SKY SO GREY (A Boston Dark Music Compilation)
You don’t really see compilations that much these days when a few years back they were plentiful, and yet they remain a fantastic way of encountering new talent, on top of which they can be a benevolent guide to a geographical region, as this one is. This is high calibre too, so have a look.
Amber Spyglass twist and gush through a cutely convoluted ‘Harmonic Tide’ with ghostly vocals and a strangely forlorn Eastern quality. Seven Sunless Days’ ‘Last Breath’ is bit stompy industrialised rock, the strident wordy chorus nicely offset by some more introspective worries and although too rock for me it’s dead catchy. The Milling Gowns’ ‘Fist Wings Following’ is interesting as it bristles with some strings inflating an ethereal promise into a bitter pop song, with winning lyrics. Thylacine are like an improved Android Lust in ‘Lay Down’ with fun surging through the weird sonic hybrid which sustains a melodic pull through its schizoid behaviour many ideas jostling for space, not making it ungainly. Walter Sickert & The Army Of Broken Toys offer bewilderingly attractive acoustic adventures in the masterful ‘Viktagraph.’
Dreamchild are really weird with their ‘Ave Maria’ which is like a nightmarish tussle in which a historical style gets a real kicking, and with some of Cheryl’s high notes it’s a cross between Aled Jones and Name Of The Rose! Melt have a curious rock thing moving through the nicely scruffy ‘Through The Doors’ and at times it’s rawk, then introduces some nicely unexpected twinges. Weirdos! Lucretia’s Daggers are superb in the tricksy traipsing of ‘Tragedy’, like a sticky, fidgeting stream of sounds rolling off a giant salamander’s tongue and amid the skill it’s a jolt to realise the lyrical point when it stabs you.
What Time Is It Mr Fox are also fascinating with their ‘Hanging In A Tree’, with light neo-classical pop charm, and don’t be afraid but it reminded me initially of ‘Selling England By The Pound’ period Genesis (not a personal favourite, you just couldn’t avoid it at school) but then rises and assets itself. It’s a curious beast, with impeccable manners.
Mark McGettrick does his big bold take on New Order with ‘Greening’ and it’s a consummate pop diamond. Twelfth Of Never lull you with the shimmery satin syrup of ‘To Lure The Swans And Flies’, a post-Ethereal splendour, and Sharon Crumrine has me transported effortlessly with the beautiful instrumental ‘February’ until it starts getting a bit too noisy and displaced, but second time the weird jangling starts to make sense. Aepril Schaile & The Judgement terrifies ‘Mary Lucifer’ like she’s stepped out of the very worst the Brothers Grimm had to offer, and she’s lugged a piano through the vortex with her and those aren’t keys, they’re teeth! Brilliant stuff, it intensifies up one further level when you wouldn’t think it at all possible and becomes worryingly demented. Ultraplush are like a histrionic shoegaze version of the Velvets in ‘Celestine Dream’
So there we have it, a formidable compilation indeed which despite monstrous variety somehow establishes sufficient common themes to make it have more reason to exist that simply showing how healthy the Boston scene evidently is. That is a very hard thing to do.
Amber Spyglass http://www.myspace.com/amberspyglas
Seven Sunless Days http://www.myspace.com/sevensunless
The Milling Gowns http://www.myspace.com/themillinggowns
Walter Sickert & The Army Of Broken Toys http://www.myspace.com/armyoftoys
Lucretia’s Daggers http://www.lucretiasdaggers.com
What Time Is It Mr Fox http://www.whattimeisitmrfox.com
Mark McGettrick – see Seven Sunless Days
Twelfth Of Never http://www.tweflthofnever.com
Sharon Crumrine http://www.myspace.com/sharoncrumrinemu
Aepril Schaile & The Judgement http://www.aeprilschaile.com
Ultra Plush http://www.myspace.com/ultraplush