a Tom Waits cover album.
Fans of the old storyteller won’t recognize some of these versions. Instead, at least on a few notable tracks, fans of bands like Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil,and Dead Can Dance will recognize derivative and signature sounds from these mainstays of the venerable bands from the 4AD music label. On this her first musical venture aware from the big screen, Scarlett approaches the art of music by re-envisioning Tom’s old songs with both purpose and pensive respect for the artist she covers.