“[The Poppy Family’s] ‘Where Evil Grows’ has always been a very appealing song to me, one that I’ve always wanted to cover,” explains Snake River’s Christopher Sleightholm about the band’s choice of cover song for DOMINIONATED IV. Sleightholm notes that reaction to their choice of cover song has been one of surprise: “When I told people we were covering it for this comp most people knew the song, but were totally unaware that the Poppy family were Canadian group.”
“It’s an amazing little psych-pop gem with a deep darkness in the lyrics,” Sleightholm says, noting that the song’s lyrics were a particular draw. Released in 1971 on the Poppy Family’s second and last album Poppy Seeds, “Where Evil Grows” had narrative meat that Snake River could sink their teeth into. “On the surface this song is a simple boy/girl duet song, with classic you-did-me-wrong lyrics, but with lines like ‘Every time I look at you evil grows in me,’ we know that we’re dealing with something far more intense and menacing than [just] another teenage love song. What are these two people able to do to one another? The one thing that’s clear is they can conjure up pure evil within one another, evil that’s already there. The other person merely makes it grow.”
Lizzy Burt from Winnipeg band Basic Nature joined Snake River as a special guest vocalist. “[‘Where Evil Grows’] is a duet sung from the perspective of both the male and female singers, and since every word of the song is sung in unison, listeners can assume they both feel precisely the same way about each other, and neither is at fault. Both narrators can cause evil to grow in the other; what they don’t realize is that they can also make it grow within themselves.” That hidden meaning helped inform Snake River’s take on “Where Evil Grows”. “We wanted our version to portray the evil of the lyric, so we sludged it out and made it heavier to reflect the heady lyrics.”
Snake River featuring Lizzy Burt’s version of the Poppy Family’s “Where Evil Grows” will be available as a free download on June 30, 2017, as part of DOMINIONATED IV, our fourth compendium of Canadian songs covered by Canadian artists.