No Eyes releases its self-titled EP with a show at Kings Barcade Friday, Aug. 3, at 10 p.m. Bel Espirit opens the $5 bill.
No Eyes‘ self-titled EP starts strong, with a small batch of buzzing effects leading into a beguiling drug-rock mixdisorienting washes of guitar twist behind disaffected vocals, with the welcome clop of hand percussion augmenting an already-driving drum section. At this moment, which finds the Raleigh band at its best, No Eyes mix Austin-style psychedelia with an English mod sensibility. Rather than expand outward like typical American psych rock travelers, No Eyes work to isolate their songs. These tracks, then, fit the dark of some city pub, not the distant horizon of the Texas plains.
“Hunting Heads” opens with a bayou blues riff over big indie rock drums, but the rhythmic turnaround of the verse and subsequent hints of Johnny Marr suggest an insulated Brit rock at odds with the Creedence Clearwater Revival connotations at the start. “Red Girl” follows with a regally patient stoner rock riff, more in line with new-guard psych like Sleepy Sun, before hitting a surprising Nirvana-sans-noise burst.
If all those references suggest that there’s sometimes too much to take in here, song length is indeed problematic in spots for No Eyes. They have fine ideas, sure, but there is a noticeable lack of self-editing, especially in opener “Fit the Bill.” After the third minute, the song begins to stretch toward nothing, trekking dutifully to the six-minute mark. There’s a dynamic promise about a minute in, with a perfectly placed and beautifully brief pre-chorus, but that goes sadly unfulfilled; about halfway in, the lyrics go scattershot, too, making this feel like a different song after the midpoint.
It’s been several years since the last massive psych rock surge. The last time around, the revival was riddled by long-winded, humorless plod-rock, Brian Jonestown Massacre rehashes and, well, Brian Jonestown Massacre. But that’s not No Eyesthe band’s busy drummer and unexpected composition twists ensure that. Rather, like a Texas psych-rockin’ longhair in the midst of getting his mop snipped into a neat London bowl, some loose ends still await their trim.