Chris Isaak | Beyond the Sun

Vanguard (2011)
By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  October 25, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

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Critics of Chris Isaak have long considered him a neo-Elvis in a cheaper suit. It's a comparison all too easy to make, especially in light of this covers collection: a staggering half of the selections are either Presley standards or songs once performed by the King. Expectedly, Isaak does a spot-on impression, one that would give those pompadour-wearing impersonators in Vegas a run for their money. He reaches admirably for that elusive high note on "It's Now or Never," and croons a karaoke-perfect "Can't Help Falling in Love," but it is a bit of overkill. Hard to fault the guy, though, since he's clearly a die-hard fan. All the songs were tracked at Elvis HQ Sun Records studios, and with the exception of one — an out-of-place original composition ("Live it Up") — derived from the label built by producer extraordinaire Sam Phillips. The highlight is a ripping version of the obscure Jimmy Wages number "Miss Pearl." It'd be nice if Isaak cut loose like that a bit more, as otherwise he plays it too close to the vest with overdone, albeit rollicking, versions of "Great Balls of Fire," "I Walk the Line," and "Ring of Fire."

  Topics: CD Reviews , Elvis Presley, Sam Phillips, Chris Isaak,  More more >
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