The Red Krayola

The Red Krayola


Drag City

I like Mayo Thompson. After 35 years of playing rock music for freaks and 10 or so years of teaching art to freaks, he’s mellowed and become a very charming, articulate, warm gentleman with whom conversation comes quickly and easily. His music, however, usually demands patience. His voice and tendency to cram too many words into not enough space take some time with which to get accustomed. But once you get beyond that and hear the ideas popping out of this man’s skull, you’ll quickly realize where some of those damn Chicago bands get their ideas. I think I read somewhere (possibly in a Drag City press release from a few years back) that Thompson had invented the idea of using improvisation in rock music back in ’67. Verity aside, the Red Krayola gets a little too crazy with its bountiful assaults of incoherent noise on this album which may have actually been recorded 30 years ago (again, from a press release). And actually, this whole album consists of songs and moments from yesteryear and includes unreleased songs, noisy outbursts, and lyrics Mayo found under his couch. Interestingly, a decision was reached to let a drum machine become the loudest thing in the mix. Quieter moments remind me of Mayo’s solo album Corky’s Debt to his Father , while noisier times approximate the din created by a chef singing to himself while making rump roast. And then after I rip on this album, the last song slowly changes from chaos which chased my friends away to a beautiful piano and drum machine piece. That Mayo.

Drag City, 2000 West Carroll St. #201, Chicago, IL 60612

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