Life can be pretty overwhelming at times. Indeed, things have been a little crazy for Victoria chanteuse Carolyn Mark. Between relationship troubles and a well-deserved Juno nomination, her answering machine has rarely a free minute to record these days, much like herself. What better time to take a small breather, sit down with roommate Tolan McNeil, and gain a little perspective by piecing together a snapshot of Carolyn's increasingly hectic life?
Originally available as a tour-only release, The Sound of the Tone was recorded in true Carolyn Mark fashion. She, Tolan, and the latest addition to the band, enigmatic drummer New Guy worked day and night the week after Easter in a trailer down by Powell River, BC with a meager budget possibly funded by beer bottle returns.
The album shows Carolyn at her most honest and freewheeling both lyrically and personally. She bears her torn soul across a selection of 14 odd tunes, ranging stylistically from introspective barebones country to whistling throwback funk. Moving between eerie and triumphant moments, songs like the sombre "Scarecrows" and the hilarious "What A Wino" are already being regarded as preeminent pieces in her impressive catalogue.
To give fans the full Mark experience, each music selection is essentially narrated by selections of actual answering machine messages drawn from the past 10 years of her personal archives, which creates a Monty Python like flow from start to finish. Plus, while the cover features a beautiful portrait painted by Miss Adrienne Traviss, the insert is a lovingly assembled photo collage, showing Carolyn and friends hard at work and play.
In all, The Sound of the Tone nakedly showcases the supportive love, grounding humor, casual lewdness, and occasional backstabbing of friends, relatives, and acquaintances that fill ones tapes and lives with moments and meaning.
"A window into this pair's genuine, funny and bright world. Trademark gigantic songs, with Carolyn's stunning vocals and Tolan's stellar guitar and so much more, intercut with hilarious answering machine excerpts. Oh yes. Any one of these songs is better than anything you've heard lately. Seriously." - Aaron Stewart, The Free Press