Wolf Eyes in 2015 have the sort of outsider-cool that is only earned through years of making fucked-up, acid-addled noise. Over its six tracks, their new record I Am A Problem: Mind In Pieces melds psychedelic-come-industrial noise and effects over a base of minimal, almost meditative percussion parts and stoner rock vocals to varying degrees of success but falls short of approaching anything great.
The lo-fi, lazy vocals give much of this record the sound of some teenage stoner garage band. While on ‘Enemy Ladder’, it sounds perfect – raw, unpolished, dangerous – the others lack the same spark. Anyone familiar with Mystik Spiral from TV show Daria will surely struggle to take moments of this record seriously at all, where the band’s attempts to create something “out there” just sounds like uninspired stoner rock with more a few more unconventional effects. ‘Twister Nightfall’, despite its relentless percussion line and noisy guitars, never quite builds up to anything more than its core ingredients. ‘T.O.D.D.’ follows in much the same way.
Bookend pieces ‘Catching the Rich Train’ and ‘Cynthis Vortex aka Trip Memory Illness’ do well at building darkly menacing landscapes on which the intermittent tracks play out, but as individual pieces they offer very little besides looped chord progressions with ambient sounds floating around for seven or eight minutes. Yes, this is expected from an album of this sort, but come on; somebody has to say that these tracks are fairly fucking boring.
Being fairly fucking boring is unfortunately this album’s biggest flaw. Every song establishes its vibe within the first few seconds – be it as dark and campy as an old shlock horror film or heavy and lumbering like a view of a past dystopian future – but most of them fail to take any of these themes to anywhere truly dramatic or compelling. There’s something enjoyably primal about these songs, but unfortunately there’s nothing exciting about them. Psych-rock has been done better, and is still being done better to this day.
Joe Gilbertson @