4 Coyotes

Float in the Eye

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Released in July of 1990 by Scat records, Float in the Eye marks the first release by Cleveland's (or thereabouts) 4 Coyotes, though they had previously released material under the name the Ghost Sonata. Headed up by guitarist/vocalist Tim Tobias and rounded out by his brother, Todd, on drums and guitar, Mark Kunz on bass, and Jon Willis on guitar, 4 Coyotes played fuzzy rock with a restrained but very present pop sensibility. With songs that read more like fragmented accounts of bad dreams than the study-hall poetry that so many groups pass off as lyrics, 4 Coyotes' songs have an overwhelmingly dark air about them. "Dirty Skin" offers up a young, frustrated portrait of Cleveland with lines like, "This town doesn't look much different than the way I feel/It's a dirty town, and it's a dirty life." "Vision of Wolves," "Mudorbloodorwhat," and "Starts All Over Again" share similarly disenchanted perspectives coupled with vivid, almost cinematic imagery. Putting a fresh spin on what too often seems to be a stale genre, 4 Coyotes were well ahead of the 1990s' alt-rock revolution, and had they come along a few years later they would have been among the movement's stronger, more interesting acts. After 4 Coyotes called it quits, the band splintered off into separate groups, perhaps the most notable being the Tobias brothers' formation of Gem with Doug Gillard of Death of Samantha and Cobra Verde. Doug Gillard and Tim Tobias went on to join Guided by Voices, though they continued to record with Gem (a strong, guitar-heavy indie rock outfit who is too often written off as merely a Guided by Voices footnote).