Brooklyn’s improbably named Bard’s Flying Vessel calls upon a roster of equally improbable influences. Joey Dussault, Aaron Swartz, and Matt Dwyer first met while attending college in Boston, Massachusetts and began jamming soon thereafter. It’s always in the back of a musician’s mind when jamming with new acquaintances that the moment’s possibilities are intriguing. The first single from their resulting full-length debut, “Back to Being”, is representative of the band’s penchant for breaking boundaries.
Bard’s Flying Vessel promotes their music as a synthesis of acid folk, heavy psychedelia, and surf. You’ll precious little acid folk during “Back to Being”. There is ample evidence, however, for the presence of surf and heavy psych inclinations throughout the track and unbridled punk rock fury emerges from the mix. The song, at first listen, likely sounds chaotic to untrained ears and hearing it multiple times will fix that.
Closer or multiple listens reveals a song long on structure and conscious in its effects. It isn’t a case of a band throwing whatever against the wall until something sticks. The most impressive aspect for many listeners will be how seamless Bard’s Flying Vessel makes this experiment sound. This collision of seeming sharp contrasts coalesces into an unique and ferocious blast of musical imagination.
Some may long for a beefier guitar sound. Bard’s Flying Vessel latches onto an alternative rock-styled guitar sound with heavy fuzz but it never packs the weight you might like. Its lack, though, is far from fatal. It’s more rewarding to take “Back to Being” as a statement where the sum is greater than its individual parts; focusing on one part when hearing this track is a mistake. The song is written and recorded to be appreciated in its entirety.
The surf portions of the track are especially strong. The trio’s skill capturing this style of music without ever striking a false note will impress longtime music fans and those unfamiliar with the genre will nonetheless pay attention to the song’s varying textures. As before, “Back to Being” could slip into a mishmash of conflicting impulses but, instead, the cross-purposes approach they appear to be taking pays off big time.
You will be hard pressed to recall when you heard such a quirky guitar-driven song. “Back to Being” will prod many listeners to stand and vociferously applaud this singular fusion of disparate styles into an unified whole. Bard’s Flying Vessel stumbled across something else as rare as friendship when they first began playing together. They found chemistry unlike any other configuration working today and that’s an achievement in and of itself.
Their debut promises to be a formidable release. It’s hard to imagine how they can sustain this sort of creativity over the course of a full album without lapsing into self-imitation or repetition, but Bard’s Flying Vessel has the talent to pull that off. “Back to Being” has musical firepower, melody, orchestrated chaos, and passion to burn. It’s the next chapter for a band with unusual promise and deserves your attention.