Originally written by Chris Chellis.
Of this debut album, Scott Reeder, it’s sole artisan, had the following to say: “For me, this is as pure as it gets — not a single other person was ever in the room when any of this was recorded, no one to argue with (except myself!), not having to fit into any mold or format. For better or worse, no compromise whatsoever.” Take the man for his word, because just one minute of Tunnelvision Brilliance will reveal the unique perspective of a liberated individual.
Forget Kyuss. Forget The Obsessed. Forget Across the River and Goatsnake. This is Scott Reeder unleashed, “for better or worse.” There’s a looseness and almost whole-hearted carelessness to the recording that feels shaped by unbridled emotion. Stripped of standard, history, compromise, and expectation, the bassist’s first solo outing must have been one hell of a breather for Mr. Reeder. Certainly that’s what the sound of the album suggests. The lyrics, light, meandering guitar tone, smooth vocals, and pleasant repetition of “The Day of Neverending” acts as a perfect example of the seemingly natural approach Reeder took to Tunnelvision Brilliance. It takes the weaving, light bounce of some of U2’s earlier albums and makes it even more psychedelic and introspective. Instead of falling flat on its face, its sense of purpose is balanced by that loose tone that keeps it honest and refreshing. Reeder’s not copying anyone here. Running through the album’s veins is blood pumped from an open heart, receptive to its surroundings, soaking up 18 years of thoughts, questions, and ideas.
This isn’t metal. It’s not hard rock. I don’t know what the hell alternative means anymore, but it’s not that either. Tunnelvision Brilliance is diverse enough to warrant its own genre, but what’s found throughout its thirteen tracks is honest rock, ranging from U2’s electronic explorations to acoustic introspection akin to a more psychedelic King’s X. Reeder is a surprisingly competent singer, falling short of Bono’s developed tone but certainly in that same vein. Though he acts as sole songwriter and arranger, it doesn’t sound as stripped down as it reads, as there are enough layers to make repeated listens necessary for the songs to fully gel.
The fact that you’re a fan of Kyuss, The Obsessed, and/or Goatsnake does not mean that you’re going to like Tunnelvision Brilliance. Rather, fans of more acoustic-driven, psychedelic rock will have the most fun with Reeder’s debut. Songs like “As I’m Dreamin” and “The Silver Tree” are so full of life and energy that any open appreciator of good music should find a new love pretty quickly. It might take you a few listens, but you’ll definitely grow to love this record.