Band: Bryan Scary & The Shredding Tears

CD Title: “Mad Valentines”

Band Website:

Label: Old Flame Records

Label Website:

Release Date: 2009


Some time back I was made aware of a band called Bryan Scary and The Shredding Tears, and their CD Flight of the Knife which I called a masterpiece of prog influenced art rock. Well they’re back with an EP entitledMad Valentines and while not up to the same level as their previous CD it still contains six compositions that are highly engaging and certainly will please those of us seeking something a little quirky. Just to refresh your memory, this quintet hails out of Brooklyn and consists of Bryan Scary (vocals, keyboards), Mike Acreman (keyboards, vocals), Brian Bauer (drums), Graham Norwood (guitar, vocals) and David Ostrem (bass). The music continues to be an exotic blend of Klaatu, Queen, XTC and a lighter Crack the Sky all topped by wonderfully complex vocal arrangements.   


Mad Valentines starts off with perhaps the most adventurous piece “Andromeda’s Eyes” [3:08] all full of cascading piano lines, start and stop vocals and staccato guitars mixing it up throughout. It’s one of those pieces where the band throws everything but the kitchen sink into the mix and it really works. “Gambler’s World” [3:47] amongst other things hearkens back to a kind of seventies softer AOR mixed with some odd disco-funk and yes it really works here too. Then we have “The Garden Eleanor” [3:42] which comes across like one of those British 60’s toy-town psychedelic songs. As before Bryan Scary and The Shredding Tears create tunes that are jam-packed with musicality; nothing is overly long but each track is like a mini-symphony, loaded with twists and turns and in some cases loads of complex vocal or instrumental arrangements. The band continues to hold focus on a tunes melody and each of these pieces oozes with it. In fact a track like “Maria St. Claire” [3:26] seems to trade off on three distinct melody lines and then there’s still time to shift gears in time and tempo. These guys do more in three-minutes than one would think is musically possible. And as before one get’s the sense listening to these little pop symphonies that Bryan Scary and The Shredding Tears are having a blast!


Mad Valentines may only be about 25-minutes of music but it’s still loaded with more twists and turns than some full length prog albums I have in the collection. The tunes are upbeat, bright, tuneful and yet each one contains ample complexity to hold your interest over repeated listens. If you enjoy the music of the bands mentioned earlier, check out Bryan Scary and The Shredding Tears. Recommended.