Hear Punch Brothers Turn Tame Impala’s ‘Let It Happen’ Into a Bluegrass Masterpiece
The Punch Brothers have tackled a number of unexpected covers over the years, including Radiohead's "Kid A," the Cars' "The One That I Wanted" and even Beyonce's "Love on Top." Their latest cover reaches even farther -- Down Under, in fact -- as they cover Australian psych-rock band Tame Impala's "Let It Happen."
Readers can press play below to hear the intricate re-imagining of "Let It Happen." Chris Thile, Gabe Witcher, Noam Pikelny on banjo, Chris Eldridge and Paul Kowert tackle the 2015 hit with all of the impassioned fervor for which they're known, substituting complex vocal harmonies for the electronica stylings of the original version.
The haunting lyrics of the song's chorus are delivered in sparse harmony, with suspended instrumentation in the background: "All this running around / Trying to cover my shadow / An ocean growing inside / All the others seem shallow / All this running around / Bearing down on my shoulders / I can hear an alarm / Must be morning."
On Spotify's Undercover podcast, Thile says the Punch Brothers' adaptation of "Let It Happen" was something of a challenge for the group: “Tame Impala recordings aren’t possible without the studio. With Punch Brothers, it’s the opposite."
Punch Brothers made "Let It Happen" their own by transforming electronic keyboard sounds into banjo and and mandolin parts. They also used intense harmonies to substitute for the vocoder effects in the Tame Impala version.
"There’s this very live sense and a human element," Thile reflects. "There are these stabbing, definite drums, and then there’s that wash [of a] beautiful, atmospheric, swirly, pastel whoosh, and then there’s this childlike quality to [Kevin Parker’s] voice that I’m pretty obsessed with.”
The result is a richly styled, bluegrass-driven tune that could easily pass for a Punch Brothers original. The cover was featured on Spotify as part of their Spotify Singles series.