Novelist/music writer Jonathan Lethem recently issued a challenge: randomly inviting musicians to actualize the fictional centerpiece of his recent rock-and-roll novel You Don’t Love Me Yet — an invented opus called “Monster Eyes.” So far, Lethem’s posted two versions on his site and they’re . . . meh. Not even remotely on the same planet of greatness as what’s posted (here for the first time on the Internet!) below.
The band responsible is Hallelujah the Hills, a Boston six-piece who’re not crunk, black metal, or western swing despite MySpace reports to the contrary. Ostensibly named for the ridiculous 1963 Adolfas Mekas indie-comedy, HtH is actually a happy, poppy joyous Moog/cello/Melodica musical collective who finished third in Salon’s Song Search for their eponymous fight song “Hallelujah the Hills.” Sort of impressive considering that one of the bands they lost to was Bishop Allen.
Hallelujah the Hills’s recorded stuff has always been pretty great, but “Monster Eyes” is fifty shades of AM-radio awesome. Admittedly, Lethem’s lyrics look kind of dumb on the page (“Get you/out of range/of my/monster/eyes”), but somehow they’ve managed to turn the four-line refrain into an absolutely gorgeous piece of psychedelic ’60s pop— the Moody Blues without the melodrama, Love without the drugs. Call the musical glossies: this might just be the “Best Song You’ve Never Heard.”
Tonight, Hallelujah the Hills open at the Mercury Lounge, playing at the unenviable time of 7pm. You should kill time before the Ponys and go. What else are you gonna do?