Sky Picnic — Her Dawn Wardrobe
(Mega Dodo DODOLP7 and DODOCD7, 2014, LP and CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-09-22Sky Picnic is a neo-psychedelic rock band from Brooklyn, NY, but you would hardly credit this after listening to them. Their vocals are a bit accented and resemble UK’s Crystal Jacqueline, so I naively thought they were from Europe. Sky Picnic is the trio of Chris Sherman (guitar and vocals), Leah Cinnamon (bass guitar and vocals), and Pete Meriweather (drums and percussion). Their debut release (2011) and second album, Paint Me a Dream (2012), were released on the German label Nasoni Records. They then joined the Fruits de Mer team and had tracks on four compilations: Keep off the Grass (2011), “Sorrow’s Children” The Songs of S. F. Sorrow (2012), The Crabs Sell Out (2012), and Re-Evolution: FdM Sings the Hollies (2013). Sky Picnic has continued to refine their style and have now signed with Mega Dodo Records for their third album, Her Dawn Wardrobe, to be released on October 13, 2014. This is a pretty cool retro sounding slab of dark psych music. There are hints of The Smell of Incense, Crystal Jacqueline and The Honey Pot, and even King Crimson. “June Sunshine” recalls to my mind the spring/summer of 1969, the end of my first year in college. Kind of a magical psychedelic vibe with outstanding trippy guitar. The one low point on the disc for me is “I See You Saw,” which is too long at seven minutes, but it does end with some interest in the final minute. “Lady of the Moon” is a great acoustic guitar and Mellotron dark folk song along the lines of fellow FdM teammates Us and Them. “Most of a Box of Winter” is an amazing instrumental. And then there is “Earl Grey.” Normally when you read about comparisons to King Crimson, the references are to Fripp’s harsh and complex songs like “21st Century Schizoid Man,” “Red” etc. The difference here is that “Earl Grey” sounds amazingly like “In the Wake of Poseidon.” I do like this recent trend of Gothic psych and the cover art does a very good job of expressing the feeling as well.
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.