Hard to Categorize but Easy to Like

January 3rd, 2012

Xray Eyeballs – Mercury Lounge – January 2, 2011

Xray Eyeballs are more than just a wall-of-sound concoction of garage low-end reverb with a carefree punk delivery, and they’ve managed to cultivate a faithful following of fans that showed up at Mercury Lounge last night, post-holiday, to play along with the band. The die-hard audience left to drown in the sea of tom-tom-rock reverb and delinquent harmony from O.J. San Felipe and Carly Rabalais, who looked the goth part that’s just one of the varied components in the band’s work. Masterminded by San Felipe less than a year ago, the ex-members of Golden Triangle have already put out a couple of singles on Hozac Records and a full-length on Kanine with another, Splendor Squalor, on the way next month.

Xray Eyeballs are getting away with overdoses of downer-slacker lullabies of the “Let’s get high” Wavves variety, but a long ways away from the sand and surf, instead filtered through the once scuzzy alleys and the bearded-lumberjack chic of Williamsburg. With heavy guitar and vocal effects nearly working against them, they managed to distill sentimental melodies out of the haze, making the act feel like a typical night; a soundtrack of substance excess and disappointment that goes back one generation to the Jesus and Mary Chain or, even further, to the psyche repetition of the Velvet Underground. Living proof that a punk attitude and crass delivery will always be in style over catchy, crafted hooks, Xray Eyeballs aren’t easily categorized, blending together that asphalt-surf reverb and the “My Boyfriend’s Back” garage reinterpretations of Hunx and his Punx’ ’50s style in their own seemingly accidental combinations. —Jason Dean