Pure Bathing Culture is an indie-pop band from Portland. It has been a while since the Pitchfork-praised duo has released anything, but they just dropped a cover of R.E.M.’s “Nightswimming,” recorded in a home studio by members Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman.
The original starts out with a poppy piano, moving eight notes, and forward vocals sans effects. It is understated and reminiscent, and slowly blossoms into a mid-sized chamber orchestra. Filled with string interludes and nearly baroque-pop double reed solos, it’s hard not to fall in love with the instrumentation of the original song.
Pure Bathing Culture did away with the slow build and opted for a more atmospheric soundscape. In some ways, this cover sounds much older than the original. The introduction with delicate castanets gives us ’60s/Ronettes vibes, whereas the mellotron gives us that quintessential ’70s sound. The effects on Versprille’s voice is oceany and timeless. She manages to further romanticize the lyrics with her effortless vibrato and finesse. Hindman took over the rest: guitar, bass, mellotron synth, percussion, and drum machine.
This cover sounds like something straight out of The Breakfast Club or 10 Things I Hate About You. Although the combination of the words Pure Bathing Culture and “Nightswimming” begs the question: Did the band just do this because the song goes together with their name?
For more great covers of REM, check out: