Saturday, May 08, 2010

I'd Buy Anything By...Sky Cries Mary

I first heard Sky Cries Mary when their "Return to the Inner Experience" album appeared at CKMS. Its eye-catching cover, odd song titles, and long list of band members influenced my decision to play it.

And WOW. What an odd mix of elements, all crammed together to make up such beautiful and unconventional songs! Lead singers Anisa and Roderick Romero have perfectly-matched voices -- his gruff, hers soaring -- and they're backed up with a solid prog/psychedelic rock band and hints of trip-hop electronics.

I was less impressed by their follow-up, and also confused by the collection of early self-released tracks (from a time when they made extended and challenging sound collages), but it was all still good enough to keep my attention.

Years later, iTunes has finally allowed me to find and buy the rest of their catalog, including their post-hiatus comeback ("Small Town") which is just as good as anything they've ever done. Now I wish I could see them live!

Here's a prime slice of Sky Cries Mary: the sublime, the very slight twang, the perfectly-balanced instrumentation, and the characteristic Romero harmony.

Albums to buy:"A Return to the Inner Experience" is still my favourite, and "Moonbathing on Sleeping Leaves" has a more relaxed and epic feeling, but all the albums are lovable. Albums to avoid: None. For fans only: "Fresh Fruits for the Liberation," a collection of oddities that will only appeal to those who love both their current material AND their experimental tape manipulation.

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