In 2017, King Black Acid returned with the ‘Twin Flames’ EP. Their best recording to date, the new material fused dream pop, prog rock and tinges of Mercury Rev to create a true underground classic. Later that year, a full length collaboration with The Crystal Unicorn gave the world a record that, although a little uneven, at its very best sounded like the music Flaming Lips had long forgotten how to make.
A dreampop and shoegaze influenced project helmed by Matt Messore (previously of Dear Tracks), Cathedral Bells’ debut EP isn’t exactly shy about recycling musical influences. With strong elements of the more commercial Jesus & Mary Chain, the synthier and more cinematic aspects taken from The Cure and more than a trace of Pale Saints, its six tracks play like the greatest EP not to be released by 4AD Records in 1990. When influences and moods are recycled as well as they are here, originality is more than welcome to take a back seat as Cathedral Bells join Norway’s Spielbergs in heading up a full-on 90s revival.
Mixing pop, acoustic singer songwriter chops, a touch of dream pop and a light country steel guitar, Sophia Marshall’s previous covers EPs have delivered at least one track apiece that’s been absolutely marvellous. She’s turned the melancholy of Blur’s ‘End of the Century’ into something even more heartfelt, while The Kinks’ ‘I Go To Sleep’ – already drenched in sadness – became even sadder, with her lilting vocal style dripping from every syllable.
Whilst previous EPs have been themed by artist (The Kinks represented via a cover of a Pretenders cover), ‘Loose Torque’ is themed by subject. The three featured tracks are all concerned with cars – and in a big surprise, there’s nothing included by Gary Numan or new wave legends The Cars. Maybe those synth heavy sounds just wouldn’t translate. Instead, Marshall has chosen three pop and rock tunes from three rather disparate artists which. when applied with her own easy style, results in something that flows very well.
In February 2018, singer songwriter Sophia Marshall released ‘lin-dah’, a three track EP of Kasabian covers. She was able to take the original material – including the massive hit ‘Fire’ – and strip it back to its core, resulting in recordings that found a place somewhere between folk and dreampop. [A full review of the EP can be found here.]
Kasabian are a huge selling band but, much like Elbow, most of their output hovers somewhere between generic radio filler and just plain dull. The idea of a Kasabian covers EP isn’t necessarily one that should excite: if you love Kasabian – for whatever reason – chances are, you’d want to spin the original tunes; if you hate Kasabian, hearing someone else recycling their often forgettable songs probably isn’t anywhere near the top of your priority list.
The fact that Kasabian are a generic radio filling non-entity didn’t deter singer-songwriter Sophia Marshall. The one time Have-Nots vocalist went to school with three members of the band and uses that as a springboard for her first covers EP of 2018. The cryptically titled ‘lin-dah’ finds the Leeds songstress taking three Kasabian songs and remoulding them in her own image. For something which, on paper, sounds less than pleasurable, the results are…impressive to say the least.