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Burning Into the Spirit World

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Album Review

The band's fourth album offers more of the type of appealing, oddball pop that peppered Crazy Mary's first three releases and that understandably endeared it to the college radio crowd, with whom its willful disregard for musical boundaries could best be appreciated. Burning Into the Spirit World may, in fact, be the combo's most charming album to date, and perhaps its most out-there as well. With such singular visions as vaguely hippie-ish worldbeat excursions (the Rusted Root-but-grittier "The Rain in Memphis"), the reggae-tinged ("Moon Song"), kind-of zydeco ("Dancin' with Snakes"), and a spy theme crossed with raga rock (the funky, creeping "Monkey Magic Medicine"), it may take a bit of ear stretching before you find your way into the Crazy Mary orbit. But once there, you may find yourself entranced. And spacey is a description that certainly applies to the album. The album's finest song, "Confusion Reigns," hearkens back to swirling '60s psychedelia, while "Astral Telepathy" constructs a skeletal, otherworldly universe out of phased drums and a xylophone-like gamelan. And any band that is willing to take on Frank Zappa, as Crazy Mary does on "Freak Out," just by virtue of its song title, is worth investigating. The zonked-out surf rock of the song confirms it. Sophia Jackson's unsteady vocalizing just makes you root for her and these songs all the more. More often than not, the rooting is repaid.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A staple within the New York City underground scene, this alternative rock band began its formation in the summer of 1996 when Bronx Zoo employees Richard Morbid, drummer Nick Raisz, and guitarist Charles Kibel discovered their kindred musical spirits. The band officially became Crazy Mary two years later with the addition of another zoo employee, bassist George Kerezman. Singer Sophia Jackson (yet another employee of the Bronx Zoo) completed the lineup as Richard Morbid left to pursue other interests....
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Burning Into the Spirit World, Crazy Mary
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