Cosmic Rock

JASON BIELER - "The Madness Of It All" EP Review



Musician Jason Bieler is primarily known for his role as the guitarist - and founding member -  in the long running U.S. rock band Saigon Kick.


But, people should also be aware that Jason Bieler is an incredible multi-instrumentalist that has, in recent years, used another outlet for his creative jones: Owl Stretching. Within that endeavor, Bieler has created some phenomenal solo music. His stunning 2017 EP, "Birds Of Prey", was an incredible recording that landed on my own Best Albums Of 2017 at Riff Relevant.


Now, Jason Bieler is back with a new solo recording, opting to adorn it with just his name instead of the Owl Stretching moniker. But, "The Madness Of It All" EP is very much in the Owl Stretching vein and thus, ALL Jason Bieler through and through.


Released back in late May and comprised of four songs, Jason does what he does best upon his solo records here, too. "What is that?" you may be asking. Well, allow me to tell you... that means crafting poignantly powerful, emotive and mainly melodic songs. They are touching and insightful, they impact you with their beautiful compositions and usually leave you in a state of reflection. They do, for me, anyway.


This latest EP is no exception as things start on the airy, light tranquility of this album's title track, "The Madness Of It All". Acoustic strings emanate as Jason's vocal inflections resonate, all as things remain mostly on an even keel for the duration. Minimal variation in the song's tempo, along with the revealing lyrics, do what Jason does best with his music - it moves and affects you - and this is no exception.


A slightly darker overtone taints the next song, "The Depths", right from the start. Stark uncertainty makes its presence known, especially in the verses as the vocalized tale unwinds. Slight ebbs and flows in the music meld with the same in the lyrical deliveries as the song seems to sear itself into your psyche.


The arrival of a piano introduces us to the next number, "Turn Out The Lights", and before long, some laid back, effect-rife guitar leads enter the fray. Pulsing with rhythmic palpitations, a slight sense of urgency unfolds in the overall vibe of the track. The alluring guitar solos also work to bolster a halcyon-like feel derived from the song as it winds and weaves its way across the airwaves.


The EP begins to wind down with an unexpected one eighty, the out-of-place-but-totally-working "Spazztastic". An upbeat, groovy instrumental that holds you riveted into place as it pushes along its prog rock way. There is an undeniable eruption of more progressive metal elements around the 3:00 mark of the song, they get heavier and more intense before things eventually relent.


Yep, Jason Bieler does it yet once again as he undertakes a self-indulgent aural exploration- with all due respect - a trek meant to investigate his creative needs. In the process, we are allowed to ride shotgun, to both bear witness to this phenomenal trip, as well as partake of what it ultimately yields = magnificent musical outcomes.


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"The Madness Of It All" EP on Bandcamp: