Lest we forget the oedipal fate of Dr. Xavier in the cult film Man with the X-Ray Eyes, human beings are not meant to see more than meets the eye. Even with sharp vision, we register only one-tenth of the visual spectrum; try as we might with vitamins, eye drops and thick glasses, we're still missing 90 percent of the picture. So we endeavor to expand our other horizons (read: compensate) as far as the mind can see.
Yet, dynamic local trio The Seeing Eyeballs never needed to put on spectacles for enhanced perception. Who Always Puts Acid in My Coffee? (Bewareness), the band's second full-length, finds three multitalented dudes diving headlong into the fourth dimension without ever leaving their sneakers.
The band sounds out its vision with a loose-fitting, hard-hitting approach to noisemaking. Dave Halloran strikes the skins and the keys (and sometimes the vocal chords) while Kevin Happe and Jack Mullen make fair trade of the guitar, bass and singing duties, stirring up a heady froth of bluesy, porch-lit storytelling and psychedelic sidewalk rock.
Just as rootsy as it is spacey, Acid in My Coffee moves restlessly through the lo-fi underground, like a subterranean UFO abducting your senses in the blink of an eye. There's a prevailing earnestness to The Seeing Eyeballs' sound that links every sonic abstraction back to the very core of the song. Bubbling up from the bedrock, "Vintage Criminals" wakes up the neighborhood with cutthroat guitars and trampling bass. "Even Margins" follows in stride before Halloran's snare snaps back to a slinking pace while Happe screams, "And everything must fall from the sky / and rise from the ground / and then go back down."
The Rhodes organ floats "Surfaces of the Sea" into new terrain (where banjos ride spaceships) while "Magazine Dust Highway" rolls along at the pace of a lovelorn tumbleweed determined to unravel itself before dawn. Stumbling gracefully toward catharsis, "Crystal Sands" beckons closure and The Seeing Eyeballs deliver. "Calves and Ankles" conjures up some twinkling, light-sensitive tones, only to scuff them up and send everything barreling back into the depths of our perception.
You don't need to read between the lines to see how it sounds. If your eyes take offense, just pluck 'em out and plug The Seeing Eyeballs into your empty sockets.
The Seeing Eyeballs CD release with Wake. 10 p.m. Sat., Aug. 2. Gooski's, 3117 Brereton St., Polish Hill. 412-681-1658
- Vintage criminals: The Seeing Eyeballs