Thursday, May 18, 2017

Round Eye – Monstervision

Round Eye – Monstervision  

The self-proclaimed “loudest band in China” are Round Eye, from Shanghai, and they’re making their way around the globe, having toured with UK greats like The Boys, and US legend the Paul Collins Beat. These tours are constantly going, and many have had the opportunity to play on these packages with the likes of Paul Collins. They are usually punk or pop punk bands, but Round Eye are a different animal. They have everything from 50s jazz to ska and R&B to blend with their punk intentions. You can’t keep that bottled up in one country, so away they’re sailing with Monstervision on their plate.

Joe Bob Briggs(John Bloom of the Daily Show) narrates in the house of monsters to get the blood flowing, and he does by letting the “Commie Blues” loose. And it quickly passes into the deeper thinking “Billy” which almost verges on horror-punk with its shock rock tactics. But there is much more to meet the eyes with a video that gets pretty graphic in its delivery. It’s nothing to be scared about, but Round Eye also aren’t playing to the bubble gum chewing pop punk crowd either. This is a troupe of seasoned players with a horn section, which even puts Joe Bob in his place as he pleads for a lighter shade. But it is not found on that or the following two, in the shape of “Sifter” and “Troma.” As they too, burn the candle at both ends with no slowing down as the guitars take over and the pogo dancing comes directly to mind, body, heart and soul. This is mostly found on the former, but the latter rocks more along its own lines. Then Joe Bob comes back with the funnies and throws John Goodman into it, to double take an ear or two. The music is much better than the spoken word is funny, but it doesn’t take away from the program as it serves the purpose for the taking. Getting lost in the music still happens, and that is all there is to really shake a stick at while you play along.

“Hey Dudes” could even be reminiscent of “All The Young Dudes” if it weren’t about culture being in a tailspin. But glam isn’t the strong suit of Round Eye or anything. You just feel some influences where they come on strong. The last thing they’re up to is being serious, but that doesn’t mean they don’t tackle serious topics. They do occasionally go into them, but they get out of it in some places on Monstervision to contrast that. “Pink House” is one of those times you fall or you don’t, but it’s one of the more well-crafted songs, so there is no ignoring it. They have a good repetitious go at the government with some fine jazz tones to back it. And it plays out very nicely with a howling tone. And that has Joe Bob Briggs telling female jokes before “Cats” and “Richie” get by with upper marks, to still leave Briggs bewildered. But the listener is then treated to “Curami” and gets whisked off to another place, where the outdoors are felt and even smelt for a few long minutes on a thing of beauty which captures one of the best efforts on the whole LP. It just sways with the breeze and takes you away and leaves you wanting more. This is where it pays to get into Round Eye and their eclectic pieces of Monstervision. With the rest coming in as the last, but not least, as it should be. 


Todd Bauer  

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