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The Silent Era - Matter of Time/Bela Lugosi's Dead (self-released)

2 May 2024

Some songs should never be covered. They are already perfect, so what would be the point? Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” (yes, I know it is a cover in the first place and the High Priest of Pathos doesn’t get enough credit for writing it, but JB made it so much his own…well, you know what I mean,) Bowie’s “Heroes” anything by Kate Bush or Joy Division and “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus. These are, after all, sacred songs, at least to any discerning fan worth their salt. Or so I thought until I heard The Silent Era cover the latter.

The way that they can keep the sense of foreboding and menace, the angularity and unsettling strangeness yet add, mainly through the gorgeous vocal treatment, a layer of grace and beauty that wasn’t there in the original, required a rethink on my part. Okay, I’ll add a caveat to this song: it can be covered only by The Silent Era; the rest stays.

But we are not here to talk about this, the b-side, as we once called them, but its sonic travelling companion, “Matter of Time.” Here, things head into a post-punk arabesque realm, much in the way that Siouxsie and the Banshees did brilliantly. (The fact that this is the second time I have name-dropped them in today’s writing session can only be a good thing, can’t it?)

But here, the scale is grander, the music writ larger and before long, you realise that it has surpassed their post-punk vision and fully embraced something much more Zeppelin-esque in scale, albeit one with a more gothic vibe but no less anthemic and masterful.

Grace, grandure and full of seductive groove, that’s the sort of rock and roll that does it for me.