Brian and Maryrose Crook's band The Renderers enjoys a cult following in the US with the kind of country music that a character from either a William Faulkner short story or a David Lynch film might whistle while scalding a hog. Their songs are alternately knuckle-white and grangrene-black. There’s a tincture of Mississippi carried on the Antarctic wind of Port Chalmers:
They were admitted by the old Negro into a dim hall from which a stairway mounted into still more shadow. It smelled of dust and disuse—a close, dank smell. The Negro led them into the parlor. It was furnished in heavy, leather-covered furniture. When the Negro opened the blinds of one window, they could see that the leather was cracked; and when they sat down, a faint dust rose sluggishly about their thighs, spinning with slow motes in the single sun-ray. On a tarnished gilt easel before the fireplace stood a crayon portrait of Miss Emily's father. [William Faulkner, A Rose for Emily, 1931]
Brian plays lead guitar for The Terminals and the improvisatory Flies Inside the Sun. He recently released his second semi-solo album of 4-track recordings under the moniker Bible Black. As one reviewer noted, ‘the characters in Crook's songs all suffer various heartaches.’
"Don't you notice anything different about Uncle Rondo?" asks Stella-Rondo.
"Why, no, except he's got on some terrible-looking flesh-colored contraption I wouldn't be found dead in, is all I can see," I says.
"Never mind, you won't be found dead in it, because it happens to be part of my trousseau, and Mr. Whitaker took several dozen photographs of me in it," says Stella-Rondo. "What on earth could Uncle Rondo mean by wearing part of my trousseau out in the broad open daylight without saying so much as 'Kiss my foot,' knowing I only got home this morning after my separation and hung my negligee up on the bathroom door, just as nervous as I could be?"
"I'm sure I don't know, and what do you expect me to do about it?" I says. "Jump out the window?"
[Eudora Welty, Why I Live at the P.O., 1941]
Mary Rose, who also has a solo album in production, is a painter (although her easel is not of tarnished gilt). Represented by Brooke Gifford Gallery, she was curated by Emma Bugden in City Gallery’s Telecom Prospect 2004: New Art New Zealand (Wellington). Her canvasses are a visual corollary to the Southern Gothic of The Renderers’ songs.
- Trail of Tears (Flying Nun)
- Bigger Than Texas (Flying Nun)
- The Surface of Jupiter (Ajax, 1997)
- A Dream of the Sea (Siltbreeze, 1999)
Brian Crook solo projects
- Bathysphere (Metonymic, 1999)
I Can't Hear You [mp3 : 4MB]
- Bible Black (Arclife, 2003)
Baby Doll [mp3 : 4.8 MB]
© Brian and Maryrose Crook 2004