The Good Ship Rediscovery: Black Eyes - Black Eyes

We all forget about the older stuff from time to time, in our never-ending quest to stay up to speed with the latest and greatest. But one should always respect their elders. So don’t forget about them, y’hear?

By now you’ve heard me bemoan my lack of interest in the DC scene years back plenty. But there were a few scant exceptions to my local negligence. During the height of all that “electroclash” kerfuffle in the early Naughties, there was one DC band that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and that really had me standing at attention. When they didn’t have me dancing, that is. The band that really broke through my Brits only rule was Black Eyes, a band I miss to this very day.

What Black Eyes did was make some very loud, very maniacal, and very hard to ignore music. On their self-titled record, released by Dischord in 2003, the fivesome unleashed a potent, furious maelstrom of angsty urban noise, replete with abrasively shouted vocals snarling from places of ennui and vexation, guitars that crush under the weight of their varying degrees of angularity and distortion, and a rhythm section that moved to the beat of demonic forces. In addition to the marvelous messiness, too, was an underlying danceability. A band you could, theoretically, dance and rage to at the same time, if you were so inclined.

Essentially rooted in that hallowed hardcore sound DC has come to be known for, Black Eyes expanded upon that attitude and twisted it into ten distinct, really special hybrid songs. Each song feels remarkably layered, and a little dark, from the breakneck brattiness of my forever favorite “Deformative,” a blur of taut drums and euphoric energy, to the sinister bassline and wail of contorting guitar riffs of “Someone Has His Fingers Broken,” or the hysterical growl of “A Pack of Wolves,” venomously played and full of beautiful chaos.

All told, Black Eyes is a great record, and Black Eyes was a great band. If you never had the pleasure of seeing them live when they were together, you can at the very least sink your teeth into Black Eyes and enjoy the sonic sensations when it sinks its teeth right back into you.

m4a: Deformative (Black Eyes from Black Eyes)


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