There’s a lot of psych-rock around these days, for sure. But you only have to see how successful bands like TOY, Temples and Tame Impala have become – and that’s only bands beginning with one letter – to see there’s a huge market for it, even if that market is becoming a little flooded.
Taking inspiration from many quarters, Norwegian quartet Electric Eye are a little different from the aforementioned bands, having more in common with the likes of The Black Angels and Wooden Shjips perhaps, but there are far earlier influences in the mix too. Can provide inspiration for a Krautrock element, The Beatles circa 1967 gives a brush of the true psych-era to their sound, and perhaps most of all, the band name Pink Floyd and their 1972 Live At Pompeii gig as having fashioned their sound considerably. Whatever the influence, you can hear numerous other bands in their music, and sometimes the mix includes some unlikely ingredients.
Based in the rock mecca of Bergen (!), the four guys – who are heavily involved in different side-projects as well as Electric Eye – describe their main band’s sound as “True Norwegian Psych-Drone-Groove-Kraut-Rock”. They formed in 2012 and debut collection Pick-Up, Lift-Off, Space, Time a year later was well received by those that heard it – it wasn’t exactly an in-your-face, hyped up release that you couldn’t escape from – like Savages’ Silence Yourself an album released just a month later, for example.
The debut featured several long, drawn out jams, which is how the band perfected the sound, spending day after day jamming in a studio in a country where rainfall is expected for around 2/3rds of the calendar year. Different Sun finds the tracks being reigned in slightly, with only a single cut – Heavy Steps On Desert Floor – longer than seven minutes this time round. It’s an excellent effort; there are drone elements, a staccato synth that recalls Wooden Shjips, drawn out instrumental sections that tick the prog rock box and incessant ticking percussion amid swathes of atmospheric, space-rock guitars and even at almost seven and a half minutes, you’re far from bored when it reaches its conclusion.
Elsewhere, there are some weird concoctions going on. The addictive, funky motorik beat of Mercury Rise is another must-have for your collection but with verses that sound like a Creedence Clearwater Revival chugger daubed in psychedelia attempting to play T Rex’s Get It On in space, it sounds about as intriguing a mix as a lime jelly and chocolate pizza (and we’ve all regrettably tried to make something like this in our youth haven’t we…?). After a spacey instrumental section where it’s as if they’re all just taking in a quick spliff, the chugging returns for its conclusion.
Another more palatable recipe arrives with Bless, this time sounding like Kasabian’s L.S.F. smothered in fuzzy, space-rock guitars and synths set to a funky Stone Roses beat – more brilliant ear candy indeed. As is All Of This Has Happened Before And Will Happen Again which takes on the appearance of a Public Service Broadcasting effort with what sounds like occasional media clips, all set to a pulsing rhythm and swirling guitar and synth.
The best (and worst) is saved to last though. Firstly the quite simply superb Never Fade Away picks out another funky Stone Roses beat and guitar, adds swirling Wooden Shjips synths and then features a chorus that isn’t a million miles away from Visage’s Fade To Grey – another bizarre mish-mash perhaps, but it’s pure gold. Lastly though, Part One closes the album and at six minutes it’s too long a slow wind-down of an instrumental that screams filler, or something that was just laid down to extend the album to a specific length.
Part One aside, Different Sun is an excellent album from start to (penultimate) finish. While there are numerous reference points, and whomever you are reminded of when listening to this collection, you’re sure to find something that pleases your ears. Open your eyes and welcome Norway’s finest band since, erm, a-ha. Great stuff.