Gary Reynolds and the Brides of Obscurity, Santiago’s Vest

Gary Reynolds and the Brides of Obscurity, Santiago's Vest

Welcome to 1998. Or was it 1997? One of those years, for sure. I don’t know which, but Santiago’s Vest, the sophomore release from Seattle band Gary Reynolds and the Brides of Obscurity (that’s way too long a name, guys, for real) belongs there. And it’s not 1998 Seattle on this record; let’s call it 1998 North Dakota, or maybe 1998 Switzerland. It’s gotta be somewhere neutral, somewhere no one really remembers. It seems to have been constructed at a time when grungies like Pearl Jam and Temple of the Dog (rock it!) were fading away and sensies like the Counting Crows were picking up speed. This records seems to be searching for an identity when musical identities were in constant flux and has employed a ’90s-style ethos to do it. Strange.

I listened to this record maybe ten times and still, I just don’t get it. It’s simply uninteresting, like the color beige. There are ten songs here, and not a one do I recall with any certainty actually being a song. More appropriately, I think, we should call them something like dirges in the vein of wallpaper. “Capital State” tells us that someone, I’m not sure who, is not one in a million. I could make a snide comment about this record, comparing it to that very sentiment, but that would be too easy. Simply go down the list of songs on this album, and what you’ll find are clichéd titles with clichéd song times. (Three and a half minutes for almost every song? Come on, Gary.)

The Brides’ official bio makes some sort of reference to the cover art being subconsciously moving or enigmatic, but what I see when I look at the cover is a green vest. Just a vest. Belonging to someone named Santiago, I imagine. And the songs don’t work, either, whether taken separately or as a whole. It’s a difficult record to get through if for no other reason than its blandness. I’ve kind of already forgotten what I was talking about; this is a record review for grunge music, right? Oh, wait.

(self-released; Gary Reynolds and the Brides of Obscurity --
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Friday, March 14th, 2008. Filed under Reviews.

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