Odd Tymes (self-released, 2010)
For: Castanets, Mt. Eerie, Atlas Sound
Byline: A bedroom album of gothic-folk, haunting found-sounds, sudden shifts in mood and color, and startling beauty.
The lessons of my mother are finally coming to fruition: dying is a part of living. There’s an anecdote on Green Gerry’s MySpace page that relates the etymology of the word “lunatic,” referencing the cycles of the moon and their relationship to madness. To listen to Odd Tymes is to be buried in sand. It’s sense-tickling, heart-racing, arresting, but ultimately cool, comfortable and somehow extremely safe. In that order, over and over again. A gentle set of feminine fingers strokes your hair as your air-supply slowly vanishes, reviving your spirit in an endless float. It appears in a dizziness; a hazy, vaseline-smeared lens of an audible field, all gauzy and vibrant and terrifying. Sometimes it’s key to let the frightening bring you to the brink and then let go, hover into the next dimension where the storms are tamed, just beautiful rainbows on the other side.
Athens/L.A.-based songwriter Green Gerry captures all of these emotions with a laptop and an internal mic on his debut effort, gently cranking a tumbler with your guts locked inside. You’ll die and be reborn several times over as Odd Tymes gracefully shape-shifts between moments of calm, guitar or ukelele-based folk tunes, haunting reverb-drenched spiritual-like choral arrangements, and distorted crashes of drums and amps that absolutely terrorize. And sometimes, these shifts take place within the span of a single song. No matter how high you’ll climb, never fear—you’ll always land soft.
Overall, Green Gerry succeeds in crafting a record that’s as diverse and multi-faceted as it is singular. There’s swaying indie-twinged tracks like “Cozy Space Mugz” or “Linked Sausage is Delicious” to satisfy the Bradford Cox lover in all of us, and the harangue and excitement of thunder and lightening reminiscent of Mt. Eerie without ever being overpowering or redundant. Finally, despite the sense of community crowding the arrangements—the amount of instruments and voices etc. to be heard throughout the record—Odd Tymes manages to be immensely personal and even a little lonely. Green Gerry stresses the use of headphones for maximum listening enjoyment, and I think this has less to do with production value (it’s pretty lo-fi, and creative use of stereo space doesn’t seem to be of as much concern as sheer tunefulness and lyrics—oh yeah, the lyrics... see below), and more to do with enjoying this album for and by yourself. Let the reverb echo into your subconscious, let the songs surround you, lift you up, give you a shake, and bring you back down softly. Call this gothic folk, call it lo-fi, gospel, indie, art, call it what you will... file this one under “yours.”
I’d like to share some of my favorite lyrics from the album — taken from “Song Fur Thunderstorms”
sleep my baby sleep
sleep my babe don't peek
tonight the air is cold
don't fear what is unknown
there's demons in the trees
they reach to grab at thee
who lays silently asleep
in the grass deep in a dream
stay safe wandering about
keep safe traveling down south
the scared might speak real loud
just place your hand upon your mouth
fall into the lost dark sea
let the salt cure all your worries
let the waves cover your body
its depth is never ending
giants they set fire to the fields
do not take cover upon the hills
though their howls may sound wretchedly ill
the flames you see are not real
to stay I cannot see
my thoughts they get real lonely
if more could I just be?
if less would they not haunt me?
awake my love awake
the tyrants they have all gone away
today the sun invited them not to stay
the light forced them to fade