Home Read Albums Of The Week: Stone Eye | South Of The Sun

Albums Of The Week: Stone Eye | South Of The Sun

The young Philly foursome serve their postgrunge rock with a hefty dose of prog.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “There is a party going on, a celebration, the 4th of July, homecoming. Or just raise your beer can and give a nod from your porch-rocker. Either works, everyone’s welcome. Philadelphia band The Stone Eye’s record South of the Sun is one of those gems that is familiar yet takes the listener on a journey mapped out in new pathways. Heavy with a layer of glorious weirdness, this album combines a raucous, dirty guitar sound with clever musicianship, vocals that are as hypnotic in harmony as they are diverse in range and a rhythm section as daring as it is ornate and, at times, funkalicious.

The Stone Eye were founded in 2014 by drummer Jeremiah Bertin and singer-guitarist Stephen Burdick. After a few years and a couple of lineup changes — and with former bassist Wolfgang Noll contributing to this upcoming release before his departure — we have now arrived at The Stone Eye‘s current incarnation: The original two members plus guitarist Christian Mechem and bassist Mike Pacca.

When Eclipse Records honcho Chris Poland discovered The Stone Eye, he was taken by the ironic contrast between their visual image, often laced with comedy and biting satire, and the intricate heaviness of the music. This hybrid is better seen than it is told, and one simply needs to watch the videos of the former and latter to see Charlie Chaplinesque chase scenes, cross-dressing sadists in devil masks, purple and dirty-blonde glam wigs, and decapitated heads singing joyfully. They are joined by innovative guitar work (sometimes smoothed over with a tasty layer of muck), a bass with nothing but balls and bottom, and delicious, progressive mixed-meter rhythm changes that reset your spine and boom like thunder in a tunnel.

The Stone Eye are good humored and outlandish, while still maintaining a level of musical innovation that is potent and relevant. Of course, new bands are always subject to comparisons, but this one is difficult to pigeonhole. They just don’t sound like anyone else, at least not comprehensively, like Queens of the Stone Age could be compared to Alice in Chains. The Stone Eye are The Stone Eye. They are new, yet somehow familiar, as if they would play our backyard barbecue in the afternoon and harness the same intensity that evening at a sold-out arena. You may not know where The Stone Eye are going, but they always seem to get there. They induce the listener to explore and evolve. Conversely, they play like they know us. Like good old friends. Like coming home.”