There are tons of bands out there crafting dark electronic pop music nowadays, and I’m cool with that, for the most part. But, sometimes you have to wade through a lot of mediocre work in order to find something special. Luckily, the newest effort from Black Marble makes it easy; it’s accessible, dark and infinitely rewarding. You’re going to want to get your hands on a copy of A Different Arrangement as soon as you can.
For three seconds, Black Marble begins things with this ominous feeling on “Cruel Summer,” but just minutes later it evolves into a evenly-paced bit of dark pop. Beats unfold rather slowly, encouraging you to fall further into the track as a brighter electronic sound begins to take shape. If you’re looking for something that’s going to beat you over the head with hooks, then perhaps this isn’t the song for you, with the lyrics keeping an even keel throughout. While other bands simply push forward to quickly, the NYC duo are happy just hanging out and making tracks you’ll want to listen to on your darkest days, and your brightest too. There’s a pulsing beat to “A Great Design,” and even a bit of a lighter sound to the crafted music, but the slightest hint of an echo drenched over the vocal provides that sensation of personal melancholia that allows you to lose yourself within the confines of A Different Arrangement.
Even with the songs creating their own sort of negative space throughout, a few songs do allow for that slight upbeat movement. The one-two punch of “A Different Arrangement” and “Limitations” does provide the record with an extra skip in the middle of things. Musically, the former track is what provides the bit of a different mood, with the vocals holding tightly to the distant feeling they’ve provided since the get-go. I feel like the latter track, though still dwelling in that haunting spectrum, does its bit to move the mood into a peppier sphere, though only slightly. All that being said, the tempo remains slow–a constant for almost every track on the album.
One of the things I really enjoy about immersing myself in this release by Black Marble is its ability to seem so far away musically, yet provide you with a bit of personal intimacy—at least if you grew up on the dark-tinged pop of the 80s. Songs like “Pretender” though using a more propulsive drum loop still invoke a feeling of longing or isolation, yet the slight swinging of the beat makes me wax nostalgic about dancing in my room as a kid to my sister’s records. Naturally, those sorts of feelings, even as an adult, still resonate, which is what makes the entire effort so enduring spin after spin. A Different Arrangement never grows old, and it almost always surprises me with which song I like the most; sometimes I lose myself in one, only to find myself mildly tapping my tow to another. As the winter months begin to approach, there’s not a record that I think you’ll appreciate more.
Download:Black Marble -A Great Design [MP3]
A Different Arrangement is available October 9th from Hardly Art!