Album Review: Sky Furrows | Reflect and Oppose | Music | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

skSky Furrows Reflect and Oppose

(Feeding Tube Records)

I’m guessing that it’s fair to say that millennials are not the primary audience for Reflect and Oppose, the new album from Sky Furrows—a collective comprised of performance poet Karen Schoemer along with drummer Phil Donnelly, guitarist Mike Griffin, and bassist Eric Hardimann (experimental instrumentalists, all with ties to Albany improv psych unit Burnt Hills). Sky Furrows makes the kind of art-terror music current gray-haired pates used to dig deep into vinyl stacks for, searching out on foraging trips to St. Mark’s Sounds in Manhattan or Looney Tunes in Boston. There is, in fact, a certain early ’80s Bowery vibe at work here, reaching back to touchstones like Scott Johnson’s “John Somebody” and compilations from Giorno Poetry Systems; “Word, sound, and power,” as Rastafarians might have it.

Lefties, like me, will love—and stand in horror at—Schoemer’s rage. “The military could bring him down, so he purged it,” she spits in the grungy “Koba Grozny,” a takedown of Stalin’s initial reduction of the latter to “the most destroyed city on Earth.” Her diction, however, is always clear, and that’s a huge part of what makes this project work, even when the backing, thankfully, gets as gloriously aggressive as the words. The well-placed closing number, a West Coast-Sonic Youth-like rumination called “Desert Song,” which naturally follows “Welcome to Niverville,” functions like one—hooks, chorus, and everything. Reflect and Oppose, perhaps thornier than the group’s self-titled 2020 debut, is a gratifying, smart, and beautiful aural excursion no matter your age.

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