Eyestrings return with a follow-up to their debut album Burdened Hands (released in 2004) called Consumption. This time around the music has a darker, deeper feel than the debut with the complex harmonies, haunting yet passionate vocals done by Ryan Parmenter and excellent guitar work supplied by Alan Rutter. Ryan also plays keyboards that fits the music perfectly. Not too flashy or somber, just somewhere in between. Joining Ryan and Alan are Matthew Kennedy on bass and Bob Young on drums. You might remember Matthew and Bob from the band Discipline (Ryan’s uncle, Matthew’s band).
On Consumption the band is coming into it’s own thus securing itself as one of the more important progressive rock bands of the modern age. There’s been some obvious comparisons to Discipline, which is only due to Ryan’s namesake and the fact that two members of Discipline are in Eyestrings. Other than that there’s very little similarity, to my ears. In many ways (while being a fan of Discipline) Eyestrings has gone to the next level especially in the production. Not to knock Discipline but their records while great had more of a D.Y.I. feel to it and Eyestrings recordings fill more space within the songs.
The whole Consumption album flows nicely so I don’t have a single favorite but the standout tracks for me are "Valid for a Week", with it’s combine complex and accessible music styles within the same song. The other is the last song, "Lifelines", the token epic which clocks in at 20 minutes but doesn’t feel anything like that.
Consumption is one of the finest discs of contemporary American prog rock and gets a very high recommendation from me. While they have they’re unique in their own special way, bands that they can be compared to are early Spock’s Beard (The Light) and latter day Echolyn (Mei & The End Is Beautiful) as well as Discipline’s Unfold The Staircase. So if those bands tickle your fancy or you’re willing to expand your musical horizons, then pick up a copy of Consumption today!
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on January 10th, 2006