Tuesday, February 7, 2012

REVIEW: Radar Eyes - Radar Eyes

Garage pop mixed with psychedelia and a bit of shoegaze is a cocktail of choice around the Rocksteady74 household (those readers who keep track of misspellings might argue that there is more than one cocktail of choice, but I digress). And there is no group on the scene that delivers that cocktail right now like Chicago's Radar Eyes. Their self-titled LP, out today on HoZac Records, delivers the buzz, power, feedback, jangle, hooks, harmonies and pace that we crave. Test their psychedelic side with "Summer Chills" --

Formed in 2007, the band has been gigging and releasing 7", while honing their sound and going through a few roster changes. The roster currently is listed as Anthony (guitar/vocals), Shelley (drums), Lucas (bass), and Russ (guitar). Although founding member Nathan is not listed as a current member, I believe he wrote, sang and played on this record.

For a taste of the band's delightful pop sensibility on album track "Miracle", which also was released in 2011 on a 7". It was the first Radar Eyes song I heard, and started me on my path of learning more about the band.

The songwriting on this album is excellent. While the tracks all have similarities, they display an impressive command of several styles. As noted above, "Summer Chills" and "Miracle" display a mastery of psychedelic and garage pop modes, respectively. As noted by a few other writers, "Accident" sounds like a drugged out brother-from-another-mother version of the Yardbirds' "For Your Love". "Disconnection" is a the shoegaze cousin with more aggressive rhythm section. "In Love" is furious post-punk, and "Prairie Puppies 2" is strikes me as a bit Britpop. But it all has a gritty garage feel to it. Another thing I'll note about the songs is that the instruments seem to rumble louder, and the rock gets a bit harder, as the album unspools--just as you'd expect and want it in a live performance.

For my money, Radar Eyes is going to be one of the sleeper surprises of the year, an album that in December will be on a lot of lists with the comment "...I don't know how I missed this one when it came out..." Don't be that guy. You can get it on limited edition vinyl or CD now, and enjoy it all year.

"I Am"

For fun, here is a short session the band filmed for Coach House Sounds in 2010:

Radar Eyes - 5.23.10 from Coach House Sounds on Vimeo.

Twitter ( @RadarEyesChicag )
HoZac Records -- Page for Radar Eyes

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