Black Marble – Bigger Than Life

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: https://www.hardlyart.com/artists/black_marble
Released: 2019
Buy Album: https://blackmarble.bandcamp.com/
Band Website : https://www.facebook.com/blackmarblenyc/

Line-up:

Chris Stewart

 

Tracklisting:

1. Never Tell 04:17
2. One Eye Open 04:43
3. Daily Driver 03:54
4. Feels 04:42
5. The Usual 01:35
6. Grey Eyeliner 03:32
7. Bigger Than Life 03:54
8. Private Show 04:41
9. Shoulder 04:12
10. HitShow 01:36
11. Call 03:43

 

REVIEW:

Synth pop musician Chris Stewart shares a personal journey through music which I can connect and empathise with. With the 3rd album from his solo project Black Marble, “Bigger Than Life”, he composes a soundscape about his experiences adapting to life in Los Angeles after moving form New York. I myself have made big moves in my life. First to southern California not far from LA and then to Germany. It definitely puts one through different headspaces and I have experienced a great amount of isolation and many struggles and experiences. Yet for the most part I remain optimistic and understand that it was a big risk moving far from my hometown and family with very little.

“The album comes out of seeing and experiencing a lot of turmoil but wanting to create something positive out of it,” Stewart explains. “I wanted to take a less selfish approach on this record. Maybe I’m just getting older, but that approach starts to feel a little self-indulgent. Like, ‘Oh, look at me I’m so complicated, I get that life isn’t fair,’ It’s like, yeah, so does everyone. So with this record, it’s less about how I see things and more about the way things just are. Seeing myself as a part of a lineage of people trying to do a little something instead of trying to create a platform for myself individually.”

In this synth pop release we get a gloomier coldwave sound with influences of 80s synth and goth bands. There is a minimalist approach to this album. Stewart’s deadpan vocals fit well with the coldwave synth sound. Hints of New Order and The Cure resonate with catchy melodic bass lines. The drum machines and beats also give me little hints of She Past Away. The song writing is more in the direction of pop music.

The album is cleaner than previous releases which had a lo-fi, dungeon synth sound. Though Stewart has the tendency to recycle and use bits of tracks from other songs and releases; it can be at times a little repetitive. The lyrics are written to take on characters from his everyday life, especially his commute to the studio. “Feels” is full of optimistic synth notes while singing about the everyday loneliness and isolation many people experience. He shares the stories of a variety of passengers from his daily bus ride. It’s quite fascinating and quirky.

Overall a decent release. It’s catchy, and interesting. I can relate to the feelings the music invokes and the lyrics bring me back to the times I was first adapting to my life freshly moved and observing others around me. One can easily dance away to this album in a club. Song writing is clever and the album is well made. I rate it 4 out of 5 and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a bit of coldwave and synth music.

REVIEW BY

CATHRINE WENDT

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