Chris Gleason is NEPCA’s area chair for music. This CD shows that he can do a lot more than write and comment upon it!
Two-Egg Scrambler (2013)
Self produced www.sadodomestics.com
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The Sado-Domestics titled their debut release Two-Egg Scrambler, but by my reckoning they broke considerably more eggs and raided the nests of a variety of chickens to make this tasty musical dish. The fourteen tracks are cleverly divided into a “Side A” and “Side B” with the recorded drop of an old-style record changer appearing between tracks seven and eight. This is more than a device–the first seven tracks are more acoustic based and the remaining seven edgier and more electric.
The Sado-Domestics are built around the singer/songwriter partnership of Chris Gleason and Lucy Martinez, both of whom also perform as solo acts and with other bands. The ensemble is fleshed out by other veteran Boston musicians, including Bruce Bartone, Shamus Feeney, and Paul Stewart from Gleason’s roots band Los Goutos. “Mule in a Swamp” sets the tone for Side A in that many of the tracks are soaked in a Southern brine that’s part swamp water, part skillet-licking Appalachia, part acoustic country blues, part folk, and part traditional. Martinez has a voice that impresses by both its power and its sweetness. Her “Dragonfly” is bluegrass influenced, but more fragile, and “Weeds” evokes the reflective melancholia of a Mary Chapin-Carpenter offering. Gleason is a more ironic songwriter. If you can imagine a snarkier version of Steve Goodman, Gleason’s “Badly Paid” fits those parameters. “Dahlia,” a musing upon the gruesome 1947 Elizabeth Smart murder, is a dark country blues offering in keeping with Gleason’s tendency to opt for realism over metaphors.
Side B plugs in. Gleason’s “Waiting” reminded me of one of the lush songs Tim Buckley used to write, but with the studio string enhancements stripped out and replaced by Bartone’s crystalline electric guitar atmospherics. Gleason seems to delight in messing with our perceptions. His “January” rocks, but in a nostalgic, bright way that defies the way most of us think about that month. Similarly, “Together in You” is the only time I’ve heard the following mentioned in the same song: Skip James, Kurt Cobain, Emmylou Harris, Husker Du, Tom Verlaine, and Richard Nixon. Speaking of Verlaine (Television), Martinez airs her punk sensibilities on Side B. On “Tainted Windows” she juxtaposes bouncy vocals with crunchy power chords, fuzzy feedback, and energetic percussion. Then she goes new wave Devo-like on us on “Bull in a Cage.” Think you’ve got these guys figured out? Uh huh. Listen to Gleason’s “At Night We Fall” and get back to me. The tune riffs off of The Beatles’ “Let it Be,” but the material is country western confessional, including the line, “the road to redemption/Is paved with the best intentions.” I can’t say whether these folks are as badly housebroken as the band name implies, but I sure can recommend you invite them to your musical table.—Rob Weir
Click here for an acoustic version of “January.”