The Exploding Eyes Orchestra – II Review

Band: The Exploding Eyes Orchestra
Album: II
Label: Svart Records
Genre: Psychedelic Rock
Country: Finland
Release Date: October 5th, 2018

This is the second and final release for The Exploding Eyes Orchestra, and if a band is going to be defunct, this is a fine, fine finale for a project born out of frustration and anguish. TEEO here offer up a platter of differing and shifting textures and sounds. Mostly it’s mellow, mostly it’s pretty psychedelic, and mostly, it’s amazing.

TEEO were born out of guitarist Thomas Corpse’s desire to keep making music when his main band, Jess and the Ancient Ones, were inactive for a period of time. He ended up recruiting almost all of his original band and into the studio they went, creating the music for I and II at the same time. They split the songs up, releasing half for the first record and the rest for this one. Since then, the turmoil that was Jess and The Ancient Ones has been resolved and the two bands that were really just one band has morphed back into simply being back to the original. Confused yet? Well, it doesn’t matter, because their conflict was our gain. We got two great albums out of it, both essentially fitting under the moniker of “Occult Rock,” although that label is so worn and frayed at this point it maybe doesn’t matter anymore.

What we’ve got here is a fantastic set of songs. Jess, the singer, has some pipes on her. If you’ve ever listened to any of the original band, you’ll know. Here, it feels like she was given a chance to stretch her legs a little bit. The vocals are breathy, silky, and full of simmering passion. Think Ann Wilson from Heart and you’ll get close. The rest of the band fills in the air around her, pumping it full of sweet guitar, bass, drumming, and terrific keyboards. The trick with the band, the one they pull so well, is that they load every song to the point where they’re bursting, but nothing feels crowded, everything has its space. You can admire a smooth guitar solo while at the same time enjoy the solid rhythm section. No toes are stepped on here.

Album opener “Those of Us Left” is a standout track. Right away you’re plunged into the earthy textures of the band. If you confused this with an alt-rock song from the 80’s, nobody would blame you. But it rocks and it rolls and the feel and emotion of the guitars and the vocals really blend to create a powerful, potent song. “Go Go Johnny Do” is another one that really goes for it. The guitar playing alone on this track will bring you back for more, but the rest of the band do their part by locking in and propelling its greatness forward. Closer “Eternal” is a fine example of the smooth, moody, gorgeous power of the band. It’s long, it’s epic, and it’s intense. There’s nothing really heavy about it, in terms of guitar or crunch, but wow is it massive, both in its simplicity and emotional heft.

The Exploding Eyes Orchestra has given the world a parting gift of great, emotive, inspired music. There’s plenty of psychedelic to go around, touches of prog and jazz and rock and roll. These guys just kind of do their thing how they want the way they want. It is this kind of freedom that leads to the creation of amazing music and that’s exactly what we have here.

Rating: 9/10

1. Those of Us Left
2. Belladonna
3. Harmain
4. The Things You Do
5. The Birch and the Sparrow
6. Go Go Johnny Do
7. Love Eternal

Total Playing Time: 46:40


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