April 11, 2002

Homebaked Beats

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The new album from Mary Lorson & Saint Low begins with a track of artsy sounds, including notes from a lullaby-esque music box, called “Planet Pleasant Grove.” This introduction is appropriate on a number of levels. First, this album is full of calming arrangements, sometimes sparse and confessional, sometimes almost epicly dense with instrumentation. Second, this is an album of which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and yet the details themselves are so striking that the songs demand repeated listens. Lorson’s piano emotionally glides through the compositions, with embellishments of violin, cello, french horn, banjo, even harp.

However, despite the music box melody of the intro, this is not the sort of thing that lends itself to being contained in categorical boxes. This is the sort of music that defies any pigeon holes, preferring a freer flight into the grateful ears of Lorson’s loyal followers.

The Upstate Connection

Mary Lorson is still largely identified as the lead singer of the oft-underrated, now defunct indie band, Madder Rose. The quartet merged distorted angst with catchy hooks and the dulcet vocals of Lorson. Her partner in both bands, Billy Cot