EYELESS IN GAZA
Ink Horn/One Star
(2019 - Ambivalent Scale Records - UK)
It may be a mystery how this pair can continue creating such potent, spacious, unique and eloquent art pop (if the word 'pop' can even be applied anymore), yet they do. With a certain amount of antiquity, invoking characteristics like gold leaf, prized woods, sage wisdom, warmth, and prestige, Eyeless in Gaza have always been able to use their own formula to make timeless music.
Originally meant to be a double set of mini albums linked by a thematic concept, the project became too expensive and thus reworked to become the single disc release 'Ink Horn/One Star'. Martyn Bates, with his one of a kind gentle dreamy poetic voice (plus multiple instruments) and Pete Becker who not only records and engineers all their records, but also plays a great variety of instruments including drums, bass, guitars, ukulele, keyboards, effects, accordion, and programming; have complimented each other for four decades now. Elizabeth S. who has sometimes accompanied them, written lyrics, and done artwork, and videos, added photography and did videos on this release.
It would be legitimate to claim this classic EIG after so many years of brilliance. On 'The Two Thorns' (track #4), Martyn does multi voice with heavenly results. So gorgeous it goes right up there with the very best the group as ever done. The blueprint of unusual uppermost ballad in a dreamy sometimes spectral world, cast against occasional biting rhythmic driven pieces, prove to be pleasing and highly effective. The psalm opposing the clamoring has been a trademark for the duo since day one. It is a celebration of those beyond this earth anthems sung by Bates and equally written/performed by Becker that always take your breath away. The instruct of both aggressive and passive often hold conference and agree with each other, in what in a normal situation, would be erroneous. But Eyeless In Gaza do not use proper etiquette, nor should they. Their library of recordings are definitive collisions of tenderness and violation of rules.
Sometimes ancient bred with modern finesse and considerable virtuosity, the two wizards make music like no one else before or after. 'Soon Will Be The Day' (track #11) stretches out in a spherical arena, exploring and carrying the listener on a short tour. The title track ('One Star') ends this illuminating album. So much to absorb, another generous batch of beautiful compositions and all the cerebral sensations any EIG fan could want. They sound every bit as fresh as they did when they first began. A great place for newcomers to jump in as well. MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 12 - 31 - 2019