Thursday, January 24, 2013

REVIEW: Hilly Eye - Reasons to Live

As a devoted, if not obsessed, Titus Andronicus fan, I must admit that I was a bit concerned when I learned that Amy Klein was leaving the band after the tour for The Monitor.  Why change something that was seemingly perfect?  Why risk harming, in any way, my favorite live band?

Thankfully, Titus' great performances with a new lineup in 2012 and the fantastic Local Business combined with the newly released Reasons to Live by Hilly Eye (featuring Klein on lead vocals and guitar and Catherine Tung on drums) (Don Giovanni Records) allow me to rest easy knowing that I did not lose a favorite, but gained one.

On Reasons to Live, Klein and Tung make beautiful noise together.  From droning, fuzzed-out guitar noise to angry and sometimes epic guitar rock, Hilly Eye's debut never disappoints.  Summoning the spirits of Sleater-Kinney, early P.J. Harvey, Patti Smith, Sonic Youth, and My Bloody Valentine, Reasons to Live excels at hypnotizing listeners and then jarring them back to reality with powerful and magical moments and riffs.

Importantly, this is not just noise rock.  Sure, the noise on this record is most immediately apparent, but what makes Reasons to Live great is what lies underneath the noise:  strong songwriting, Klein's skilled guitar work, and Tung's powerful and straight ahead attack on her drums.

Hilly Eye is a talented and exciting new band, Reasons to Live is an exceptional first effort, and I cannot wait to see what they do next.

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