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PREMIERE: Sarah Mary Chadwick strips back the Shocking Pinks’ classic It’s Hard To Breathe

Some covers draw a sense of déjà vu, offering up the same musicality and tone found on the original release. While flattery through impersonation has its place in the musical landscape; its great to see an artist take it upon themselves to compose a cover that not only pays homage to the original track and artist but also present their own spin on it. Singer-songwriter Sarah Mary Chadwick has done just that with her take on Shocking PinksIt’s Hard to Breathe.

Sarah Mary Chadwick cover

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Shocking Pinks seminal record Dance Dance the Electric, the band have asked fellow Kiwi Sarah Mary Chadwick to tackle It’s Hard To Breathe, and she nailed it. 

Shocking Pinks feature low fidelity production, beautiful yet aggressive melodies, and lyrics so dark your heart will turn a healthy shade of black. Having released albums through New Zealand’s legendary Flying Nun Records and New York City’s prolific DFA Records, the act has been inactive on the recording front since 2007. In celebrating the 10th anniversary of Shocking Pinks’ seminal debut record Dance The Dance Electric, A Low Hum will be reissuing the album for the first time on vinyl as well as releasing a covers record comprised of New Zealand born artists to coincide with the reissue.

Sarah Mary Chadwick is a New Zealand born singer songwriter based in Melbourne. Chadwick utilises lo-fi electronic drums, a harrowing organ and her distinctively Kiwi bred vocal style embracing her accent, unlike a many of her Australian and New Zealand born contemporaries, to create a hauntingly raw and distressing brand of blues. Since moving to Melbourne from Wellington to focus on her music Chadwick has released her debut record Eating for Two through Bedroom Suck Records, subsequent b-sides and demos release Hit and Miss and Chadwick signed to Rice is Nice to release her sophomore record 9 Classic Tracks to great acclaim.

Chadwick’s take on It’s Hard to Breathe is a much more subdued affair, clocking in almost a minute longer than the original. Shocking Pinks’ layers of guitars have been replaced by an almost drone-like organ hiding underneath a skeleton of electronic drums. The dissonant nature of the drum machine ignites the same feelings of emptiness emphasised by the guitar in the original. In stripping back the original track Chadwick is able to ensure her distinct and authentic vocal style is the hero of the cover. Ultimately it’s unapologetically unique and does a fine job capturing the overall emotion found in the original while avoiding any sense of déjà vu, Sarah Mary Chadwick has stuck to her guns and absolutely nailed it with this one.

Shocking Pinks’ will be returning to the road for a world tour, they make an appearance at The Brightside on September 9th as part of BIGSOUND, as well as a run of dates across the East Coast in late November. The reissue of Dance the Dance Electric will be available October 5th and the covers album will be available later on in the month.

Shocking Pinks are playing at The Brightside, Wednesday, 9th September, 11:30 PM – 12:00 AM for BIGSOUND.