Global Music Award winning, Berklee College of Music scholarship student Bryan Deister has unleashed a behemoth of an album, called ‘Spines of the Heart’. I would love to break this album down in my usual style, but this twenty two track monster of an album would take far too many digital column inches for this magazine, not to mention this journalist, to handle.
There are some interesting vibes I get from this eerie, and melancholic mix of tunes. I feel influences pooled together from all over the place from Dream Theatre to Radiohead; from the Beatles to Muse to Neil Young. No doubt there is a through line of woeful whimsy in this clash of musical eclecticism, but the range of choice from off-kilter rhythms, to out of tune keys, to harrowing harmonies, to disturbing dissonances added to a mixture of occasional upbeats, music pulls, and disconsolate lyrics with faltering, clear (yet often simultaneously mumbled), and whinnying vocals makes this album indeed a dizzying array of either musical mishap, or technical triumph.
There is no doubting the musical savvy of Deister with an array of instruments, and his technical prowess with each, and that’s before touching his clear, and intense ambition that becomes evident when one listens to the enormity and breadth of ‘Spines of the Heart’; a twenty two track album instantly shouts ambition, but one wonders if perhaps a more focused approach to such experimental music might not aid in the continuance of such a comprehensive musical career. Of course I could be totally off the mark here, given his accolades, which are certainly not to be disregarded, and perhaps this is simply a wonderful project of musical diversity to make headway while still at school but, commercially, one can’t help but be concerned for this ambitious avant garde musician.
I do not want this review to come across wholly negative, and I should hope that it has not thus far, so there are certain tracks I feel I must highlight that touched my sensibilities in one way or another.
The melancholic vocals in ‘Vacant Eyes‘, though a bit low in the mix, are heart-wrenching, and delivered with beautifully bittersweet character. ‘Into The Sky‘ devoid of the odd beat, has a most wonderful harmonized lyric that is happily haunting…happily so, I think, only because of the accompanying beat. The blistering vocals of ‘What you Want‘ are emotionally overwhelming, and I love it. Even with the industrially synthetic quality to the rest of the unfortunately brief piece, Deister destroys, in a good way, the song with epic vocals.
And last of all…the last track of the album in fact, which has now very much become ‘Apart Of Me‘, is cleverly composed, wonderfully written, and more than worth the other twenty one tracks. All thirteen and a half minutes of this Muse-meets-Dream-Theatre-epic is fantastically focused and has indeed a clear journey. Perhaps the opening half of the album was meant as a confusing beginning to an adventure that takes one all over the interesting, and intricate world that is Desiter’s musical mind, only to slowly focus in, and end the saga with the sweet, sullen, scintillating, hard-hitting, heavy, and haunting piece that is ‘Apart Of Me‘
Very new to this sort of experimental, ambient rock, I encourage you, my wonderful readers, to give ‘Spines of the Heart’ a listen. You can do so by clicking the link that’s right over HERE! Bryan Deister is indeed a skilled musician, and I envy his courage, and ambition to release such an eclectic epic. Do let me know what you guys think in the comments section below.