Review Summary: A bit more than heavy psych recap.
Gradually rising to the forefront of the current heavy psychedelic/stoner scene, Baltimore-based act, The Flying Eyes have just dropped their second full length. More expansive and heavier than the debut, Lowlands
sinks the listener deeper into the band's universe. Offering a wide range of sounds derived from several late '60s and early '70s influences, the record can be found at a crossroad between the acid induced psychedelic blues reminiscent of The Doors, Jefferson Airplane and Cream, along with some Southern rock and, inevitably, traditional Black Sabbath doom riffs. Nevertheless, the chemistry between the band members, resulting in such catchy music and the will to experiment with the sound rather than recycling it, is what sets this above the multitude of average records.
Mostly a mid-tempo affair, Lowlands
is rich in groove and the cruising opener, 'Long Road', wastes no time in delivering some stoned, fuzzy licks and cool vocals. There's a casual feel throughout the album that hints at the listener to just sit back and enjoy. 'Rolling Thunder''s steady rhythms would make The Black Keys jealous, only to suddenly break into Wo Fat fuzz shuffle. Naturally, these kind of jams are spread across 10-15 minutes, but The Flying Eyes keep things short and tight without ever falling into that dull, endless solo, musical trap.
Other highlights include the more subdued mid-stretch comprised of 'Alive In Time' and 'Lowlands', both using wah guitars and especially the lap steel to create a haunting, psychedelic feel, backed up by soulful, vintage jams. On the other hand, the pop-tinged, 'Eye Of The Storm', returns the joyful grooves and infectious vocals. The twangy, reverbed guitars, along with the chunky bass line provide an excellent foundation for Will Kelly's playful vocals. Its cinematic coda gives a certain twist to the song, before fading into a wall of noise. Although a bit sparse at times, this type of classic voice adds a lot to the record's appeal.
Even though Lowlands
won't be a classic any time soon, it doesn't really matter, because it aims at offering a good time, while showcasing the band's constant progress. Great for a drive out of town or a fun evening with friends, The Flying Eyes can easily get stuck in the listener's head while riding the groove, always leaving room for replay.