The Arboretum return with a bit of a surprise track that is different to the usual ebbing and flowing of their shadowy waves of music. They continue their journey down into something harder and darker just in time for the clocks going back, making the evenings darker. Yes, I know it makes the mornings lighter but that only lasts for a few meagre weeks, doesn’t it? Before we know it, the night creeps in at both ends of the day. And here comes “The Eyes”, urgent and pulsing dark rock of a heavy variety.
Disembodied, writhing backing vocals sounding like ghostly herald angels float above the pulsing keyboard loops that carry the energy of Depeche Mode at their darkest. Keening muezzin-like singing lifts the energy and suddenly heavy cutting guitars fire up along with pummelling rolling drums. It’s impossible not to be reminded of the hardest music of Public Image Limited, but it’s very apparent that this music is bringing us some heavy, heavy post-punk. The guitars are turned up and sounding inky black, and The Arboretum’s trademark keyboard lines are subsumed into the song’s juddering foundation. “The eyes are useless when the mind is blind” is the singer’s cry of angry despair. It’s hard to decipher all the lyrics as they’re pushed back into the mix. However, lines like: “the eyes are laughing / let the truth shine through / perception and judgement / as you find” indicate a howl of protest against our binary world of “with us or against us” certainty. The song picks up its own propulsive momentum of heavy dark, fuzzy guitars that would give a metal band a run for its money. So much so, that the middle breakdown arrives as a relief, a moment of respite from the song’s constant forward motion as those keyboard lines slide us vibrating forward. It’s a brief respite though, as those guitars return, relentlessly pushing forward, tireless.
It feels like the song hunts me like a hungry animal, and at the end my pulse has quickened, my breathing faster. You have to experience it for yourself really, to see what I mean. Give it a go on a cold, dark winter’s evening.
By: Eastside Jimmy