The austere depression associated with New England winters calls to mind repressed Puritans churning butter in subzero temperatures and flagellating themselves for impure thoughts—or more recently, the unrelenting angst born of too many months in unrenovated loft spaces without heat. Providence, Rhode Island’s Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores embody this frigidity beautifully.
His quiet tenor suggesting an East Coast Elliot Smith, Redfearn apocalyptically mewls over a lone French horn, “Alone down in Olneyville, I’m waiting for the ice to melt off 10 years of raw nerves.” And as if that Providence neighborhood isn’t wretched enough, when he repeats, “I’ve always hated Ohio,” it sounds more like what he really loathes is himself.
Themes of Judeo-Christian catastrophe are reinforced with accordion, the foundation of most of Every Man for Himself & God Against All: layered beneath everything (even utensils in live shows), creating a frenetic sound that reinforces feelings of hurtling toward inevitable expiration.
Redfearn applies biblical imagery to descriptions of the DIY art-school scene from which the Eyesores grew—the same one that fostered noise-rock mainstays Lightning Bolt. “Temptations seep from the walls,” Redfearn sings, against a happy, bleating Weimar burlesque backdrop. “And this little town is pure candy-ass, but it’s got the flavor of sin we prefer.”
Every Man‘s earlier tracks approach perfection; the later instrumentals, overly processed with electronics, sound too much like every other band in a Providence basement covered in original silk screens and a solid inch of dirt, surrounded by performance artists in bunny costumes. The Eyesores are most haunting when they’re least cluttered: when they avoid the dissonance and forced complexity that Thurston Moore creams himself over every time he comes through town.