Ever want to tour your own childhood imagination? Berry’s new release, ‘Everything, Compromised’, achieves a similar feeling. The hypnotic lyrics and hauntingly sweet melodies distract and soothe. The songs create a tranquil out of body experience for the listener. It was like walking in slow motion, your head in the clouds, at an over-crowded festival or fair.
The Mid-Western band reconvened on an annual music vacation to begin creating this album. Their last album, ‘Blue Sky, Raging Sun’ (2010), was the last release of the band before taking a short hiatus. The interest in making unique, whimsical music was still burning within the band members, and the idea of ‘Everything, Compromised’, was born on one of their brief music vacations. The group, that has been together for more than fifteen years, has always aimed and successfully taken their audience on a trip. They use quirky and innocent music to convey their thoughts and emotions. This record is no different. ‘Everything, Compromised’, is the exact diversion one needs to escape from the dull interactions of everyday life. This release is amusing and entertaining.
The album is bright, cheerful, delicate, and eccentric. It sounds like a mix of tunes found in a fun house for adults or a set of jams heard in a candy shop. In fact, the songs themselves are sweet enough to be the candy in the shop, assorted songs, different, and all uniquely colorful. The melodies and beats are so specific and electric, this album was carefully crafted and specifically chosen – a sign of musical ingenuity. The piano is light and joyful, almost like fresh fallen snow – too perfect, too calm and so dainty.
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The words are soft and sweet, almost like a lullaby, but also psychedelic and witty. Perpetual Motion, the first track, is a dizzy and confused science experiment with dreamy lyrics focused on progress and finding the truth. Lemon sings, “blinking lights feel like progress,” assuming blinking lights could mean traffic lights on tours or even as minimal as the progression of technology. He also asks “is this mythology or is this economics, I can’t tell,” possibly alluding that his music may be less philosophical, mythological and magical, and instead, more calculated and patterned. The song moves in an actual perpetual motion, similar themes and words throughout the length of the song.
Other songs, such as ‘Failure to Thrive’ and ‘Mushroom-cloud Horizon’ share politically charged thoughts. The bonus tracks on the album sound like another song you’ve already heard, begging the listener to question if it is new material or a cover of song created in the 90s. Also noteworthy, ‘The Squirrel and the Pearl’, is a childlike song with odd sounds and noises, something to be born in a much earlier generation. It is electric but subtle – much like the entire album. The listener is pushed to tap their toes with this song, which is as animated as it’s lyrics. “The pearl slipped from the squirrel’s grip” and “like a kid’s cartoon, flattened the squirrel” are just two of the oddly specific one liners this song offers.
All in all, ‘Everything, Compromised’, is a musical journey. The journey is disorienting and creates a distorted world. The sound is relaxed and familiar, but also unconventional, fresh and individual. Berry presented an album that inspires intrinsic confusion, a true artistic masterpiece that will be far too unvalued in mainstream music.
Berry has proved to be wizards, and has created eccentric, magical music.
‘Everything, Compromised’ is out now via Joyful Noise Recordings. The albums full track listing is as follows…
- Perpetual Motion
- Civil Disobedience
- The Squirrel and the Pearl
- Delayed Delight
- Whoever and Ever, Amen
- Failure to Thrive
- Mushroom-cloud Horizon
- Hank’s Truck
- Bonus Track: Only Time
- Bonus Track: Amazing Grace