Release Date: 31st January 2020
Label: Decor Records
Formats: CD, DL, vinyl
Looking to fill an REM shaped hole in your life? With the heroic figure of Peter Buck stepping up to produce The Accidental Falls, it may alert those not in the know to Eyelids, who if you aren’t aware have produced three albums worth of seductive guitar driven pop tunes that may have been flying under your radar.
You may wonder why. They have a genuine pedigree. Eyelids includes members of Guided By Voices, The Decemberists, the Elliott Smith band and Steve Malkmus’ Jicks. Their first record was released in the UK by Tim Burgess and the band toured the UK previously with their friends, Drive-By Truckers.
And with Tim Buckley collaborator Larry Beckett offering to write new lyrics for this current record as well as giving them access to his words from the last four decades, is it a case of a dream come true or how would an outside writer engage with the music?
To be honest, it’s a great fit. Unless you’re a dyed in the wool Eyelids aficionado, you may not be able to spot the join. With the standard ‘write the music then the lyrics’ notion dropping the latter part of the template seems to have allowed a pure musical focus to result in some superbly crafted arrangements.
Once the needle drops, the gorgeously honey coated lull of Dreams, which almost seems from another timeless period, is interrupted by the bounce of the title track. Akin to something like a restrained Pete Townsend composition embellished by the thunder of rolling drums, it sets off a sequence of loud one / quiet one.
We could conceivably have a two-sided record entitled The Dream side and the Accidental Falls side. The Dream side for the chillout experience where Dream, River, and Monterey provide the tranquil option together with Insomnia that’s perhaps the closest musical relation to Buck’s boys.
Then there’s the Accidental Falls side where the leash is off and the guys let it rock, not quite in the sloppy Stones style (close but not touching on At Sea) but refreshingly free. The tense Ceremony shimmers and simmers on the edge of expectation for two and a half minutes before letting go and whilst we’re referencing the great and the good who have gone before, take note of the Beatle-y strings on 1 2 3 and try listening to Found At The Scene Of A Rendezvous That Failed without being drawn to the immortal “I am the eggman, I am the walrus” line at some point.
Influences and backgrounds aside, The Accidental Falls carries a cultured and classy vibe. Soothing and cooling but with a kick that provides a welcome respite from the reverie. It feels like an album we should be listening to on a balmy Summer eve rather than in the winter of our discontent, yet provides a brief respite from turbulent times.
Listen to Found At The Scene Of A Rendezvous That Failed from the album here: