St. Joseph’s favorite sons and daughter of the absurd, the wonderfully weird, The Ramey Memo have given us their best record to date with the self-recorded, independently released The Name of this Album is Self-Titled. Name is beautiful in a profoundly imperfect way; its balanced between humor and serious musicianship, it’s at times shockingly melodic tripped out rock n roll like The Meat Puppets, My Bloody Valentine and Hum used to make. Recorded in the band’s attic practice space, Name has a warm, intimate feel that shows a band at the height of its powers musically.
The opening track “Cabinets and Open Boxes” starts the album with, what could be the band’s most flushed out song to date. Tyson Bottoroff’s guitar work drifts from the sadness of The Cure’s Robert Smith’s playing, through James Iha inspired dreaminess and the sometimes shy aggression of the late great Kurt Cobain. The track and Self-Titled as a whole shows Bottoroff for what he truly is: one of the St. Joe music scene’s best, most entertaining guitarists and The Ramey Memo one of the city’s most interesting groups.
Though the core of the Memo (guitar/vocals Tyson Bottoroff, guitar/ vocals Raye Lynn and drummer/ vocalist Garner Quillon) has remained intact for the life of the band, a very welcome addition for Name is the arrival of Bryce Bottoroff to take over bass duties from Lynn, freeing her up to bring another guitar to the band’s already substantial wall of sound. His vocals and understated bass melodies come together to form what could be the best track on Name with “This Car Crash Never Happened,” a song of introspection, of near mediation, of loss and triumph.
There is a seriousness at the heart of Self-Titled that has always been somewhat absent from the Memo’s previous records (300 Voices from the King Hill Pub and the follow-up Forget It); while blending the one and done splendor of For Squirrels, the criminally underrated power pop stickiness of Superdrag, the strangeness of Ween (especially the track “Crash Test Dummies”) and the drowned in distortion guitar heroics of Kevin Shields and the jangly oneness of Teenage Fanclub, The Ramey Memo create a sound that is familiar while being their own.
The Name of this Album is Self-Titled is a record packed with songs that show a band in The Ramey Memo that is pushing itself as writers and musicians, a record of influences coming together to make something truly unique.
Key Tracks: “This Car Crash Never Happened,” “Electron Echo,” “As the Water Fills the Hull”