New Band Of The Day 97: Subsonic Eye

The moon is dead and I swear I saw the seaweed leaves and skyline skyscrapers

Who: Wahida (vocals, synthesizer) – Daniel (guitar) – Bo (guitar) – Spencer (bass) – Lucas (drums)

What: Dream Pop, Shoegaze, Small Country Blues

Where: Singapore

Why: The imagery used within Subsonic Eye’s video for their lead single, 2daze, from their debut album, Strawberry Feels, may at first seem startling and strange, at odds with the music. The surrealism, and sharply contrasting primary colors are nothing like the blissful haze, and traditionalist-shoegaze bent of Subsonics’s music. It’s not until you give Strawberry Feels a complete listen, and the album’s oddities and themes come into focus that can you really comprehend it. The longing and the daydreaming, the wistful thoughts leaving Wahida behind as she waxes on past loves, and loves she’s still waiting to meet. This is escapism dream pop, emphasis on the dream.

Watch how Subsonic weaves in and out of dream worlds, as the blissful arrangements of “In Limbo” and “Cosmic Realignment” lead into the literal rain and tangibility of “178”. A harsh awakening that genuinely feels like opening your eyes from a nap to look out the window at the weather. When the fuzzy guitar and Wahida’s reverb drenched voice come back in you aren’t sure if you’re still dreaming, like the realities of awakeness haven’t quite cut through the grogginess. It’s an effective moment of music as visual storytelling, as you find yourself standing within Subsonic Eye’s portrait of a lazy and gloomy day.

Then, as the album careens into “You in the Pleasant Things”, you might just begin to notice how tight this band is. Listen as Daniel and Bo’s guitars bounce off each other like perfect little Newton’s cradle balls, launching into each other but never losing the drive. Notice how Lucas’ drums ride so perfectly in the pocket you can feel your hands begin to tighten to the pulse. Subsonic Eye are playing off each other better than bands well beyond their years.

And, ok, maybe Subsonic Eye play to close to genre expectations, plowing the same fields of pop oriented shoegaze/dream pop that Asobi Seksu did over a decade ago, but something here stands out. Something about it is definitely distinguishable from the great ocean of shoegaze material being released today. Perhaps it’s the band’s knack for tight and sugary arrangements, or maybe it’s Wahida’s impeccable, forlorn voice singing songs written in her hopelessly preoccupied style, but either way, the songs feel different, full bodied. Here is a band that is rearing off its debut start, carving out the makings of something unique, even if it’s not quite there yet.

Subsonic Eye’s debut album Strawberry Feels is out now through Middle Class Cigars

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