WHO ARE THEY? The L.A. indie-pop duo of dreamy chanteuse Inara George (whose father was late great Little Feat frontman Lowell George) and keyboardist Greg Kurstin (whose subsequent career as a Grammy-winning superproducer has sorta overshadowed his own songwriting and performing career).
WHAT IS THIS? Just what it sounds like: A lovingly lighthearted (and guitar-free) tribute album to the unbridled musical glory of California arena-rock hedonists Van Halen, as fronted by the one and only David Lee Roth (sorry, Sammy). For those keeping score at home, this is also a sequel to their likeminded 2010 tribute to Hall & Oates.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? First and foremost: Abso-freakin’-lutely awesome! George and Kurstin (along with studio musicians, old pals and VIP guests like Beck) transmogrify VH classics such as Runnin’ With the Devil, Panama, Hot For Teacher, Jump and Unchained into synth-fuelled pop, rock and jazz masterpieces — while reverently recreating virtually every helium-huffing shriek, fretburning lick, hyperkinetic drumbeat and vocal ad lib. To quote George quoting DLR: Oh. My. God.
WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? Funnin’ With the Devil.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? With someone who has no idea what they’re in for — just to watch them marvel at the flawless and fantastic results.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Joyful, lively, celebratory, clever, jazzy, dazzling, summery, sophisticated, poised, shimmering.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? There isn’t a dud in the bunch — but Beck’s bone-dry classroom banter in Hot For Teacher (“Tomorrow there will be an essay due on the dialectical shamanism of David Lee Roth — and there will be a pop quiz”) deserves a shout-out, as does Kurstin’s classical-piano rendition of Eddie’s signature solo Eruption. Bonus points for including a new version of the sultry 2009 DLR ode Diamond Dave.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘They need to do the same thing to Led Zeppelin … and Black Sabbath … and The Rolling Stones … and every other classic rock band that has ever existed, basically.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? Actually, it might be the only thing you listen to for the next while.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A DLR STAGE MOVE, WHAT MOVE WOULD IT BE? Leaping off the drum riser and doing the splits in mid-air.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? Go ahead and jump.