Though its billed runtime is just shy of a snappy 40 minutes, time is merely a construct within the folds of Taste The Monochrome, the second full-length outing from Sydney psych-rock extraordinaires Grinding Eyes. 40 minutes in the real world equates to hours in the luscious sonic landscapes thriving within, painstakingly crafted from nothingness. Your breathing slows and the wind outside freezes in place as the movement becomes almost imperceptible. We’re through the looking glass here, people.
And it’s because of this slow-motioned free fall that listeners can truly embed themselves in the album’s 11 tracks, allowing you to not just hear the stories of love, loss, isolation and despair, but listen to them. You aren’t just aware of the layered, droning guitar work; you feel it. And you don’t just envision the kaleidoscopic fields of wild sonic technicolour; you’re teleported to them.
By the closing notes, not even an hour has passed. Tension returns to your shoulders, and your breathing picks up, but you felt it, didn’t you? You felt something. To help you process what you just heard, in your own time, of course, we requested an exclusive track-by-track explanation of Taste The Monochrome.
The album opens up using ‘60s English neo-psychedelic organ delays, abruptly interrupted by a layer of heavy fuzz guitar. We wanted the album to start with a bit of a bang to kick off the journey. ‘Afterglow’ has always been a staple in our live set, so it was great to capture the dynamics of the song on the recording.
‘When The Night Falls’
[This song is] in the style of ’80s Australian indie psych, using a jungle pop hook and a stomping backbeat. In keeping with the journey of the album, this song explores darker themes – the dread/the mystery that can come when the night falls…
This is a quick excerpt of oscillating distortions with overlapping and ever-expanding frequencies, this track is influenced by instrumental avant-garde soundscapes.
‘Until It Falls Apart’
This song was written on the road in the US. I was constantly moving, thinking about how to capture that feeling when one’s life is falling apart. You know, even in slow motion, you’re being self-destructive and you can see disaster on the horizon, but you still can’t control the dark feelings rising within you like you might spin wildly out of control and there’s nothing you can do. ‘Until It Falls Apart’ is like an out-of-body experience, which is part of the overall journey this album takes you on. We put this one deep into the album as it’s one of the darkest tracks.
‘Monochrome’ explores one’s inner demons. It seeks to capture you in ever-changing melody and sonic complexity.
‘Wrapped In Velvet’
This song opens with the heavy slow intro, washed-out fuzz guitar and slowly builds as reverb-drenched vocals and synth sounds pile up. The repeating odd percussion sound is provided by snipping old rusty scissors found in the studio. This song is about the strange and ancient practice of wrapping a dying loved one in jewels and velvets then setting them adrift to die on the open seas.
‘You’ve Been Deceived’
This song connects us to our original sound and releases as it uses [that] heavy-garage-haunted-swamp feel, garage sonic tones, ‘60s Italian organs and heavy fuzz guitar. ‘You’ve Been Deceived’ is the tale of someone who discovers they have the power to set their enemy on fire and leave them to burn.
As the album’s interlude, this track is a slight departure, more like a soundtrack to a B grade movie – from the depths of krautrock all the way back to early ‘60s spaghetti Western movies, it’s a sun-drenched daydream. We mixed in some found sound in the form of backwards guitar on analogue tape that we discovered in our studio.
The fuzzed-out groove of ‘The Taste’ was inspired by psilocybin mushrooms and how weird they can make things taste and smell. The wall of sound throughout the album is dirtier and more representative of the band’s live sound.
‘From Now On’
Like most of this album, the lyrics dive deep into the depths of despair and how you cannot run away from the darkest part of your mind. The song is reminiscent of the early shoegaze artists on Creation Records, combining a washed-out feel, haunting synthesiser overtones, and just the right amount of background percussion.
‘Too Fast For You’
The sister track or the reprised flashback of ‘From Now On’ sharply dropping in like a knife to your heart. This is how it feels when words cut.
Taste The Monochrome is out now via Poison City Records.