It’s November 2, 2006. I am anxiously awaiting a free show featuring the Icelandic quartet, Amiina. As I pacify time and space through the consumption of numerous alcoholic elixirs, I smell the faint stench of a fog machine. Knowing that this could only mean that a great performance is about to ensue, I turn around on my rickety stool to see the four members of Sleepy Eyes of Death setting up an unfathomable amount of keyboards which, I imagine, would be the penultimate wet dream of any musically inclined Octopus. For about 40 minutes SEOD attempt to break sonic barriers, cloaked in a blanket of smoke and succinctly timed lights. My drink remains untouched as I become transfixed by what is occurring on the small stage in front of me. When the final snare drum is struck, I know that I have just witnessed my new favorite Seattle band and I will be spending countless hours telling anyone who will listen about this new sound.
Sleepy Eyes of Death is the brainchild of Andrew and Joel who started the project in 2004 with two keyboards, a guitar, and a drum machine. Keith and Cassidy would join a year later and SEOD would begin focusing on more layers, synths, and live drums. Brandon also gets credited as a band member for doing all of the fog, visuals, and lighting for the live shows. This credit is due because SEODísl live shows are unmatched in Seattle. SEOD is currently unsigned and has been releasing albums under the ëSleep Capsuleí title with the exception of the Dark Signals Remixed digital release which was distributed by Mass Mvmnt.
SEOD’s first album, “Street Lights for a Ribcage,” is a great introduction to the bands sound and has one of the most powerful electronic songs ever made on it, “Tired Channels.” This song uses a combination of ultra-saturated keyboards and a screaming guitar to create an overwhelming wall of sound reminiscent of Mogwai or M83. It gives you the sense of falling through lightning infused clouds in the night at terminal velocity. There are a couple of ambient tracks on this album to satiate your hunger for minimalism.
SEOD’s latest album, Dark Signals, is a masterpiece from front to back and was produced by Matt Bayles (founder of Minus the Bear who also produced albums for Isis an Mastadon). For this album, Matt Bayles was able to extract an amazing amount of emotion out of the arpegiated keys and mix them evenly with the live drums and soaring guitars. The album comes to a conclusion with an amazing song titled “Crushed by Stars.” Slow, heavy, heart-pounding, triumphant. This song would later be covered by the Seattle 8-bit outfit, Truckasaurus, on Dark Signals Remixed, which is a compilation of different artists doing covers of songs from the Dark Signals album.
Make no mistake, SEOD is coming. Their induction into URB magazineís 100 Bands to watch in 2009 is a testament to their relentless drive to become a staple amongst the electronic shoe gaze community. If you havenít heard them yet check them out. They are not to be missed.