Formulated with a musical agenda based on ‘80s alt rock/ post punk, shoegaze and electronica of all stripes, Columbia band Bogeyman’s Tears are nothing but ambitious. Bobby Yetter, Nick Sweat and Mitchell Uz have each pooled their mutual talents with guitar, keyboards and programming into an almost hour long journey through a post rock soundscape on the very conceptual “The Ether’s Tragic” album. At turns experimental and catchy, the band delves into a lot of ground stylistically. At the album’s heart is progressive rock like Pink Floyd, especially their eras that emphasized keyboard work the most, but the band is obviously deeply in debt to darker ‘80s post punk like Joy Division, New Order and Depeche Mode. Modern webs of electronic music, like those woven by LCD Soundsystem or Daft Punk are inherent in the sound here, too. The album can be taut and emotional, recalling new gloomy darkwave bands like Have a Nice Life but never really gets all oppressively in your face, like say the dark ambient of Lustmord. The listener gets a smoothly flowing ride from beginning to end, introspective throughout, with just the right amount of intentional discomfort in places to keep the proceedings from getting TOO familiar or cushioned.
The slow-moving ambient electronics of the first track “Origin” begin the uploading of the Bogeyman’s Tears program into your brain, with a classic synthesizer sound that is evocative of Floyd’s Richard Wright. Building up to “A Night of Desirable Objects”, the band switches gears a bit into IDM beats and hook-laden synths. “Elegentia” has a laid back meter and the simple, but effective, guitar strums create a great Post/ Prog Rock hybrid. “Methamphetamine Angel” goes for a slightly more sinister electronica route, deep post punk with a Linkin Park-style rap cadence. “Cannibale” continues on the dark path with a state of the art electronic sound that LCD Soundsystem fans would probably commune with. “Absentia” brings us back to atmospheric post rock with an epic dreamo feel. Highlights are a super guitar solo and an ending that gifts the listener with the incredible goodbye of disconcerting screams/moans. Are those people or tortured farm animals?! It’s creepy and cool. If there was any doubt about their prog aspirations, next begins a three part titular song cycle, a moody soundscape elaborating on the album’s themes of love, hate and everything in between. Clocking in at over 23 minutes, the three songs toggle between ambient post rock and electronics, with lots of nice keyboard, and proggy flash. The muted fury of the guitar solo in the last part, “Malevolence” brings the piece to a close and the last song, “Dante’s Chaos” is over 9 minutes of full blown electronica with some NIN industrial touches and lots of great keyboards that end with a creeped-out air-raid finale.
The intentions of this band seem huge and their aspirations of creativity shine through the darkness of the ambient landscape they paint here. Highly textured and ambitious, “The Ether’s Tragic” is a foray into territory that maybe we don’t get quite enough of around the state and hopefully the band will both continue to make great tunes and inspire others as well. The album is available for free on bandcamp (link below), so check them out.
Recommended if you like: Pink Floyd, Joy Division, LCD Soundsystem
Sean Knight is a native South Carolinian who has spent his life bouncing back and forth between SC and Texas, playing in bands you probably never heard of in both states and stinking up open-mic nights in the Low Country for many years. He plays, collects, listens to and probably spends too much of his life obsessing over music.