Two years ago, Eidetic Seeing quietly released their first album to an unsuspecting (if somewhat jaded) public. Since then, many bands have come and gone, all laying claim to being the most authentically psychedelic of experiences. Not so Sean Forlenza’s superlative power trio – a début that was as enjoyable as it was assured left me in no doubt that they were a band who deserved attention and repeat listens, and I’m delighted to report that their sophomore effort, ‘Against Nature’ suffers from no lapse in quality, and is at least the equal of ‘Drink the Sun’. That said, it’s quite a different experience, that does not surrender its jewels with ease, albeit better for it!
‘A Snake Whose Years Are Long’ sets the tone beautifully for the quintet of tracks to follow, alternating between warm passages of mildly dissonant yet rich guitar tones and the chunky fuzz of their first album, a contrast that is more reminiscent of Neil Young’s more epic moments with Crazy Horse than Blue Cheer. As on ‘Drink The Sun’, each piece has been carefully constructed so as not to outstay its welcome, with beautiful flowing basslines that tie in perfectly with well-produced, fluid drums. Whereas the début could roughly be described as a “riff-orientated” album, ‘Against Nature’ is a beast far more dependent on rhythm, although it would be remiss not to mention the excellent solos and top-three-string high-fret wizardry that permeates the album from this first track on; like Sonic Youth shorn of their tedium and given a pair of hairy balls.
This first track segues into my personal favourite cut, ‘White Flight’, bridged by a floating, blissful synth melody, which morphs into a fuzzed-up raga punctuated by reverbed, whooping vocals and superlative drumming in the best tradition of Can or Amon Düül. The beauty of this album (and what makes it such a rewarding experience) is the sheer variety of sounds and ideas in each song – just when you think you know where a song is going, the band playfully hoist the listener out of his or her seat and veer off into an unexpected direction. Coupled with their (rare!) ability to know how to pace and structure a song, it makes for an experience that builds with each listen – it’s probably unrelated, but Eidetic Seeing seem to have latched on to Loop’s “less is more” approach to psychedelia, but I have Hampson’s band on the brain of late so the link may be even more tenuous than usual…
The record goes on with ‘Froleuse’ exhibiting the band’s newfound spirit of fun, starting as a warm, fuzzy exercise in the art of twang (see Dylan Carlson’s post-heroin masterworks, and by association Neil Young’s ‘Dead Man’ soundtrack…) and morphs back into the aforementioned jangly dissonance, after which the LP rolls into the lurching ‘Ashplant Blues’, a track with a beat strongly reminiscent (in parts) of Stephen Morris’s best work for Manchester’s finest export. Punctuated by repeated “OUGH”s and a feedback solo that wouldn’t seem out of place on a Keiji Haino record; utterly barmy, but it works!
After a track as exhausting as that, Forlenza and co. decide to grant us some respite, and allow the listener to float into an ode to the deadliest mountain peak in the world, ‘K2’, a mix of harmonics, delay and synth that is nothing short of perfect. It transmogrifies into a very burly beast of a song, but Eidetic Seeing are a band that also know how to use silences and pregnant pauses to their advantage, with this track showing that quite wonderfully, as well as showcasing the best vocal lines on the album.
The unpredictability of this great-sounding record is what makes it such a rich, intense and ultimately uplifting experience; it may not be fashionable or prone to relinquishing its beauties easily, but I believe it will age much better than the instant gratification offered by many of this band’s psych-rock peers. Everything about Eidetic Seeing sets them apart, from the execution and composition to the artwork, and ‘Against Nature’ is an opus they should be very proud of; fiercely innovative but distinctive enough to clearly be the work of the same band that gave us ‘Drink The Sun’. Just in time to make the best of 2013 list, and I for one look forward to whatever comes next!
Scribed by: Saúl Do Caixão