Band: Radar Eyes
Release Date: February 6, 2012
Free mp3: “Accident” (good through Feb. 12)
In the new year’s early going, I’ve noticed much that’s been written about here — minus the sprinkling of show reviews handcrafted by Chicago Tunes contributor Danny — have been EP reviews.
EPs are sometimes a stubborn thing for a critic to break down. Though they’re briefer than a full-length, they’re often harder to epitomize. For me, anyway, it’s a torment to interpret an EP release because, frankly, you’ve got less material on hand to flesh out. In that sense, it feels more important to concentrate on its individual pieces — its tracks, as their own islands — over the whole. And I tend to rather speak for the whole. Usually.
With that in mind, and as I noted in my last post, the Empty Bottle hosts Bare Mutants on Monday for a free show of local talent. In addition to those guys, Outer Minds has been tapped to play, and so has Radar Eyes, which happens to be releasing a new album.
Given the high quantity of EPs over full lengths that have, to date, gotten covered in this space in 2012, I assumed Radar Eyes’ new one would be another EP. This is what happens when we assume: We make up things that aren’t true.
S/T is a full length. Radar Eyes’ debut full length, in fact. And there might not be much that entices me more about the city’s music scene than a release show for a debut full length. That it’s all happening at the Empty Bottle, of course, is totally cake.
In an intentional effort to get acquainted with several acts that’ll be performing on a night over the usual one, I reached out to the folks of Radar Eyes with an ask to give their new record a few spins. The little I dug up online sounded promising, and I wanted to know more.
What got delivered to my inbox — the goods and their packaging, we’ll say — happened to, as I’d soon learn, twin the big takeaway I’ve lifted from Radar Eyes’ debut. I mean, S/T is a catchy mess of lo-fi garage. It’s dusty and super fuzzy, but every bit as honest and well-intentioned as I like from releases I write about.
So slapdash rock enveloped in sincerity.
You see, then, that when Radar Eyes’ front man issued me a .zip file of out-of-sequence tracks with names like “05 Summer Chills master mp3” hastily filled in by iTunes, I couldn’t help but feel touched by the whole thing. From beginning to end, he and a bandmate had been so accommodating to give me access to what I’d asked for.
As for the album:
I can’t help but agree with Chicago Reader’s Miles Raymer when he writes in his Radar Eyes show preview that “Accident” is like “a version of ‘For Your Love‘ from an alternate universe.” The tunes feel so similar to each other that to dig into “Accident” without at least a mention of that Yardbirds song would seem peculiar. Like dodging from an nth degree white elephant in the room. Like a conversation with my father not concluding with a summation of Phillies scores and Syracuse athletics.
“Accident” might be its own animal, yes, but at its core is that familiar chord progression we know so well from “For Your Love” coated in dirt and then sped up. And that’s totally fine by me: “Accident” is my favorite thing about S/T.
“Accident,” actually, happens to be foundational to the constant stream of energy permeating through S/T’s first half. These songs are jumpy and quick, and any one of them seem to satisfy for me when in pursuit of a quick boost to my morning.
Right around “Secrets” (number six), Radar Eyes extend their legs some — and by extend, I mean we finally break four minutes — and tracks seem to carefully build towards their climaxes rather than be so static and direct with them. “Bear Bee,” in particular, is a fine example. Despite brevity, the ’60’s-inspired freak jams of “Bear Bee” sound excellent after the song’s more lethargic beginning.
All of it paramount to Radar Eyes quickly becoming another act for me to follow here, and yet another one to add to my list of psychedelics — among them: Apteka, Soft Speaker, Secret Colours — that have so dominated my attention over the past few months. Radar Eyes so happens to be the fuzziest.
- Chicago-based Radar Eyes is: Anthony Cozzi (guitar/vocals), Shelley Zawadzki (drums), Lucas Sikorski (bass) and Russ Calderwood (guitar).
- Meet them Monday night at their S/T release show at the Empty Bottle. Openers: Bare Mutants, Outer Minds. | Free
- Did you download your free copy of “Accident” yet? It’s super good, I swear.
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