RIYLHour of the Wolf
Modern Life Is War
Tracklist1. Know Where To Go
2. Wild Black Eyes
4. You Don’t Need Me
5. I Don’t Need You
6. Who Knew The West Coast Could Be So Cold?
7. Penmanship Sailed
8. Young Lovers, Old Livers
9. Rock Gut Charlie
10. My Father Was A Locomotive
11. Nowhere To Go
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The cartoon drawing of a little boy with his adorable sad expression and black eye is sure to conjure up the idea that what’s encased inside the plastic is undeniably a record filled with melancholy and depression, perfect for those rainy nights when you find yourself alone. But as the saying goes, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” especially since this thirty minute assault will surely confuse the preteen mallrats digging through record shelves looking for the newest Neutral Milk Hotel rip-off.
The debut Deathwish Inc. release by these San Diego natives picks up almost exactly from where this past year's Lung Patrol 7” left off, as six different tracks hit the two minute mark or more on Black Eye Blues. The extended introductions and drawn out interludes that created a new atmosphere of noise were something that Lewd Acts had been playing with on their previous three-song release. But where this new experimental tactic felt somewhat forced on the band's previous release – most notably on “Play Me Something That I Know” – Lewd Acts have now managed to mold the atmospheric wall of noise into a devastating tsunami of sound capable of engulfing Indonesia.
Extended introductions and interludes aside, the band has evolved drastically from the upbeat Lewd Acts that previously brought us …On Lonely Nights. Instead, Black Eye Blues showcases the band marching deeper into a forest that runs on the cusp of darkness thanks to the growling guitars of Alex Jacobelli and the bottom heavy bass lines of Jake Shpek, respectively. With this, vocalist Tyler Densley’s hoarse and lyrically enthralling storytelling is able to evoke such overwhelmingly vivid imagery as though putting a paintbrush to canvas, his strokes resembling the bleak and tragic style of Zdzislaw Beksinski.
Although the band has tried their best to distance themselves from the field by creating a sound all their own, one can’t help but notice slight resemblances to other Deathwish artists. For example, “Wide Black Eyes” resembles a song that could easily have been pulled off of the forthcoming Converge record, while “Who Knew The West Coast Could Be So Cold?” resembles a somewhat shorter and lighter “In Her Shadow” off of You Fail Me. The slower, darker tracks “Penmanship Sailed” and “My Father Was A Locomotive” paint a vivid picture of a reformed, but heavier, Modern Life Is War.
Black Eye Blues truly showcases Lewd Acts as a band fully capably of unleashing a full out assault on their audience laced with vigor, experimentation, and melody, without sounding like a fatal car collision on an expressway. To say that it doesn’t sound like a car wreck isn’t to say that it will feel like you’ve just been in one after having listened to Black Eye Blues.