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The Eye the Ear and the Arm

Paths

(Portia; US: 19 Feb 2008; UK: Unavailable)

The debut album, Paths, from southern California-based The Eye The Ear and The Arm is defined by strong guitar playing, unconventional song structure and emotional investment. Darin Green (guitar), Derek Coburn (bass, vocals) and on-loan drummer JD Knotts (of genre-bending Amestory) craft a solid tableau of ominous angst and unbridled hope with snarling lead guitar licks; dissonant yet harmonic vocal; reggae tinged—and sometimes lethargic—indie-rock beats; and deftly applied rhythmic shifts that move the record along. Like any socially conscious group, The Eye has a diatribe against the corporate commoditization of, well, everything, but articulates the message convincingly when Coburn sings, “Take me/ Can you sell it to them?” on one of their best tracks, “Sell This”. Though some tracks follow an ostensible outline for hard rock (arpeggiating guitars with jarring chorus), effective dynamics, unique outros and climactic resolves absolve such misgivings. Unfortunately questionable mixing, primarily with Coburn’s vocals, mitigates much of the album’s cohesiveness. Still Paths is a strong indicator of promising work to come.

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