“The Tragic End Of A Dreamer” is A Bad Think’s 7th studio release which dropped on December 16th 2016 via Windmark Records. Michael Marquart, the lead singer, songwriter and sole member of A Bad Think explains the concept of “this poor soul” who one day “wakes up and realizes that you can’t dream your way through life and have it come out okay in the end.” Straight off the cuff let me say, if you are thinking about purchasing this, please do. This is an album to not only emotionally and spiritually, but physically treasure, and pass on to future generations. Yes its impact deepens with subsequent listening, but for me I loved it instantly.
I listened to “The Tragic End Of A Dreamer” in one sitting and could not interrupt it. It aced the test. It is a work of independent art, of a very high order. It demonstrates maturity, growth, and a willingness to expand sound into lush orchestrated arrangements; yet it remains distinctly very intimate and melodic.
This album stuns and dignifies all expectations that this is an artist with a real artistic vision, and I for one do think that this is a thing that shouldn’t be ignored. Whether or not you’re using it for a muse or just soft contemplation into the night, A Bad Think invites you to conjure and reflect your most personal self with this album.
From the opening track, “No Way Out”, it quickly becomes clear that this is a subtle and engaging album that requires you to listen and focus. If you do, you will be rewarded. On first impact my mind quickly imagined a hybrid blend of Pink Floyd and Mogwai, both in musical texture and tone.
“The Tragic End Of A Dreamer” is a haunting, mesmerizing and often a breathtaking collection of songs, showcasing A Bad Think at his most personal, yet at his most epic. The music is both remarkably familiar yet, at the same time singular and unique in its execution. The rich orchestral instrumentation helps add sumptuous layers to the already shimmering beauty shown on these tracks.
Michael Marquart proves himself to be true rock chameleon, shifting, adapting and moving forward with every subsequent track. Guitars, pianos, strings, horns and percussion take turns in dynamically dominating each track, while floating over the top is Marquart’s somber and moody vocal tones, slowly dragging each track through its dramatic motion. On the odd occasion his voice will break free and soar above the soundscape, elevating the arrangement to an even higher more intense emotional level.
Just as you don’t usually cite individual pages of a book when discussing its theme, I will not egoistically dissect these tracks, as this album plays out like a bestselling novel, suffice to say that I was most aurally excited by the guitars on “No Way Out” and “Now You’re Gone”; I adored the pianos on “Stay”, the strings on “Walk Away”, the percussion on “My Universe” and “For What It’s Worth”, and the vocals on just about everything.
But there is more happening in these arrangements than you can begin to wrap your head around in a week. A Bad Think can flip a song on its side with just one or two well-placed guitar notes, reaching the point of euphoric overflow. Though the album is smooth and mellow for the most part, there are crescendos aplenty, that will have your vertebrae tingling and your fingers lifted skyward. Grab this album and treasure it!