[sic] Magazine

Laughing Eye Weeping Eye – Once Was You

Somewhere between the reverential and the mystic lie Rebecca Schoenecker and Patrick Holbrook of Laughing Eye Weeping Eye, a couple out of Chicago that reveal through their practice of Tarot a series of evocative new-age drones and folk-hymnal vignettes. Schoenecker haunts the ancient-sounding recording with Juliana Barwick-esque drift that soars to fill high-vaulted spaces with celebratory choral worship. Encoding meaning in creaking ecclesiastical tones rather than through audible content, side A, a celebration of life, stirs the soul through atmospheric wind chimes, the exotic expression of ukelin strings and deep, wheezy harmonium. The otherworldly “Not Thwarted” flutters accordingly with the pump organ’s queasy ripple and via communicative whistles, while the whispery duet “Scun Dun” calls out of the mists of time with windblown pipes and pre-historic flashbacks. Conjuring the Greek goddesses of fate, the sacred “Moirae” gives voice to forgotten spirits with what sounds like steel drums and the disorientating chatter of layered vocals.

Side B of the duo’s new album, Once Was You, tends to inhabit darker spaces – life brought full circle into the kingdom of death. Holbrook’s uneasy spike fiddle casts the pair into a lonely hinterland, eeking out an almost throat-sung obscurity and chilly images of far-flung expanses. “The First Name” strips back to a ghostly a capella, its plundering of pregnant space segueing seamlessly into the solemn procession of “Sunday Lake”, a funereal dirge that snakes the album to a close on bare-bones percussion. Listening to Once Was You’s heavy portents is like stumbling onto some rain-swept heath and receiving chance prophecy, only to realise all too late that the divining sages from whom such promise came were in fact Sirens and your future that merely of dust and shadows.

Best track: “Moirae”

~Once Was You is out now on a limited 150-run cassette via Moon Glyph.~