Bryan Deister: Spines of the Heart

(Album review)

Defining Deister’s musical style is no easy task, since his 22-track release embraces many influences: from classical to jazz, the lyrics of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, and even a smattering of grungy guitar.

Album cover
Album cover for Spines of the Heart. Image credit: Bryan Deister

The impression of diverse musical influences is further strengthened by Deister’s preference for short tracks. Mere seconds seem to pass between the slow-paced, almost relaxed tones of “Have you?” to the much more edgy, alternative sound of “Silent screams.” It’s a recipe for keeping the listener on their toes, as well as conveying the contradictory emotions expressed throughout Spines of the Heart.

The lead single, “Into the Sky,” blends a catchy melody and floating harmonies over dreamy piano chords. It stands out from many of the other tracks due to the comparative lack of dissonant tones. A contrast to this is provided by “Come,” as Deister’s lyrics clash with a piano melody. An unmistakably haunting side also emerges to his music on tracks like “Gone” and “Today.”

The influence of Yorke’s lyrical style is especially clear on “Nobody Angel,” which opens with a piano part that would not be out of place in a classical concert hall before later bringing in a distorted guitar solo, and “What You Want.”

Deister breaks up the album with a number of short choral pieces. It provides yet another change of pace for the listener and shows his musical creativity.

The final track, “Part of Me,” is an epic that ranges from calm, classically-influenced piano to a raging guitar solo.

Deister makes the double album format work well for the most part. It gives him the opportunity to experiment with a wide variety of musical influences, meaning that one never feels the record lasts too long. Fans of experimental rock and an ecclectic mixture of classical, jazz and electronic influences are sure to enjoy.

Bryan Deister plans to tour later in the year, and already says he has another album in the works. You can keep up to date with him at his website and on Facebook.