Toss on Black Marble’s Fast Idol and you’ll be whisked away to a bygone era of when people used to dance themselves clean and beyond. This far-reaching LP, at times nostalgic, reaches back beyond the dance electro days of the ‘00s and tugs at the synth strings of the New York ‘80s club scene. Black Marble, a.k.a. Chris Stewart explains the album’s sound in his own words as:
sort of a return to barbarism, reclamation by nature over the state and the protagonists are observers of this going on and narrating it from an anthropological point of view...So anything that hints at these motifs but in your own way.
Released on Sacred Bones Records, hosts to the likes of John Carpenter and David Lynch, you know that at the very least you’ll get something interesting from an album worth at least a listen to satisfy your curiosity. This time, like a Pizza Hut Ice Cream buffet, you’ll be going back until something inside you ruptures.
‘Somewhere’ is an excellent inauguration to the album. It’s sample menu of sounds more than an introduction and an all-round great tune. It sets the tone for Fast Idol, those who enjoy looking over a menu before heading out for a nosh will appreciate. The song folds together all the elements Chris uses to create his signature sound. It’s soft, pleasing and with a hook that nudges you off balance while Chris’ vocals reach out to steady you.
Buried in the middle is lyrical beaut, a ballad with a pulse, ‘Ceiling’. Here you’ll find Chris reaching back to the ‘80s and drawing inspiration from the bands like New Order, ‘Ceiling’s elemental structure is fused together by distilling the essence of tunes like ‘Temptation’ and ‘True Faith’. ‘Royal Walls’ opening is almost indistinguishable from ‘80s legend Madonna’s ‘Into The Groove’. They sync up better than Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz. ‘Say it Forward’ definitely has that ‘00s feeling, you’d expect to find Sofia Coppola having trouble choosing between Phoenix’s ‘Too Young’ and this for the Lost in Translation soundtrack. We’ve compared inspired sounds but there are stand-alone tracks too. ‘Streetlight’ is a Frankensong. The Monster just wanted a friend but this song wanted friends, it’s got so many funky moving pieces it’ll get your funky pieces moving.
‘Brighter and Bigger, is a warbly wave goodbye, complementing ‘Somewhere’s handshake greeting at the start of the album. The song spins like a softly lit carousel at an empty theme park, a final ride before the sendoff. You might, at this point, have a preoccupation with ‘what is on the way?’ thinking to yourself, is this it? No, it’s not over yet, this track, although a timely farewell, will give you enough opportunity to see that Black Marble is on the horizon and sailing across the pond playing a whole string of shows around the UK this month and next. No doubt Chris will draw from a rich back catalogue of his four previous albums.