The Living Eyes have delivered a modern crunchy pop ride with their self titled debut album, for all the sick kids to boogie to.

The first taste anyone had of The Living Eyes was via their Triple J Unearthed finalist track, Livin’ which was a foot stomping freak-beat track that blew most revival bands out of the water. Their take on the 60s garage psych was fresh and exciting; amazing for kids in high school! The band’s image to the world was one of homage to their musical heroes of the 60s and they were selected to cover one such hero for the Aussie Nuggets compilation; a compilation series that is synonymous with the best garage and psychedelic music the world over.

However, despite the apparent hard wiring of their 60s influences into their sound and image, a few years of gigging all over the country has seen the lads lose their thin ties and shirts, swap pointy leather boots for sneakers and throw in an extra distortion pedal. The boys, seemingly having tasted what the world has to offer, have shed their psychedelic skin and delivered their first statement of intent for the future in their debut album. Not the 60s infused psych pop of their early work, but a scuzzy-garage release for a band who have found their own sound for today.

It’s a brash, fuzzed up sound of a house party band that have kicked in at just the right time of the night. Crunchy and boppy and at times a little punky, but most of all, quite a lot of fun. I feel The Living Eyes have ventured into the world of slacker rock or surf grunge. Bands such as Waaves, Smith Westerns and more recently Fidlar, along with Aussie comrads DZ Deathrays and Dune Rats all fit in the same family. Although The Living Eyes have kept apart from them by being not as abrasive, not as delinquent and not as brazen about drug taking. This direction towards slacker rock is also apparent in the album photos of the band around urban decay and the inclusion of a pencil drawn penis riding a bike on the CD tray. It’s cheeky, but unlikely to get you arrested.

What brings these bands together though is the DIY aesthetic and short attention span attitude to songs. Though the tracks on the album are all killer there is a lightness to them that gives them an air of fleeting summer love. Even if this album wasn’t done on a 4 track recording machine on cassette tape in one afternoon of boredom, it kinda sounds like it could have been and that really makes a difference to me. There is no genius producer behind the helm, no LA recording studio. There is still an innocence to this band though we are witnessing a leap in their musical journey they are still only a young band finding their place in the world.

The tracks though many have a pop, jump up and boogie kind of vibe, overall have a hue of grungy drone about them. Not one of them really picks up the pace much beyond a mid tempo, yet the delivery is enough to have all the girls dancing up front and everyone else bopping along. There is also a swell of 60s washed reverb left over from their earlier work which gives it a nice summer feel too.

It’s hard to pick standouts from the bunch as they all really bop along so well, it’s like a well oiled party set. This is quite evident in that it opens and end really strong with Sittin’ Sick and Cry in Shame respectively. I also really like Outta Doubt which is fast paced rocker with a killer guitar solo.

Their big 7 inch single Ways To Make a Living from 2012 also makes an appearance on the album and it comes through a little bit bigger and more realised than the rest of the album. And though in isolation the track seemed quite 60s psychedelic but in the context of this album doesn’t seem out of place at all, though I feel it’s inclusion may just be for completeness sake and adds to the feeling of a live set realised on tape.

Though I miss the psychedelic musings and space jams I feel more comfortable knowing that they were able to absorb what was happening around them and able to apply that to their sound.

The living eyes have kept their authenticity intact by simply making music reflecting who they are right now. And really that’s what makes great artsits. It’s what makes great records. It’s also fantastic to be able to see the band grow and progress in ways you don’t normally get to in bands these days. Where their early developmental work is shunned, hidden or denied. And we’re just given the finished product. The Living Eyes is a great debut from this promising act and should be on everyones party playlist this year!
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