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Bryan Deister – Spines of the Heart – Album Review

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The latest release from Redondo Beach’s Bryan Deister is a 22-track two disc ELP (that’s Extra Long Playing). Deister’s strange mix of dream-pop with tastes of R&B and some post punk-noise makes for an eclectic collection of songs that invoke the whole emotional spectrum at one time or another. Simply because of the album mass, there are going to be some hits and some misses.

The album begins with “All That I Have” combining electronic beats and soft breathy vocals, with a continuous building up of dark and ominous tones. “Responding Well” is the first of many experimental atmospheric soundscapes, I’d recommend taking a stroll through the record and picking out which ones best suit your playlist. The third track “In Her Eyes” features impressive vocal work, all the melodies are sampled hums backed up with a beat and fronted by Deister’s unique singing. “Into The Sky” hears Deister masterfully harmonizing with himself with a very low-key synth-pop instrumentation giving an eerie, yet somehow reassuring feel. “Today” is a change of pace, beginning with a slow focused piano line, the most grounded track so far, and it’s unpresumptuous and somber until the final quarter flares with emotion. “Emily” stands out for the playful synth melody imposed underneath Deister’s decidedly down tone. Add a real hard drum track and “Vacant Eyes” could be a club song in a heartbeat. On it’s own it stands out as a whale song, lonely and beautiful, calling out for a response. “Apart Of Me” is a lengthy conclusion to the already drawn out album, but it is diverse and it is energizing. Falsetto vocals provide an ambient beginning eventually leading back and forth into hard rock and pop phrases topped off by a wicked piano solo.

Spines of the Heart has so much to offer those who dare to tackle it. A dynamic instrumentation contrasts nicely with Deister’s melodic drawl, accented with cool solos every so often. Listening to this record is like listening to someone tell you about a dream they had, sometimes compelling and thought-provoking and other times just more of a cathartic exercise on their part.

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