Despite the protestations of rock and roll scientists around the globe, INXS has finally accomplished the impossible: they’ve covered themselves. At least, that’s the impression emanating from Original Sin, their new record. INXS proclaims the album as a serious entry into their studio release catalog, but also as a tribute featuring “several of their signature hits re-imagined by some of the world’s finest musicians.”
Indeed, Original Sin contains 12 new-ish recordings by those loveable Australian new-wavers, but it features significant supplemental work from a bevy of guest stars. The album aims for a strange alchemy that walks the line between “serious new release” and “fun cover record,” and it basically fails at both. Sonically, for instance, Original Sin is a mess. The first three tracks (“Drum Opera,” “Mediate,” and “Original Sin”) slather on heavy bass and synthetic snare in a way that recalls the output of generic ’90s techno bands. It’s significantly disorienting to say the least. After that, the record mercifully switches things up a little with some straight-ahead rock, pop and country balladry. Taken as a whole, though, listeners never really recover from that initial auditory assault.