Flight Of The Knife

Brian Scary & The Shredding Tears

Black & Greene Records, 2008


REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


The musician has many tools at his/her disposal in crafting memorable material. The most commonplace problem with most albums is that not all of the tools are utilized. You can probably think back to a record that featured incisive lyrics but the music did not reach a similar level, or an album in which the opposite was true.

Hence the excitement I get when an album comes across my desk that more or less sees an artist attempting to write strong songs, not just a particularly solid lyric or one or two decent melodies. Add in a strong dosage of complexity, and the end result is quite fascinating as well as enjoyable.

Bryan Scary would appear to be one of those artists that is hovering below mass acceptance and praise; with two albums under his belt, the man has seen critical acclaim come his way as well as a growing following. If he continues down this road, I fully expect to be hearing him mentioned much more frequently because there is talent behind the name.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Flight Of The Knife falls under the singular category of progressive rock, but what a glorious mess of influences it wears on its sleeves. Hints of Queen, Yes, and Genesis are present throughout the album, as well as more “conventional” artists such as those four boys from Liverpool. Scary does not seek to ape those groups in the manner of The Darkness or The Redwalls, but instead uses those groups as coloring.

In the case of Flight Of The Knife, complexity is not sacrificed for melody, a very fine line to walk. There are many moments that would otherwise scream pop music, but if one listens, the music is far more diverse than anything you hear on Top 40 radio. The listener is barely a minute into the proceedings before getting hit with a heavy dose of funk; the waning moments of the album see an outro worthy of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra. The wide range of styles keeps the attention focused on the record.

Lyrically, the album keeps in step with its general theme of “flight.” Songs titles reference rockets, birds, sky, the moon, even heaven. The wordplay is amusing in that Scary directly avoids the trappings that drag down most prog rock records by maintaining a lighter, more witty dialogue with the audience. The opening line to “Zero Light” reads “Born on a mountain in the year of twenty-who knows when…” One could scour the lyrics to the discography of Yes or ELP and be guaranteed not to hear a line with that underpinning of “We aren’t that serious.”

Labeling an album as “fun” usually implies that it has little merit on its own, and that one could forget it just as soon as the final track ends. But Flight Of The Knife is a fun record, and an artistic one at that. These are solid musicians that are the “total” package, so to speak. Good things lie ahead for Mr. Scary And The Tears.

Rating: A-

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© 2009 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Black & Greene Records, and is used for informational purposes only.