Credit where it’s due – Tyler Daniel Bean at least has a unique vision. On his sophomore effort ‘On Days Soon To Pass’, the Vermont singer-songwriter pairs alternative country with the most oppressive of post-rock for an appropriate manifestation of the four year stint of depression that sparked its creation.
But while any sort of upbeat hopefulness is not expected within a mile radius of something like this, it feels as though this album relies a bit too much on crushing the listener under the weight of such heavy emotions. Granted, ‘FFFA’ picks things up with a bit more of a ramshackle rollick, but other than that, there’s a dourness here that can be overbearing, such as on ‘Your Eyes’ or ‘Willow II’. It’s reminiscent of Hozier’s self-titled album in its wholehearted embrace of internal turmoil in folk, but where that album had at least the odd moment of bluesy levity, there’s such a crushing bleakness to Dean’s work that it’s hard to escape from.
At least there’s some solace to be found in that fact that the whole thing is gorgeously arranged. There’s a phenomenal sense of scope to the record, like in the sweeping strings on the title track or the fluttering guitar lines of ‘Loon Lake’ that really do redeem things great deal. Honestly, any weaker instrumental passages would’ve made this album a lot less bearable, but for what’s here, it at least becomes a compelling immersive listen.
That’s what makes ‘On Days Soon To Pass’ so frustrating. It’s not a bad album by any means, but with a bit more variation and at least some moments of light, it could’ve been something truly special. As it stands though, it’s decent, but next time Dean could do with mixing things up a bit.
‘On Days Soon To Pass’ by Tyler Daniel Bean is released on 18th November on Skeletal Lightning / Tor Johnson.
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Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)