Eye - "Center of the Sun" (CD)
"Center of the Sun" track listing:
1. Center Of The Sun Pt 1-4 (19:24)
2. Usurpers (8:12)
3. Restorers (7:41)
4. Rik Rite (8:19)
Reviewed by heavytothebone2 on April 22, 2012
Better get out the bong to grasp the psychedelic visions of Eye’s first album “Center Of The Sun.” A few sharp hits will amplify the early progressive rock styling of Eye’s music. The band neglects any musical evolution that occurred after 1973, holding tight onto Pink Floyd’s “A Saucerful Of Secrets” record and the Genesis classic “Supper’s Ready” as inspiration. There is no hesitation in having a four-part, 20-minute title track, or a solo section longer than the average song. Only being released as a digital download and on vinyl, “Center Of The Sun” almost begs to be experienced on the latter format.
The title track is long enough to fit onto one side of a record, and is the track that stands out for obvious reasons. This is not a masterpiece on the scale of a “2112” or “Lizard,” but it does have everything that a progressive rock fan could expect from a song of this magnitude. Waves of synths spread into the endless sky, guitar solos squeal delight at every turn, and a fuzzy bass is given enough freedom to go at it alone at select moments. The harmonized vocals from guitarist Matt Auxier and drummer Brandon Smith just reiterate its early ‘70s mindset.
The second side of “Center Of The Sun” is three well-rounded tunes that don’t match the gripping improvised feel of the title track. “Usurpers” and “Rik Rite” make room for the loose and airy instrumental passages, though packed into a tighter, eight-minute window. They don’t break too far from the ideas on the opening cut, though the album never gets too draining on the listener. These songs are the kind meant to be explored live, where the restraints of a studio are torn off and nothing is blocking them from reaching their creative peak.
If anything, Eye tends to play it too safe on the latter tunes. After starting with such a wide-ranged song, containing enough excitement to be spread out over the course of two albums, the band sticks to long bouts of jamming that, while entertaining, lack that rousing feel expected after such a stirring opening. There are no real stand-out parts, which speaks to the band’s ability to craft songs without having to force out some random section to make up for a lack of proper songwriting.
“Center Of The Sun” is a reflective piece for those who grew up during the height of prog rock. Those people will have an almost instantaneous response, but it’s also a useful tool for a younger generation to get a feel for progressive rock. This is not some hip, retro album meant to get the kids in tight pants and The Sword t-shirts to gossip over. “Center Of The Sun” is for the greasy, long-haired rebels looking for a release from the mundane music that trickles out in this current market.
Highs: Compelling opening title track, progressive rock that isn't just a retreat of past icons, lengthy jams should satisfy the instrumental freaks out there
Lows: The second half isn't as impactful as the 20-minute title track, songs seem better suited for the openness of a live atmosphere.
Bottom line: A throwback to early '70s progressive rock, Eye gets the sound down pat without sounding retro or trendy.
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