Eyes Adrift Eyes Adrift Review

Released 2003.  

BBC Review

It came to pass that three of the mightiest warrior-musicians did meet. Curt Kirkwood...

Bren O'Callaghan 2003

Assembled in an en-suite at the Mount Olympus Motel for Square Peg Monsters of Rock, it came to pass that three of the mightiest warrior-musicians did meet. Curt Kirkwood (guitar and vocals, ex-Meat Puppets), Krist Novoselic (bass and vocals, ex-Nirvana) and Bug Gaugh (drums, ex-Sublime) emerged blinking into the light. Thus began Eyes Adrift.

Free from the burdensome shadows that threatened to eclipse them, in the wake of the success and tragic deaths of former band members, they have produced a powerful but melancholic album. Their pedigree is a mongrel mix of country punk, angst rock and Stateside ska. However, this, their debut offering, favours the accomplished philosophy of Kirkwood's plectrum.

Occasionally the pace quickens, edging toward the open vein that bleeds still from the corpse of Nirvana. "Alaska" and "Telescopes" bookend a largely mellow debut with a gutteral, chop and change lyricism reminiscent of Cobain's former delivery. Such baggage and weight of talent might easily have resulted in some horrendous fusion-dish. Yet the dough holds shape, rising to resemble vintage REM. The Edward Munch Scream-like form of Michael Stipe hovers greedily over "Sleight of Hand", "Slow Race", and "What I Said" and are all the better for it.

Surprisingly, Novoselic adopts lead larynx for "Inquiring Minds" (a peculiar, even contradictory, attack against media fascination in the Jon-Bennet Ramsey murder case), "Dottie Dawn & Julie Jewel" (unsullied bluegrass riffs), and "Pasted" (fifteen minutes of grizzled muck-slinging at an uncaring music industry). His flawed, apologetic vocals add a refreshing sense of naivety, escaping the chains that bind the trio to past incarnations in favour of a garage rehearsal session after school.

It's a momentary respite, as the album as a whole resonates with a sonorous, elegiac quality. Of being old beyond their years, suspended within 'a time that doesn't pass...sand, frozen in the hourglass' ("Solid"). Who would have thought it? A new super-group who renounce the jock-posturing of recent successors, and raise a glass instead to what has been, and what has yet to be.

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