Longing is the melancholic sound of former screamo enthusiast turner singer-songwriter Tyler Daniel Bean. In his first solo outing since the disbanding of his former and much more aggressive outfit Ghosting, Tyler delivers ten emotionally fraught songs from the freezing desolate landscapes of his Vermont surroundings. Think Brand New at their most gloomy and you’ll get a good indication of Longing’s sumptuously depressing ballads.
First track ‘Flowers At My Feet’ begins in a low-key fashion with Tyler crooning over a finger picked acoustic and foreboding cello. Without much in the way of warning, the song erupts into crashing drums and furious lead guitar with Tyler giving a brief throwback to his Ghosting days through cathartic screams.
The ridiculously titled ‘I Think Its Time To Go Back To Our Original Smoothie Plan’ is a more upbeat foot stomper of a song with sullen, fuzzy guitars permeated by the lead guitars melodic jangle. The track flows effortlessly into ‘Heather Lane’, a similar sounding faster paced song that unfortunately doesn’t posses any real memorable moments. ‘Lake Eola’ on the other hand is a much more attention grabbing outing with the instruments and Tyler’s voice especially coming across delectably sulky. Haunting reverb –laden backing vocals provide the song with an added depth and expansiveness. Tyler’s croon is intertwined with slightly off-kilter female vocals harmonies in ‘I’m Just Going TO Go Home And Not Make Any Progress’. The instrumentation is stripped back to its bare bones creating a sense of emotional and musical fragility to match his equally troubled lyrics. As the band unleashes another short burst of restrained fury at the end of the track it seems that what Tyler is best at is creating songs that start out as slow burners; his measured acoustic strumming and soulful croon luring the listener into a state of comfort. Then, quite unassumingly he unleashed his raw emotion with aplomb, allowing his band to loosen up their inhibitions and otherwise beautifully subtle playing into brief cacophonies of melodic catharsis. ‘Rootbeerlington’ again displays Tyler’s dynamic prowess, his hushed voice giving way to a brief flurry of shouting which brings to mind Balance and Composure at their most introspective. ‘It’s Vegan, Not Vagan’ introduces subtle xylophone melodies in between bouts of simple yet refined drums. Closer ‘Sometime The Details Are Underground’ begins with pounding drums and grungy overdriven chords with the lead guitar carving out melodies through the aural barrage. The track is brought down to its bare bones several times, finally descending into a single acoustic and minimal accompaniment to bring the album to a reserved close.
Although most of his songs seem to follow the same quiet/loud formula, they still remain powerfully raw- possessing an engrossing emotional sincerity evident not only in Tyler’s versatile croon but in his distinguished songwriting. For a debut release, Longing is a record of maturity. Showcasing Tyler’s emotional fragility through ten, for the most part, beautifully constructed and recorded songs.
4 out of 5 high fives!