Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Flying Eyes' "Done So Wrong"

Well, _this_ was a nice surprise: The second album by the Flying Eyes, a heavy psych band from Baltimore, of all places, who do the biz over in Europe -- including a recent appearance on the legendary Rockpalast TV show (see clips below) -- but have a somewhat lower profile back in the U.S.A. (shades of Blood of the Sun), and whose initial selling point was guitarist-singer Will Kelly's sonic similarity to, um, Jim Morrison.

Well, on Done So Wrong, Kelly's ditched the Morrisonics, coming across like an unholy amalgam of Ozzy, Layne Staley, and early Eddie Vedder, while his band -- just the basics, two guitars, bass and drums -- hits the same fuzz 'n' wah pleasure spots as obscuro '60s/'70s bands like Josefus and the JPT Scare Band, who had to wait for the Millennial decade to get their due. "Heavy psych" -- really just a latter day shorthand for the kind of hard rock that was au courant around '70-'71, when my tinnitus was just developing -- is timeless in a way that earlier forms of psychedelic rock (what my sweetie refers to as "cursed hipi music") were not. There's nothing fey or precious about this music, and its appeal to listeners who teethed on punk and metal is considerable (see the documentary Such Hawks, Such Hounds).

The songs are relatively concise -- only three out of ten break the four minute barrier -- and the tempos are moderate but not plodding in the way of much "stoner rock." The sound is beguiling and hypnotic; Kelly and Co. craft stately and majestic dreamscapes, packed with power and passion and laced with layers of lysergic guitars. When the closing acoustic interlude "Leave It All Behind" kicks in, replete with gentle harmonica and banjo flourishes, you'll breathe a sigh of relief, then press "Play" again. All in all, these Balto brats' sophomore disc is the best new rock music I've heard this year besides Apollo 18's underattended 1919 Hemphill stand.

(HELPFUL HINT: Their Bandcamp page has a link to German Amazon, or order direct from World In Sound by emailing your name and address with the subject "Done So Wrong" to order@worldinsound.de.)


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