Scott Kelly – The Wake Review

Originally written by Brady Humbert.

As I mentioned in the Steve Von Till review, Neurosis are my favorite band. This was determined after careful consideration and ongoing inner arguments with myself. I’ve chosen carefully. I will also mention I’m interested in at least hearing all contributions from all members of Neurosis. One that I always root for is the solo efforts of other guitarist/vocalist Scott Kelly. While considerably more simplistic than his vocal counterparts’ recent opus, Mr. Kelly’s sophomore effort is of a similar fiber.

One thing to note on that fiber is how similar this album is to Steve Von Till’s If I Should Fall To The Field. The songs are centered around acoustic guitars over Scott Kelly’sextremely dry crooning. While Steve Von Till’svoice could be equivocated to a young Tom Waits or Mark Lanegan, Scott Kelly’s is far more hoarse and similar to the Tom Waits of later years. This of course makes his efforts a bit more devoid of emotion or movement. It’s an effective aesthetic but will discourage repeated listens for all but those who crave simplicity and nothing but.

“Saturn’s Eye” features some siren-esque slide guitar squealing over Mr. Kelly’s chord strumming and is a good song. Opener “The Ladder In My Blood” features some curious chords and picking over Kelly’s distinct rasp. “The Searchers” features an interesting chordal ascension that brings to mind Pink Floyd’s song “Fearless” from their Meddle album. “Searchers” of course being devoid of drums and other instruments.

All praise aside, Kelly’s album formula leaves some to be desired. The first to note is that the patience required to finish The Wake, deprives some of what could be an amazing album. Also worth noting is that The Wake could almost pass for an EP at 35 minutes long. So to say that The Wake is a “challenging listen” would be accurate, but not an understatement. All it really takes is a good bit of patience.

Comparatively, I like Von Till’s effort better. Of course, with that said, it’s nice to have Scott Kelly still treading similar ground while Von Till’s sound develops. Having both vocalists releasing solo efforts at around the same time allows one to hear how these albums compliment each other, as similar as they are at face value. As nice as it would be to have both albums on par with each other, what Scott Kelly has constructed here seems to indulge him creatively and I suppose that’s all one can ask for. Not as great as it could be, but an interesting listen none the less.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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