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Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before

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Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before

Current Status:
In Season
Various Artists
Rough Trade

We gave it a B+

As part of its 25th-anniversary celebration, the famed London label Rough Trade has put together a sort of tribute to itself, tapping current acts on its roster to cover tunes from its catalog. It’s a gimmicky concept, and the track listing is a little puzzling. There are no songs by the Smiths, Swell Maps, and other notables from the label’s heyday, and two of its best contemporary bands — the Strokes (who are on RCA in the U.S.) and the Libertines — didn’t contribute. But Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before is still full of pleasant surprises. Among the highlights: Belle & Sebastian add a disco tinge to Young Marble Giants’ ”Final Day”; Mystic Chords of Memory scrape the gloss off Aztec Camera’s fragile classic ”We Could Send Letters”; and the Detroit Cobras iron the angles out of the Strokes’ ”Last Nite,” turning it into a slinky rocker reminiscent of the Pretenders. Other strokes of inspiration abound.