Back Track looks back at an old cover that deserves a new spotlight.
It seems fitting that, attempting a cover, one would bring together as many disparate elements as possible for a song that David Byrne has referred to as “a love song made up almost completely of non sequiturs.” That, however, is precisely what Brooklyn-based Sewing Machines did with Talking Heads‘ “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody),” and to great effect.
The track kicks off with the kind of idle banjo picking from Sam Moss that would lead you to expect something simple and bluegrassy, only to casually launch into a beautiful layering of Asian-influenced violins (also performed by Moss). We know even before the vocals break in that they are not the song’s focus, and Sewing Machines’ Max Horwich seems to know this as well as David Byrne knew that the song didn’t need narrative cohesion.
The vocals turn our attention back to the instrumentation and the production, because it’s the track’s sheer beauty that matters. By the time the track hits a layer of calm, electroloop percussion, we’ve forgotten that there’s anything strange going on because the music is truly greater than the sum of its parts and creates a world that feels ancient and futuristic but, above all, deeply familiar. And there’s nothing naive about that melody.
Sewing Machines – This Must Be the Place (Talking Heads Cover)