Tyler Daniel Bean


Written by: TL on 21/03/2013 20:59:37

Excuse me but there must be some reactionary feelings towards the term at work here, when "emo" isn't one of the tags associated with the debut album from Massachusetts solo-project Tyler Daniel Bean. I mean for starters, the album is called "Longing" and while Bean does not have quite as high a pitch, his intentionally sloppy/moody vocal-work should easily remind you of prime examples of emo singing, being like a darker version of Conor Oberst or Adam McIlwee from Tigers Jaw. Similarly to his vocal style, the instrumentals here - almost all of which were recorded by Bean himself - are also gloomier and slower than the run-of-the-mill bubbly mathyness you find in the current wave of emo music, yet this only really makes "Longing" sound sadder and hence in its own way, more 'mo.

Stylistically, "Longing" fits the mold of a fuzzy, depressed emo record quite well, with Bean sounding melancholic at all times, and with things gaining power as they get crunchier and the introverted vocals get layered Brand New-style, potentially making mouthes water on fans of that band (which more or less everyone should be). The slides up into screamed climaxes bottoms out the murky depth of the beat down soundscape, adding in a dash of grungy desperation that even reminds me of the bad times blues of the recently reviewed Secret Plot To Destroy The Entire Universe, strongly contrasting the deceptively light-hearted song titles like "Rootbeerlington", "I Think It's Time To Go Back To Our Original Smoothie Plan" and "It's Vegan, Not Vagen II".

Despite essentially being the work of a self-confessed singer-songwriter however, "Longing" repeatedly strikes me as too much of a work of style and too little of a work of engaging songwriting. The corners and nuances of the soundscape that the record explores are diverse and interesting to an emo-nerd like me, who appreciates the patience of the compositions and the bits of horns and female vocals that supplement the mood on occasion. But the album still passes me by largely without any of its songs sticking to mind - except maybe for opener "Flowers At My Feet", which almost gets there by virtue of its string-backed, classic progression into a cascade of crashing guitars. Other than that however, I fear curious listeners might face similar problems as those that trouble recent efforts by comparable bands Tigers Jaw and Run Forever: Namely that too few remarkable hooks and melodies escape the strict adherence to the chosen boundaries of moany emoness.


Download: Flowers At My Feet
For The Fans Of: a mix of Tigers Jaw, Bright Eyes, Brand New, Into It. Over It and maybe Secret Plot To Destroy The Entire Universe
Listen: facebook.com/tylerdanielbean

Release Date 06.11.2012
Kat Kat Records

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