Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Eyes - Arrival of the Eyes






THE EYES - THE ARRIVAL OF THE EYES
 (COMPLETE RECORDINGS 65-66)




In 1965 and 1966, the Eyes released a clutch of singles that stand up to the Who's work from the same era in their blend of extremely innovative guitar feedback/distortion and anthemic mod songwriting. "When the Night Falls," "The Immediate Pleasure," "I'm Rowed Out," "You're Too Much," and the dry "My Generation" satire "My Degeneration" are revered highly by British Invasion collectors. The bursts of electronic mayhem were quite advanced for the time, though like the Who they had hooks and harmonies to counterpoint the madness. They weren't as memorable as the Who and didn't approach commercial success. After a much softer fourth single and an ill-conceived album of Rolling Stones covers (recorded under the name the Pupils), the group disbanded. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide




Acme's 2006 release The Arrival of the Eyes is the first CD compilation of the Eyes work, rounding up all of their four singles (the first two of which, "When the Night Falls" and "The Immediate Pleasure," were combined as a 1966 EP also called The Arrival of the Eyes) the demos that were collected on the Scene but Not Heard EP as well as the album of Rolling Stones covers the band recorded under the name the Pupils; in addition, it also includes a promo for "Radio London" and a couple of alternate takes. It's the complete Eyes, in other words, accompanied by a booklet with a band history and replicas of various articles and press releases from the band's brief history in the mid-'60s. This disc confirms that the Eyes were among the greatest cult mod bands of their time, with a coiled power that recalls the Who at their peak. This, of course, is most apparent on "My Degeneration," a sly dig at the Who that functions as both satire and homage, but their first three singles all had the taut, stylish energy of the Who circa 1965, and the parallels come into even sharper relief with their cover of the Everly Brothers' "Man with Money" which is a dead-ringer for the Who's unreleased version from 1966; in fact, it could reasonably be argued that the Eyes have a tighter, harder take than the Who. The Pupils' album, while not much more than a fun curiosity, does prove that the band were exceptional mimics, capturing the frenzied energy of the Stones' "Route 66" and doing a version of "Satisfaction" that pumps up the fuzztoned guitar even louder the original. But the Eyes' true peak were those four singles, particularly their debut "When the Night Falls"/"I'm Rowed Out," two barbed pieces of mod proto-punk that remain as punchy and potent today as when they were first recorded. These four singles are the reason to pick up this long-overdue collection, and while the demos aren't as bracing as the finished versions, it all makes for highly enjoyable listening. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

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