Different Sun marks the second round for Electric Eye, whose debut effort Pick-Up, Lift-Off, Space, Time was well received locally in Norway and garnered a second bout of attention after global touring saw them performing at America’s SXSW and England’s Great Escape festivals.
This record is desert and space competing for your attention. As the album switches between these themes, it conjures vivid imagery of being on the desert floor looking up, or floating in space looking down. The seven tracks manage to capture the starry eyed optimism of early space travel and oft romanticised road trip across the American desert, while also acknowledging the potential bleakness of these situations, with album closer Part One in particular capturing that hope-silencing synth driven sound of 80’s sci-fi soundtracks.
There is a sense of balance across the album with every instrument taking an equal measure of importance. Guitar leads don’t stomp over the track, decibels higher and vocals drone in quietly, often washed with reverb and delay to enhance the mirage scenes painted in the desert sections.
The battle between desert and space is seen most distinctly on Heavy Steps on Desert Floor. We begin floating in space to blinking high end guitar only to be urged back down to earth by monotonous fuzz bass droning SOS-styled Morse code over fast drums. Soaring guitar lines join shortly after to fill your mind with panning aerial shots of a car speeding down an endless desert road urgently with nothing ever on the horizon. As the track progresses both the high end blinking guitar and bass line continue, taking turns fading in and out to be the focus of the track. Finally the twinkling guitar and effects prevail and, as the bass fades away for the last time, it creates the mental image of a rocket finally taking off from a barren desert base. The twinkling guitars, free now of any accompaniment, feel like exiting the outer atmosphere, floating slowly with a sense of wonderment.
Electric Eye state they will take you on “seven journeys” across the 40 minutes of the album, although it sounds more like one looser journey with two reprieves in the heavily T-Rex inspired Mercury Rise and upbeat Never Fade Away. But regardless of the promised “seven journeys”, individually describing these tracks is a injustice to the album itself which is one mesmerising exploration of desert and space, held together by a groove of unyielding drums and fuzz bass. Different Sun manages to confidently and flowingly harness elements of Pink Floyd, King Crimson and The Flaming Lips, and while the third and sixth tracks borrow heavily from the sounds of T-Rex or Moby respectively, they do so without ever sounding stretched thin or contrived.
Electric Eye’s ability to create vivid imagery in your mind is impressive and enthralling. As the final track eerily drifts off into the emptiness of space, you’ll be reminded that 40 minutes just passed in the blink of an eye and be left with the dilemma of whether to get up and do something or press play and go along for the ride again.
Different Sun is out 5 February 2016 via Jansen Plateproduksjon Records