What first drew me to Highland Eyeway was their unique sonic landscapes, framed in a blend of shoegaze, psychedelic rock, and folk rock, reminiscent of bands like The Brian Jonestown Massacre. On their new self-titled LP, they have upped their production value, and produced a set of nine songs that build upon what drew me to them in the first place. Heavy instrumental tracks like “Xen” coexist with much gentler ones such as “Iva’s song” creating an album that is dynamic and never bores the listener. Despite weak vocal moments, this album is filled with infectious rhythms, noisey guitar solos, and a theme of adventure and introspection.
The album grabs your attention instantly with a light acoustic guitar rhythm and a strong electric guitar riff. This song gets moving very quickly, and reminds me of driving down a mountain road in North Vancouver, windows down, and fresh autumn air against my face.
While the higher quality production makes the guitars much brighter and more lively, it does not always do justice to the vocals. In their previous release, Royal Green the vocals bleed into the rest of the instrumentation, due to their lo-fi quality, and adding dynamic grit to the melody. At moments in this album, the vocals sometimes break apart and distract from potentially catchy instrumental moments.
This problem, however, is not always present. As, in the song “Olive,” Highland Eyeway fully realize their sound. Lyrics such as “All of my friends, they suck / Follow someone get stuck” repeat throughout this 10-minute track, and when I listen to it, I am forced to contemplate my place in life, and the community that I belong to. The effects on these vocals allow them to sit perfectly within the winding jungle of acoustic and electric guitars. Songs like these set Highland Eyeway apart from other psychedelic rock bands.
The outro track is aptly titled “Tomorrow.” A simple acoustic guitar tune with some running water in the background. You can hear the slides on the string very clearly, as if you are sitting right next to the player, hanging with them at a riverside. It’s time to leave, and Highland Eyeway knows exactly how to say goodbye.