By Phillip Smith
Memento Mori is a Latin phrase which translates as ‘Remember you are mortal’. This CD by the Bastard Fairies helps us do just that. Lead singer Yellow Thunder Woman, with her lovely and delicate voice begins the first track, “The Greatest Love Song“ with these words: ‘All I need is a catheter and lobotomy..’. Beautiful, yet disturbing, this is not the usual opening of love songs, and I have to give kudos to anyone who can work that line into one.
Guitarist Robin Davey has managed to create a variety of musical backgrounds for Memento Mori. “A Venomous Tale” has hints of a reggae beat, while “Whatever” sounds like an old western cantina song, with it’s instrumentation of piano, and banjo.
The second track, a very clever and sweet song, “Apple Pie“, just asks us all to get along. An almost perfect segue takes us to another melancholy song, “Habitual Inmate“.
Memento Mori reinforces its namesake with, “We’re all going to Hell”. If you’ve ever done anything that would send your soul to hell, it’s probably listed in this song. I am well aware of a beer frame in bowling, but never have I ever heard of a beer break in the middle of a song as this song has.
A couple of the weaker selections include “Moribund” and “Everyone has a Secret”. . One of the most annoying things about Memento Mori was the overuse of the ‘I’m singing from the bottom of a well, and using a megaphone’ effect. On some tracks that might work well, but it is really overkill when done on every song.
The title track, “Memento Mori”, reminding us to eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may be dead, is my second favorite song of this collection. It’s very melodic, and Yellow Thunder Woman lets us hear her voice the way it should be, unfiltered.
All in all, The Bastard Fairies have produced a nice collection of songs, well written, yet still a little rough around the edges.
* originally published for Foundrymusic.com in 2007