It may appear cliché to compare every Australian psych-rock band to one other, but The Lazy Eyes actively welcome the company. They’ve made no secret of the impact and the sheer joy that growing up and rocking out to King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Tame Impala, Pond et al have had on their lives. “It was hard not to be inspired,” they told NME earlier this year. “All the successful people you’d see were from America or England, then we suddenly had these Aussie DIY bands just killing it.”
And yes, the comparisons are apt: ‘SongBook’ will scratch a familiar itch for fans of the aforementioned inspirations. The Sydney band’s songs are both approachable and ambitious (see the switch-up to a masterful wig-out on ‘The Seaside’), or appear to know the inside tricks of the trade – hypnotic riffs that crackle and spark – and deploy them carefully, and with flair (‘Fuzz Jam’). As Lauren Laverne aptly posed during her BBC 6 Music show earlier this year: “Who doesn’t have room in their record collection for a band like this?” Well, precisely.
Beyond the familiar name drops and signposts, there are flashes of a band in control of their destiny, and willing to try something new: ‘Tangerine’ is as spritely of a tune you could possibly hope for from a group this early in their career, while ‘Starting Over’ fuses ‘Rubber Soul’-era Beatles with flashes of French space-rockers Air. The album’s closer, ‘Cheesy Love Song’, too, is pleasingly bold, even if the lyrics feel too familiar (“I know my love will die / Kinda like it, when you’re around”).
With time, there’s little to stop the youngsters using their potential to carve out their own lane and develop a sound distinctly their own; you sense it’s a matter of when, not if. But until then, it’s fair to call ‘SongBook’ a job well done, and a dream of joining those psych-rock gods properly realised.
- Release date: April 22
- Record label: The Lazy Eyes