Grey Eye Glances

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Eventide Review

by Kenneth Bays

How likely was it, at the tail end of the grunge era, that a young band would come along with such an emphasis on musicianship and melody -- not to mention an unabashed fondness for '70s progressive rock? "Pretty" was the touchstone of Grey Eye Glances' first major-label release; from the guitar chime of the mid-tempo "Hard" to the unlisted reprise of the chilling "Passing of the Evening," each song sounded painstakingly thought-out and tastefully performed. Somewhere between the folky pop of 10,000 Maniacs (Jennifer Nobel's vocals, in particular, bear a strong resemblance to those of Natalie Merchant) and the lightweight side of Peter Gabriel, the music here was unrepentantly precious and, above all, slick; the burbling drum program that underpins "There" would have seemed excessive even ten years earlier. When it worked, though, it REALLY worked: "Halfway Back" set sharp lyrics to an exquisite melody before shattering at the end into a chaotic swirl of keyboard ripples, and "In the Company of You" deftly married unpredictable harmonies to a country-ish rhythm. Granted, Eventide completely lacked any sense of spontaneity, which perhaps explains why the band failed to expand its primarily folk audience, despite the presence of a major label. But faulting Grey Eye Glances for overproduction would miss the point, since that sense of craftsmanship was the very thing that set Eventide apart from nearly everything else going on in commercial music at the time.

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