Formed in the late 90’s, The Red Eyes have marked their 25th Anniversary with an album release. The irony of the title will not be lost on you when you get the chance to hear it. “Falling Thru the Cracks”, if you hadn’t heard of them then you’ll realise how apt the title is.
The epitome of punk rock was always to record and release your own material on your own terms and The Red Eyes have done just that. Perhaps not so groundbreaking as it once was but to do it in your own studio and record and produce such a high-quality release is testament to the integrity and determination of the band, in particular Alan Bishop. They drafted in Gordon McNeil of Stellasound to Mix and Master and he has done a stellar job!
The 5th full album from The Red Eyes follows on from their “Man and Boy” album which was nearly 5 yrs ago. How time flies and without stating the obvious, the last two years may have impacted the time between releases. The new album has seen the band move up a gear both in song writing and execution. Right from the off, “Judge, Jury, Executioner” demonstrates how far they have come. Alan’s lyrics efficiently gets the message across of the world we live in where “toxic accusations lead to separation”. Tempered anger but well delivered. The raw production of their earlier work has been ironed out but there’s enough left to inspire. Alan certainly knows how to engage and does so sublimely with “The Rude Boys are Staring Back”. The obvious inspiration of the song is in the title and will resonate with anyone who’s familiar with The Ruts. The guitar work through-out the album is richly layered and in this second track on the album pay homage to Paul Fox as well as Malcolm Owen. There’s even a Dave Ruffy drum fill near the end. Very slick and passes the old grey whistle test. To appreciate “In Your Head”, the stereo imaging is best heard with headphones as the edgy guitars swap from ear to ear. Alan’s vocal delivery is upfront in the mix and the harmonies work well. The lead guitar breaks from Alex fit perfectly into what is a very busy song sonically. In stark contrast, “When the Last Note Died” brings a very different fell to the album. After three banging tunes, the haunting piano intro resets the perception. The song kicks in and true to form, Alan continues his narrative styled lyrics to tell the story of The Miami Showband Massacre in Ireland. A tragic tale but worthy of recounting if only to celebrate their memory. The band use their music craft to elevate, and the clever chorus does that immaculately.
The story telling continues with “Spend, Spend, Spend”. A tale of monetary madness that could still be as true in 2022 as it was in 1961 when Viv Nicholson famously told a reporter of her intention to blow her winnings from the football pools. The lyric, “Forever planted on the National Psyche…. No Regrets as the fall was mighty” resonates as it ultimately describes the femme fatale whose image is best known adorning the cover of The Smith’s single, “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”. It’s not miserable but there’s some real melancholy with “Dead in the Water”. The song uses acoustic guitars and orchestration to deliver its message. A solemn reminder that we’re often unable to surface from the dark times in life. Another soul-searching song “Welcome to My World” explores the alienation and futility of the day-to-day world of its subject. It’s not all doom and gloom but “You could be the 1,2,3,4” sings of unrequited love. “Never Ending Love Affair” is not as it seems, as the love is not what you might think. The haunting melody and harmonies provide an uneasy feeling as you realise what the subject matter is about. It’s such a well-crafted song and the minor chords and subtlety demonstrate the astuteness of the song. The uneasy feeling from the last three songs is released with “Power, Glory and Greed”, another perfect example of how far the band have come since their inception. The slick guitar work is a perfect platform for the lyrics. The self-explanatory title describes the world we live in. “The Girl Next Door to the Girl Next Door”, is a pure self-indulgent pop punk song of teenage angst and the apprehension of young love. The nostalgia continues with “We Were Gonna’ Make It Last Forever” as the song signs off a near perfect album.
If the imposed lockdown gave the band the opportunity to work on this album, then perhaps the 2yr imposition was worth it but don’t take my word for it, do yourself a favour and discover this album for yourself. It has an instant feel-good factor as it stirs emotions inside that you forgot you had. The musical influences might be familiar but more than just a tribute to days gone by but inspiration if you’re looking for it.
Follow The Red Eyes: