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Sky Cries Mary: Wandering in the Vastness

Wandering in the Vastness is the 13th(!) studio album from the Seattle sextet Sky Cries Mary. Recorded in the depths of pandemic lockdown at numerous studios -- vocals for “Red Red Fox” were captured on a cell phone! -- these dozen songs are the work of a band thrust into isolation and free to experiment. The result? Spacy, psychedelic, progressive jam music made with everything from traditional instruments to drone boxes, E-bow, tablas and a Casio keyboard.

For example, “Raga Metal Machine” -- a tribute to Lou Reed’s infamous Metal Machine Music -- involves five raga drone boxes run through a wall of Fender Twin Reverbs, guitar and some primitive vocals. On the other hand, Debra Reese adds sweet vocal textures to the anxious, understated “L Train” while shining up the aggressive punk of “Bridge Sleepers.” “Can’t Find the Time (Foolish),” with its chunky guitars and big, bouncy chorus, might be the album’s most straightforward song, followed by “A Lonely Deer,” which could have sprung from a contemporary indie-rock band.

Jack Endino (Nirvana and Soundgarden) helmed these recordings, as well as played guitar and a little bit of drums, and the result is a challenging but engrossing listen that demands the listener focus on -- and absorb -- every note.

Track Listing:
1. Crystal Gazing
2. L Train
3. Red Red Fox
4. Can’t Find the Time (Foolish)
5. Chaos at the Port
6. Bright Biggest Eyes
7. The Dolmen
8. Jodo
9. Bridge Sleepers
10. Raga Metal Machine
11. A Lonely Deer
12. Dream Yourself to Sleep

Added: December 19th 2022
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Sky Cries Mary Website
Hits: 416
Language: english

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Sky Cries Mary: Wandering in the Vastness
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2022-12-20 00:30:27
My Score:

The American band Sky Cries Mary have roots dating back tom the mid '80s and released their full-length debut in 1989. I discovered the band many years later upon reviewing their 2020 effort titled Secrets of a Red Planet, which was a fine effort indeed. In 2021 the band released their thirteenth album Wandering in the Vastness and I have to say it is excellent. Trippy, psychedelic, and almost trance-like, this is one of those albums where you really need to pay attention so as to discover all the hidden nuances this music has to offer. There are many exotic instruments that further adds to the band’s tripped out atmospherics and hippy-like adventures.

The disc opens with “Crystal Gazing”, a faster paced tune with a great bass line and groove, very much in line with ‘60s psychedelic rock music but with an overall modern touch. “L Train” combines psychedelic pop with a Doors-like sensibility, making for an excellent laid back tune. Crunchy distorted chords and excellent drumming highlight “Red Red Fox”, a kind of psychedelic-Americana hybrid. The male/female vocal combination works great, I really dig the monotone style as it serves to accentuate the band’s hippy-like stature. “Bright Biggest Eyes” is a solid mid-tempo rocker with a Doors feel and the rocking “Can’t Find the Time (Foolish)” is one of the catchier numbers, especially the chorus. The ethereal and trippy “The Dolmen” is the ultimate East Indian acid trip with its liberal use of tablas and flute.

I very much enjoyed Wandering in the Vastness and if you enjoy psychedelic as much as I do I think this will be a safe bet. Highly recommended.

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