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Anthony Carew

Free Music Monday: Black Marble "A Great Design"

By September 17, 2012

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There was an oppressive, self-conscious darkness that smothered Black Marble's debut EP, Weight Against the Door, the Brooklyn duo besotted with decades-old cold-wave styles and the unremitting gloom of old Joy Division jams. Thus, songs like "Pretender," all glowering synths and moaning baritone.

"A Great Design," the great first taste of their debut longplayer, opens the blinds, letting the sunlight stream in, and watching the dust dance in the shaft of newfound light. The LP's called A Different Arrangement (it's out October 9 on Hardly Art, PS), and, well, technically the arrangement isn't different, more the mood.

There's still the same mechanized drum-machine plod, the same wavering synth-sounds, the same affection for old post-punk sounds. But even if there's not levity, there is light let in; and the airier sound allows Chris Stewart to turn his baritone from blunt weapon of pain to gentle melancholy croon. When he repeats the song's main hook —"and they tell me we don't have a long time"— over those wilting, weeping synths, it's genuinely moving in a way that's hard to explain. Photo Ashley Leahy

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