FAVOURITE COLOURS (Yep Roc) The Sadies
Long live the mystical magical Good brothers, Dallas and Travis. They embody and emanate the integrity of Country and Folk, Psychedelia and Surf. The schlock and artifice of each of those forms is not present in their music. There is, however, a huge and desert dry sense of humor afoot. (As I detailed in our review of the last Sadies record, the show I saw had me laughing so hard I nearly threw up.)
You might wonder what I found so funny when you look at the cover of Favourite Colours, since the gentlemen in the foreground look very grave indeed. See a show. They are a stringbending, mindbending quartet whose broad palette of influence is not quickly taken in or described. They sing very low and very high, play very slow and very fast. They will shock you with their greatness.
This fantastic record was recorded here and there on the road between gigs in Tucson and Toronto, and four songs at the farm of Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo. Included are a number of passionate instrumentals that boggle the mind in their sweeping beauty. "Northumberland West" is a Clarence White tribute, and recalls his musical personality endearingly. "The Iceberg" is pure Sadies, chilly atmospheric feedback and reverb as wide as the Canadian prairie. I love the 12 string theme on the Beatlesque "Only You and Your Eyes," these guys are so eerily satisfying. And "A Burning Snowman" is majestic, a conflagration.
Along with the great instrumentals, there is more singing from the brothers together, very Byrds-like (many try, these guys actually get there), especially with the tom toms rolling through the lyrics in a manner reminiscent of Gene Parsons. Sean Dean on bass and Mike Belitsky on drums are a stellar rhythm section, and Belitsky sings a convincing lead on "A Good Flying Day." Mike and Sean also cut a daunting image in Amanda Schenk's fabulous cover photo, rendered in both b&w and color--the furrier guys on the evergreen side, starker guys on the bare birch side, fantastic. Dallas' cannabinized western jacket and hemp necktie are classic.
There are sterling vocal cameos on the record by the Good parents, Bruce and Margaret, as well as by Robyn Hitchcock. On "The Curdled Journey," Joe Burns plays cellos and Paul Aucoin the vibraphone. On a pair of tracks, Paul Brainard plays trumpet and pedal steel, an unlikely double.
Simultaneously authentic and original, The Sadies are audaciously one of the greatest and most interesting bands anywhere. You must check them out on the Listen page, and buy Favourite Colors, here. And do see our interviews with Travis and Dallas Good, also in this issue. FG