Users of the website formerly known as Twitter might know Dylan Balliett first and foremost as an elite shitposter, but most people familiar with his online quips also know he’s good at music. On Friday, he released Bury The Dead, his first new album as Spirit Night since 2015’s Shame, a record that gained a larger audience upon its 2018 re-release.
Balliett famously spent time as a touring guitarist for The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, but Bury The Dead only bears a slight resemblance to that band’s emo-gone-prog-metal epics. The vibe here is a heavy churn of guitars proceeding forward with slow, steady grandeur and a minor sprinkling of poppy emo vibes. When these tracks reach their peak and threaten to swallow Balliett whole, his vocals remind me of Spencer Krug from Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown, et al, strained yet muscular yelps and roars that suggest some deep inner turmoil blasted to galactic scale. But he’s just as likely to sound like Mark Hoppus when the music settles into its more casual mode.
The requisite Weezer, shoegaze, and power-pop influences are on display at times, too. If you’re into any kind of circa-now indie rock, you can probably find traces of it here. But the work is dense and anthemic enough to transcend spot-the-influence games and immerse you completely in Balliett’s world. Bury The Dead is definitely worth a spin — “Pulse,” especially — and as a bonus, Balliett has priced it as a “pay what you want” release on Bandcamp. Dig in below.