Brandon Teskey 2021
There’s no empty space that the blues cannot fill: Arizonan guitarist brings this truth close to home.
The futility of crying in the wilderness is a feeling familiar to many of mere mortals – only, when set to music, one’s voice can actually reach a required audience, and that’s what “Screaming Into The Void” does. Brandon Teskey’s second album may follow 2017’s “The Chime” which signaled his branching out into solo career, but Brandon didn’t brood alone in the interim and became a founding member of UNTIL THE SUN whose "Drowning In Blue" was issued earlier in 2021. A couple of his colleagues are present here, although the main voice on the record belongs to Teskey’s guitars – extremely rich and varied in their tone.
Unlike its predecessor, this is not an entirely instrumental offering, although it seems so at the start, the platter’s titular piece sifting a finely chopped funky riff through a filter of bell-like notes and stereo panning to put forward a molten filigree of a solo, before the licks of “Vertigo On The Heights Of Desire” reveal a baroque-tinctured lyrical lace for the listener to marvel at, while piano passages hint at jazzy playfulness. However, “When The Sun Goes Down” which features Brandon’s at the mic will resolve in heavy blues where six-strings evoke not only gloomy chug but also harp wail, and tasty frills added to the cover of “Side Tracked” will pretend to kick the Texas Cannonball classic to frivolous curb to clear the path to Teskey’s romance of “Amare Nocturne” that should lighten the night with acoustic strum.
Just then Alyssa Swartz’s feisty vocals flow into “To Not Go Blind” to stage a quiet drama, letting Brandon fly close to the flamenco edge, and appear again, as a specter, in the wordless “Tree Of Life” which Teskey takes to the celestial realm, and in a delicate reading of “Autumn Leaves” which displays the depth of his soul. Yet if “Dance Of The Fiddler’s Bitch” has fusion adventurousness in its swirl, despite the redundant drums performance involved in there, “Hypnagogia” goes against its title thanks to the generous use of wah-wah pedal as part of the mighty groove alongside slider – even though, overall, the rhythm section movers drag the guitarist down instead of releasing him into the rock sky.
This is why him softly singing the spiritual “Spider’s Web” might mesmerize and depress at the same time – fortunately, the same can’t be said of Trane’s “Equinox” turned, with the help of Danny Markovitch’s sax and Will Kyriazis’s ivories, into a well-balanced tightrope walk to the sunset to render the record’s finale a promise of the future devoid of worry. It’s an album of alluring perspective, indeed.