Water From Your Eyes
by trevor elkin
photo: wojciech powalka
Proving that you don’t have to be in the same State, let alone the same room to make phenomenal music together, here’s Water From Your Eyes self-titled debut EP.
Split between Chicago and New York, the pop-dance project of Nate Amos and Rachel Brown defies this long-distance partnership to create something warm and familiar. Don’t assume that means there’s nothing new to discover here, this land is unchartered. Labouring the metaphor a little more, you might triangulate their position somewhere between the soulful hypnotism of Cross Record, Desire’s obsession with 80s noir and the abstract dreams of New Order’s ‘Power, Corruption & Lies’.
Here’s the thing about this EP: it catches you completely off guard from the outset. “1,2,3,4” intones a voice like some kind of robotic Jeeves, then we’re thrown into the midst of a metronomic rally between rim shots and bass hooks. Next, a wave of synth sunrise engulfs the whole thing with light, bright enough to cast onto Brown’s already glowing vocal as she breathes “I am barely a shadow” (definitely an understatement). It’s obvious, from that initial count-in and the tightness of the pacier tracks ‘Can’t/Won’t’ and ‘Give Me Up’ that Water From Your Eyes are all about rhythm, not just beats. The repetition is layered and it drills deep, all the while the contrasting weightlessness of Brown’s voice keeps things moving, seemingly, in slow motion. It’s this effortlessness and ease that really opens up other facets to enjoy on this record after many listens.
For example, the skittish interplay between bass, percussion and guitar on ‘You Just Drive By’ makes for quite an awkward backdrop. However, like perceiving order in chaos, there’s a pattern to be heard if you listen hard enough and Brown’s phrasing deftly moves in and out of it. Closer, ‘I Don’t Want To Be Here’ returns to well-trodden musical ground with nods to eighties pop. Yet it celebrates, rather than emulates, the sound of that era, recreating the sense of wonder maybe felt at the time – an escape slide, deep into a past that never was. Jump in, below.
‘Water From Your Eyes’ is out now on Grandpa Bay Recordings