Eyeless in Gaza

New Risen

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Predating the Rust Red September album by a couple of months, the New Risen EP features the winning title track, an example of how Eyeless in Gaza even at its most winningly pop still approached things from a strange, off-kilter angle. The rhythm and piano part is rather irregular, a tribute to Becker's ability to find an indirect way around something that's still winning and catchy -- similar to Bates' singing, warm and soaring without being conventional. "Bright Play of Eyes," which also ended up on Rust Red September, features a wonderful synth orchestration that set against the gentle semi-waltz-time rhythm and Bates' echoing electric guitar part and clean vocal simply works wonders. Two otherwise unavailable numbers fill out the full 12" version of the EP: "Scent on Evening Air" has an appropriately fragile, quietly beautiful lead keyboard part and unusual bell rhythm supporting a passionate Bates vocal, while "Drumming the Beating Heart" has an equally fine organ arrangement working with Bates.