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  Eyes to Space  
  Eyes to Space  
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North Carolina based band Eyes to Space are an interesting act. I saw them once a good long time ago, and at that time, I thought they were an interesting combination of jangle pop and math rock, with a side of hard rocking guitar. And their first self-titled four song EP seems to confirm this impression.

The EP starts with In An Unfamiliar Land. Beginning with burbling, happy, semi-electronic sound, it then moves into an off kilter melody which holds up to the press sheet comparison to Man or Astroman. In the background, and during the interlude, guitarist Andy Spain adds semi-complicated, overdriven guitar riffs that recalls early Van Halen. It's a good little song, which is enhanced by the slightly spacey, chanted singing style of keyboardist Jay Cartwright.

Afterwards, the band moves on to Roadkill, which was one of my favorite songs from that long ago live set. This one too begins with guitar/keyboard interplay interplay that goes back to a New Wave 80s style. In this one, Cartwright's vocals aren't nearly as prominent and are actually lost under the waves of keyboards. Stylistically, this song brings to mind the late lamented Atlanta band The Plastic Plan (albeit with vocals). More particularly, the song seems fast and driven, although each note and sequence seems to be carefully chosen. It is like Eyes to Space are methodically rushing towards a conclusion, which comes over the course of a building keyboard line.

Destructive Behavior is the third song, which, like the others, features a prominent keyboard line. Surprisingly, the vocalist is not Cartwright, but instead bassist Wendy Spitzer, who sings in a wavery and light style. As if to not overwhelming her, the guitar is very subdued throughout her singing. About halfway through the song, the vocals switch back to Cartwright and the guitar comes back to prominence. Then, after another instrumental break, Spitzer sings again, and the music becomes lighter. Underneath all of this, drummer Dylan Thurston propels things along with a snare-heavy drumming style. Destructive Behavior is, at least in this version, easily the catchiest and most poppy song on the EP. Although it sounds a bit different than the first two songs, it's very strong and gives a good impression of the somewhat eclectic sounds of Eyes to Space.

The EP ends with Dear Sir, a song which begins with tinkling piano played by a very good keyboardist. Then the guitars come in, and someone begins to sing. Although the vocalist is male, I don't think it's Cartwright, as the timbre of this voice is different. Instead, this person reminds me vaguely of a lower-pitched version of Matt Lisle from The Fairburn Royals, or perhaps that lead singer of SNMNMN. Either way, especially if you listen to the lyrics, Dear Sir feels a bit more like They Might Be Giants than Man or Astroman, and that's not a bad thing by any means.

And then, after roughly 13 minutes of total music, it's all over. For a more or less self-produced recording, this EP is quite good. The way the band plays with the relative volume of the different instruments over the course of the songs suggests that they have a good ear for how their music should be presented. It also suggests that this band is a full blown collaborative effort, as each person comes to prominence at least once over the course of the EP. Still, any way you look at it, Eyes to Space as a band are recommended and worth looking for in the future.

Related Links:

Eyes to Space live at The EARL in August of 2004.


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