Eyes to Space – S/T EP

There’s a difference between making serious music and taking music seriously. North Carolina’s Eyes to Space takes its music seriously, but the music is light-hearted and fun. Sounding like a cross between the Dismemberment Plan and the B-52’s, Eyes to Space makes you remember that you don’t have to be heavy or have a deep message to engage your interest.

The four songs on its self-titled EP give you only a taste of what the band can do. Thirteen minutes of music isn’t much, but Eyes to Space does its best to make those minutes count. Common to and prominent in these songs are two instruments: the fuzzed-out guitar and the loopy keyboards. And by “loopy” I don’t mean programmed, sequenced loops – I mean wacky. But it’s probably hard to be too serious when the keyboard you’re playing is strapped over your shoulder like a guitar.

The opening cut, “In an Unfamiliar Land,” saves the quirkiness for its ending. There, the song morphs into a spacey sounding rave-up where the synth sounds like a dying robot whose circuits are losing power. Until then, the guitar carries the song with its subtle power chords and high-note melodies. Occasional flashes of guitar virtuosity (double-hammering or just fast note-picking?) accent the tune, and subtle syncopation from the bass and drums keep you guessing.

“Roadkill” seems to be about a robotic dog, and not just any dog: “No normal dog can match / The precision of his Frisbee (TM) catch,” we’re told. And who are we to argue? After all, Sparky’s “robot eyes / Have laser guides” and his legs are spring-loaded. In the middle of the song, the time signature changes and the keyboard takes over the melody. It’s here that Eyes to Space most resemble the Dismemberment Plan: tight musicianship (agile bass and drums) married to an unusual and unexpected overall sound.

“Destructive Behavior” allows band member Wendy Spitzer a chance to sing, and she has a nice voice. I would have liked to have heard more of her singing, actually. The bouncy, jaunty music – featuring a few different synth sounds and some guitar acrobatics – contrasts with the serious(!) tone of the lyrics. Then, on “Dear Sir,” Eyes to Space returns to a sarcastic tone, musically and lyrically. To wit, “Dear sir / Won’t you give a listen / And hear all about me / I want to snag a jag / And watch myself brown-nose on MTV.”

This EP might be the perfect prescription if you’re growing weary of your Isis CDs. If you want something that’s fun but not sloppy, clever but not pretentious, you might want to turn your eyes to Eyes to Space.