Thursday, May 08, 2008

Bryan Scary.

I'm tempted to merely say "what he said" and link to this fairly scathing review of Bryan Scary & The Shredding Tears' Flight of the Knife, which is in today's Pop Matters. That site has been generally sympathetic to power pop (unlike, ahem, this site), so I don't see the review as emblematic of any hostility to the genre on their part.

Now I wouldn't go so far as the reviewer and give it 3 out of 10, but he does hit on why I wasn't bowled over by the disc - it's just too damned busy. Listening to at times is like watching a Michael Bay movie after drinking 6 cups of coffee. I don't remember the exact quote from legendary rock critic Robert Christgau, but in essence he said that rap took songcraft and isolated its essential element, the hook, to the point where rap was all hook and no song. In a way Scary has done likewise here, taking the essential element of bands like Jellyfish, Queen et al (the quirk? the baroque? I'm not sure what exactly to call it) and elevated it over the songs themselves. Scary is a wonderfully talented musician and I'm just a guy with a computer, so keep that in mind here, but that's the way I see it (or more accurately, hear it).

8 comments:

rwonline said...

If I didn't already own Flight of the Knife and read that review, it would make me want to buy it. The very things that he dislikes, are things that I like about the music.

Flight of the Knife is easily my favorite of the year so far.

Anonymous said...

i pretty much agree with that article. the first time i heard the disc, i really liked it. but the more i listened, the more it made me sick. too too much and too far over the top. nowhere near my top 20, or 200, of the year.

Larry said...

Right on, rwonline. I often find myself agreeing with Pop Matters, but that negative review is enough for me to never bother with the site again.

I honestly have no idea how people could complain about "Flight of the Knife." Who cares if he wears his influences on his sleeve? Name me ONE musician who doesn't draw inspiration from and subsequently rip off his influences. If you like Queen, the Beatles, David Bowie, the Beach Boys, et. al., wouldn't it follow that you would like someone who is doing their damndest to try and sound like those groups?

"Boo-hoo, there's too much stuff going on. Bryan, we want your record to be duller." Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Popmatters used to have a guy named Gary Glauber? (i think that was his name) who used to review tons of powerpop albums. I used to love reading his reviews because I would almost always agree wholeheartedly to what he wrote. He also wrote for a formerly great site. fufkin.com. Haven't seen him review anything in ages however. Aside from that, I agree I was a bit underwhelmed by the Bryan Scary album. A bit too frenetic, and deriative.

Anonymous said...

A negative review causes you to boycott a great music rag? Are you throwing a fit because a reviewer offered his opinion? I disagree to a large extent with the review but I did not act like a child about it. The disc is nowhere close to his debut, which is great (IMO). I kept hoping that it was over the first time I heard it. Listen #2 and #3 got better...

Anonymous said...

Terrible review.

Anonymous said...

And also, Flight of the Knife stomps all over the debut, it's a more concise and energetic record with better songwriting and lusher instrumentals. There's a reason why all the reviews so far have stated Flight of the Knife is better, besides PopMatters.

It also is surprising that they didn't simply use the same reviewer of the first album to review the new one. Inconsistent and misleading journalism.

Jim Andelman said...

ummm...you are an idiot, reviewer.

"too busy"...that's like in amadeus when the king of austria says to mozart...."too many notes"

aka - you are a moron.