Sore Eyelids – Sore Eyelids LP
Taking their name from a song by influential emo band, The Pine, Sore Eyelids play a pretty obvious blend of emo and shoegaze – not that there’s anything wrong about being obvious, especially since they dabble in both of these styles better than most modern bands take on one. My initial interest in them stemmed from the fact that singer/guitarist Henning from Suis La Lune is involved (and, I believe, is the primary songwriter), which is probably the case for most Sore Eyelids fans, since it’s not exactly a strongly promoted side-project (which was to my dismay, because I had absolutely no idea where to find a copy of this record when it dropped). Those who have listened to Suis La Lune’s latest record, Riala, probably noticed its obvious similarities to the Sore Eyelids LP, as it takes on a very gazed out screamo style, that differs substantially from their previous records. However, those who have paid special attention and heard the Sore Eyelids demo from 2009, and the Youtube demo recording of “I Wish I Could Believin’ You” (recorded and filmed in Henning’s basement), which are what really built hype for this record.
I mention all of this, because as an avid emo and shoegaze fan, I felt like this LP would be something that really hit home for both of these styles – particularly, in the realm of shoegaze, as it’s been a while since I’ve heard anything that really grabbed me. What’s remarkable is that Sore Eyelids are able to capture some of the best of both of these styles, while also creating something that stands well on its own. The LP’s opening track, “I Wish I Could Believin’ You”, is what really set the bar for this record, as it was the first track on the LP that they provided a demo recording of (as I mentioned earlier). Being the first new track I heard since the demo, it really showed Sore Eyelids venturing into more ambitious territory with their sound. It’s the perfect example of how they’ve masterfully created a hybrid of these styles, as the intro riff’s dream pop-esque twang is also driven by the power behind a emo-punk progression they just hammer out from the beginning. It seems like Henning did a lot more to let the shoegaze influence show on this record than on the demo, as he constantly uses the “tremolo strumming” that made Kevin Shields famous, which adds a great touch – particularly, in the sense that this creates an authentically shoegaze sound, so when one hears it used in this way, it’s hard to really think of anything else. Even on a song like “Heart Like A Wishing Well”, which sounds a lot more emo than anything else on the record, Henning seems to use authentically shoegaze effects and techniques to balance out the two styles, so to speak – it may sound silly to explain this in the sense of “balancing styles”, but it makes the LP a lot more cohesive than if they just did one song in one style, and another in another style. The drumming does a lot for the LP in the latter sense, as well, as it often adds a very punk drive to the songs, as can be seen pretty much throughout the record.
The only thing I have to complain about is that they reworked three songs for this record, rather than just doing three new tracks. If anything, this is actually good, because songs like “Can’t Breathe” sound a lot better with the fuller sound of the LP (and even more like My Bloody Valentine and Mineral‘s lovechild, though that comparison could probably be made for the majority of this album), and all three songs fit well in context of the album, but it would have been nice to hear more new material. Even after an entire LP’s worth of new material, I’m definitely a little greedy for more. so I guess that just speaks to how good this album is.