ALBUM REVIEW: Eye – Dark Light

Eye is the new project of MWWB (formerly Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard) frontwoman Jessica Ball and Dark Light marks its debut following MWWB’s  2022 album The Harvest. Joining Ball in her latest venture are keyboardist Jonny and Drummer Gid Goundrey (Gulp/Ghostlawns/Martin Carr). 

According to the album’s promotional notes, the tracks were forged during the pandemic after Jessica’s relocation from Wrexham to Cardiff to join the aforementioned new partner Gid Goundrey. In fact, many of the ideas on the record can be traced prior to MWWB’s formation and have been steadily worked on over the years. The album’s true fruition was triggered by the existential dread of the pandemic as well as the ill health of friend and MWWB bandmate Paul “Dave” Davies who found himself fighting for his life after a Covid-related stroke. The album’s title is particularly interesting and clever, indicative of both the trademark heavy fare which we are accustomed to hearing from Ball, as well as a newfound lightness of touch, that promises the record to be a potentially intriguing listen.

“Window” opens with heavy Synths/Keyboards and a trippy feel that reminds one of classic Trip-Hop, particularly Portishead. It’s a little different from the genre Ball is usually associated with, yet the track still maintains a moodiness and downbeat vibe that taps into the darkness and downer vibes of classic Doom. A promising start. “Dark Light” is a pleasant Indie number reminiscent of vintage Mazzy Star, with a Vocal style that sees a similar comparison to the introspective vulnerable nature of that band’s Hope Sandoval. There are also shades of The Cocteau Twins Dream-Pop present that makes this track even more of an ethereal delight. “The Other Sees” starts in a brooding fashion, reminding one of bands such as Ruby and Broadcast with plenty of Darkwave goodness peppered in for good measure. “In Your Night” starts slowly before it eventually opens up to reveal some delicious Fuzz, sonically think along the lines of Yo La Tengo meets Ufomammut, and yep, it really is as awesome as that description sounds.   

“In The Sun Eternally,” the album’s shortest track serves as a pleasant yet effective Lo-Fi Folky interlude while “Respair” shimmering quality reminds one of Slowdive from around the time of Pygmalion combining as it does both Shoegaze and Post-Rock. A sublime piece. “Out Of Sight” has a sparse, minimalist, and melancholic quality which recalls the emotive Doom of bands such as London’s The River and Slowcore outfit Low while “Stillness” has more of a Psychedelic flavour but given an ambient twist and with beautiful multi-track harmonies that recall Blackwater Holylight, an exquisite creation if ever there was one. “See Yourself” echoes ”In The Night” in some respects but is even heavier with some truly satisfying crushing riffs that will delight Stoner-Rock and Doom fans making for a nice and even necessary change in tone. Finally, “Rescue You” is another low-key number in the vein of “In the Sun Eternally” that helps conclude the album in a low-key yet strangely appropriate fashion. 

With the help of Producer Chris Fielding (MWWB, Conan), Bell has crafted an album of extraordinary depth, emotional intelligence, and dexterity, rarely if ever seen in heavier music genres. As with The Mon (Urlo from Ufomammut) and Steve Von Till (Neurosis, Harvestman), Jessica Bell demonstrates that it is possible for Metal artists to experiment without compromising their musical integrity. Its an album that may initially surprise MWWB fans, but one which they will hopefully grow to love over time given half a chance. Yet another worthy addition to New Heavy Sounds roster.

Buy the album here:

9 / 10