After All EP
Billie Ray Martin
29.07 min • Disco Activisto • July 14, 2014
John Preston reviews
Billie Ray Martin has been very busy of late, and the fruits of her musical labour are finally beginning to materialise. A forthcoming duet with Hercules and Love Affair resident Aerea Negrot, and a new Jon Tiven produced country and soul album, are pencilled in for some time later this year. There is also a re-release of her back catalogue including, maybe, the mythical follow-up to 1990’s Electribal Memories. Proceeding all of these, though, is this intriguing and deeply satisfying cover version of an early seventies David Bowie album-track, After All.
A quintessential Billie Ray Martin track in many ways, this new single does hark back to a sound that can be equated to Martin’s old band Electribe 101. A constantly evolving and innovative artist, it is unusual to hear the star reference her own sound in this way – and that’s not to say that this is in any way a nostalgic or indulgent recording, it is in fact one of her most vibrant and self-possessed for some time. Haunting and lusty vocals, that are very high in the mix and sound as though they are being whispered directly into your ear, and pitched backing vocals that sound likes crazed infants (and true to Bowie’s original in that respect), are all set to a throbbing bass-line that was first established in the late ’80s. It’s a little freaky and you can dance to it, which is a perfect combination, and Martin has never sounded better – she is a truly virtuoso performer.
With remixes by Miijk Van Dijk and Ceasar Gergess (Van Dijk gets my vote with its hyperactive disco cowbell), there is something to please everyone here. The original, however, can’t be beaten and this is much more than just a stop gap between other releases. One of the best things I’ve heard this year, Billie Ray Martin continues to shine.
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