American Standard

Mary's Danish

Morgan Creek Records, 1992

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


On their third and final album, perennial alt-rock underdogs Mary’s Danish decided to chuck the experimental, free-for-all, WTF sound of their previous record Circa in favor of a more straightforward approach. With their options running out, the six-piece drafted in their manager Peter Asher (of Peter & Gordon) to produce the record. Having worked with Linda Ronstadt and other, lighter fare, Asher was up for a challenge and in 10 days, he produced one hell of a swansong.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

With bassist Wag more or less kept in check in the background, the spotlight really focuses more on guitarists David King and Louis Gutierrez and drummer JBJ. The solos on many tracks, including “Underwater” and the eight-minute “Sister Shade,” are some of the best the band ever pulled off. On tracks like “Porcupine” and the amazing “My Dear Heretic,” the entire band just blazes and they really sound like one of the most cohesive groups of their era. The vocal duo of Gretchen Seager and Julie Ritter really shine all throughout the record, particularly on “Underwater,” “Killjoy,” and “Gotcha Covered.”

Gretchen gets her own showcases throughout the disc, while “O Lonely Soul, It’s A Hard Road,” allows both Gretchen and Julie to shine in their own way. They’re both outstanding vocalists on their own, and when you get them together, they were just amazing!

The production is crisp and clean throughout, and the keyboards really come through the mix to stand out amidst the noise. The CD adds a bonus track, a nifty little cover of “I Fought The Law” with Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, originally recorded for the Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie soundtrack.

Unfortunately, the band’s bad luck followed them and ultimately killed them. Done in by poor promotion and an indifferent record label (not to mention a godawful album cover), the record was another stiff and the band ended up disbanding by 1993; subsequently, the record has fallen out of print in all formats. But out of the three discs in the band’s catalog, this is really the one to start with. Mary’s Danish is one of the most underrated rock records of the decade, by a mile!

Rating: B

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