EP Review: The Checkered Hearts — Joystick

The two musicians involved in this modest project were clearly having a good time. Singers and multi-instrumentalists Hillary Burton and Lisa Mychols are, I think we can assume, persons of a certain age, and this EP is a cheery look back at some of the music than informed tier own sensibilities. “The Cars’ “My Best Friend’s Girl” is deftly stripped of its new wave sheen and delivered as a catchy pop tune with a subtle hint of ‘60s garage with a whiff of riot grrl. The Housemartins’ “Happy Hour” gets similar treatment with delightful results. Phil Seymour’s immortal pop gem “Previous to Me” is given a straight reading, with lovely vocal harmonies.

Kirsty MacColl’s “They Don’t Know” is transformed from its Spectorian original into something that, as it happens, would have fit more neatly into the Stiff Records aesthetic. It certainly doesn’t improve on the original – nothing could – but it’s a nice treatment. Far edgier is a cover of The Knack’s “Good Girls Don’t.” The duo manages to sing those lower-register parts. And yes, they sing that lyric line. Makes me wonder if the EP’s title is a double-entendre.

A bonus track (“So Long, Maybe”) breaks the all-covers mold, and finds Mychols and Burton exploring a spiky Veruca Salt vibe. Perhaps this EP is more than a buswomens’ holiday. Maybe it’s a teaser/trial balloon for an upcoming full-length collection of originals? If so, count me in.