In the hands of lesser musicians, a project as audacious as Elton John Vs PNAU may have ended up sounding like a chopped-up remix better suited to the pill-popping masses.
Thankfully, Peter Mayes and Nick Littlemore (aka PNAU) are far from ‘lesser’ musicians. They were handpicked by Sir Elton John himself for this assignment for good reason; he knew what they could produce.
What Mayes and Littlemore have created however, goes far beyond what even Elton could’ve predicted.
One of the things Good Morning To The Night does so well is that it doesn’t overexploit John’s pop sensibilities. Even when Mayes and Littlemore do throw in a ‘Bennie And The Jets’ or ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’, they do so in a way that is subtle and respectful to the original recording.
‘Sad’ is the most obvious single choice. Using the backing vocals from ‘Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word’ as an anchor, the track soothes with its gentle horns and buzzing undercurrent.
Others, such as ‘Telegraph To The Afterlife’ and ‘Black Icy Stare’, favour a more psychedelic and unrestrained quality. The trend continues with ‘Sixty’, the haunting instrumental that closes the album.
For Mayes and Littlemore to overcome the intimidation of John’s discography is an achievement in itself. To create something that not only celebrates this discography but also adds value to it is even more remarkable.
It’s a creation that deserves as much respect from critics as it does from the sternest of Elton John die-hards.
- Paul Bonadio
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