CD REVIEW: Crazy Mary - Burning Into The Spirit World
By Ben Ohmart - 05/06/2001 - 12:10 PM EDT
Artist: Band: Crazy Mary
Album: Burning Into The Spirit World
I remember this band for 2 reasons. 1. The music is like nothing I've heard before. 2. The lead singer is afflicted. Sophia Jackson has a method of delivery that is like David Bowie's dead wife: an ethereal, alt-pop vocal that languishes between gothic and heavy-hit surf (minus the blues repetition). That makes her as hard to forget as your best Living Dead film, especially when she's floating through new Eastern-spooked tunes like 'Crazy Mary (But I'm Not)', and the witch doctor approved 'Monkey Magic Medicine' which promises more than The Residents ever managed to deliver.
(The 3rd unofficial reason I remember them is that Crazy Mary was a main character in The Thin Man Goes Home, a component of one of the best mystery-comedy series ever. Go rent it. Okay, back to the music.) That first cd I heard was called She Comes in Waves, and it made an impression. Truly unique acts don't come often, but they know where to park.
Some have called Crazy's blend psychedelic, garage, Velvet Underground, Blondie, The Cramps, and the ever-popular alt-rock. Depends on the listener. Myself, I tend to hear an audio Swiss army knife, incredibly varied and spitting in the face of classification. Except that it ain't straight pop. Oh no. How else would they be racking up an AMAZing amount of college radio play from sea to shining sea? With the cd came pages and pages of telling airplay lists from the past several years, a feat I wonder if even our old Beatles are collecting up from today's spastic youth.
Though the lucky 13 songs here are studio grown, a true taste of their live side careens through titles such as 'Dose Me On Up,' a duet with guitar-man Charles Kibel. Nick Raisz likes to keep time like a jazz drummer in clogs, and George Kerezman busies a bass against a 3rd raised voice. Together, the pitch is like odd socks, blue and black together, and to the colorblind like myself you can barely tell who's who.
A few stats: their Astronaut Dubs release has played 360 stations, charting on 27 stations in the top 30. They have been on a couple comp albums, have gigged the hell out of NYC (like Luna Lounge and Acme Underground), and The New York Press calls them 'hip and crazy get down on your knees voodoo dancing.'
Crazy Mary is like that Wonderful Brown Sauce you see entrusted to Chinese menus. You're not sure what the hell's in it, but it's a singularly strange, exotic and at times full moon taste that's hard to take a doggie bag on. You wanna turn to the next track and finish it all in one place.
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