Water From Your Eyes have steadily made a name for themselves delving into the realm of eccentricity, with a steady stream of releases. The Brooklyn based experimental dance duo made up of instrumentalist Nate Amos, and vocalist Rachel Brown return to this mindset with their new release “Everyone’s Crushed.” The album is out on Matador Records, who the band had recently signed with on their latest step of progressing along different labels, as their presence in indie scenes has grown, and as their sound has evolved from something universal, to something more audacious and experimental. Trekking closer to newer frontiers.
The album opens on the song “Structure” with a roboticized rendition of a flamenco guitar playing throughout the light but dreamy track. It’s sputtering and glitchy with its digital portrayal, along with vocal samples pitched up and down. The song’s title is a very tongue in cheek nod to their previous album of the same name, which unlike all their other full-length albums, lacked a title track. Also, like its predecessor, “Everyone’s Crushed” plays around with an albums structure.
Near the end of the album is the track “14” which starts out with a shallow rippling ambience, as it builds with the might of an orchestra. Slowly, it crescendos towards a climax filled with sentimentality. Like a sauntering somber walk away from a closing curtain. Reflecting on memories of the good things that have past as it simmers back down.
Water From Your Eyes then follows up the perfect album closer with the song “Buy My Product.” The true closing track is more akin to the quirky dance tracks that show up throughout the duo’s discography. It gives the feeling like it’s there as an afterthought means to cement the vaguely anticapitalistic themes found on the record. However, being familiar with the band would give the listener the feeling that it’s intentional. Another way to have a fun subversion of expectation.
Though the album does seemingly have more distinctive themes, relating to things like constant repetitive productivity in the corporate world, there’s nothing concrete. Instead, the primary purpose of the words is to use their morphemes to enhance the music and its flow. Like on the track “Out There,” where the chorus is just a string of one syllable words tied together by sheer sound. It’s as Rachel Brown put it in an interview with KRUI, “The lyrics are more about presentation than they are about intention.”
Two of the most energetic points in “Everyone’s Crushed” come with the singles “True Life” and “Barley.” Both have a very similar song structure, with a first and a second vocal part that perfectly overlay on top of each other to create a claustrophobic swirling effect. Playing over this is the constant hit of a brash sound marking the beat.
Image via Pitchfork
“Barley” in particular is formed exceptionally well. Amos’ No-Wave-esque composition with a shuffling drumbeat and bustling bass line both are put together with a sliding siren like guitar, and warbling synth lead. All of this with the repetitive ring of a discordant phone chime. Brown’s vocals go from a deadpan counting to a staggered resonation. All these cacophonous sounds are organized perfectly together to make one of the most unique, and best tracks of the year.
This energy isn’t sustained on the album and mellows out on the rest of the tracks, which can hurt how engaging moments on the record are. The songs “Open” and “Remember Not My Name,” both also having a near mirrored song structure, are marked by a driving ambience, blanketed over by a hazy atmosphere. Shredding through this are the searing sounds of sawtooth synths and droning harsh noise. Like bright red flares cutting apart a serene night sky.
The noisy clamor and abrasive dissonance of sounds are composed into odd yet cohesive pieces. Water From Your Eyes eclecticism and broadening array of sound along with their ability to make it feel genreless is what makes them captivating. “Everyone’s Crushed” is out now on Matador Records. You can listen to it on their Bandcamp and other streaming services.