Radar Eyes - Radar Eyes
By: Rob Gannon
Chicago will one day spew forth the next major scene and it is in part due to the HoZac label and its (non-exclusive) hometown focus. Rising from the ashes of Horizontal Action magazine it started pumping out quality garage and melodic lo-fi 7”s in 2006 and has more recently graduated to long players, supplying us with the uniformly great Smith Westerns, Dum Dum Girls, Woven Bones, Super Wild Horses, Reading Rainbow, K-Holes, Peoples Temple, Fungi Girls, and Wax Idols debuts amongst others since then.
Vintage psyche enthusiasts Radar Eyes hail from within the HoZac catchment area and now too are elevated to full-length status after two fuzzed-out garage-pop singles with the label. This includes the relatively clean jangle of “Miracle” which features here – its (perhaps surprising) bonged-out shoegazing midsection and all. Keeping you on your toes, “I Am” repeats the nod, doing that identifiable wall-of-guitar trick and that lost-at-sea vocal thing.
More representative of the overall collection however, the quick-fire loops of “In Love” create a super-cool fog that tries in vain to conceal some cosmic organ and an enviable image of Wooden Shjips simultaneously blazin’ with both Crystal Stilts and Thee Oh Sees. “Secrets” too resides on planet Ripley Johnson, at least Lucas Sikorski‘s bass and the track’s far-out feedback does, no matter the remainder of the four-piece’s game attempts to steer this shimmering retro-futurist encounter back into being a swinging garage jam.
This blend of period perfections ought to have its limitations, but under the busy gaze of Radar Eyes it seems to twist and turn with chameleonic possibility, incorporating here a classic Spiritualized groove on the droning “Disconnection” for example, there some glassy-eyed guitar solos during the downright weird “Bear Bee”, which for half its glitchy running time seems to play in gloriously authentic reverse.
There are more surprises too; “Prairie Puppies 2” goes very Mike Sniper / Blank Dogs very quickly via the introduction of a synthesised-sounding bass bubble and a slathering in echo of Anthony Cozzi‘s disinterested vocal. The squelchy closer “Side Of The Road” even brings to a head a nagging strain of new-wave psyche that previously couldn’t quite work out if it wanted to be noticed or not.
When Chicago does break, Radar Eyes could well find themselves at the crest of its wave of destruction – that is assuming the ever-expanding gravitational pull of Brooklyn doesn’t get them first. Either way, their fine self-titled debut not only stands them in very good stead for the future it further cements Chicago as a sleeping giant on the verge of waking up.
Advised downloads: “In Love” and “Disconnection”.
Radar Eyes is out now on HoZac in the US, and released on the 25th June 2012 in the UK.