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ORSTRALIA - THE LIVING EYES


Geelong! I hear you say. What’s that all about? Well, if you like your rock raw and full of six string noise makin’ pedal abusers; knuckle dragging primitive thud; and pissed off, bored sounding throat shredders; then look no further than Geelong I say. Still not convinced? How about I throw Bored!, GOD, Magic Dirt and Warped at ya! And now that I’ve got your attention let’s jump straight into recent times. Geelong is still spewing out quality reprobates with bad attitudes & ruthless guitars. At the forefront of all this mayhem is the mighty Anti Fade label founded by Billy Gardner. Anti Fade has unleashed some absolute modern game changers such as Ausmuteants, Hierophants & Orb into the Australian rawk scene. Billy, (also known as “the man in too many bands”) has played in some of the better batterers of so- called instruments to crawl out of the Geelong scene; including Ausmuteants, Cereal Killer and Smarts. But, I want to talk about a killer rough diamond in Billy’s back pocket called The Living Eyes. There’s Billy out front, Dayle Herber (low end throb), Mitch Campleman (six string abuse) and Nick Hill (tub thumper), all of whom would go on to form half of the other bands in Geelong. They formed in 2011 & are definitely part of that long lineage of Geelong ear bleeding merchants, but with a particular swagger all their own. Their garage punk grooves not only had the up & down, but also the in & out with the occasional side to side as well. They had perhaps knowingly or unknowingly, tapped into that 60s Pebbles/Back From The Grave garage punk sound while still being fueled by the face melting, Geelong garage rawk goodness we all love. They released three full length albums, six 7”ers including a split with the Frowning Clouds and appeared on a stack of comps on various formats. For my money they never failed to bring the goods! 

THE ALBUMS :

THE LIVING EYES (Anti Fade 2013)
Produced by Mikey Young of Eddy Current Suppression Ring. Their surly brand of garage rawk has a confident swagger on this, their self- titled debut. The Eyes really belt it out from the get go. Amongst the clatter there’s some serious song writing chops on display. It’s all very economical and to the point, with the longest of the eleven songs (and possibly their best) “Up And At Them” is all said and done at the three and a half minute mark. The outing proved that the killer 7”s that preceded it were no fluke.




LIVING LARGE (Anti Fade/Agitated 2015)
 

The second LP was recorded in one fell swoop in a day and a half at Owen Pengelis’ Goliath Professional Recording Studio in Sydney and then mixed by (who else!) Mickey Young. Billy is definitely a cut above the rest on the six stringed twanger, adding tasty little blasts of catchy, in your face solos sprinkled in all the right places. Ear candy galore, with melodic almost new wavey garage rock (is that even a genre?!?) that grooves as much as it rocks. “Dry Spell” is a perfect example of the new genre I just invented in the previous sentence. A brilliant follow up to the killer debut rekkid. 






MODERN LIVING (Anti Fade/Neck Chop 2017) 

Twelve bangers with a driving groove and a ton of attitude that just won’t give in. Billy’s vox are in full on snot mode. With the guitars set to stun; the songs are more riff based and not as concerned with melodies this go around. But they do stick in your melon. Recorded by Stu Mackenzie of King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard in their Flightless studio space in Brunswick and mixed by none other than Mikey Young (where does he find the time?). Modern Living is faster paced, angrier and has that classic Geelong sound stamped all over it. For my money, “Horseplay” is the stand out. Kicks like a mule with it’s nuts in a vice. If this is the last we hear of the Living Eyes, it’s an eye poppin’, brain mashin’, body convulsin’ punk shed burner (we don’t call ’em barns in Australia) to go out on!! Long live the Geelong scene and it’s trashing of your feeble idea of what punk rawk is!!




Ben Rankins

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