Hear Animal Collective's Playful 'Jimmy Mack' Cover - Rolling Stone
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Hear Animal Collective’s Playful ‘Jimmy Mack’ Cover

Band reworks Martha and the Vandellas’ classic for ‘The Painters’ EP

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Animal Collective cover Martha and the Vandellas' "Jimmy Mack" on their upcoming 'The Painters' EP.

Brigitte Engl/Redferns/Getty

With its heavy, driving beat and sugary harmony vocals, Martha and the Vandellas‘ “Jimmy Mack” encapsulates a sound that helped make Motown famous in the 1960s. Animal Collective released their own rendition of the song on Thursday, augmenting the original’s simple swing with a gleeful circus of sound effects. The cover of the Motown hit will appear on the band’s new EP, The Painters

Animal Collective’s “Jimmy Mack,” which the band has often performed as part of their live set, is a frenzied affair, full of squirting, rattling bass noises and synthesizer gurgles. The piano melody of the original is carried by a bell-like tone, which makes the cover feel appropriate for a wedding hootenanny or a debauched Christmas party. In place of Martha and Co.’s gliding, sweet vocals, Animal Collective rely on a lone, impassioned lead.

In some ways, “Jimmy Mack” marked the end of an era for Martha and the Vandellas. After the group’s dominant mid-Sixties streak, which included canonical releases like “Dancing in the Street” and “Nowhere to Run,” “Jimmy Mack” was their last single to reach the top 10 on the pop charts. Holland, Dozier and Holland, one of Motown’s finest songwriting teams, wrote the track.

Animal Collective released the Painting With album last year. The Painters EP hits shelves Friday.


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