Happy birthday to The 69 Eyes. Thirty years apparently. I mean that’s pretty great going for anyone. It’s funny though that even though I’ve been aware of them for maybe two decades this is our first waltz.
Well opening song ‘Two Horns Up’ dispels a couple of preconceptions whilst confirming a third. The riff this rides is melodic hard rock, more Bon Jovi than Misfits or psychobilly. However the vocals, that rich kind of Eldritch or Sleep Of Monsters’ Ike Vil tone, is exactly what I expected. Goth as a goth in black in summer. It’s ok but not exactly electric. Follow up ’27 & Done’ is, however, much better; sombre, delicious and just sly enough. It’s the kind of crooner that Sleep Of Monsters do so well but with a knowing wink.
This really is the kind of music that lives or dies on the hooks, so to speak. The songs need immediacy which is something that the admittedly dreamy ‘Black Orchid’ lacks for me and the same for the rather maudlin ‘Change’. There is a classy smoothness here, without doubt, but they are so smooth they slide by. Nothing digs in. I mean just so you know this kind of thing isn’t alien to me, there’s a bit of an old goth in me forever and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Also I love a bit of devilish, gruesome twosome fun with rockabilly licks and punk slashes. But here even ‘Burn Witch Burn’ slips into a brand new leather jacket and cranks out a riff that the Sisters left in the studio back in 1985. When they veer closer to a tinge of metal it’s kind of Lordi-lite too; a little bounce, a few keys to decorate. Even the harder riff of ‘Last House On The Left’ doesn’t quite dig deep enough.
Ah, I’m sorry. I hate being so negative so let’s find the good. If you like super slick mid paced hard rock in goth clothes then this should suit down to the ground. It’s easy on the ears and glistens brightly enough to distract for a while.
However if you’re hunting out gleeful gore, mischievous malevolence or the dry cynical poetry of the lost and the weary then keep those worn down bootheels walking. Sorry. Pass.