Sunday, April 14, 2024

Eye See Through the Dark Light

Eye – the new band from Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard’s singer-songwriter/musician Jessica Ball – has announced the arrival of their debut album, Dark Light, set for release on 26th April via New Heavy Sounds, home of Shooting Daggers, MWWB and Blacklab.

“These songs have been many years in the making. Some of these ideas were crafted before MWWB, this is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Ball. “Over the last couple of years, I’ve spent some time on finishing and crafting these ideas and pieces of music into songs. Some were snippets of lyrics from my early twenties which reflect on what seems like a different person. I think it’s quite poetic how it’s all come together now. 

I was also encouraged after finding musicians who understood the vision and style I was trying to achieve, and of course my experience of being in MWWB. I’m a guitarist above all, and I loved reconnecting with guitar again. It feels like all my influences and favourite styles have come together in this album. Shoegaze, doom, folk, dream pop… It’s a real mix bag, but as a whole, it represents many different stages of my life and tells a story.  

“The album ultimately is quite introspective yet lyrically loose enough to be open to interpretation – I’ve always been a fan of songs that seem to perfectly slot into the situation I’m experiencing and not too specific to one person’s experience. I think that comes across in this album.”

Ball relocated from Wrexham to join her new partner, veteran Welsh musician Gid Goundrey (Gulp, Ghostlawns, Martin Carr), in Cardiff just as the pandemic era dawned. Confined to their small Grangetown flat, they quite naturally began making music together. 

Having earned acclaim and a fervent fan following for her role in MWWB, Ball took the opportunity to compose songs that were all her own – nuanced, lyrical, and hypnotically distinctive.

Triggered in part by the existential dread looming outside as well as the sudden ill health of her dear friend, MWWB guitarist Paul ‘Dave’ Davies, then fighting for life after a covid-related stroke.

With Goundrey on drums (for the first time in his musical career) and joined by keyboardist Johnny TK, Eye experimented with sounds to match Ball’s melodic songs, traversing a diverse spectrum of dark folk, dreampop, IDM and psychedelic doom, to create sometimes heavy and foreboding drones, alongside spare but still richly textured sonics. 

The result is their debut album Dark Light. An intensely atmospheric fusion of emotionally charged songcraft and inspired sonic energy. The clue is in the album’s paradoxical title. Chilling and even bleak melodies with arrangements daringly and deliberately stripped down and minimal. Revealing a kinship with sonic bed-fellows Mazzy Star, Chelsea Wolfe or even Portishead, that can be heard on first single ‘In Your Night’.

“Our first release ‘In Your Night’ represents Eye musically, conceptually and lyrically and I’m proud for this to be the first song that everyone hears from us,” said Ball. “Light and dark, night and day, quiet and loud is the running theme throughout this song and album as a whole. Whether you’re up close to a song, or listening to the album as a whole, these themes will be ever present throughout. We’re playing around with these two extremes sonically and what these represent emotionally and mentally. I feel that nothing takes you on a journey more effectively than a good build up, or something happening unexpectedly, much like real life. We are just the eye that witnesses it all.”

You can check out ‘In Your Night’ here and at Bandcamp.  

Songs like ‘The Other Sees’, ‘Respair’, and ‘See Yourself’ are said to be chameleonic and commanding, wielding snaky, chiming guitar back to back with fuzzed out riffs.  Vocal melodies may be sweet but melancholic, amidst tightly contrasted spatial dimensions, and Ball’s signature vocals are at the forefront, sometimes soaring but also with a heart of darkness. Of the two heavier numbers ‘In Your Night’, slowly builds to a brooding fuzz-groove like a down-tuned Yo La Tengo until a huge space-doom riffs carries you home while with ‘See Yourself’ the contrast from folk delicacy to tripped out sub-bass fuzz riffage is astounding.

Whilst not strictly speaking doom or metal, fans of Balls’s previous work with MWWB should not be disappointed. Along with producer Chris Fielding (MWWB, Conan) Eye is said to have produced something “otherworldly, which is at times heavy and epic, yet still deeply intimate and dark.”

Dark Light drops on 26th April 2024, and as with all New Heavy Sounds releases, will come in a deluxe limited vinyl edition. There are green/purple half and half effect vinyl, with full download included as well as limited edition CD and at all digital platforms. 

The album can be ordered at Bandcamp, Cargo Records and digitally here.

Paul H Birch
Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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