Two years in the past, Saigon Kick singer/guitarist Jason Bieler made fairly the impression with the debut LP from his newest undertaking: Jason Bieler & The Baron Von Bielski Orchestra‘s Songs from the Apocalypse. Stuffed with endearingly histrionic selection and ambition, it was among the many most commendably daring and eclectic new initiatives in steel. Expectedly, Bieler and firm have completed it once more with Postcards from the Asylum. In each title and magnificence, it is a clear successor to that first assortment, with the identical kinds of gratifying musicianship, playfulness, and boldness permeating the expertise. Thus, it is one other unmissable entry in Bieler‘s repeatedly fascinating catalog.
As with its predecessor, Postcards from the Asylum incorporates a host of visitors, together with drummer Marco Minneman (The Aristocrats, The Mute Gods, Steven Wilson) and Ryo Okumoto (Spock’s Beard). In reality, nearly each tune—if not each tune—has a singular bassist and/or drummer, which fits a good distance towards guaranteeing that every composition is sufficiently distinctive. Even the press launch notes: “The Baron Von Bielski Orchestra‘s music has been described as Nordic Ambient Put up-Classical Satanic Love Songs for Nomadic Peoples Dwelling Above the Arctic Circle catering particularly for many who employees Musk Oxen Rescues and put on hemp primarily based sweaters.”
Um, yeah, that is about proper.
Naturally, a lot of the LP harkens again to Bieler‘s laborious rock/heavy steel origins. For example, “Sic Riff” oozes sludgy guitarwork, manic percussion, ruggedly multilayered vocals, and myriad eccentric results and change-ups. As such, it embodies Bieler‘s knack for quirkily subtle and imaginative compositions within the vein of Haken, Steve Vai, and Devin Townsend.
Elsewhere, opener “Bombay” is delightfully hectic but melodic, with irresistibly catchy hooks and harmonies amidst its theatrical manufacturing and zany twists and turns. After all, another tunes—”Numb,” “Heathens,” “Beneath the Waves,” and “Feels Simply Like Love”—chart a comparably simple and acquainted late ‘80s and early ‘90s area rock path; nonetheless, even they incorporate sufficient peculiarities (horns, interlocking vocals, and many others.) to seize Bieler’s spirited creativity.
The wholly madcap prog steel odyssey “Flying Monkeys” deserves its personal tip of the hat, because it’s simply probably the most splendidly intricate and unusual piece right here. With its colourful timbres, playful lyrics, and off-kilter rhythms, it’d as properly be the newly found and rebranded musical love baby of Guns N Roses and Mr. Bungle. Whereas the whole lot on Postcards from the Asylum is nice in its personal methods, it is tracks like this that greatest exhibit what makes Jason Bieler & The Baron Von Bielski Orchestra so praiseworthy.
It isn’t all bizarre and frenzied, although, because the file homes a number of fantastically heat odes as properly. The Bon Jovi-esque arid reflections of “Mexico” and “Human Head” are clear highlights, with beautiful acoustic strums, harmonies, and strings peppering its basic serenity. Afterward, “Birds of Prey” harnesses an identical vibe however with a whimsical mushy rock aesthetic (oddly sufficient, its introductory piano chords evoke Kate Bush‘s beautiful “All We Ever Look For,” too). Then, “The Depths” is hypnotically ominous and sparsely nuanced, whereas “Candy Eliza” and “9981 Darkish”—that are admittedly the 2 least fascinating inclusions songwriting-wise—nonetheless standout attributable to their vibrantly adventurous preparations.
Identical to Songs from the Apocalypse, Postcards from the Asylum is a brilliantly exploratory and urbane voyage as solely Bieler and firm may make. It is simply on par with its predecessor—if not barely higher—and it showcases Bieler‘s aptitude not solely as a fascinating composer and performer but in addition as an skilled at selectively using the attribute skills of his visitors. Better of all, Postcards from the Asylum reveals new layers with every pay attention, so it is nearly endlessly rewarding and fascinating.
It might have solely two releases below its belt, however Jason Bieler & The Baron Von Bielski Orchestra has already solidified itself as a reliably particular treasure.