Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Human Eye-They Came from the Sky; Sacred Bones Records, 2011

Scheduling conflicts prevented Disaster Amnesiac from attending Human Eye's recent show at the Hemlock Tavern, but I have been consoling myself with repeated listens to their most excellent 2011 recording, They Came from the Sky.
The album, featuring eight thematically linked tunes, seems to tell the story of an ontological encounter with some other, the story narrated by group leader Timmy Vulgar. What's really exciting for this listener is the aesthetic variance on display within this Alien Rock Opera. From ragin' Punk Rock 'n Roll on Brain Zip to heavily Psych Detroit on Junkyard Heart to Shel Talmy-like production on Impregnate the Martian Queen and We Are the Peopleoids and the Horror Punk equal to the Misfits' Die Die My Darling on the title track, They Came from the Sky's overall sounds cover so many exciting bases from within the Rock Music spectrum, all the while evincing Human Eye's distinct identity.
Vulgar's great, noisy, wah wah guitar playing leads the tunes. His riffs are solidly Psych in nature, propelling forward with Punk Rock energy, but colored with and infused by nice analog tones. They do not sound generic, particularly when he gets all Ron Ashton on tunes like Alien Queen and They Came from the Sky.His tones are juicy as they spray outward from his axe.His vocals remind this listener of classic manic front men such as Paul Stanley and Iggy Pop, even a bit of Chris D. at times, but, these are just touch stones. His unique story telling gives him a very unique presence, and his delivery does not sound affected, but compelling. Of course, his caterwauling wail is  helped by the originality of the overall narrative, too. He sounds believable. Disaster Amnesiac is convinced that he believes it, anyway.
Pairing up with Vulgar in the treble department, synthesizer player Johnny LZR give all manner of tripped out space sounds, providing deep space popping and 3-D depth to the tunes' overall architecture. He gets great Tommy Gear-isms going on Alien Creeps and (Hawk)lords it over The Movie Was Real with his sounds. You've got to figure that a story involving Outer Space Contact absolutely needs these types of sounds, and LZR does a great job of providing them.
Deeper in the rhythm section, drummer "Hurricane" William Hafer (what an apt name!) provides a rolling, rumbling beat. He's particularly effective when flaring around his kit, Moon style. He's on point throughout, pushing and pulling bassist Brad Hales with him, rocking the tunes' rhythms and then dramatically filling the sound with long tom tom set ups. Their tandem pacing is masterful on every tune.
Hopefully Human Eye will head back to the SF Bay Area soon, and hopefully Disaster Amnesiac will be able to get to that show. Until that time, I'll take much pleasure in spinning the strange apocalyptic alien sounds of They Came from the Sky, among other releases from this great Detroit band.

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