Records - Patti Smith (3 stars)

Patti Smith

Twelve (Columbia)


It’s not much of a leap of imagination, Patti Smith singing Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’, like she does on this odd album of cover versions. It’s practically her territory. More complicated are tracks like Tears For Fears’ late 80s jangle-pop hit ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’: such a weird juxtaposition of singer and song ought to produce interesting results, but Smith makes absolutely no effort to alter the karaoke-friendly backing track of the original, pitching her warped, lowing voice up an octave and ending up with something so characterless and anodyne that if it isn’t an elaborate joke you wonder why she bothered. However, there are fleeting, brilliant moments - most notably the sweetly, crazily crooned version of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, all flamenco guitar and ululated kletzmer rhythms round the edges - when Twelve seems like genius.

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