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MaryJanes2ndLastDance

Thoughts on Hypnotic Eye...TPATH's best record!

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    Hypnotic Eye is the best TPATH album, if you separate his solo albums from band records.

 

    Regardless, best or second…Hypnotic Eye is a great album.

 

    When I saw the trailer for the record, a lot of the song snippets sounded good and I had a feeling this would be a good album but I didn’t let myself get too hopeful. And yet…when I purchased it I had a good feeling.

 

This was justified as soon as track one played. TPATH were rocking in a way they hadn’t for nearly twenty years.

 

I guess some referred to this record as a return to roots, or a throwback to Damn The Torpedoes; but it’s not. 

 

    It’s TPATH making a rock-n-roll album, something they hadn’t done in years, returning to the style, the spirit of Damn The Torpedoes but with nearly forty years of experience behind it.

 

    That they could release an album of such power, experimentation and heart at this point in their career is amazing and an impressive tribute to creativity and the result of dedicating one’s life to Art.

 

    Big words, but the record supports every single one. 

 

American Dream Plan B——right from the beginning there’s both a heaviness and a faster than usual tempo that lets you know something special has begun. Tom’s voice took a little while to get used to, sounding the closest to the 70s than it has in years. It was a little jarring but quickly fit the tune, a simple yet effective riff with an amazing acoustic part thrown in over a tight, yet bouncy rhythm. 

 

    That riff and groove is relentless, Benmont knowing just when to come in, with a simple yet wonderful little keyboard part. The song explodes on the chorus. And what a bridge! The chords and music feel elevated right into that great greasy solo.

 

     Despite some of the defeatism in the lyrics, the overall mood is defiant. It’s a good rock song to start the album. A nice blast of heavy, crunchy guitars with a lot of space between the instruments so the song can breathe as it rocks. And Mike’s slide playing during the outro is great.

 

Fault Lines——Track two and another classic. The swing of the bass and drums are excellent! The bass is so thick. This song grooves along at a good tempo, it swings, it rumbles. It sounds like a spy theme from a 60s movie. This is possibly the best song they’ve written in the past 15 years. It sounds like nothing else they’ve done but rocks and flows seemingly efforltessly. 

 

    What’s interesting is how Tom’s voice manages to sound plaintive while the music thunders below.

 

    The break in the song works great at heightening the tension with another cool riff. When the song kicks back in it sounds twice as powerful. And that riff during this part and the outro is great. Wow, what an enjoyable song.

 

    And Steve’s work on the cymbals…they add so much to the swing, as essential as every part in the song, which is what the Heartbreakers are all about, in every album, from songs I love to those I dislike, each instrument doing exactly what it needs to do, in interlocking sonic layers that sound deceptively simple but reveal so much more with careful listening.

 

     Fault Lines is a stunning example of this band working on all levels. 

 

 

 

Red River——What I like about these three opening songs, is that they all rock but in different ways. American Dream Plan B stomps ahead in step with its  defiant lyrics, though still being odd enough to throw in that acoustic part. Fault Lines grooves along on the fence between jazz and rock. This song is something else.  What a bridge, Mike’s playing slightly reminiscent of Don’t Come Around Here No More. The sparse playing makes everything feel so much larger and it just comes out of nowhere.

 

The lyrics could seem to mock the woman, but come across as more playful, more hoping she’ll move away from the tokens of faith or fake gimmickry, to a purer form and take control of her own life. Child she never named…is he talking about abortion. Guilt from abortion? Or is this just another symptom of her loneliness, the wish for a child and all that comes with it, husband, house, etc. I don’t know.

 

Red River is a powerful name, it makes one think of blood, of menstrual flow, of something feminine and primal. This song has a bit of menace to it, looking down into her soul…what is she going to see? I’d like to think Tom’s offering her a chance to start fresh with her life, to confront whatever is in her as the first step to expunging it. 

 

 

 

These three opening songs are the best, in my opinion, they ever recorded. Each one a good rock-n-roll song but each one unique, sounding simple but having lots of creative touches and shifts in tempo and feel that make each one powerful.

 

Just a great start to this record!

 

 

 

Full Grown Boy——something new from the band. It almost sounds like jazz mixed with light rock. I didn’t like this song at all the first time I heard it but very quickly it grew on me, it goes down easy like a nice shot of smooth liquor. It sounds like jazz mixed with the beatles. Steve has a light touch on the snare, Mike, per usual, coming in with just the right lead here and there. When Tom sings about his mind floating away, the music feels like the clouds rising with him, buoying him upwards. 

 

It’s a soothing song, a good one to listen to past midnight, just thinking about nothing at all. 

 

 

All You Can Carry—This song is about tension. The riff instantly kicks in, keeping up that feeling throughout the song, a nice contrast with the way Tom slurs the last word of each verse. And it has  one of Tom’s best lyrics:

 

“There’s something moving in the dark outside; I got to face it when it hits the light.”

  

    Right there. It’s so powerful. With a few simple words he expresses fear and the courage to deal with it; a defiant feeling, perfectly expressed while the band rumbles along underneath.

 

    Mike has such a wonderfully thick guitar sound on this one. The chorus almost has a lazy feeling to it, almost as if Tom is stepping outside the song for a moment before returning to it. Mike's leads explode across this song. It's like Mojo on steroids. Which fits the never giving up feel of this song!

 

 

Power Drunk——It’s an easy song to overlook or view as filler, but the more one listens, more and more interesting things are revealed. I’ve my own interpretation as to what he’s singing about and I'm sure others have their own, but the theme is easily understood regardless of specifics. Musically, this is a grimy moody bluesy number. I like the way the riff and Steve’s drums work together is good. At first it doesn’t seem like much is going on here but then there’s quite a bit. The brief increase in tempo with those chords at around 2:26 (that return in the outro) change the song, elevating it from something bluesy to something more interesting and powerful. The thick lead. Once again, it’s like they took the blues and filtered it through their own unique musical sensibilities, so while it seems kin to the blues, it’s actually much stranger. 

 

    When I think about it now, Power Drunk and Shadow People sound like musical reflections, not just in lyrics but musically as well.

 

 

Forgotten Man——Much like Saving Grace, this song feels like it owes much to Bo Diddley. I still like it though, the lyrics giving it a lot of punch, particularly the four letter word one. I love the way the guitars build during the intro and middle. Steve’s drums are pretty good, the way he drives the song. Once a again, a really interesting shift with the acoustic guitars and the rhythm before that sharp solo! And again, Steve’s drums just punch along.

 

 It’s an angry song, with some of Tom’s best turns of phrase. "I understand the dark when it hangs upon the water" "I feel like a four letter word, I know what few can know, how angry words can pierce the heart how a soul can sink so low." Heartfelt painful lyrics contrasting with a rocker. This is an angry song, one given over to bitterness and angst, perhaps a necessary contrast to the hopeful heart of American Dream Plan B and the tenderness of the song that follows:

 

 

Sins of My Youth——It almost feels like Full Grown Boy part 2. Which is a good thing. But it’s not a sequel…it has its own style, its own vibe. What a delicate love song, delicate and moody. Tom’s vocal choice is great, the way his voice almost sounds like a whisper, the way his voice tremors, adding to the heartfelt emotions in this. Steve keeps a nice tap-tap sound going on the drums, kinda busy, keeps the song moving so it’s not just a standard ballad (which I think it would’ve been had it been recorded years ago, let’s say, during Echo or something), it’s much more interesting. Touching heartfelt lyrics with a slinky, spacey beat. 

 

Is this record overall Steve’s best showcase with the Heartbreakers? I think so. 

 

 

 

U Get Me High——This song grooooves. The guitar bit coming in and out gives the song a lot of space and power, building right up to that fantastic chorus. That bass! It’s excellent. The chords on the chorus are great. Someone here pointed out the similarity in lyrics between this and Don’t Fade On Me. Which is the only weak part of the song. I don’t know if it was deliberate or him unknowningly repeating himself. Either way, it doesn’t affect my enjoyment.

 

    The way the bass interlocks with the chords is perfect and Mike’s solo is great, but particulalry around the 2:10 mark, the way he bends the strings, the way the sounds stretch…it’s amazing.

 

 Another defiant song. “ain’t afraid of the grand deception” “blows into smoke on deeper inspection”. Great lyrics. Of course, you have your own take on the lyrics, for myself, I like to think of it as a tribute to his own creativity, to the Muses, to his artistic drive and Imagination and how that is beyond any drug.

 

Burnt Out Town—is any easy song to overlook, as you can see. I edited it back up in here. It’s the weakest track on here and comes across, on the surface, as little more than a rollicking bluesy number in a style the Heartbreakers could play half awake. But man, that playing! So much fun energy from Benmont's piano work to the snap of Steve's drums.

 

It’s a playful song with rambunctious energy and touches on the theme of corruption that crops up on this record. The song grew on me, is fun to listen to and works in its 2nd to last position. Overall, it’s an effective palette cleanser before the big finish of Shadow People.

 

 

Shadow People——My one major criticism of this song is it needed to explode, to kick into double time during the outro soloing to feel more of a piece with the rest of the album. This riff is a good backbone for a moody, longer piece, the music matching the somber lyrics. I like how it opens, some gentle piano playing that works as a palette cleanser from what came before but also hints towards the song's gentle ending. 

 

 Once again the band deliver a solid, bluesy groove with a nice cutting riff. And what's that noise at around the 55 second point? I think it's a keyboard effect that sounds like a dial tone. Interesting. I'd be disappointed if this song ended the record if not for the hopeful ending, more of which I get to below. The space before the bridge is an excellent, gentle and moody break from the somber lyrics and heavy riffing. Which leads into another tasteful, gritty Mike solo!

 

 

   This album zips by, every song the perfect length, and flowing together seamlessly, each offering its own distinct feel while maintaining the album’s integrity. A great album has a great flow and that’s what Hypnotic Eye does, it flows.

    By the time the coda of Shadow People ends, the crunchy chords of American Dream Plan B kick right in for another listen.

 

   I’m happily surprised with this album; a band’s best record doesn’t usually arrive  this late into their career. But here it is, album lucky #13 for TPATH and it’s their best. 

 

   TwoGunslingers brought up a good point in another thread about Tom realizing he couldn’t compete with Nirvana and perhaps that was the impetus for the direction he went into with Wildflowers. 

 

    And it’s true, he couldn’t do what Nirvana does…nor should he. But they can still deliver a rock-n-roll album with decades of experience behind them. HE rocks without them trying to do something form the 70s, nor a bad rockabilly homage, nor an attempt to be Pearl Jam. They recorded an album that sounds like nothing else out there, but can easily stand up to their earlier work.

 

    Stepping away from the record itself, I would think, out of Tom’s recent work, these songs stood the most chance of being appreciated by an audience who hadn’t heard them, so it’s a shame so few were performed in concert. Fault Lines…once! Better than never, though. Aside from extending Shadow People, and maybe a tiny bit of the intro to Forgotten Man, the songs are performed pretty much like the record, which makes sense. But it’s too bad they won’t ever have a chance to evolve in the live setting as I doubt any will survive this tour.

 

    HE has one of the better album covers. When I saw a version of it online, I thought it looked utterly terrible. But it works in reality. It’s definitely a different image and while TPATH have largely boring record covers, this one is refreshingly different.

 

    This album covers a variety of moods, with rock songs made of interesting riffs and unexpected shifts, with a solid rhythm, and a clear, crisp sound. 

 

    Whatever the Hypnotic Eye is, television, corporations, corrupt government, any kind of system or ideology oppressing people, these songs not only examine the topic, but acting as a whole, defy it.

 

   Hence the last hopeful lyrics at the end of the album, when the guitars and drums have all dropped away. For an album that rocks, it’s fitting that the last words are over gentle music, it’s like Tom’s saying that no matter how dark things may be, with the power drunk, the burnt out towns, the Shadow People, in the end there’s hope and the promise of a better day ahead. 

 

   When viewed like that, the record almost feels like a concept record, with songs of darkness and corruption overpowered by ones of personal love, reflection, defiance and artistic inspiration, all while offering up unique songs and new territory for the band while rocking at the same time. 

 

    For all these reasons and for the ones that defy easy expression, this record is my favorite of TPATH’s, second only to FMF and a very close second at that. 

 

    I think it’s just a great record by them and will one day be considered as much a classic as Damn The Torpedoes. I love putting this in the cd player and listening to it from beginning to end, enjoying the variety of feelings while tapping my foot to the beat and savoring every crunch of the guitar.

 

cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I think your review is fantastic, so great reading your postings and the knowledge and passion you invest into them. I agree it is one of their best records mainly due to the rhythm which Tom said most rock bands today just don't have or play with. Steve Ferrone as you have stated turns in his best performance with the band, Ron's bass is as good as ever and another crucial element is Tom's singing he sounds angry, confused, sad, the emotions come out in his ever so good phrasing to suit each song. Power Drunk and Shadow People especially. Mike always knows where and when to infuse a song with his masterful tones and solos. Great song writing and varied stylings just bolster the whole thing. Glad this album reached #1 on Billboard it at least reminds casual fans or people who had not followed the band for years probably to commerical mainstream not playing them on radio, the demise of MTV whatever, that TPATHB are as good and as creative as ever. 

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Burnt Out Town—is any easy song to overlook, as you can see. It’s the weakest track on here and comes across, on the surface, as little more than a rollicking bluesy number in a style the Heartbreakers could play half awake. But man, that playing! So much fun energy from Benmont's piano work to the snap of Steve's drums.

 

It’s a playful song with rambunctious energy and touches on the theme of corruption that crops up on this record. The song grew on me, is fun to listen to and works in its 2nd to last position. Overall, it’s an effective palette cleanser before the big finish of Shadow People.

Edited by MaryJanes2ndLastDance

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In retrospect, I'm glad the band put out such a strong album as their last one. I gotta disagree on best, because I don't think any of the albums tops Damn the Torpedoes, but Hypnotic Eye is one of the greats.

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There's a song on the Rolling Stones " between the buttons " UK version or the US " flowers" CD/album called " please go home " that has the same groove as " forgotten man ".  When I first heard this cd , I figured Tom was reaching back to his youth for inspiration . Check it out on you tube and see what you think. Great review though.  

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Just personally  :wub: Fault Lines, American Dream Plan B (can't dance for shit), Full Grown Boy & Red River.  

Now because of your review, there's an image about Red River that won't go away.  Thanks for nothing!;) I was happy for her to be living near the Red River.  

On a happier note, somehow the character in Full Grown Boy reminds me of the musician from Making Some Noise from Into The Great Wide Open album.

As I'm sure you'll know, Florida boy Gram Parsons (whose album Grievous Angel  TP praises) had a song called I Can't Dance. The guy who can't dance is one of the "unfortunate few".  A stretch to link it to American Dream Plan B? Maybe, but it works for me.  :rolleyes:

I can't dance
I never could
I guess my feet don't match
I'd get out there on the floor but
I'm afraid of hurtin' my back
I can't dance
I guess I'm just one of the unfortunate few
So just for a little bit, baby
I'll come out and dance with you
But I can't dance and I'm feelin' so good, yeah
Some of us can, some of us can't
Some of us wish that they could dance
I can't dance
I guess I'm just one of the unfortunate few
So just for a little bit, baby
I'll come out and dance with you

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On 21 November 2015 at 7:45 PM, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

    Hypnotic Eye is the best TPATH album, if you separate his solo albums from band records.

 

    Regardless, best or second…Hypnotic Eye is a great album.

 

    When I saw the trailer for the record, a lot of the song snippets sounded good and I had a feeling this would be a good album but I didn’t let myself get too hopeful. And yet…when I purchased it I had a good feeling.

 

This was justified as soon as track one played. TPATH were rocking in a way they hadn’t for nearly twenty years.

 

I guess some referred to this record as a return to roots, or a throwback to Damn The Torpedoes; but it’s not. 

 

    It’s TPATH making a rock-n-roll album, something they hadn’t done in years, returning to the style, the spirit of Damn The Torpedoes but with nearly forty years of experience behind it.

 

    That they could release an album of such power, experimentation and heart at this point in their career is amazing and an impressive tribute to creativity and the result of dedicating one’s life to Art.

 

    Big words, but the record supports every single one. 

 

American Dream Plan B——right from the beginning there’s both a heaviness and a faster than usual tempo that lets you know something special has begun. Tom’s voice took a little while to get used to, sounding the closest to the 70s than it has in years. It was a little jarring but quickly fit the tune, a simple yet effective riff with an amazing acoustic part thrown in over a tight, yet bouncy rhythm. 

 

    That riff and groove is relentless, Benmont knowing just when to come in, with a simple yet wonderful little keyboard part. The song explodes on the chorus. And what a bridge! The chords and music feel elevated right into that great greasy solo.

 

     Despite some of the defeatism in the lyrics, the overall mood is defiant. It’s a good rock song to start the album. A nice blast of heavy, crunchy guitars with a lot of space between the instruments so the song can breathe as it rocks. And Mike’s slide playing during the outro is great.

 

Fault Lines——Track two and another classic. The swing of the bass and drums are excellent! The bass is so thick. This song grooves along at a good tempo, it swings, it rumbles. It sounds like a spy theme from a 60s movie. This is possibly the best song they’ve written in the past 15 years. It sounds like nothing else they’ve done but rocks and flows seemingly efforltessly. 

 

    What’s interesting is how Tom’s voice manages to sound plaintive while the music thunders below.

 

    The break in the song works great at heightening the tension with another cool riff. When the song kicks back in it sounds twice as powerful. And that riff during this part and the outro is great. Wow, what an enjoyable song.

 

    And Steve’s work on the cymbals…they add so much to the swing, as essential as every part in the song, which is what the Heartbreakers are all about, in every album, from songs I love to those I dislike, each instrument doing exactly what it needs to do, in interlocking sonic layers that sound deceptively simple but reveal so much more with careful listening.

 

     Fault Lines is a stunning example of this band working on all levels. 

 

 

 

Red River——What I like about these three opening songs, is that they all rock but in different ways. American Dream Plan B stomps ahead in step with its  defiant lyrics, though still being odd enough to throw in that acoustic part. Fault Lines grooves along on the fence between jazz and rock. This song is something else.  What a bridge, Mike’s playing slightly reminiscent of Don’t Come Around Here No More. The sparse playing makes everything feel so much larger and it just comes out of nowhere.

 

The lyrics could seem to mock the woman, but come across as more playful, more hoping she’ll move away from the tokens of faith or fake gimmickry, to a purer form and take control of her own life. Child she never named…is he talking about abortion. Guilt from abortion? Or is this just another symptom of her loneliness, the wish for a child and all that comes with it, husband, house, etc. I don’t know.

 

Red River is a powerful name, it makes one think of blood, of menstrual flow, of something feminine and primal. This song has a bit of menace to it, looking down into her soul…what is she going to see? I’d like to think Tom’s offering her a chance to start fresh with her life, to confront whatever is in her as the first step to expunging it. 

 

 

 

These three opening songs are the best, in my opinion, they ever recorded. Each one a good rock-n-roll song but each one unique, sounding simple but having lots of creative touches and shifts in tempo and feel that make each one powerful.

 

Just a great start to this record!

 

 

 

Full Grown Boy——something new from the band. It almost sounds like jazz mixed with light rock. I didn’t like this song at all the first time I heard it but very quickly it grew on me, it goes down easy like a nice shot of smooth liquor. It sounds like jazz mixed with the beatles. Steve has a light touch on the snare, Mike, per usual, coming in with just the right lead here and there. When Tom sings about his mind floating away, the music feels like the clouds rising with him, buoying him upwards. 

 

It’s a soothing song, a good one to listen to past midnight, just thinking about nothing at all. 

 

 

All You Can Carry—This song is about tension. The riff instantly kicks in, keeping up that feeling throughout the song, a nice contrast with the way Tom slurs the last word of each verse. And it has  one of Tom’s best lyrics:

 

“There’s something moving in the dark outside; I got to face it when it hits the light.”

  

    Right there. It’s so powerful. With a few simple words he expresses fear and the courage to deal with it; a defiant feeling, perfectly expressed while the band rumbles along underneath.

 

    Mike has such a wonderfully thick guitar sound on this one. The chorus almost has a lazy feeling to it, almost as if Tom is stepping outside the song for a moment before returning to it. Mike's leads explode across this song. It's like Mojo on steroids. Which fits the never giving up feel of this song!

 

 

Power Drunk——It’s an easy song to overlook or view as filler, but the more one listens, more and more interesting things are revealed. I’ve my own interpretation as to what he’s singing about and I'm sure others have their own, but the theme is easily understood regardless of specifics. Musically, this is a grimy moody bluesy number. I like the way the riff and Steve’s drums work together is good. At first it doesn’t seem like much is going on here but then there’s quite a bit. The brief increase in tempo with those chords at around 2:26 (that return in the outro) change the song, elevating it from something bluesy to something more interesting and powerful. The thick lead. Once again, it’s like they took the blues and filtered it through their own unique musical sensibilities, so while it seems kin to the blues, it’s actually much stranger. 

 

    When I think about it now, Power Drunk and Shadow People sound like musical reflections, not just in lyrics but musically as well.

 

 

Forgotten Man——Much like Saving Grace, this song feels like it owes much to Bo Diddley. I still like it though, the lyrics giving it a lot of punch, particularly the four letter word one. I love the way the guitars build during the intro and middle. Steve’s drums are pretty good, the way he drives the song. Once a again, a really interesting shift with the acoustic guitars and the rhythm before that sharp solo! And again, Steve’s drums just punch along.

 

 It’s an angry song, with some of Tom’s best turns of phrase. "I understand the dark when it hangs upon the water" "I feel like a four letter word, I know what few can know, how angry words can pierce the heart how a soul can sink so low." Heartfelt painful lyrics contrasting with a rocker. This is an angry song, one given over to bitterness and angst, perhaps a necessary contrast to the hopeful heart of American Dream Plan B and the tenderness of the song that follows:

 

 

Sins of My Youth——It almost feels like Full Grown Boy part 2. Which is a good thing. But it’s not a sequel…it has its own style, its own vibe. What a delicate love song, delicate and moody. Tom’s vocal choice is great, the way his voice almost sounds like a whisper, the way his voice tremors, adding to the heartfelt emotions in this. Steve keeps a nice tap-tap sound going on the drums, kinda busy, keeps the song moving so it’s not just a standard ballad (which I think it would’ve been had it been recorded years ago, let’s say, during Echo or something), it’s much more interesting. Touching heartfelt lyrics with a slinky, spacey beat. 

 

Is this record overall Steve’s best showcase with the Heartbreakers? I think so. 

 

 

 

U Get Me High——This song grooooves. The guitar bit coming in and out gives the song a lot of space and power, building right up to that fantastic chorus. That bass! It’s excellent. The chords on the chorus are great. Someone here pointed out the similarity in lyrics between this and Don’t Fade On Me. Which is the only weak part of the song. I don’t know if it was deliberate or him unknowningly repeating himself. Either way, it doesn’t affect my enjoyment.

 

    The way the bass interlocks with the chords is perfect and Mike’s solo is great, but particulalry around the 2:10 mark, the way he bends the strings, the way the sounds stretch…it’s amazing.

 

 Another defiant song. “ain’t afraid of the grand deception” “blows into smoke on deeper inspection”. Great lyrics. Of course, you have your own take on the lyrics, for myself, I like to think of it as a tribute to his own creativity, to the Muses, to his artistic drive and Imagination and how that is beyond any drug.

 

Burnt Out Town—is any easy song to overlook, as you can see. I edited it back up in here. It’s the weakest track on here and comes across, on the surface, as little more than a rollicking bluesy number in a style the Heartbreakers could play half awake. But man, that playing! So much fun energy from Benmont's piano work to the snap of Steve's drums.

 

It’s a playful song with rambunctious energy and touches on the theme of corruption that crops up on this record. The song grew on me, is fun to listen to and works in its 2nd to last position. Overall, it’s an effective palette cleanser before the big finish of Shadow People.

 

 

Shadow People——My one major criticism of this song is it needed to explode, to kick into double time during the outro soloing to feel more of a piece with the rest of the album. This riff is a good backbone for a moody, longer piece, the music matching the somber lyrics. I like how it opens, some gentle piano playing that works as a palette cleanser from what came before but also hints towards the song's gentle ending. 

 

 Once again the band deliver a solid, bluesy groove with a nice cutting riff. And what's that noise at around the 55 second point? I think it's a keyboard effect that sounds like a dial tone. Interesting. I'd be disappointed if this song ended the record if not for the hopeful ending, more of which I get to below. The space before the bridge is an excellent, gentle and moody break from the somber lyrics and heavy riffing. Which leads into another tasteful, gritty Mike solo!

 

 

   This album zips by, every song the perfect length, and flowing together seamlessly, each offering its own distinct feel while maintaining the album’s integrity. A great album has a great flow and that’s what Hypnotic Eye does, it flows.

    By the time the coda of Shadow People ends, the crunchy chords of American Dream Plan B kick right in for another listen.

 

   I’m happily surprised with this album; a band’s best record doesn’t usually arrive  this late into their career. But here it is, album lucky #13 for TPATH and it’s their best. 

 

   TwoGunslingers brought up a good point in another thread about Tom realizing he couldn’t compete with Nirvana and perhaps that was the impetus for the direction he went into with Wildflowers. 

 

    And it’s true, he couldn’t do what Nirvana does…nor should he. But they can still deliver a rock-n-roll album with decades of experience behind them. HE rocks without them trying to do something form the 70s, nor a bad rockabilly homage, nor an attempt to be Pearl Jam. They recorded an album that sounds like nothing else out there, but can easily stand up to their earlier work.

 

    Stepping away from the record itself, I would think, out of Tom’s recent work, these songs stood the most chance of being appreciated by an audience who hadn’t heard them, so it’s a shame so few were performed in concert. Fault Lines…once! Better than never, though. Aside from extending Shadow People, and maybe a tiny bit of the intro to Forgotten Man, the songs are performed pretty much like the record, which makes sense. But it’s too bad they won’t ever have a chance to evolve in the live setting as I doubt any will survive this tour.

 

    HE has one of the better album covers. When I saw a version of it online, I thought it looked utterly terrible. But it works in reality. It’s definitely a different image and while TPATH have largely boring record covers, this one is refreshingly different.

 

    This album covers a variety of moods, with rock songs made of interesting riffs and unexpected shifts, with a solid rhythm, and a clear, crisp sound. 

 

    Whatever the Hypnotic Eye is, television, corporations, corrupt government, any kind of system or ideology oppressing people, these songs not only examine the topic, but acting as a whole, defy it.

 

   Hence the last hopeful lyrics at the end of the album, when the guitars and drums have all dropped away. For an album that rocks, it’s fitting that the last words are over gentle music, it’s like Tom’s saying that no matter how dark things may be, with the power drunk, the burnt out towns, the Shadow People, in the end there’s hope and the promise of a better day ahead. 

 

   When viewed like that, the record almost feels like a concept record, with songs of darkness and corruption overpowered by ones of personal love, reflection, defiance and artistic inspiration, all while offering up unique songs and new territory for the band while rocking at the same time. 

 

    For all these reasons and for the ones that defy easy expression, this record is my favorite of TPATH’s, second only to FMF and a very close second at that. 

 

    I think it’s just a great record by them and will one day be considered as much a classic as Damn The Torpedoes. I love putting this in the cd player and listening to it from beginning to end, enjoying the variety of feelings while tapping my foot to the beat and savoring every crunch of the guitar.

 

cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabulous, well considered in-depth review - but one I am yet unable to agree or disagree with.

Now I want to get the album :)

 

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8 hours ago, MaryJane0612 said:

Fabulous, well considered in-depth review - but one I am yet unable to agree or disagree with.

Now I want to get the album :)

Thanks. My opinion is save it for last since it's the last official TPATH album while Tom was alive, you may find the progression of their songwriting interesting as you go along through the latter years of the band. Save it for later and see if my enthusiasm for the album matched your opinion months or years from now.

cheers

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3 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Thanks. My opinion is save it for last since it's the last official TPATH album while Tom was alive, you may find the progression of their songwriting interesting as you go along through the latter years of the band. Save it for later and see if my enthusiasm for the album matched your opinion months or years from now.

cheers

Try 'weeks' :)

 

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:huh:

5 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Ha ha ha, whoops!

Here's a tip which you may already know.  Never joke about women's hair, clothing or menstrual cycle.  (Or even mention menstrual cycles.)  Given that TP was timeless yet a man of his generation &  surrounded by women (grandmother, mama, aunts, cousin, wives, daughters, granddaughter), I personally very much doubt he'd reference that.

So I hear your analysis but just don't agree on that part. Just personally.     

Also swiftly moving on... can we talk about anything else ...any other topic...   

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5 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

What's your take on Hypnotic Eye?

cheers

Great album, but I am a fan so that's fairly obvious comment....  Um. 

What grabs me through the speakers is their diversity across a range of music.  It's very interesting hearing them - in that short period of time - make what's essentially a blues sound (Mojo), country rock (Mudcrutch 1& 2) and rock & roll (Hypnotic Eye).  Meanwhile Benmont is also creating his solo album.   :wub:

I was going to write "& they are so competent at all of these" but I can't just write "competent" can I?  Masters of their art?  

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So I finally listened to Hypnotic Eye tonight.

(Or rather, I Audiosurfed it. Figured I'd been putting it off long enough and it made more sense to play that instead of Drivin' Down to Georgia another ten times...er, yeah. Plus it's kind of fun to surf songs that you've never heard before.)

It's a great album. But now I feel weirdly sad and I don't know why.

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