Friday, April 10, 2009

Recommended Artist: The Waking Eyes

The Waking Eyes are a Canadian pop rock quartet who released their sophomore album, Holding On To Whatever It Is, last year. The group is led by frontmen Rusty Matyas and Matt Peters, who share vocal duties in addition to playing both guitar and keyboards, with Joey Penner on bass and Steve Senkiw on drums. The boys play infectious pop music that is genuinely exciting and as much fun as anything in recent memory, with hooks simply packed into each and every tune.

Holding On To Whatever It Is is the kind of album that has a radio-friendly vibe, but remains intelligent and exceptionally executed throughout. Put another way, this is a record that's about impossible to hate and very easy to love. Songs like the groovy "Get Me To The Doctor" and the earnest rocker "All Empires Fall" feel familiar and follow a fairly standard alternative rock template, but they're so catchy and well-written that it doesn't matter much. "Clap Clap" is funky and danceable, "Masters of Deception" is both sinister and cheesy, and "Boyz and Girlz" mixes bizarre electro-rock with a sunny pop style. Throw in a few ballads, like the folk-inspired "Wolves at the Door" and the lonesome "Pick Up Your Number," and you have a record that admirably covers quite a bit of pop territory without feeling too scattered.

The Waking Eyes combine a wealth of influences and styles, using electronics, strings, horns, harmonica, and more to flesh out their remarkably entertaining tunes that make Holding On To Whatever It Is one of my favorite new discoveries. These guys seem to be flying quite under the radar, at least in the U.S., and that's a damn shame, so check them out on MySpace, or head over to their website where you can download "All Empires Fall" for free if you sign up for their mailing list.