Eric & Magill are Eric Osterman and Ryan Weber. They were in a band called Camden and Ryan was also one of them geniuses at that institute of fine music called Decibully. We interviewed them a while ago (link) when they released All those I know, a free album that was wonderful.
It wasn’t only the two of them in that album, they were in very good company. Several of their musician friends came by and lent a hand. In order to pay it forward (and also take a stab at their music), Eric & Magill decided to cover 5 songs. They might feel like radical reinterpretations (sneeze included), heavy on the reverb in some parts, extremely naked and raw in others.
‘Maps’ (original by The Snake The Cross The Town) starts the proceedings. With a thundering ambience that feels like church (Catholic, not Lutheran – that would be too stern). The song feels so uplifting and spiritual, even if there’s a thick air of sadness in it. Love the little random noises that give it an extra layer of strangeness. Like an impressionist painting, it’s hard to tell apart every colour used and it matters not, the sum outweighs the individuality. Following a few noisy atmospheres you’ll find ‘We’ve lost our touch’ (original by Noon Duet). Way calmer but still quite spiritual, it’s a small moment of calm. Veering between folk and world music, it’s a nice little surprise.
Now, ‘Fields’ (original by Via Tania), well, I fell in love with that one right away. The constant clapping and 80s synth atmosphere make it so catchy you’ll revisit it. And then you’ll find that beneath those layers, there is some dream pop waiting for you. A guitar, wailing like a distant blue whale and that wistful ending make it beautiful.
Also beautiful and tender is ‘Baggage Claim’ (original by Faux Fir). The layered approach is left to rest for a while and it’s only a guitar and some bongos (I think). A synth tries to barge in from time to time, but only is allowed a cameo. There is a layered voice approach, though, that sends some chills. It’s ghostly, like a memory that surfaces from time to time.
‘Whipping boy’ (original by the always fantastic Shearwater) goes again for a layered approach, but ends up in a droning atmosphere that cataclysmically implodes, abruptly ending over the weight of so many layers. Not entirely sold as I’m torn between the original and this re-interpretation. Ask again any other day and I’ll favour this one instead.
It’s always good to see musicians helping out and collaborating with each other and although cover versions have been stigmatised as of late thanks to a couple of unmentionable reality shows, it’s safe to say that these covers by Eric & Magill are a labour of love and respect.
PS: Wanna hear some more excellent covers? Hunt for Red House Painters covers of ‘I am a rock’ (Simon & Garfunkel), ‘Silly love songs’ (Wings) and ‘Long distance runaround’ (Yes). After that, look for Mark Kozelek‘s What’s next to the moon (AC/DC covers -folky!) and Tiny cities (dreamy covers of Modest Mouse). Want more? Grant Lee Phillips‘ nineteeneighties.