The Lens

A Word in Your Eye

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Take an enduring rock group (make it a prog rock one; the fans tend to be more stubborn), give it a strong cult following, a proto-band where the bandmembers learned the tricks of the trade, and an ultra-rare demo cassette in which they once demonstrated their young chops. Sooner or later, the fan base will demand that the long-lost album be reissued. If the members of the group have any pride, they will refuse the idea. That's what Mike Holmes and Martin Orford, key members of the Lens who went on to find fame in IQ, did. No TV Tonite, the Lens' self-released tape from 1978, is in no shape to be made available again. So, in a heartwarming gesture for the fans (and similar to IQ's re-recording of Seven Stories Into Eight), they entered the studio to record fresh versions of a repertoire they hadn't touched for 20 years. Sadly but expectably, the result, A Word in Your Eye, was not worth the wait. The compositions are those of adolescents learning to digest their influences. The dreamy synth-ridden "Sleep Until You Wake" sounds like bad Enid or Jade Warrior. "On Stephen's Castle Down" pairs acoustic guitar and flute in a pastoral tune reminiscent of Steve Hackett's Bay of Kings (although it probably predates it). The arrangements (multi-layered keyboards and atmospheric guitars, plus drums by IQ's Paul Cook) sound closer to modern-day Jadis (Orford's other band) than any "missing link" between old-school and second wave prog rock (aka neo-prog). One redeeming factor can be found in "Choosing a Farmer, Pt. 3," which held the fetus of IQ's "Widow's Peak." For the devoted only.

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