The album cover of Blue Sky, Raging Sun looks like something you’d pass over in the five-dollar ‘80s bin at your local record store. It’s a rectangle cut of what’s most likely a stock photo that features a shirtless, sandaled, vaguely-hipster looking dude, walking down an obscured desert-y path, staring listlessly down at his feet. The picture is surrounded by a construction paper, steel-blue sheen that could’ve easily fallen right out of 1986.
And, like the cover, Berry’s music is, well…very XTC. It’s by no means retro; obviously, production values and overall electronics have come a long way since Andy Partridge donned a microphone. But regardless, songs like the college-radio burner “Immigrant Hands” or the twinkling, rainbow-filtered “Circles & Squares” lay their souls in the traditions of the 1980s, and little else.
It works, though. Berry captures an offbeat and remarkably rewarding modern take on echo-chamber pop. Dirty Projectors with The Cure, Arcade Fire and Big Audio Dynamite, The dB’s with Grandaddy. There’s nothing cataclysmically vital going on in Blue Sky, Raging Sun, but it’s easily odd enough to pique interest.
(Joyful Noise Recordings, PO Box 20109, Indianapolis, IN 46220)