By Conner Jensen
Norwegian psychic rock band Electric Eye had their first appearance in Bergen back in 2012 at Hulen, followed by the release of their debut album Pick-up, Lift-off, Space, Time. This album led to a lucrative tour for the band, taking them across Europe and building a lot of anticipation for their next album. The band premiered their single “Mercury Rises,” along with a video, to Impose magazine this year, stirring up excitement since this was the first new material they had released since 2013 and this release teased the release of the band’s sophomore album Different Sun, a seven-song, long auditory journey full of European and Indian culture, blues and rock and roll.
The album begins with a hypnotic synthesizer which soon becomes accompanied by the guitars and drums to introduce “Silent by the River.” The song progresses into the first verse, which is full of imagery to take your mind into a different state as the guitar and synthesizer drone on melodiously. Following the first verse is a funked-up blues guitar line, which progresses into a solo that will have your parent’s strumming their air guitars. This blues-esque guitar line then becomes a staple in the remainder of the song, until the listener reaches “All of This Has Happened Before and Will Happen Again.” There is an ominous hum and a distant drum line being played which progresses into an almost tribal jam session, with bongos and a sitar coming into play among the common instruments you would associate with a rock band. The first verse begins with a more existentialist view than the previous song, addressing the repetition of life, hence the title of the song. Following the verse, the song begins the lengthy but satisfying instrumental portion of the song, dominated primarily by the sitar and a groovy base line, providing a unique and satisfying clash of sounds.
The tone then shifts to a more upbeat sound with “Mercury Rises,” the single debuted prior to the album release. Fans of The Beatles will hear similar elements in this song, with guitar-dependent rock and roll sounds and vocal accompaniment from all members of the quartet. However, Electric Eye adds their own flair by adding other-worldly auditory effects and guitar-dependent instrumentals into this definite hit from the album. The groovy feelings don’t stop there, but continue into the next song “Bless.” The song starts with a funk-fueled, thumping bass line along with excellent drum accompaniment. The sitar then chimes in to create a bluesy yet psycho-active sound. This songs verse tells of an inescapable struggle with an individual’s lies and deceit. The bluesy-yet-upbeat nature of this song helps express the irritation yet passivity expressed in the lyrics. The groove doesn’t stop there, but only continues to begin the longest, and arguably best, song on Different Sun, “Heavy Steps in Desert Floor.” Following a whining synthesizer comes a hypnotic piano line. After the listener is entranced in the simple sound, the guitar line and drums come in with an initially pop-punk sound, which soon progresses into a more drone rock with the guitar dominating the overall sound. At about halfway the song slows, and the guitar is left alone as the instruments of the ensemble fly in and out until reaching the united melody again to finish out the song. Much like the lyrics suggest, this song is a journey for the listener.
The song fades into a folky twist on the disco sound of the 70s on a song entitled “Never Fade Away.” The song begins almost instantly with the whole ensemble grooving in a way that has you dancing in your chair and imagining yourself in a skewed version of Saturday Night Fever. The lyrics detail a story of trying to keep someone around, or not to fade away, and the acid-laced groove will have you hoping the sound never fades away. The album comes to a close with an oddly titled song, “Part One.” While there is no part two to this song, “Part One” slows things back down for a mellowed, synthesizer-dominant melody with a prehistoric wail coming in and out. The song then progresses into a somber-yet-eccentric sound, the type that you would expect to hear in a science fiction thriller. This song is a slow and bittersweet end to the auditory roller-coaster that is Different Sun.
Different Sun delivers the flair that the Electric Eye fans have been looking for, while also adding a new refreshing flair to the drone-style music. With the band’s new label JANSEN PLATEPRODUKSJON, listeners can expect big things for this Norwegian group. Their unique sound along with a strange mastery for the mixing of exotic sounds makes listening to Different Sun an unpredictable voyage. One thing’s for sure: once you start your journey, you’re going to be under the light of a different sun.