Maturation for Bryan Scary is finding a new preoccupation to apply his standard over-the-top flair to - in the name of all that is odd and unorthodox. He tackled the fun world of haunted houses, fright that wasn't scary, but entertaining (think Elvira or Herman Munster) and face painting on 2007's The Shredding Tears. He and his merry band of brothers are the various stitches and quills of vaudevillian extravagance, acting as playwrights and thespians, loopy loos and followers of Yes, Rush and Kansas in a very non-specific, non-linear, confusing sort of way.
They aggressively court the wild and the ridiculous, bringing science fiction into places that it hasn't been in years - longer even than that. They will make you rummage around and try to find the stack of old Cracked magazines and yellow-paged Marvel comics that you abused back when you were younger, just to re-experience the suspended belief you once had (or the worship you once felt) for silver men who could lay their own sidewalk of ice before them as they zipped around the sky fighting evil, not to mention all of the other ungodly phantom powers that could be triggered at a moment's notice when misdoing or negligence was awry. They make you want to watch "Tron" a zillion times in a row or to go out and start a comic book collection - the one you never had, finally realizing what it's like to spend a couple of hours sifting through boxes of what amount to be an older, greaser man's stash of ink porn. You'll spend hours with these people as they watch black and white movies in their comic shoppe about some jacked up storylines that involve people living in trees, thinking nothing of the bizarre situation, how most people are still at the office filing paperwork or in school learning about conjunctions and remainders.
Scary, a man who for this latest session flat out admitted that he'd not been away this early (10 a.m.) in years, a true sign of the lollygagger who spends most of his time staying up to all hours whiling his time with something vastly different than SportsCenter. Scary makes you feel drawn to reading random issues of Dr. Strange and pulling quotes from it that sound like the sorts of things he would say following dinner or just after finishing a coffee in a chugging contest, things like, "But it will take more than an army of ectoplasmic harpies to halt the sorcerer supreme!" The line represents the banal conversation that could spring up anywhere in a Scary and the Shredding Tears composition. The music warps its way into so many strange melts and configurations that there's no telling which is the head and which is the tail, it's all just this bumpy, oiled up body of a thousand appendages, twice as many eyes as there are appendages, a fawning appreciation for Frank Zappa and circus carnies and thirty odd funny bones. It's got brains, wit and more muscle than music written primarily by a guy who's got the wimpiest physical muscles imaginable could ever hope to have. The band's latest record, the just released Flight of the Knife, is another ride in the Scary speedboat, showing tons of splash from the side, a lead foot and yet a proclivity for turning on a dime. It changes directions enough that it should be a thermometer, zigging and zagging, building everything upon the need for absolute creativity, entering places that mere mortal bands dare to go for fear of shaking their toes in waters that they don't necessarily belong in. They bite off a lot to chew and it still - at its most unhinged - feels like the right amount to bite off, taking us up in their hot air balloons, promising us will get back to Kansas, but finding a streak of other twisters all along the way that make the journey back to anywhere discernable impossible.
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