Album: Tired Eyes Slowly Burning
Band: The Tear Garden
Tired Eyes Slowly Burning (TESB) is a dark, atmospheric album. Unfortunately, it's as dated in its sound as it is atmospheric, as it was written and recorded between 1985 and 1987, almost entirely on synthesizers. Once you get past the sometimes cheezy sounds of certain synths, as well as the occasionally beat heavy song, the album really opens up, revealing a vast landscape of eerie sounds compliments of cEvin Key (Skinny Puppy, platEAU, Doubting Thomas, Download), and slow journeys through the darkened valley that is Edward Ka-Spel's (Legendary Pink Dots) lyrics.
The album opens with the richly textured Deja Vu, quickly setting a tone of despair and isolation that will continue throughout the rest of TESB. The album continues, burrowing deeper and deeper into into the subconscious with dark and slightly distorted samples flitting about the listener's head, pulling them further into the world of the Tear Garden, slowly preparing the listener for the epic (clocking in at 16m46s) You and Me and Rainbows.
The six part You and Me and Rainbows is the highlight of TESB; An epic journey filled with equal amounts of hope, melancholy, and despair. The progression takes the listener through the six parts - each distinct enough to be a song of its own - without ever losing track of the larger picture, which is a feat in itself. As a bonus, this song also features nivek Ogre (Skinny Puppy, Rx(ritalin), ohGr) going head to head with Edward, adding to a very disturbing 3rd part.
Following hot on the heels of You and Me and Rainbows is OO EE OO, which is by far the most atmospheric, as well as psychedelic, track on the album. Edwards vocals call to us from the distance, separated from their destination by a wasteland of ambient synths and eerie guitar.
The album continues with The Center Bullet, Ophelia, and the Tear Garden, all of which do an excellent job of preserving the atmosphere of the first half of the album, though none of them stand out quite as much as You and Me and Rainbows or OO EE OO.
This leaves us with My Thorny Thorny crown, which would be an awesome song (maybe better than OO EE OO), if it wasn't for the vocals. The vocals, sadly, suffer the most from the age of the effects used on them. A pitch shifter leaves Edwards voice sounding like a disturbed gothic chipmunk, which is most likely too much for most people to take with a straight face.
All in all TESB is an excellent album which will make an excellent addition to almost any Wraith player's music library, though it will sound slightly dated.
Highs: You and Me and Rainbows, OO EE OO
Lows: My Thorny Thorny Crown, Valium