Heavy Eye of the Sun - II (Self-released CD-R)
It took several years and the deaths of several shitty noise rock bands, but Montreal finally caught on to the new wave of psychedelia. Just in time to put the final nail in its coffin. No I'm only kidding. How could I possibly be so dramatic? First there was (is, I should say) Emmanuel Coté who records as Emerald Cloud Cobra and has received tremendous praise even from people not named me, so you know his buzz is for real. Now - NOW - comes CD-R number two from local headz Heavy Eye of the Sun (if there ever was a moniker that would conjure up Day-Glo images of all that's right & right with the psychedelic genre, it's this one). This is a duo featuring two guys, one named Olivier Borzeix and James Schidlowsky. If you live in the area you probably know them and know them from groups like Ste-Sophie, White Flower, Le Black Noise, and so on. Their self-titled disc came out in December of last year and was also limited to a scant 100 copies. I haven't seen it around but then again I'll confess that I haven't looked very hard. That first CD-R seems to be the more colourful of the two featuring toy organ and bowed cylinders - this one on the other hand is straight up guitar (6- and 12-string), banjo and vocal chords and showers in yellows, oranges, reds...you know how it's done.
I meant to review this album a while ago but it just never "felt" right. Today was unquestionably the day. See I went to bed last night around 4 in the morning and had to wake up around 9, so all day I've been stumbling about in this sleep-deprived haze. You know how it feels when your eyes are all kinda prickly and you could just be taking naps from here until the end of time? Right well that's where I'm at. And "II" provides me with the sweetest of soundtracks for such a day. Basically you get strings splayed out for you and stretched across all 48 glorious minutes, sometimes accompanied by the duo's soprano-steeped chants and cries. If I'm not mistaken the 12-string is put to good use on the first two tracks, "Comme les Ailes des Libellules" and "Dappled/Pommelé", along with the wide-open vocal chords that do kind of remind me of Ste-Sophie but that's a kind of useless comparison if you've never heard them. So I'll stick to the basics. Obv. Fahey and Basho and Kottke play a role in this and so does Six Organs (with more of an idée fixe and less, uh, drums and lyrics), Jack Rose, Glenn Jones, but maybe with less technique and more interest in creating some seriously zoned-out bliss-out-with-yr-wrists-out trance fog heaven. Definitely not as cerebral as the Fahey troupe inasmuch as you don't have to spend your days worrying about what Delta blues riffs they're subtly referencing, but right on the money if you want to spend the day (or the hour minus a quarter) on your mattress, eyes on the ceiling. I think "Shivers" is all 6-string with some overdubs, some more nice humming and sighing from their collective throat and definitely less dense than the previous two tracks (considering we're talking less strings and all that). The closing "Sun Spiralling Down" is even more spaced and distant and almost has a Western vibe going on like some Sergio Leone imagery all up in my brain, me and Clint Eastwood riding horses through the badlands and me getting shot and him getting not shot because he's better at surviving in those kinds of situations than I am (keep in mind this is Eastwood in his prime, not 99-year old "is that really him?" receiving the Oscar for Million Dollar Baby Eastwood). I'm not sure why but this one reminds me a lot of freaky Finnish contemps. a la Avarus, Kemialliset Ystavat, Es although of course pared down to two people and nobody's taking their shirt off. Except me.
What puts the icing on the sandcake here is the picture perfect photography this disc comes wrapped in, courtesy one "Maryse Latulippe". Like, major wow. My first listen through I spent exploring her images with my peepers and didn't even notice the disc had run out. And I had a good time doing it too. I guess you could call this band Heavy Eye of the Fun!
...I said Heavy Eye of the Fun!
A Google search for this band turns up an official-looking website for them but I don't think it does mailorder - you might want to try Montreal's finest Cheap Thrills instead. Also when I Googled them I turned up a poem by the name "Heavy Goth Girl in the Sun", which I also recommend. But not as much as I recommend this album.