The latest effort from Bryan Scary & the Shredding Tears is a fantastical and falsetto-filled journey, with bits of romanticism thrown in. Strains of Queen and Sgt. Pepper can be found on the EP, thanks to the overarching delivery of the band’s quirky frontman. The group is the brainchild of Brooklyn-based songwriter Bryan Scary, a former film student who also makes a living by scoring low-budget movies. Reteaming with a quartet of backing instrumentalists, the ensemble has issued its follow-up to the 2008 album, Flight of the Knife.
The five-piece immediately jolts the audience with disc opener “Andromeda’s Eyes,” a spastic power-pop jam punched up with wild keyboards and flying beats. However, the album reveals Scary has a heart that chugs as frantically as his tracks. The serene “(It’s A) Gambler’s Whirl” is a sweet ditty that asks a girl to take a chance, and “The Garden Eleanor” is a love song with a psychedelic instrumental breakdown in between wistful choruses. “I don’t care if she cuts off her hair/ I’m certain she’s OK up there,” the songsmith proclaims on the latter.
Mad Hatter Bryan Scary occasionally goes into manic, carnival-esque territory (as in “Andromeda’s Eyes”), but his impressive songwriting shines when the band is able to exhibit mild restraint. The sped-up twinkling keys on “Marie Saint Claire” distracts the listener on an otherwise enchanting tune in which Scary spins yarns about a fair maiden sent adrift to sea. Yet the highlight of the six-song album is perhaps final track, “The Red Umbrella,” an ideal blend of soaring vocals and ambitious pop arrangements that will likely make listeners want to join the collective’s flamboyant tea party.