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National Eye

Roomful of Lions

(Park the Van)

Was it one of the city’s weekly papers that called National Eye Philadelphia’s version of Radiohead? Not so fast… Though National Eye have an obvious interest in making rock music about mood and texture, they’re not on that level. Less than a work of vision, A Roomful of Lions seems more like a vision of nonchalance—in the singing, the lyrics, the way the music meanders and floats more than it strikes or paints. That meandering feeling can be alluring in moments across the album, especially when pop hooks shine through the fog, just enough the give the feeling of a fairy tale or a circus. Or when a sense of immediacy takes hold. Tracks like “Halo” seem like well-formed dreams, in a way that suggests they might be closer to being actual visionaries. But those are just glimpses of a spark; as the album proceeds, it gets especially drifty, sounding more and more like a far-off-the-mark attempt to be the next Pink Floyd.

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Dave Heaton has been writing about music on a regular basis since 1993, first for unofficial college-town newspapers and DIY fanzines and now mostly on the Internet. In 2000, the same year he started writing for PopMatters, he founded the online arts magazine ErasingClouds.com, still around but often in flux. He writes music reviews for the print magazine The Big Takeover. He is a music obsessive through and through. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri.


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25 Jan 2009
National Eye treads the ground between power pop and psychedelia, resembling a far more subdued version of the Flaming Lips or a spacier manifestation of Wilco's sound.
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