Over the course of their first two albums, Singapore’s Subsonic Eye has established itself as one of the pre-eminent dream pop outfits in their native country. Both their debut Strawberry Fields (2017) and follow up effort Dive Into (2018) are charming and delicate in equal measure, brimming with shimmering melodies and an understated ethereality. Hints of a bit of ambition dotted those records such as the trippy electronica of ‘Blue Dream’ and the delicate drum machine of ‘178’.
With this in mind, one would be forgiven for thinking the group might be tempted to explore those tendencies on their recently released third album Nature of Things. However, that is not the case at all. Instead, the group have opted to head in a more organic direction featuring a rawer indie/alt-rock indebted sound and a even bit of indie-folk.
A real highlight of this newer approach is the single ‘Fruitcake’. An upbeat track full of chiming guitars, a frenetic drumbeat and the typically catchy vocals of Nur Wahidah, the song scurries and sways its way through its three minute run time. Sure, the vibe here isn’t a million miles away from what the group have gotten up to in the past, but it is certainly a lot more urgent and playful. Another track that benefits from this approach is the mathy ‘Further’, which is delightfully twee.
Elsewhere, the group embrace indie folk elements on the reflective ‘Consumer Blues’, which kind of sounds like Woody Guthrie filtered through a modern lens, and the short instrumental title track which is replete with a kind of tabla-esque drum beat. Meanwhile, ‘Cabin Fever’ sports a distinctly latter day Sonic Youth vibe in its intro. The erstwhile New York avant grade rock pioneers also provide an influence on the noise experiments present on album closer ‘Unearth’ which playfully throws the song structure guide book out the window.
This is an accomplished and confident effort from Subsonic Eye which showcases their ability to combine easy melodies with a bit of ambition and experimentation. Hopefully the record is a sign that Subsonic Eye is here for the long haul and will continue to experiment and tweak their already pretty impressive sound.
Order the beautiful vinyl copy of the album via Bandcamp.
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