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EYESTRINGS

Neo-Prog • United States


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Eyestrings biography
This four-piece band from Detroit, Michigan, is headed by composer, keyboardist and vocalist Ryan Parmenter (nephew of DISCIPLINE's Matthew Parmenter) with DISCIPLINE members Mathew Kennedy (bass) and Bob Young (drums) as well as guitarist Alan Rutter from RCA PROJECT completing the roster. Despite the strong DISCIPLINE connexion, however, EYESTRINGS are only a distant cousin, their style being closer to that of SPOCK'S BEARD both musically and lyrically (Parmenter's vocals come quite close to Neil Morse's). Their material is highly song based, with instrumental sections emphasizing the keyboards in particular.

Although Parmenter is the main composer, their album "Burdened Hands" (2004) is definitely a group effort, offering solid musicianship, strong compositions and a mature sound, with an emphasis on 'keeping it together' rather than flashing individual prowess. Sometimes dark, sometimes light, the music is always complex, emotionally charged and compelling. It is also extremely varied - live performances have earned them everything from wild hoots to religious quiet, a testimony to the dynamic range of their repertoire. Quite an impressive and promising debut album.

Fans of SPOCK'S BEARD, ECHOLYN and American-style prog in general will definitely want to check them out.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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ConsumptionConsumption
Split Difference Records 2005
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EYESTRINGS discography


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EYESTRINGS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.54 | 12 ratings
Burdened Hands
2004
3.24 | 15 ratings
Consumption
2005

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EYESTRINGS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Consumption  by EYESTRINGS album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.24 | 15 ratings

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Consumption
Eyestrings Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Consumption from 2005 is the follow up and is 100% better then the first opus who was a pretty forgetable one to say the least. This is much more like it, the compositions, the arrangements and overall sound is better for sure and what is important is more intresting in passages. This time definetly sounds prog to my ears with an eclectic feel to it in some pieces and intresting is that Eyestrings here sounds very Discipline, that combination of Van Der Graaf Generator with King Crimson and some symphonic prog touches here and there, a perfect example is ending track Lifelines. Good ones are instrumental Groove seven, a very nice one with great passages, from guitar and keyboards work at full capacity, ending track is pretty much ok most of the time, has some good instrumental parts quite dark but works for me more then ok specilly the keyboards around min 13-15 very good sound and arrangements, another good one is Valid For A Week. So, definetly more serious release then debute and with a clear direction now towards eclectic zone then Burdened hands. Another awful cover art and booklet, damn designer, because the music this time is good. 3 solid stars.

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 Burdened Hands by EYESTRINGS album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.54 | 12 ratings

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Burdened Hands
Eyestrings Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Eyestrings was formed in 2002 by Ryan Parmenter the nephew of Disciplines voice Matthew Parmenter. He gathered around him two members from Discipline - Mathew Kennedy (bass) and Bob Young (drums) and the a guitar player. Man, this album named Burdened hands released in 2004 is a total waste for me, I mean I've had hard time listning to this at once, it is so dull and full of everything that in the end I didn't know what I've listning to and is to damn long clocking over 65 min in lengh. This has nothing to do with Discipline, musicaly speaking and is not neo prog at all, is hardly related to my ears, really. Besides the opening track Recovery and the ending piece Empty box who are the longest from this album and the best and the most prog this album has to offer, what is in the middle of Burdened hands is absolutly pointless mishmash. And above all I don't really enjoy very much his voice, is ok but far from spectacular. 2 stars is best I can give, the next album is little better for sure then this . Awful cover art and booklet aswell if was something more to gone wrong here.

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 Consumption  by EYESTRINGS album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.24 | 15 ratings

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Consumption
Eyestrings Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A definite improvement over the debut.This one is more dynamic with better compositions in my opinion. I even have a top three when it comes to the songs. Once again i'll remind you all this is Ryan Parmenter's band, his uncle is Matthew from DISCIPLINE and Ryan's band happens to be made up of DISCIPLINE members.This is a concept album about consumption. Oh by the way I never though much about this band's name until I saw the album cover for this one.Yikes !

"All Sales Are Final" is a short intro led by strummed guitar, drums and reserved vocals. "Valid For A Week" has a good full sound to it and it's quite heavy. It settles before a minute with mellotron. Reserved vocals 2 1/2 minutes in then it turns heavy again. Settles with piano 4 1/2 minutes in as contrasts continue. "Stagnant" is a top three track for me. I like the guitar before 3 minutes. The tempo shifts throughout. It's just a laid back feel good song. "Code Of Triple" is another top three tune for me. It has some great sounding raw guitar early. A calm 2 minutes in. Sparse piano and an eerie soundscape takes over. Dark vocals before 3 1/2 minutes. It gets fuller with guitar a minute later. I like the intensity here. It settles 8 minutes in as piano and reserved vocals lead. Great sound. It kicks back in to end it.

"Slate Clean" is dark with drums. Vocals and piano arrive 1 1/2 minutes in. It picks up some. Guitar comes to the fore 5 minutes in. "Groove Seven" is the other top three song. And yes this one grooves pretty good. Some organ too and man they're all just lighting it up 1 1/2 minutes in. Mellotron a minute later. "Lifelines" is the 20 minute closer. Piano to start. Guitar and drums 2 minutes in before it settles with vocals. It gets heavier before 6 minutes but the tempo and mood will continue to change throughout.

Once again the lyrics are very well done and I feel the music is better than on the debut. A solid 3 stars. Good album.

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 Burdened Hands by EYESTRINGS album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.54 | 12 ratings

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Burdened Hands
Eyestrings Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

2 stars EYESTRINGS is the project of Ryan Parmenter who is Matthew Parmenter's (DISCIPLINE) nephew. A couple of DISCIPLINE band members are also part of this band. This doesn't sound anything like DISCIPLINE regardless of the connections. I would say though that Ryan can write some excellent lyrics, not as good as his uncle but then not too many can write that good.

"Recovery" is probably the best track along with the closing one. Piano to open before a full sound arrives quickly.Vocals before a minute. It's darker 3 1/2 minutes in and heavier too. Some tasteful guitar plays over top. Contrasts continue. "Itchy Tickler" is more upbeat and I like the almost dreamy section when it settles 2 minutes in. "Dead Supermen" is melancholic with reserved vocals. Some mellotron here too. "Anachronism" opens with drums as guitar then the vocals join in. The vocals are almost lost in the mix here at times.

"Funnel" opens with piano before drums and vocals arrive before a minute. A prolonged instrumental section ends it. "Just A Body" is laid back early. It's heavier before 1 1/2 minutes. It then picks up and lightens before 2 minutes. Themes are repeated. "Slackjaw" is a song I can't get into with the rough and theatrical vocals. It's so long too. "Nothing" is mellow with reserved vocals.It's fuller late. "Time Will Tell" has a heavy beat and some energy as the guitar comes in. Vocals follow. It's an okay tune. "Empty Box" actually has some bass you can hear 1 1/2 minutes in. Some organ and mellotron too. Good song.

Tough to even offer 3 stars up for this one.

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 Consumption  by EYESTRINGS album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.24 | 15 ratings

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Consumption
Eyestrings Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I thought I had done some very interesting discoveries with this band Eyestrings where comparisons and resemblances were concerned. But after reading the other review here by Igor it appears it had already been noticed by someone else. This second album Consumption (unlike the debut which was much more neo progressive) makes the band indeed sound a lot like Discipline (75%), Radiohead (15%) with a touch of King Crimson (5%) and Gentle Giant or VDGG (5%). And makes the band in this style a strong contender for the eclectic subgenre all over sudden.

So I subscribe Igor's review with the exception of ... his enthusiasm. Apparently many proggers (because I noticed this before) like this switch in style by a band but not me. When a band claims to be a neo progressive band they should play like that and not do something completely different instead. Unless of course they prefer to be a 100% different band all at once. Consumption is a dark progressive album with hardly any straightforward harmonic melodies just a lot of hard to grasp inaccessible strange compositions. Like I said, on itself no problem except for the fact that it's nothing like neo prog should sound like.

So this can only end up as a two star result for me because that's what I usually give when I will hardly play an album anymore for fun reasons. Maybe if I want more challenging music when I'm in that particular mood but that rarely happens I'm afraid. There's simply too much really wonderful music waiting out there to be listened to. And Consumption is not one of them for me. So two stars it is.

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 Burdened Hands by EYESTRINGS album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.54 | 12 ratings

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Burdened Hands
Eyestrings Neo-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars This is a Neo-Prog album which is staring at the AOR market and says "The grass is greener over there". This is an album who does not want to be a prog rock album. You get my drift.......

The first song Recovery is fairly good and proggy. The next two tracks destroys all the credibility of this album in my view (make that "ears"). The first one, Itchy Tickler, has a honky tonk theme and falls flat on it's face. The next one is an emotionally overcharged vocal driven song called Dead Supermen. An utterly horrible song with no redeeming features whatsoever. Both songs are rock'n'roll and not prog whatsoever.

The rest of the album picks up and there are some OK songs here. The band is not hopeless. But this album is all over the place. Mostly in the AOR land. Eyestrings must also had an eye for the likes of Radiohead and the Emo rock scene when producing the songs here. I guess this music is very palatable in the high schools on the US east-coast.

The songs are pretty long on this album. Around six and a half minutes long on average. Unfortunate, long songs does not always make a good album. This is not an album I enjoy. I find it pretty dismal and award it 2 stars.

2 stars

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 Consumption  by EYESTRINGS album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.24 | 15 ratings

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Consumption
Eyestrings Neo-Prog

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is where the band has matured. Check the euphoric reviews below - these guys don't lie!

EYESTRINGS is a Ryan Parmenter’s band. Ryan is a nephew of Matthew Parmenter, DISCIPLINE’s leader and solo artist. Matt is an outstanding songwriter and composer, he manages to make his songs proggy without overfilling them with burden of long instrumental wackery. First EYESTRINGS release failed to meet my expectations – I expected DISCIPLINE-related surely but it didn’t happen. Second EYESTRINGS album offers more solid attempt, and I should note that if you’re into Dark Symphonic Prog you must get this one without hesitation. EYESTRINGS circa 2005 sound as a mixture of that good old DISCIPLINE (which was mixture of classic GENESIS, KING CRIMSON and VDGG) with…RADIOHEAD! Seriously, Ryan’s voice sounds very Thom-Yorkish- alike sometimes, and “Stagnant” is one of that best RADIOHEAD tracks they’ll never make. Epics like “Valid for a Week”, “Code of Tripe” and “Lifelines” (20minutes long!) filled with various tempo and rhythm changes and marked with undeniably catchy melodies floating above them; shorter tracks like “Slate Clean” offer even darker atmosphere, the one that only a man called Parmenter by a surname can put into a song (instrumental “Groove Seven” works as an exception here). Extremely recommended, and the only reason that I’ve abstained from 5 stars is not only Matthew’s shadow over my shoulder tempting me into the lap of comparison, but a strong belief that these folks can do even better.

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 Burdened Hands by EYESTRINGS album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.54 | 12 ratings

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Burdened Hands
Eyestrings Neo-Prog

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After first few listenings I've managed to turn off my "parmenterism"-measuring apparatus and wholly concentrate on the work. Yes, this is NOT anything like dark and moody DISCIPLINE sound which I adore - Ryan's stuff is closer to SPOCK'S BEARD one and typical American Retro Prog of 90s. Personally I enjoyed only two songs (epics) here, as they were somewhow related to DISCIPLINE sound :( OK, I failed to be objective here, but it really didn't click on me. Rather bland record with few enjoyable moments. But I'm sure others will find a lot more to like here - hence 3 stars.

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 Consumption  by EYESTRINGS album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.24 | 15 ratings

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Consumption
Eyestrings Neo-Prog

Review by harmony_lines

4 stars It takes a few listens. Can't argue with anyone about that.

Eyestrings new release "Consumption" almost made me a little nervous the first time or two I listened to it. So many things going on. So many rhythms, so many melodies, harmonies and themes that it was too much for me to absorb it all until, as with all music of this sort, I'd given it time - a few spins - and allowed it to become familiar, to become... mine.

It is certainly worth the time. Now the CD finds it's way into my player every few days of it's own accord and I'm sure it will for quite a while longer. There don't seem to be any weak tracks here as even the couple that didn't grab me as much initially seem to rattle around my head pleasantly far more often than I'd have expected.

My favorite track is the the last one. The CD cover says "Lifelines" is twenty minutes long, but it never seems it to me. With three almost separate introductions, that in combination beautifully foretell some of what we can expect later in the song, the trip to and through the many themes is a wonderful aural carnival ride that grabs the patient listener carefully guides them through the various movements culminating with the final incredibly uplifting section 'Vox Populi,' during which I've found myself getting misty-eyed more than once.

And still, it's rock. Progressive rock to be sure, but first and foremost... it rocks.

Influences? KC for sure. There's some Vandergraff there, a little Gentle Giant or Echolyn. Definitely some Discipline - as the primary writer is the nephew of the front man for that wonderful group and the bass player either is, or has been a member of both bands. Even some Yes comes through every now and again, but these guys have a sound of their own, and one with which I'm sure a lot more people will eventually become familiar.

Creatively? It may be one of the most ambitious releases of the year, and when you combine that with the proficiency and musicality of the group's members (Ryan Parmenter: vocals and keys, Alan Rutter: Guitar, Mat Kennedy: Basses and Theremin, Bob Young, Drums and other things struck) plus writing that rivals the recent best of the genre, you end up with something very satisfying indeed.

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 Consumption  by EYESTRINGS album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.24 | 15 ratings

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Consumption
Eyestrings Neo-Prog

Review by kouder1

4 stars A far more serious album than the band's stunning debut, but overall the music with repeated listening, Eyestrings "Consumption" is a phenomenal album, perhaps one of the best releases of 2005. The quartet is clicking on all cylinders, and not one weak track on this gem, definitely proves that Eyestrings is a band that will a major force to reckon and the band has struck gold two times in a row.....

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