On Jesus Loves Stacey, their full length debut, Washington, DC quartet Cry Baby Cry proffer their vision of art/garage/punk's future. And I'm pleased to report that the forecast looks good.
So... art/garage/punk? Made it up, but think Chairs Missing by Wired or Easter Everywhere by 13th Floor Elevators; or an unholy four-way union of The Residents, T-Rex, The Damned, and X, but better.
Cry Baby Cry used to be known as The Blisters--till they learned the name had been scapped up a decade before. They self released an eponymous EP and then hooked up with producer J Robbins and with tiny DC indie Skoda Records--a label that specializes in Czech psychedelia--for the new album. Jesus Loves Stacey came out with limited distribution in September 2001, and with the help of Ian MacKaye's Dischord Records became available online and in US retail chains in January 2002.
Across the 14 tracks of Jesus Loves Stacy (plus two unlisted bonus tracks), CBC somehow walk that most difficult of musical tightropes, balancing the extreme visceral pump of acts like The Make-Up and The Hives with the sort of cerebral explorations you might expect from Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 or avant-garde jazz composer/vocalist Karen Mantler. Strangely, the concoction works and neither aspect suffers.
Each song on the new set is a city unto itself, encompassing more musical topology than an entire, lesser neo-psych album. As with the subversively complex music of Frank Black, it takes many listens to grasp and appreciate the structure of a Cry Baby Cry song. But, despite the sometimes daunting complexity, the bottom line is that these songs rock!
The band are James Mitchell Brady (vocals, keyboards, accordian; previously in Trusty), Kathleen Ann Cashel (vocals, guitar, keyboards; previously in Conveyers of Pain and Norman Mayer Group, and plays solo acoustic sets), Andrew Clowe Sutter (bass, keyboards; previously in lonnieclare), Jennifer 'Chicago' Lynne Thomas (drums; previously in Conveyers Of Pain and Betsy The Sniper).
If ever there was a young band deserving of tons more hype than they're getting, Cry Baby Cry are it. Get their album. John Peel take note. (Review originally appeared on Rockbites.org)