St. Mary has always sounded like the spunky younger sister of Patti Smith.
Although her roots don’t go back quite as far as Smith’s, she has been part of
the San Francisco
punk scene, off and on, for more than 20 years. In the late ’80s her band
Housecoat Project released Wide Eye Doo
Dat,” an album of witty art-punk that included what could be St. Mary’s
anthem, “Wild Wimmin Don’t Die (They Just Dye Their Hair).”
ways, the singer still has same amount of pluck. The cover of her new four-song
EP announces her return with a photo of her bare back emblazoned with the
title. (Get it?) Her delightfully skewed approach to relationships comes out in
her lyrics: “Your eyes are tropical fish/ I’m swimming in it/ Are you gonna
sleep through this?/ Don’t fuck things up by getting sick.” She accompanies
herself on acoustic guitar with ebow guitar, cello, sitar and vibes constructing
a rich wall of drone behind her. A 1990-era Kramer production job would fit
this music perfectly.
only problem is the whole thing sounds more like a dressed-up demo than a
finished product. These songs would benefit more from the backing of a full
band, which could find a way to make a something like “Montgomery’s Song” sound like a song rather
than a three-chord riff with every line sung twice. I’m Back sounds more like the dust being blown off in anticipation
of a triumphant return, rather than the return itself. Stand by for more.
Standout Tracks: “Oblivion,”
“Tropical Fish.” MIKE SHANLEY