Crazy Mary,
Astronaut Dubs
(self-produced, 1999)

There's a problem with Crazy Mary's Astronaut Dubs-- it's too short. That may seem like a compliment, but it's a sincere gripe. With only seven tracks, none more than a few minutes long, Crazy Mary hands out less than half an hour of electronic surfpunk weirdness, and that's a shame.

Astronaut Dubs doesn't offer deep lyrics that will grant you new insight into the meaning of life. Instead, there's a whirlwind tour of the solar system, with just enough time to imprint a few catchphrases and hypnotize the mind. My own favorite tune, "She Comes in Waves," has no words but the title, and "Shock Me" features only an occasional shouted and incomprehensible phrase (they could be saying "fresh catch" or "hodge podge" or "drink Tang"). But even in the slightly more vocal "Johnny Thunder" and "Lightnin' Strikes," the words aren't really the point. It's about the music, and Crazy Mary rocks.

"Shock Me" and "She Comes in Waves" are both alien-inspired electronic surf, represented by not one but two dubs. The Venus Dub of "Waves" makes great use of an electronic wave effect, with the Mars Dub offering an appropriately more masculine take. The Solar and Lunar dubs of "Shock Me" are so different it's hard to tell they're the same song. Crazy Mary likes to work their music hard; "Lightnin' Strikes" takes a single snatch of music from the Kinks' "You Really Got Me Now" and makes those poor notes work harder than they dreamed they'd have to.

And then, sadly, the party is over, unless you've had the foresight to put the CD on "loop." Astronaut Dubs is one of the few dance party-worthy CDs that stands up to repeated listening. The Marys may be crazy, but they know what they're doing with their instruments, so that even a seven-track tape with only five songs sounds fresh on each hearing. Find a decent music store and sponsor the insanity. Maybe next time they'll give us more than a sample.

[ by Sarah Meador ]
Rambles: 18 August 2002