‘NSP’ returns with slightly homogenous third cover album

Courtesy of Ninja Sex Party
Wecht and Avidan on the album cover for Under The Covers, Volume III.

Joseph Phillippi | Staff Writer

11/20/19

Ninja Sex Party (NSP) is a mostly comedic band centered around a man named Danny Sexbang and his murderous best friend Ninja Brian, the stage names of musicians Dan Avidan and Brian Wecht. Most of their songs are centered around their escapades to rock and seduce the general population of the world. In the past few years however, they have dipped their toes into cover songs and have just recently released their third cover album, the aptly titled Under the Covers, Volume III, accompanied by the wonderful synth backing band Tupperware Remix Party or TWRP.

Fans have been eagerly awaiting their latest cover album since Avidan had announced it on his Instagram in May of this year. Each album they have released has gotten exponentially better each time.

Their last album, Attitude City, is perhaps my favorite they have released thus far, the added backing accompaniment along with overall quality improvements to not only the songs themselves, but with the added variety of instrumentation sets it higher above their other efforts. Under the Covers, Volume III sets itself apart by leaning heavily into the 80’s pop aesthetic they have had since their inception. Their cover of “We Built this City” by Starship is perhaps the best example of this in the entire album.

Nearly 90% of the songs are centered and composed around the idea of the 80’s pop aesthetic to almost the point of repetition, for example, the songs “We Built This City” by Starship and “The Land Down Under” by Men at Work are composed like they were taken right out of the 80’s. The provide unique and refreshing instrumentation, although lacking in terms of variety, comparatively to Under the Covers, Volume I, where they had presented a cover of “Rock with You” by Michael Jackson in a completely different style.

Typically the songs are poppy and rocky, but there have typically also been ballads or melancholy songs, along with different instrumentations of songs you’ve heard before. Here, however,  it’s almost all one-note, poppy 80’s rock, but that is not necessarily bad. Quite the contrary — the music, vocals and composition are all brilliant and beautiful as per usual. They are all just very similar to each other. The only song that sets itself apart would be their cover of “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult, taking an orchestral approach with Danny’s harmonious voice backed by the shredding mandolin and weeping violin. It’s beautiful, truly, and after each listen I’m left wondering why the rest of the album was so samey.

Again, the album is fantastic and really I’m complaining when given cake, but golly, I’m left wanting more soothing tones and calm instrumentation from the combined bands. I’m left wondering how beautiful it would be if, say, “Won’t Back Down” got the same treatment as “Don’t Fear the Reaper” or “Madrigal.” In conclusion, if you are a major fan of funky 80’s pop, then Under the Covers, Volume III is for you, and even if you are not, I still recommend it nonetheless.

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