It is Well

The Bed Afflictions (Self-released)

Even though he recorded most of the songs in 2006, Dallas' own John Sprengler, the one-man band behind the name It is Well, keeps remixing and adding new songs to this debut EP, basically reissuing it at his discretion, usually whenever a performance is on the horizon. Since Sprengler hit the stage recently, amazingly with a full band in tow, The Bed Afflictions reappears like a bipolar New Year's baby.

Remastered, the EP is even more of a pleasurable if still disturbing listen. Sprengler's instrumental skills (he plays everything) and lilting, weary voice are impassioned and impressive. Yet Sprengler is definitely in need of a little therapy, as his songs wallow in a despair that would make the Cure's Robert Smith envious. "We're scared to know who we should be," Sprengler sings on "It's Alright, Wrong," the EP's opening track, introducing an anguished, on-the-edge persona that never relents throughout the entire effort.

Epic, swelling and sentimental, Sprengler's songs grudgingly admit the influence of emo/punk but just as readily embrace the inspiration of John Lennon and even Igor Stravinsky. Overloaded to the point of cacophony, happy little numbers such as "Never Better Off Alone" and "I Don't Believe This" are poignant odes to isolation as well as definite pleas for a prescription of any number of anti-psychotic drugs.

 
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