I Must Be Living Twice (ep)
Sacred Bones Records
From the Sacred Bones stable comes Black Marble, the band-name/project-moniker for indie synth-pop musician Chris Stewart. He’s an American enthralled by the sound of the 1980s UK scenes – not just synth-pop, also R’n’B, goth, post-punk. And on this brilliantly titled EP of cover versions he achieves that very rare thing: Presenting a tribute to some favourite material whilst furthering the sound of his own creative voice; wrapping the project cohesively. These songs are now Black Marble songs. These versions exist. And I’m sure glad they do.
We start with Johnny and Mary by Robert Palmer. It’s as if Suicide and Devo got together to concoct this perfect, playful version. It’s just such a charmer. A brilliant way to start. And the most “pop” and commercial track here.
We go slightly more obscure, and very much more deep-cover as it were, for Lives of Angels’ The Golden Age. Which feels so comfortable in the Black Marble dressing of 80s drum machine and synth-sounds as to feel almost like a buried alternate take.
In Manchester by Wire is just the same but with rounded shoulders. A great piece of fan appreciation.
Emma’s House by The Field Mice sounded a bit like Bob Geldof fronting The Vaselines in the original. Here the feel is much the same but it’s further refined, again smoothed out, and feels like Saint Etienne and Lloyd Cole collaborating.
The closing track is Poison Tree – originally by Grouper. Mumbled and moody, the Black Marble version retains much of that quality but feels more alive, albeit sounding a touch more to the goth side; Fields of Nephillim-styles though, melodic, gorgeous.
Great fan-takes here. Smart choices. Nice new – faithful – renditions. What’s not to like?
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