It seems that hardly a month goes past without something new from Tombstones in Their Eyes landing on my desk. This is fine by me as they have never let me down and I always look forward to hearing any new musical machinations that they send out into the world. Being prolific is great but, as with most things, quality is a more important aspect than quantity. Thankfully this is a band that seems to revel in both and has done so consistently across an array of singles, albums and eps over a number of years.
Hindsight is a wonderful tool, they say, so an album comprised of the best of the band’s tracks, a selection of choice sonic morsels taken from their back catalogue, can only be a good thing. And that is just what Collection is, though I should imagine the title gave the game away long before you found yourself reading this line.
If there is a core sound it might be described as the weight of stoner-rock anthems laced through with a psychedelic ambience, a blend of the heavy and the heartfelt, of the cavernous and the intricate. Perhaps an image of Kyuss waltzing sure-footedly with Pink Floyd across a psychedelic landscape painted by Roger Dean for a Michael Moorcock book cover. Then again, perhaps not.
Some songs expand and grow into roaring masterpieces through walls of post-psychedelic noise such as opener Sleep Forever, others, the majestic I Can’t See The Light, for example, weave in and out of such intensity. And then there are songs such as Happy which are claustrophobic and brooding, the vocals fighting to battle with the waves of melancholia, ironically, which threaten to pull them below the sonic waves.
Always There seems to be constructed from spirals of sound which coil around the central voice and Shutting Down is a searing, squalling slice of creeping, otherworldly grooves, slow-paced but raw-edged and full of menace. And then there are songs such as Silhouette, which hit the listeners senses like a series of controlled sonic explosions, each filling the song with broken shards of noise, creative debris and sonic flotsam and jetsam which is then arranged into pleasing yet raucous shapes.
Collection is a reminder that Tombstones in Their Eyes is one of the most interesting bands making music today. It shows a creative consistency as well as a willingness to make music on their own terms, something which is becoming a rare commodity in this age of likes and followers, social media and PR as a popularity contest.
If you are new to the band, this is the perfect place to start. If the band are already on your radar then this album acts as a wonderful snapshot of their brilliance and individuality as well as a handy sonic photo album. It’s not for everybody, but the best music never is. It doesn’t concern itself with trends, surf zeitgeists or bother to follow fashion or fad.
And doesn’t that sound damned refreshing?