Posted on November 14th, 2012 (9:15 am) by Mark Schiffer

The question of surviving on one's own terms is an essential one. We process our philosophical influences, books we have learned from, and lessons our parents taught us with our own sense of intuition. This is how we act, make important decisions, and develop our personas. We create music in the same manner: We process our influences, music we grew up with and have connected with, with what we truly feel inside. There is no crime to being derivative, as long as the personal creative process still occurs.

Shelf Life, by All Eyes is an album which does this in an effortlessly listenable manner. The music itself is undeniably derivative, but at its core there is a singular feel that, while it can be tied to other genres and artists in the long run, makes Shelf Life a quite effective. The gothiness of the Cure, the smoothness of Sade, and the cereberallness of Radiohead all combine on this album to create a powerful whole.

The Sade influence will without question put some listeners off, and it must be said that even we at IYS had a bit of a hard time with it at times. The songs that pursue that overly smooth ends have a tendency to blend together into an aesthetically pleasing but empty Diamond Life haze (“Lost You Once”). Despite this fact, there is a darkness implicit on all tracks that sometimes overrides the somewhat slick production that will undoubtedly appeal to some listeners. This darkness gives All Eyes their individuality, and makes Shelf Life a more than worthwhile listen for those who enjoy female-fronted keyboard pop, with a touch of gothiness. All Eyes is at their best when they stir up their music into a turbulent stew, as they do on the delightfully witchy (but a little too on-the-nose with its Curey guitars) “All I Want.”

Other highlights include the dusky, violet-accented ballad “Rush Hour,” which obtains an effectively eerie mood which is repeated on the closing title track. “Vulture Eye” contains angry guitars which makes it sound almost like something from EMA's Past Life Martyred Saints (unfortunately, it cuts off all-too-quickly), and “I Will Come Through” sports a drone that synchronizes it with the best of Sonic Youth's late-'80s work.

The allusions to Sade and Radiohead on All Eyes's Shelf Life in the long only truly serve to show that it was a somewhat daring decision to combine the aesthetics of the band's influences. While it certainly isn't polished perfection – once again, the singular mood has the ability to force some of the songs to blend together - Shelf Life will without question provide aural pleasures for those who prefer their keyboard pop with a slightly darker edge.

Track List:
1. Warning Signs
2. On the Sidelines
3. Lost You Once
4. All I Want
5. Clean Slate
6. Them Miracles
7. I Will Come Through
8. Rush Hour
9. Vulture Eye
10. If Only
11. Shelf Life

All Eyes - Shelf Life
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

76 / 100
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