Drum Eyes, Omar Souleyman
Heathcote Ruven 17/05/2010
Omar Souleyman, topping 500 studio albums, is THE aviator wearing, headscarf bearing king of inept Sryian pop-folk. Blending folk forms of Dabke and Sha'abi with panic attack keyboards and violently palpitating MIDI beats he conjures up (to my handicapped English ears) an image of a run down corner shop selling only spicy mix, speed and funky, nauseating incense. This sounds, obviously, amazing, and Omar is, obviously, a king; but I can't help add my gleeful felicity at the fact that, as our society slowly recovers from chronic Islamophobia, amongst the new icons Arabia introduced to us is a Mark E. Smith style, proper rock star from the most sexed up state in the East.
But first tonight and the focus of this piece we have the involving and self-involved Drum Eyes. All the band hail from respected groups themselves and I never can help a disorientating mush of expectations. At the forefront we've the talents of two infamous Japanese outfits, the noisy chiptune DJ Scotch Egg and the Drummer from seriously legendary drone group Boredoms (it's hard to say who else is in the band as they've quite an elastic line-up, but members from amazing obnoxious riot grrrlish duo Comanechi, the now deceased absurdist and twitchy 'The Phil Collins 3' and the disturbing and violent Trencher have both taken part). They walk the line between tasteless stoner post-rock and groundbreaking 8-bit saxophoned duelling drum genre attacking like it's the piece of spaghetti that brought together The Lady and The Tramp. It's cool man.
The two drummers play snappy cross rhythms that make you want to snap yourself. The guitarist fills out the sound with a manic ambience. The Scotch Egg basses Shigeru loves his bass, and loves the Violin-keyboardist Kathy's synth and he loves the crowd he jumps into, and he loves his little pig faced hat. He seems to have a manic love of everything. An enthralling obnoxious lovehate that makes you want to move. You can see why Drum Eyes supported Lightning Bolt, they feel similar emotions but Drum Eyes with more dub, more hypnotising complexities and less minimal harsh violence (more layered suffocating violence) .
When at their most excited, sharpest and darkest, Drum Eyes really get you moving with something unusual, they are on a journey, and I can't wait for them to get to their next destination. Apart from a few moments of flat drabness, this band has a manic sheen that could be fashioned into something great, I prescribe a year on an uninhabited forest with a bunch of synths and trees and whatever. Go join them now.