Off the superb Volar Records 2013 comp Under the Covers Vol. 2: A Tribute to Paul Collins, Peter Case, and Jack Lee (of the Nerves), Reading Rainbow’s version of “Stand Back and Take a Good Look” is more than a cover, structurally reengineering the track to great result.
It is a minimalist but dynamic adaptation: rolling hills of reverb careening and overlapping the dual vocal melodies, reciting the refrain as command. A bit of the coarseness has been refined formalistically, but partially reintroduced in the richness of guitar tone. It is a fitting tribute and feels like the hooks have only been honed over the elapsed decades.
The opening track, Grass Widow’s “Why are You Walking Out on Love,” also stands out as another especially constructive modification. A gateway to some great songwriting/songwriters, available for $7 from Volar.