Jack With One Eye

Pop in Jack With One Eye's debut full-length The Bad Sleep Well, and you might forget that it comes from a Dallas band. In fact, the album sounds like it would be much more suited to sport the name 4AD down the spine—and I don't mean the current incarnation of 4AD; I mean that classic, fucking-loud-in-some-spots-melodically-hooky-in-others shoegaze that would have something by Vaughan Oliver or just an image of blood on the cover. That balance of half dirt-angry, half luxurious that 4AD and bands like Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine and Lush (on a good day) were known for, is where Jack With One Eye—Mila Hamilton, Ian Hamilton (Nervous Curtains) and Benjamin Burt—excels.

But that nod to the past doesn't pigeonhole Jack as out-of-date. If anything, the band has paid homage and updated that tortured and often misused label of shoegaze to something less intentionally sentimental, less faux ethereal and more powerful. The Hamiltons' shared vocals are, at times, appropriately married ("The Vultures Are Circling") and, at others, perfectly absent for instrumental forays that mold a moody hybrid of organ jazz with drone ("Theme Pour L'Obscurite") while never becoming tiresome.

You could call The Bad Sleep Well ambient, angry, romantic, urgent and noisy depending on the track. But you can't call it predictable.

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Merritt Martin
Contact: Merritt Martin