Mary's Danish

American Standard

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The members of Mary's Danish were rushed into the studio to record their third and final album less than six months after completing their second, 1991's Circa, this time with their manager, Peter Asher, producing the band for the first time. Unfortunately, neither circumstance helps the band very much at all. The material here is substandard in comparison to the earlier releases, and Asher's '70s-slick production style simply doesn't mesh with the post-post-punk eclecticism at the heart of the band's sound. The songs are an unfocused and often sloppy lot, with only the neo-psychedelic "Underwater" and the thrashy "Porcupine" being particularly memorable. Worse yet, the endless vamp of the eight-minute closer "Sister Shade" sounds more like filler than the Neil Young-style catharsis the band seems to think it is. Asher and co-producer Niko Bolas squash the band into supposedly radio-friendly arrangements that don't show any of the band's best assets and, for some reason, the vocal interplay of singers Gretchen Seager and Julie Ritter is squashed behind David King and Louis Gutierrez' suddenly grunge-edged guitars. Morgan Creek, which was in the process of imploding when the album was released, bungled the promotion and distribution of this album terribly, but forcing the group to record the record before it was ready was clearly the label's first and worst mistake. Stick to Circa and There Goes the Wondertruck.

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