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This Is the Planet of Sound

When did guitars last electrify you? When did distortion last send power chords through the expressway to your skull? Probably when you wore Doc Martens and slaved over pause-button mixtapes. Forget the flannel, but remember the kisses, illicitly inhaled on railroad tracks where cheap cloves fanned first flames. Eyes Like Knives will take you back to a time when rock actually rocked.

While ‘80s copycats mine clipped sounds, this Boston band induces full-bodied adjectives like “surging”, “keening”, and “urgent”. Remember the glories of ‘90s alternative rock? Big sounds bring big names: Jawbox, Pixies, Swervedriver, Smashing Pumpkins, Jane’s Addiction, even U2. But these are sources of inspiration, not imitation. Eyes Like Knives run these sounds through a dual-guitar, dual-vocal attack that’s distinctly theirs. The guitars mate the discordance of prime Dischord bands with epic Creation label shoegazing. The vocals are a male-female pairing that recalls other Bostonians—Francis & Deal; Dando & Hatfield. It must the water in the Charles River.

A competent EP in 2003 hardly augured what would follow. In late 2004, the band dropped Slow Distractions, its debut full-length. Within a year, Eyes Like Knives had found their sound. On “Like a Ghost”, Scott Toomey and Rebekka Takamizu strangle strings while trading vocals: he, tense; she, coy. Twice the song recedes and rebuilds into crashing waves of sound. “Walk with Me” crackles with live-wire guitars, while “Time Sinks In” unleashes spiraling riffs panned head-spinningly left and right.

But it’s not all Sturm und Drang here. “Summer Song” is a sweet ode to oversleeping: “Come on, cheer up, it’s not that late / There’s so much we can do today / Let’s go get sushi and not pay / Just look around you, it’s summer”, while “Reduced to One” is a gentle swing number with amp hum hovering nearby. Even the small songs here sound big. Call it ambition, passion, or what you will. In an age of taut, chapbook-like albums, Eyes Like Knives aren’t afraid to make feedback-drenched opuses.

Strangely, it took a year following its release for Slow Distractions to appear on Amazon. Reviews of the record are few and far between. For what little press is out on the band, its concert reviews have been glowing. This isn’t surprising; any studio album this electric must go down a storm live. But Eyes Like Knives remain a Boston secret—for now. The band is currently writing a new album, with demos hinting at intriguingly darker directions. Who knows when these songs will come out, but keep your eyes peeled. Sounds this big won’t stay secret for long.

[band website]

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