It’s a bit of a letdown to have Shannon Stephens announce the release of a new EP by releasing a cover song, as she did today. The singer-songwriter’s best work is her most personal, songs that cut close enough to the bone that they can easily be called “brave.” To hear her sing someone else’s story is by nature going to not quite measure up to songs like “Care of You” and “Faces Like Ours.” That’s the case with this cover of Depeche Mode’s “World in My Eyes,” a song so inpenetrable in its coolness that it feels like a self-administered challenge by Stephens. This is a very chilled out retelling with a vibe set by some pulsing organ and a great snaking bass part (courtesy of the excellent Terry Mattson, who also engineered the track and the EP).
Mostly this sounds like a band having a little fun, relaxing with some reliable source material. In the accompanying press release, Stephens notes that “I’m going through some major life changes and I need to keep busy.” It doesn’t sound like those hard times will appear on this EP (due in October), but I’d bet they will make their way into future Stephens songs. Look out for that!
Stephens will be celebrating the release of the single, and probably test driving some of the material from the new EP, with an Aug. 2 performance at the Ballard Sanctuary, a new concert spot that has been championed by fellow singer-songwriter Daniel Blue (Motopony) who is also on the evening’s bill along with a host of other acts.