Although 50 percent of Mystery School's members were born outside our state's boundaries, the six-piece "desert rock" ensemble is madly in love with New Mexico's unique landscape. "Our music is very much aware of how the environment we're in evokes inspiration," says colead vocalist, keyboard player and percussionist Diana Good. "Where we live plays a major role in determining who we are and the relationships we form with other people. Our music definitely reflects that."
Mystery School's exceptional blend of earth-friendly, organic grooves and strong guitar leads combined with rich vocal harmonies and the unmistakable texture of the cello gives the band a sound that's both inviting and comprehensive. Their song "Unpainted Desert" in particular gives an idea of Mystery School's inherent completeness. Beginning with a very mellifluous intro, by the chorus the song has morphed into what Good aptly describes as "a very groovy song."
Good says her band appeals to "healthy alternative types of all ages. We appeal to people who are not afraid to think and can hear our message and be healed by it."
Mystery School's debut CD Desert Rock was recorded, in part, because the band's friends' family (and the aforementioned healthy alternative-typed fans) had been pushing for them to do so since the group's inception in 2001. Desert Rock was recorded at Little Kiss Studios with the help of engineer and friend Jeffrey Richards whom Good says really allowed them to experiment. "He believes in not tinkering with things too much at the outset."
The result is an album with a very honest sound that Good says reflects the band's commitment to candor in their music.
"I think a lot of times bands' public performances put out an image that's different than who they are," Good says. "What you see with us is what we really are. We try to be as real as possible and we don't do a lot of gimmicky things on stage." Good says Mystery School's personality, one that she describes as "gentle, kind and very fun" is especially apparent in their live shows.
"It's hard to express on the CD how much fun we have together when we're playing," Good observes. "It's much easier to see when we're in front of you." That sort of positive experience on stage makes Mystery School's shows a pleasurable experience for audience and band alike.
The celebration of Desert Rock will commence with a CD release party for the new album at the Outpost Performance Space. Good says the venue is just right for them. "It's big enough but it still has a feel of intimacy."
The show begins at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26, with opening act Laurianne Fiorentino. Admission is $10 and the new album will be on sale for the same price. For more Mystery School mayhem, including updates on an upcoming mini-tour in March, visit mysterschoolrock.com.