Of all the singles by all the artificial Brit-girl pop quintets, take synthetically fabulous electro-wail “Call the Shots” by Girls Aloud. Of all the singers, take oddball crooner Fyfe Dangerfield, whose main attraction, Guillemots, is anything but fake with two LPs of quirky, heartfelt, bird-themed tunes. Put the two together, and what do you get? Dangerfield’s cover of “Call the Shots,” which distinguishes itself from the original immediately, coming in with shy audible guitar picking and an organic thumping beat.

Fyfe Dangerfield

“Call the Shots”
Polydor

Where the original song came off as a mechanized don’t-need-you toss-off, Dangerfield’s version has strings attached — literally, when an overemotional violin comes in with repeated pizzicato pluckings and strung-out sweeps, and figuratively from his emotional wail as he blares out the chorus. Suddenly, lines like “It really doesn’t faze me how you spend your time” have a painful edge, as if Dangerfield is putting up a front over a lovelorn melancholy. And just like that, a poppy nonsense song becomes so much more. Girl groups ain’t got nothin’ on this.

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