While cover records may be old hat (and, recently, big news) for Cat Power, interpretations of her songs from other musicians are rarer to come by. Yet Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan has nobly entered the fray this month, offering up an epic version of Cat Power’s “Metal Heart.” The cover is officially credited to Dave Gahan & Soulsavers, and the group’s near-holy name rings true: their version is fiery, gospel-tinged and expansive.
Even among her early lo-fi repertoire, Cat Power’s original take of “Metal Heart” from 1998’s Moon Pix feels a bit pensive, and charmingly slapdash. Gahan transforms the ballad’s small raw parts, turning the song into a massive holy reckoning — complete with organ, a mighty chorus of backup singers, and floor-shaking bass. Cat Power and Depeche Mode’s best work is often most entrancing when it shrouds potent ideas and earworm-y hooks in shadowy scrims, or fogs of moodiness. Conversely, Gahan works hard to make sure that quite the opposite happens here, with a cover that feels fully clear-eyed and open — emotionally exposed, practically prostrate. He particularly digs in in the song’s emphatic finale, screaming to the heavens like he’s in the middle of a torrential rainstorm: “Metal heart / you’re not hiding! Metal heart / you’re not worth a thing!” The gospel vibes are quite distant from Gahan’s roots in Depeche Mode — but the resulting cover is no less electric, and still darkly captivating.
Dave Gahan & Soulsaver’s version of “Metal Heart” comes from Imposter, a new covers album set to be released November 12th via Columbia. Beyond the Cat Power take, the record features covers on Bob Dylan, PJ Harvey, Mark Lanegan and more. Check out Dave Gahan & Soulsaver’s cover of Cat Power’s “Metal Heart” below, and preorder Imposter here.