Eyes of Love - End of the Game - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Eyes of Love - End of the Game

by Jon Burke Rating:7 Release Date:2018-08-17
Eyes of Love – End of the Game
Eyes of Love – End of the Game

A couple years back, Brooklyn's own Andrea Schiavelli debuted an EP from his latest project, Eyes of Love. Though the band's range and power was on somewhat limited display across the record's four studio tracks, the EP was accompanied by several bonus live cuts which revealed Eyes of Love to have a rather expansive, VU/Modern Lovers in their prime, sound that was alive, visceral and deeply pleasing. Thus I had high hopes for their latest LP, End of the Game.

Homeowners," the first single off End of the Game, was promising. An ethereal chorus of oohs and a stripped-down guitar supporting a staccato, spoken word delivery by Schiavelli of verses about "Homeowners of the new world" who "only watch Westworld and die after midnight." "Homeowners" sudden meter/tempo changes, and technical perfection throughout are somewhat reminiscent of artists like Fiery Furnaces. 

"New" gallops along at a brisk clip, the muted, pizzicato guitar acting as a percussive assist to the drum sound. "Players of the Field" with its strings feels a bit like a minimalist take on an Echo & The Bunnymen anthem. "Classifieds Strings," "End of the Game" and "Elevator" are lush reminders of how much effort went into making the record--gorgeous cellos and violins create an almost baroque atmosphere which pairs so nicely with Schiavelli's truly, lovely voice. The lack of distortion or reverb on the guitars on tracks like "There's A Party" feel like missed opportunities to pepper the record with the kind of edgier, post-punk sound that press materials for the record hint at. 

There are so many hip influences on Eyes of Love's collective sleeve: Arthur Russell, Jonathan Richman, Bill Callahan, Scott Walker, Talking Heads... the list goes on and on but, on End of the Game, the stripped-down minimalism of the Russell/Richman influence dominates. For me, this was mildly disappointing because while the intensely plucked guitars, complex rhythms and strings are all masterfully played, everything sounds flat. Not every band needs to have an epic sound but, as the live tracks from the Eyes of Love EP  demonstrated, Schiavelli's band has the skills to make something bolder and much more sonically expansive than the fourteen tracks that makeup End of the Game. I wanted to love End of the Game but ended up with more of a theoretical appreciation for the album instead. 


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