Blakely Berger is a graduate of Berklee College, and brings a lot of sophistication to his prog-folk solo effort Peach/Turkey. His song, “Cry Room,” is a haunting melody written to an ominous, cryptic poem. Comparisons to Elliot Smith make sense when you hear the moody style of acoustic guitar playing, evoking Smith’s oddly-voiced, dreamy chords, which act as a perfect backdrop to the singer’s somber lyrics. That’s essentially what Berger is employing here.

Lyrically, the “Cry Room” is loaded. This is well-thought-out poetry and the language is not light, and neither is the content. The opening stanzas are: “Artless disturbance Disrupted service Sacristy, the mystery Away in the cry room,” and that had us running towards our Merriam-Webster dictionary to look up the meaning behind “sacristy.” We had no idea this was (a) a word and (b) that it meant “a room in a church where sacred vessels and vestments are kept and where the clergy vests.” It sounds to us that “Cry Room” is a poem written by someone who is feeling alienated by organized religion and is expressing this with imagery of children going to church service who “tug Mother’s sleeve” and go to their “cry room” to act out their frustrations. We can imagine sitting in Bible study or a similar situation in any denomination or faith where kids will listen to a religious authority figure speaking about damnation and hellfire as punishments awaiting sinners and wrongdoers. This can be a pretty terrifying experience. With a line like “Substantiation, Or bring us damnation” our narrator here seems to be questioning the core beliefs within this system, and I suppose, within himself, in that they would rather be damned than live without proofs and evidence, as expected by faithful believers. In the end, the “cry room” seems be to a metaphorical space, where the child in the narrative goes to deal with an unresolved pain and psychological issues resulting from this religious upbringing. This is all too often the case with many who have decided to question the beliefs they were made to follow as children.

Musical undertones in “Cry Room” do well to emphasize the feeling of mixed emotions in the narrative, including anger, sadness, apathy. There’s some great sound engineering as well, with effects like the Leslie speaker tremolo eon the vocals à la the great Abbey Road recordings, and some cool psychedelic lead, hearkening back to peak Beatles psychedelia. The drum arrangement is very eerie as it starts out with just a straight kick, sounding, perhaps, like a child’s heartbeat, before it kick in to full swing thirty minutes later. Great arrangement, production, and serious lyrical content all make for a wonderful piece and we’d love to hear some more from Peach/Turkey. Save the date for the release of “Cry Room.”

 

 

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