There is something distinctly British about post-punk two-piece Mary And The Ram in the same way that I felt there was upon first hearing Bauhaus, for instance, or Siouxsie and the Banshees. The York-based two-piece release their debut single ‘The Cross’ on January 26 via Anonymous Records, along with b-side ‘The Dream’.
For their debut offering, Mary and The Ram worked with legendary John Fryer, who we know well for his extensive list of achievements, having produced nearly every release put out by 4AD Records in their early years, as well as a massive number of seminal artists, including Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, HIM, Love and Rockets, and Cocteau Twins.
Mary And The Ram is Kiran Tanna (The THING) on vocals, guitars, keys and programming) and drummer Dom Smith (Seep Away, The THING). Kiran’s background is mainly in dance, poetry and performance art, having founded the internationally-touring dance company VIAPerformance. Dom is involved in numerous musical projects and is also a potent force in the music community as editor of Soundsphere Magazine.
This new single is packed with drive, piano-filled electric rock rhythm. Dramatically fervent, it seems to represent a huge emotional release and is as catchy yet haunting as Bauhaus ‘Exquisite Corpse’ or ‘The Sky’s Gone Out’ back in the day. Dark, high energy and wonderfully bewildering. With influences that include Nine Inch Nails, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, Sisters of Mercy, The Dresden Dolls, Death From Above 1979 and Placebo, their love for these bands show through.
“We’ve known each other for years,” says Kiran Tanna. “It took a few years for our schedules to align but eventually I started programming and playing synths with one of Dom’s existing bands – a far doomier act called The THING! It wasn’t long until we realised that our shared love of old-school industrial, arty-punk and dark, gritty electronic rock needed another outlet.”
“There’s nothing new under the sun – but that’s part of the challenge. And ultimately it doesn’t matter. With Mary and The Ram, we’re trying to find uncommon territory and to work there – to do something innovative if we can, and to make something that you can come back to over and over again – we hope – and each time find something new. We want you to feel. And we want to feel with you. In a room. Your room or ours. On stage. In the pit. Wherever. The increasing digitisation of our lives binds us more and more closely together… But in so many ways we are growing farther apart. This stuff comes from a place that is drifting and uncertain and perhaps a little doomed.”
About the b-side to this single ‘The Dream’, Kiran Tanna comments: “The Dream is like a hallucination. It’s an attempt to capture that feeling – that thing that spreads a little more every day – something that will not go away. And then to ritualise it. It is a shadow of the character I am writing about… But that character is only me in another place and time. At the bottom of it. I am all these people. And some of the electronic bleakness of the sound – and later the aggression – comes out of an attempt to tell a story about where I am creatively and emotionally at the moment. And a desperate attempt to reach out to whoever is on the other side, listening. Maybe it’s a cry for help… If it is, it doesn’t really hope for answers.”
Towards mid-2018, Mary and The Ram also plans to release their debut EP, but already now, ‘The Cross’ can be found on the duo’s Bandcamp.
Vocals, guitars, programming by Kiran Tanna
Drums by Dom Smith
Produced by John Fryer
Art direction / design / cover artwork by Scot Greenwell of darC Artz