Round Eye – s/t

Wow. A band grabbing listeners and shaking them by the head just to see the confused look on their faces isn’t a particularly common occurrence anymore (the Mothers Of Invention used to do it, Butthole Surfers were really good at it, Flaming Lips have had some great moments in the mindfuck field too), but no one in the world could hear Round Eye‘s self-titled album without recoiling back in reflex, like someone just shouted in their ear. It’s chaotic, it’s loud and it’s weird; it’s unruly and it sounds nothing like anything you’ve heard before, reader – I promise.

There is no lead-up or warning which prefaces Round Eye; the band just dumps listeners into the mix headfirst and lets “PMS 2.5” have its way with them. There, a shocking number of sounds (a really mid-level focused, over-driven bass, horns, drums and a few other instruments which are unidentifiable) just reach out wordlessly and spin listeners around mercilessly for about two and a half minutes and then simply abandon them in front of track two, “Street Light A,” which basically does the exact same thing for twice as long as its predecessor but also features a vocal performance by singer/guitarist Chachy (who does his best impression of Gibby Haynes on the mic).

Was the above a little confusing or difficult to try and absorb, reader? It’s written the way it is to try and mimic the sound and energy that the songs radiate; it’s weird and difficult to qualify in any logical way. The way that Round Eye begins shakes listeners violently and then slaps them around in order to get them warmed up and make sure they’re good and confused.

After that first attack, the band never lets up – it just proceeds to get more twisted and unusual. See, the funny thing is that the album and songs like “Meat ‘N’ The Boys,” “HesheRoshima A,” “Big Bam” and “You Can Tell That She’s A Dud Lay By The Fact She Has A Photo Of Her Nephew As The Background On Her Phone” (which actually takes longer to read than it does to hear at just thirty-six seconds in length) have the capacity to be totally formless acts of noise and it would be easy enough to write off if that’s all the album was but, just when it looks like Round Eye may well be spiralling off into indulgent noise-making forevermore, all of a sudden the band comes back to centre for a raging, spastic punk blast like “City Livin’,” “HesheRoshima B,” “Fear The Consequence” or “(Julie’s Got A) Suntan” and not only reasserts how good the band can be, but those tracks also make the less engaging ones more enjoyable by knitting some of the formless sounds into them.

(Ripping Records)

Bill Adams

Bill Adams is Editor-in-Chief of Ground Control Mag.