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The wall of eyes feels like a comedown.

MusicThe wall of eyes feels like a comedown.


It is unfair to compare any band to Radiohead at this point. They have achieved a dominance that few bands from their era have been able to uphold, and every new release from the five-piece is treated with reverence and mystique, even when they are at their most honest and vulnerable. It is inevitable that the band will be compared to this monster of a group, which is composed of the most recognizable names in the group. The Smile is a noteworthy band in its own right. This isn't a side project, and the trio have returned to make sure you know that Wall of Eyes is not a side project. The first single and album opener, “Wall of Eyes” is a bouncy, chaotic way to start a sophomore album. One second it sounds like a love song and the next you're breaking up. You don't know if the voice is signalling the end or the beginning, but there is a buried chorus of voices. Skinner's bones are covered in flesh as Yorke's voice shimmers between the strikes on "Teleharmonic", which is a feat in skeletal arranging. The song, which deals with a car crash, is indebted to the film score work of sludgy, distorted, and incomprehensible composers, as well as a wakeup call to the rest of the world. Wall of Eyes biggest disappointment is that the bombast of "Bending Hectic" comes too little, too late, and that the album features its fair share of anxiety. Skinner, who has roots in London's avant-garde jazz scene, feels noticeably under-utilized, the wistful drumming on Wall of Eyes betraying the complex, hard-hitting rhythms of both their debut and their boisterous, free-form live shows. The album's shortest song, "Friend of a Friend," is the only one that doesn't last more than five minutes. This happens throughout Wall of Eyes, and it makes for a lack of cohesion and tension. The band's penchant for jittery urgency has been removed because the pace has slowed. A Light for Attracting Attention was an unexpected treat, a success story that is sure to loom large over any subsequent era. Wall of Eyes is an album of background music that feels like a collection of songs that just weren't good enough to be on its predecessor.

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