The Tear Garden - The Brown Acid Caveat

by Jim Harris Rating:6 Release Date:2017-07-07

Somewhere in the dark and dreary corners of my basement, along with spiders, unsold books, broken zip drives and hundreds of miscellaneous cords that plug into all sorts of devices no longer around, I have a cassette of The Legendary Pink Dots.  The name stuck but the music I cannot recall. 

Now supposedly the new release, The Brown Acid Caveat by the Tear Garden has a member from this band and a member from Skinny Puppy.  I have no Skinny Puppy music in my collection even though I spent around six years writing reviews for the London-based dark techno, electronica magazine, and now-defunct Subculture.  Skinny Puppy always seemed to have a sound that screamed, “You have to be there!”  I never went there and never got to see them in concert.

But both of these bands have a solid cult following, I believe.  The Tear Garden is a side project for these two people from these two respective bands.  The music is heavy on the electronics, and the ominous inflected voice of the lead singer trudges his way through dark and shocking lyrics and occasional flights of experimental talk-sing to evoke sinister and dark musical extravaganzas that occasionally have a touch of humor punctuating them.   But only occasionally. 

The electronica and mixes here are often quite strong and interesting.  ‘Strange Land’ start things off nicely and more often than not the music, when not being experimentally pacing things, works very well.

The Tear Garden have never toured and it might have to do with the pacing and structure of the songs.  It’s much less manically dramatic than Skinny Puppy and occasionally slips into mere story telling with a bit of background noise.

The lyrical content is where I get bogged down.  Quietly ominous themes of death and stalking, mutilation and pedophilia, mad scientist shit, most of the songs tell somewhat uninteresting stories from my perspective as a listener.  It ultimately has the same yawning eye-rolling effect on me that has kept Skinny Puppy at bay from my collection.

But I would suspect listeners enthralled by Skinny Puppy or any number of the grotesque chew up a dead rat and show it gleaming on your tongue brand of electronica told at a slower pace and more experimentally quiet manner, might really appreciate The Tear Garden.

It’s just not my cup of tea and the music isn’t sustainably listenable to not focus on the lyrical content for extended replays.  But as a side project it probably functions at some level of satisfaction to get these types of songs out of their system.  Or revitalize their system.  Regardless if you are so inclined of such dark experimental electronica, have at it.

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5 out of 5 stars

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