Who is the band? What is their history? What motivates them?
“The roots of Sky Cries Mary were set when a University of Washington theatre student named Roderick decided to unite the energy of underground music with the mystique of avant guard theatre. The experiment worked and Sky Cries Mary quickly generated a massive underground following” (Sky Cries Mary‘s My Space page, 2010).
1. Cornerman – Drums and keys open this one before a cool sliding guitar makes its debut. “Gimme me your ears I’ll sing you a song.” Male vocals with nice female vocals echoing the male lead. Very cool effect on a song full of inner cool and style. “No hate in your head. Let love in your heart.” Off to a good start.
2. Elephant Song – Live song, with audience opening before this Buddha story begins. Lyrics unfold with spoken male vocals before the bass and drums, surrounded by synth effects and sounds, moves the seeming procession along. Backing female cries, chants or mantras as the spoken story continues to the consistent beat of drums and bass.
3. Rain – A Seattle trademark, and this native band uses the sounds of rain and thunder to open this song with cool electric lead and bass, summoning the rest of the song. It has a Doors feel to it, especially when the vocalist begins to read what sounds like poetry. The guitar playing is very reminiscent of Krieger. The added organ does nothing to detract from this Doors theme. Then, a change as Anisa’s vocal support of Roderick opens, so well timed. The surrounding synth and effects really set a cool relaxing mood. The guitar licks that move in and out of the soundscape are perfectly placed. At over 8 minutes this one will provide a dreamy, spacey feel as the water sounds close.
4. These Old Bones – Lead electric sounding grand. This time Anisa leads the vocals with Roderick supporting. “Who built the fire in the house of the sun?” Dreamy vocals and sounds filled with backing strings and bass coupled with occasional acoustic guitar to enhance the effects. One of the best songs on the album.
5. Slow Down Time – Cool eerie bass sounds and Anis’ beautiful voice fills the air before Roderick brings forth the title, “Slow down time.” Drums, cool synths and guitars sound perfectly matched to the shared vocal presence of both Roderick and Anisa. “The sole of the earth. Escaped into the sky. Now don’t be afraid to leave your body behind.” Perfect ‘take time to relax’ song. The guitar solos and riffs are otherworldly. Another highlight.
6. Four A.M. – This epic, at over 14 minutes begins with that dream – like, heavenly, sound of gliding through the air on a synth wind. The bass and guitar riffs in between really accentuate the feeling of drifting through a dream at 4 AM. Wonderful effect and the highlight of the album for me. The Gilmour – like guitar work that weaves through the synth dreamscape truly inspires.
7. An Ant, The Stars, an Owl, and its Prey – Very cool lead electric opens this with great support of bass, drums and synths. Anisa’s vocals are back in lead, this time solo, and setting a great feeling along with the accompanying flute, synths, bass, lead electric and drums. Great melody. Another nice dreamscape.
8. Want – Caravan like drum sounds and full percussion as the bass peaks out along with a bristling lead electric. Synths surround in dramatic fashion as the song builds momentum and melody. The lead electric is simply grand. Roderick and Anisa are back singing in unison. More cool dreamscapes to enjoy. Anisa’s voice is just incredible.
9. Gliding (2006 studio version) – Cool synths open this before the lead guitar and Roderick and Anisa’s vocals duet. More dreamy soundscapes.
10. Land of All – Bells, claps and percussion effects along with Anisa’s vocal sounds to open this mysterious piece. Then Roderick’s voice describing a day in his life. Later Roderick and Anisa sing randomly in and around the piece as the guitar, keys, and drums support.
11. Missing – Vibrant trance - like synths and spoken vocals filling the air. Then Roderick’s synthesized voice, “How long have I been missing?” That far away sound in Anisa’s voice as she repeats the lyrics, “How long have I been missing?” Cool guitar riffs intermixed with that trance – like synth sound and saxophones. Vocals, coming and going with the flow of the trance – like music setting a perfect tone for this dreamland. Then the pace picks up midway through the song as if a whole new song has begun. The duet vocals are back as a light acoustic sound permeates. A more melancholy sound, but the dreamy trace – like rhythms continue with support of an accordion.
Rating: 9/10 – I want to hear more of their work. But this compilation is almost perfect. This trance – like music is wonderful for late night or early morning. The music is so dreamy and easy to immerse your thoughts and emotions within. At times it becomes a little too much and you wish they’d change up the style a little, but overall I really enjoy this music in the right place and time. Definitely good headphone or relaxation music.
Reviewed by Prof on August 8th, 2010