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FEATURED EVENT: Early Eyes is a sonic treat you can't miss at Lamplight Sessions
Early Eyes takes the stage May 12 at Lamplight Sessions
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Every once in a while you come across a band that delights and befuddles you at the same time.
Early Eyes, a five-piece out of Minneapolis, is one of those bands. Mixing a little bit of jazz, little of bit funk, this pop band out of the Twin Cities has a unique style that’s a bit hard to describe.
It’s kind of like if Steely Dan’s members were born millennials — the little jazzy keyboard flourishes at the end of “Marigolds” sounds like something off of Aja. Early Eyes brings an R&B/jazz/pop blend makes me think of something Don Fagen would have written, were he born several decades later. Also, there are horns, which I will always love. 1
But make no mistake — Early Eyes absolutely bills itself as a pop band, and is creating that pop music, it says, “for the end of the world.”
From its profile on Minneapolis venue First Avenue’s (once owned by Prince) website:
It’s a foreboding time to make pop music. But like a sunbeam peering through a haze of wildfire smoke, Early Eyes have somehow persevered through dashed dreams, fractured relationships, historic social justice uprisings in their own hometown, and a society tearing apart at the seams to make an album that is both responsive to the chaos and wearily optimistic.
On its latest album, Look Alive!, Early Eyes takes that jazzy/electronica pop in a darker direction. “Chemicals” starts off with that horn-filled modern funk-jazz style, but then descends into a horn refrain/bass drop that jars the listener from their trance — it sounds like your speakers were just blown apart.
Early Eyes sometimes reminds me of another act out of LA called The Marias, particularly when they descend into a slow, moody, almost bluesy sultry slow pace.
Other times, they strike me as a little more Tame Impala, where the sound almost sounds masterfully cut and assembled into a new creation.
If all that sounds a bit chaotic, it strangely isn’t. The fivesome — Desmond Lawrence, Joe Villano, John O'Brien, Jake Berglove, and Wyatt Fuller — are remarkably tight. For proof, check out this live performance:
Thanks to an interview with kinda cool magazine, I discovered I was not just imagining those jazz influences — band leader Jake Berglove told the magazine that all five members had an interest in jazz, and Berglove himself loves R&B.
This band sounds great on record, and they play a tight set live. Set in the photogenic setting of Lamplight Sessions in Mosinee, this show is going to knock people’s socks off.
Early Eyes | Lamplight Sessions | 7 pm, May 12
But I fully admit I am a major sucker for horns in rock/pop music. It’s one of the reasons I love Chicago so much, along with its criminally under-rated guitarist, the late great Terry Kath. Hendrix said Kath was one of the best guitarists he’d ever seen.