Acclaimed artist Tom Snowdon has dusted off an iconic Australian anthem for his forthcoming covers EP, sharing his own version of Men at Work’s “Who Can It Be Now”.
The cover arrives shortly after Snowdon took on Australia’s own princess of pop, recording a haunting electronic version of Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”. As it turned out, there was plenty more in the tank, with Snowdon now turning his focus to new wave legends Men at Work and their first widely-released single, “Who Can It Be Now?”
Released in 1981, “Who Can It Be Now?” was a massive success for the group, peaking at #2 locally, topping the US charts, and even being certified Gold in Canada. Written as something of an ode to reclusion and anxiety, the track has long been a staple of local rock radio, though its success was undoubtedly overshadowed by the band’s next, more popular single, “Down Under”.
Recording a minimal, downtempo version of the classic, armed with eclectic instrumentation and his inimitable voice, the track feels made for the isolated times the world finds itself in. However, Snowdon admits that the track is one that has meant a lot to him for many years, having often served as the soundtrack for lengthy road trips – in any direction – from his hometown of Mparntwe/Alice Springs.
“Mum and Dad had this album FM Rock Classics from the ’80s and we wore the thing out playing it so much. ‘Who Can It Be Now’ was my favourite track on that compilation,” he recalls. “I remember vividly the long stretches on the Stuart Highway with that song on repeat.
“I’d sit for hours just gazing out the window at the landscape and listening. I’d picture a sad man in his house, pushing people away, wanting to be alone – sad but content. Only much later did I start wondering about the deeper messages about fear, isolation and anxiety in those words. That especially has felt relevant amidst the lockdowns we’ve been facing this year.”
Snowdon’s cover of “Who Can It Be Now?” is set to feature on his forthcoming EP, Channel, which features a number of cover versions reinterpreted in Snowdown’s signature style, including works by Björk, Britney Spears, and Selena Gomez.