Photo credit: Razy Faouri
A song title like “Last Time I’m Falling in Love” could go a number of different ways, but it’s the finality of the words “Last Time” that drive the dark atmosphere of this particular tune, the latest single from Eyedress’ upcoming LP Let’s Skip to the Wedding, out August 7 on Lex Records.
Eyedress is the solo project of Idris Vicuña, who left his native Philippines at age 6 for a stint in the States (Phoenix, Az.; San Clemente, Calif.) where he picked up a penchant for punk that he brought back with him when he moved to Manila at 15 and formed the noise-pop band Bee Eyes. His Bee Eyes bandmate, Julius Valledor, taught Vicuña how to make loops and samples. Idris’ first recordings as Eyedress (get it?) were released in 2012, followed by a string of LPs, EPs, and singles, several released by mega-indie label XL Recordings. After signing to London-based Lex Records, Vicuña released the impeccably titled Manila Ice in 2017 and the largely autobiographical Sensitive G in 2018. Following the latter release, Vicuña relocated to L.A., and his new album marks his first made entirely Stateside.
The ingredients of an Eyedress song are simple enough: brittle electronic drums, icy synths, nimbly picked bass and guitar, and (often, though not always) whispered vocals, all drenched in reverb. The five tracks previewed so far from Let’s Skip to the Wedding (it sports a healthy 19 total) are pleasantly somber mood pieces, sounding equal parts artificial and authentic. Vicuña’s punk rock influences bubble forth in interesting ways: the DIY album art, for one, and the efficient, sub-three-minute runtimes, but also in the way a melody reminds ever-so-slightly of the Buzzcocks, the way the guitars will play pretty then unexpectedly jut out at Gang of Four-ian angles, the way the spare instrumentation evokes the cold simplicity of the Cure’s early post-punk albums like Seventeen Seconds and Faith.
“Last Time I’m Falling in Love” features a pair of looping minor key guitar lines and droned vocals dripping with reverb, leaning into a darker sound sure to appeal to fans of Diiv. Check out the Bobby Astro-directed video below; though the repeated line “I’m running from the cops” inspires Astro to show just that, the plot quickly evolves into far more than a simple chase scene, with surrealistic dream logic suitable for a musical style that keeps the listener at arm’s length yet invites you to come closer. | Jason Green