When “No One Knows” is performed by Queens of the Stone Age, the song is a brutish beast with snarling guitar riffs and biting lyrics. When it’s performed by the Section Quartet — on string instruments played with bows instead of picks or bloody fingertips — it becomes an entirely different animal: With precision and sinister energy (and no vocals), their cover unleashes new potential from music that was pretty powerful to begin with.
The Section Quartet, based in Los Angeles, aren’t the first group to forge chamber music from seemingly untamable songs — Apocalyptica wreaked similar havoc on the Metallica catalog — but the results are no less stunning. In their hands, Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” sounds even more ominous than the original. And the Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” (made famous by the Garden State soundtrack) is totally reinvented: Devoid of wispy vocals, this version is exacting and angry, and, improbably, it rocks.
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