The Invisible Eyes

Laugh in the Dark

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If the Ponys had listened to the Doors and the Seeds a lot more than the Velvet Underground, they might have ended up sounding something like the Invisible Eyes, which has less to do with the obvious fondness for the Farfisa organ the Eyes share with those bands than the thick and murky psychedelic throb that oozes through their debut album, Laugh in the Dark. Aubrey Nehring's guitar and Janet Hurt's keyboards merge to create a strange, nocturnal sound that packs a more menacing wallop than what most garage punk outfits are capable of these days, and their sonic lurch is kicked forward by Adam Svenson's hard-stomp drumming and Ian Barnett's subsonic bass patterns. The Invisible Eyes have figured out how to take the basic building blocks of garage punk and turn them into something that's exciting and very much their own, but while Laugh in the Dark documents a really good band, the problem is that band is still learning the ropes of writing songs that are worth their while, which is the album's most significant flaw. Good as Laugh in the Dark sounds (and Conrad Uno's production mines the band's swampy charge for all it's worth), the disc wears out its welcome before it's over simply because the songs cover too much of the same territory, over and over again, for their own good. Still, there's enough good stuff on the Invisible Eyes' first long-player to confirm their status as a band to watch -- they need to work on what they're playing, but they've got how they play it down cold.

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