Grinding Eyes - Grinding Eyes (Off The Hip/Tym Records)

grinding eyesDrone and fuzz are the base ingredients in this psychedelic stew from Sydney four-piece Gridning Eyes. The sound is thunderous and heavy in the mid-range, with no compromise to melody. Delicate harmonies are in short supply. 

Grinding Eyes have been around for three years and have two singles on prodigious boutique Brisbane label Tym Records. This is their long player debut (on CD through Off The Hip) and it’s an exacting but rewarding trip

Recorded by Owen Pengilis (Straight Arrows), and mixed (in France) and mastered (in Detroit) by sonic wizard Jim Diamond, these are nine songs of dark, relentless assault. 

From the surf-meets-stoner lava flow of twanging opener “Monarch” to the closing blast furnace of “Something Is Better Than Nothing”, it’s an album that requires close listening, Not only for the fact that the plaintive vocal is generally buried deep inside the songs. 

“How Can I Find Slow Weather” is the closest thing to a single, a chiming avalanche of drone that recalls early Jesus and the Mary Chain. Don’t let a lack of light scare you away. Grinding Eyes have a sound that wraps your ears in fuzz and muted drums and invites deep immersion.

If you’re looming for a reference point there’s  the dissection via bulldozer of Love’s “A House Is Not a Motel”. It’s surprising how few bands tackle the songs of Love, a band whose legend grew exponentially with Arthur Lee’s re-birth. Even in the depth of his worst acid trip, old Arthur didn’t sound like this. It’s a stellar cover that slips behind its own sonic curtain in its fade out. 

The song that follows, the genteel and haunting “Heavy Dew”, is a respite in comparison. The measured “Crystallised” follows with its ebb and flow that pushes the dials back into the red. 

Droning fuzz and an ethereal vocal perched somewhere in the distance characterise the slow-burning “Something Feels Better Than Nothing” and it’s over. 

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Tags: drone, jim diamond, straight arrows, grinding eyes, owen pengilis, tym records

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