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Eyesberg - Masquerade CD (album) cover





3.78 | 42 ratings

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3 stars Eyesberg took 34 years to cook up their debut, Blue, but didn't need nearly so long to churn out this successor to the album. It's neo-prog in a style which I'd be inclined to compare to recent Galahad - in that it's got the sort of mild Genesis influences you expect of neo-prog groups of a certain vintage, but greatly updated in terms of the electronic influences they allow to percolate into the music.

It's competently done, but it does rather feel a bit neo-prog-by-numbers at points, and in terms of the lyrical themes they explore the band indulge in the sort of what I think of as "grumpy divorced dad nostalgia" that can plague the neo-prog scene a bit. You know the kind of thing - the sort of sub-Big Big Train griping about how Things Ain't Like They Used To Be (though there's plenty of music from the good old days that reminds us that things weren't so great back then either!). Where I look to neo-prog music for something emotionally engaging - whether that's IQ-style psychedelic excitement, Marillion-esque emotional gravitas, or whatever - Eyesberg instead deliver a lot of rather clueless griping.

Take a case in point: one of the songs starts off with vocalist Malcolm Shuttleworth singing about how social media's terrible and nobody talks anymore. Now, this is a position without credibility (I could go off on a long rant about it, but suffice to say that if you believe people are using social media to the extent of cutting out seeing people in person entirely, I would say that you are either projecting your own boring social isolation onto others or fundamentally misunderstanding how people use it - it's a useful accessory to and facilitator of other interactions, not a replacement for them), but let's set that aside: Facebook launched in 2004, and Twitter launched in 2006. We are dealing here with a social phenomenon which is a decade old; the time when you could pretend to be "with it" and in tune with current issues simply by saying something uninformed and unsupported about social media is well and truly past.

I take issue with this not because I think songs about social media are inherently bad, but I would say that they've been *done already*, and if a band feels the need to do a song about the subject and then entirely fails to say anything new about it beyond some dull platitudes - and, even worse, doesn't even manage to dress up the platitudes in a way I haven't heard a dozen times before - that suggests that they are rather short of ideas. And that's how I'd characterise Eyesberg: they churn out pleasant enough material, I wouldn't rate the album below three stars, but until they start doing something I haven't heard before too many times already they're not going to get beyond three stars.

Warthur | 3/5 |


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