Fans get a wish they’ve been waiting for
“I’ve always loved the cover song aspect of live performance. Most musicians are fans first and covers are a way for bands to show this,” explains Brooklyn musician Chris Stewart as he speaks about the release of his latest project for Black Marble, the five-track cover EP I Must Be Living Twice.
Taking himself back to the inspirational roots of early ’80s synthpop, Stewart experiments with recording and mixing his fan-favorite covers previously performed during Black Marble’s live sets. This rock-originated EP covers hit classics by Robert Palmer, Lives of Angels, The Field Mice, Wire and Grouper. Black Marble puts a twist on each track with his alternative electronic sound by incorporating quirky synths, reverbs, heavier bass-lines and lo-fi undertones atop of his soothing, cold-wave vocals.
After releasing a full track LP in 2019, Black Marble took the time to work on his newly established engineering perspective achieved with Bigger Than Life to fulfill a request his fans have been pining for for years. On I Must Be Living Twice, Stewart gives his fans the opportunity to listen to their favorite cover tracks in a space of their own, further explaining that these five tracks are a remembrance of the band’s performances throughout the U.S.
Covering Robert Palmer’s “Johnny and Mary,” Black Marble provides a light techno take on the track, giving it a slower tempo, with additional electronic tweaks and pulsing synths that work in creating a new-age rhythm. The cover of Lives of Angles’s “Golden Age” reveals to be somewhat of a disparaged remix of the original version which pays tribute to the psychedelics of rock with a distinct, daring introduction.
“In Manchester” highlights Stewart’s ability to provide deep melancholic vocals over a fast-paced rhythmic track. Initially drawn to the idea of covering the Wire song for its lyrics, Stewart explains that this song represents “compartmentalized impressionistic snapshots of time and place,” with the chorus providing the feeling of being grounded amongst these places and moments. “Manchester is a stone city more akin to the feel of a Northeast American city. As someone who’s been recently living on the West Coast, I miss the storytelling backdrop of these more old-world feeling places,” said Stewart.
Black Marble’s take on“Emma’s House” is modern and fun, as people follow his twist on a classic introduction by the implementation of electronic beeps to reveal an exciting, heavier feel to the classic guitar and drum rhythm of the original Field Mice track. “Poison Tree” by Grouper is Black Marble’s most eccentric and enticing cover on the EP due to the originality of its gothic, expansive synths and echoed layering vocals atop of the modified version of Grouper’s beautiful piano melody.
Although I Must Be Living Twice does not compare in eccentricity to Black Marble’s original pieces of work, the five-track EP shows off the band’s mellow side by providing people with their simple take on alternative rock as they present listeners with quirky adjustments to their favorite ’80s hits. Turning nostalgia into sound, Black Marble gives fans a pleasantly satisfying combination of classics perfect for a laid back setting. Overall, if people are one to enjoy modernized covers or simply miss seeing Black Marble perform live, I Must Be Living Twice is an encouraged listen.