This is a debut album? The Shredding Tears by 23-year-old Bryan Scary is the kind of astounding album that should come out after 10 years of good-to-great albums, a creative milestone that he forever after attempts to match. The fact that he spent three years laboring over this kaleidoscope of musical fantasies does little to detract from its impact it's just plain amazing!
The album opens with "Stab at the Sun," a pop symphony in the vein of Pet Sounds with elements of Sgt. Pepper's-era Beatles, ELO vocals, and Jellyfish parading through an array of musical scenes, each one a playful pageant that begs for more.
"The Lessons I Learned" weds a sad waltz to a nostalgic McCartney melody, a bit more relaxed but just as incredible. Heavier theatrics come into play in "The Ceiling on the Wall," mixing falsetto vocals, breezy melodies and clever lyrics with bits of 10cc, Queen, Self and a recurring muppet chorus of "Marbles! Marbles!" Endearing vocal choo-choos make "The Little Engine Who Couldn't (Think Straight)" both childlike and engaging, while textured synthesizers, clever sound effects and Pink Floydian vocals make "The Up and Over Stairwell" a treat for lovers of melodic gems. Retro guitars and a sticky melody germinate "The Blood Club" into an infectiously memorable disease, bringing to mind the best of Fort Wayne's own Kevin Hambrick. Another winner is "Misery Loves Company," which begins with vocoder vocals menacingly looming over staccato piano until halfway through, when a retro groove introduces "Shine a little light on me, baby." There are 15 songs on this album spanning just over an hour ... and there's not a bit of filler in the bunch.
While enjoying this album time and again I was often reminded of Klaatu and how they playfully romped through an amusement park of memorable hooks and dynamic arrangements, happily smiling with a knowing wink in their eyes. As with many solo albums cooked up in the studio, The Shredding Tears is a bit self-indulgent, but in a very good way. There's so much going on with so many layers and colorful sounds that it would take many listens to catch it all. The level of detail and sophistication is downright impressive, bringing to mind classic albums such as O.K. Computer, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper's and Dark Side of the Moon. Even if he didn't have the remarkable ability to evoke the vocal ghosts of Lennon and Harrison, Scary is able to conjure up the best of the past and blend it into a refreshing cocktail of modern sonic delight.