Review: Eye ‘Dark Light’

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard may have chosen the worst possible name for a doom band, but they certainly delivered some of the best shows and albums that the UK scene has witnessed over the last decade. I can testify, I’ve seen them multiple times in London and Brighton and enjoyed seeing them, shooting them and listening to them.

Eye 'Dark Light' Artwork
Eye ‘Dark Light’ Artwork

In fact, their last two albums Yn Ol I Annwn (2019) and The Harvest (2022) accompanied me during some really tough times like the breakdown of my long-term relationship but also some of the joyful moments we had during the lockdown. So, I was super thrilled to follow what Jessica Ball would be doing next, as the talented and brilliant artist that she is (on top of being adorable, but that’s another story for another day).

Whilst Eye isn’t supposed to be a different iteration of MWWB, there is a lot of MWWB in Eye and Dark Light serves as a beautifully crafted pathway between these two worlds, even if the whole premise of this album comes from the sudden ill health of her friend and bandmate Paul ‘Dave’ Davies, who nearly died after a Covid-related stroke.

So, Dark Light is really about existential dread and constant questioning of why things are happening the way they do to those who deal with them. Of course, when faced with the possibility that someone you love is on the verge of death, that can wreck the mind of the strongest of us all. But Jessica did more than try to find answers to senseless questions, she put them all into her musical project.

Although the themes are bleak and the lyrics personal, I loved embarking on this electro-goth-doom voyage…

What is really impressive about the album is how diverse and yet coherent it feels. Whether it is on the title track, Dark Light, which is a lovely dark folk tune with a dream pop voice, opener Window that has a spellbinding chorus (‘break my shell, lift me up’) or on In Your Night which starts like an offshoot of GGGOLDDD only to crescendo into a much doomier realm towards the end, Jessica and her band are not shying away from making us feel all that she feels, and it’s cathartic in some way. As if she was handing over to us, the listeners, all of her grief to turn it into something introspective, eerie and healing.

For example, Stillness left like you were floating on the fluffiest cloud in the sky even if you know that cloud can disappear at any given time, which encapsulate the fragility and the beauty that comes with grief. As for a favourite track, it’s a toss-up between See Yourself, a dream pop lullaby with lyrics that almost made me teary-eyed (as per usual, because you know, clinical depression) that ends up getting super doomy towards the end and The Other Sees that felt as if Mazzy Star or Marissa Nadler went electro and sang her verses over a vintage landline phone effect.

Although the themes are bleak and the lyrics personal, I loved embarking on this electro-goth-doom voyage with Jessica Ball and Eye. It certainly put a lot of personal things into perspective and that’s what an album like Dark Light is meant to do, so I cannot recommend it enough and will certainly feature on my AOTY list come December, and I hope yours too.

Label: New Heavy Sounds
Band Links: Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Nessie Spencer