Husband Material tackle a classic and come out with something different, but totally their own
Despite contrary opinion, I have never been in a band. Yes I’ve come close a few times, but I have never strapped on a guitar and played chords in the background for someone else’s ideas. However whenever I did come close, the topic of ‘cover versions’ always came up. Mostly the conversation went “So what can you play?” after I gave my limited answers the reply was usually “We don’t play that. Can you learn this <insert 2000’s indie/garage rock bands>?” I said I would and this was generally as far as it went before the band either broke up or someone more suitable was found. But the idea of cover versions has always stayed with me.
When covering a song, it is better to try and do something original, rather than just copy the song note for note. Personally speaking I want clever re-interruptions rather than another boring version of Wonderwall, Yellow, or Purple Rain. Switch the main instrument from guitar to keyboard, or vice versa.
This is exactly what Husband Material has done on their re-interruption of My Bloody Valentine’s classic When You Sleep. Instead of the burst of bewilderingly groggy guitars, Husband Material has replaced it with wonderfully woozy keyboards and drum machine beats. The song, apart from being fantastic, takes on another life entirely. Due to the change of pace and emotional context of the vocals, the interplay between Rich and Charlotte, which sound like Sean Lennon and Miho Hatori duetting in 1998, is devastating. These changes give the song a meaning that the original didn’t have. Husband Material give the impression that this is the last time the characters in the song will speak as, basically, it’s all over.
Last year Husband Material released an almost flawless mixtape, so speculation is rising that 2016 will see them release an official debut album. While When You Sleep probably won’t be included on this unreleased long player, it does show how much they’ve progressed in the short time since their debut single way back in 2014.