Coming off the success of a critically acclaimed EP can sometimes be a blessing or a curse for a band. There are always questions that when it comes to a full-length format will the band’s sound carry across or does it only work best in short form releases. Luckily for Eye Flys, rather than rest on their laurels, the four piece have wasted no time between the release of their EP Context and this, their debut full-length, Tub of Lard. The two releases are less than a year apart and yet the quartet have come back with an even more ferocious approach to their sound.
This time around the band have taken an unflinching look at themselves, with the title of the record making reference to the unwelcome schoolyard nickname brandished on vocalist/guitarist Jake Smith. The opening track ‘Tubba Lard’ finds Smith spitting back the body shaming insults that he endured during his upbringing , all bolstered by a gritty backing track of screeching guitars and rhythmic drums which really set the tone for the whole record. What make Eye Flys’ approach that little bit more different than your stereotypical punk and hardcore band, is the raw aggression in Smith’s vocals. Instead of being spat out with such venom that they are hidden under a vicious growl, Smith barks them out with such clarity that as a listener, you really sit up and take note of what he is singing about. At times the bands music is a bit disjointed, but in the very best way, like on the track ‘Not Ready For Tomorrow’, a track that starts with a very southern rock influenced sound, before it takes a darker turn with Smith’s commanding vocals.
The more this writer listens to Eye Flys the more Lewd Acts are brought to mind, a band who were gone well before they hit their prime. So if you were a fan of that brand of off-kilter hardcore, Eye Flys will certainly scratch that itch. Even though all members of the band are clearly very competent musicians, Smith’s vocals really are the shining light here, with his unapologetic take on society and culture, and it’s this abrasive nature which really makes this record stand out from the crowd.
Tub Of Lard is released 20th March via Thrill Jockey Records and can be purchased here.
Words: Tim Birkbeck