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MARY MY HOPE (Buy CDs by this artist)
Museum (Silvertone/RCA) 1989
Suicide Kings EP (Silvertone/RCA) 1989

On the flawed and unfocused Museum, Atlanta's Mary My Hope simply tried to do and be too much, as shades of the Beatles, Doors, Pink Floyd, Bauhaus, R.E.M. and U2 flit through the overly ambitious songs, resulting in two killer tracks ("Suicide King" and "Communion"), several near-misses and several clunkers. Producer Hugh Jones does little to help untangle this intriguing but frustrating mess, which is not entirely unlike R.E.M.'s Fables of the Reconstruction — another album made by a quartet of Georgia boys out of their element in the UK.

Oddly, the five-song Suicide Kings shreds Museum and would have made a staggering debut. The album's two best cuts are combined with one shimmering new song and powerfully live "No remix no overdubs so it goes" renditions of two of the album's near-misses. It sheds a whole new light on the band, who produced the three new tracks themselves, thank you very much.

Vocalist James Vincent Hall left in 1990; Mary My Hope is carrying on with a replacement.

[Jem Aswad]