Friday, December 1, 2023
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Sloppy Jane – Cancer Review

Clawing at any continuation of Madison is well justified for those who were captured completely by the quality Sloppy Jane brought to the caves of the Lost World. Cancer, a cover of My Chemical Romance’s well-remembered pop at love and leaving it behind, is reimagined entirely with orchestral pressure from Haley Dahl. This is the intense version this track always needed. With a piece just shy of three minutes, Dahl has showcased not just her talent for covering the works of her best-loved bands, but her incredible understanding of where this Gerard Way-penned piece can be taken. This is to Sloppy Jane what Hurt was to Johnny Cash. Make no mistake, they are of equal perfection.  

From those electronic phaser indications resting under the warm and tender piano strokes to the crackling vocal presence Dahl brings – Cancer is reimagined by one of the best of the bunch. It pays no mind to listen to the My Chemical Romance version any longer, this is the definitive piece. Those who fell for the rising strings and otherworldly presence of Madison will feel right at home with this one. Certainly a continuation of the style and a fitting cover which strikes through as a recognisable piece of the Sloppy Jane universe, despite being somewhat removed from the core. Cancer fits in well. It may flicker on well from the soft intonations brought to it by Clem Turner who mashed this track in with As The Worlds Cave In. Dahl, however, has tapped the right spots, and with that has crafted a cover which stands as a testament to her and the Sloppy Jane group’s quality. 

To adapt a track from over a decade ago, to push it into the modern fold as more than just the well-remembered My Chemical Romance track it is, is beyond the pale. Absolutely exceptional in every regard, and it rings as nicely as it seems. Staggering instrumentals are the key to this, the mood they bring and the continuing shift present throughout is intense. Nothing less should be expected of the Madison project, which gains yet another endlessly listenable piece. Compartmentalising the thoughts of just a few minutes is tricky when they are so layered, with exceptional variety present – the touches of percussion which begin to invade as the first chorus is hooked – is a delight. Dahl’s vocal range lends itself to this project completely 

A sucker of strings through and through, those who love the style Dahl brings to this Madison-era work are in for an absolute treat. Her choked-up uniqueness knows no bounds and brings out the very best in this My Chemical Romance cover. Pairing it with whining strings which bring on the comedown of abandonment not only gives the track some resolution but highlights Dahl as the grand composer she is. Much of that was clear on the likes of Wilt from just two years ago, but Cancer presents a great chance to truly get to know the influences which guide and adapt to the Madison era. It only gets better from here. Every turn provides something necessary and exciting, the adaptive process here working away at its very best. One of the few perfect tracks of this year, there is no doubt about it.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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