Winfred E. Eye
The Dirt Tier
I’m a fan of “distinctive” voices: Bob Dylan, Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock, Appendix Out’s Alasdair Roberts, you name it. I’m more interested in vocals that are weighted with emotion than those that can simply carry a tune. In other words, if it’s slightly too abrasive for commercial radio it will likely find its way into my CD collection. But, oh, when Winfred E. Eye’s singer Aaron Calvert opens his mouth, it sounds like a man choked to the brink of death delivering the account of his murder in every gory detail. From “Grandpa’s Work”: “Maybe you’re sick because you’re supposed to be / before you die.” And the closer “Haunted House”: “You get the bucket / I’ll dig the hole / for his teeth / for his soul.” That chill down your spine is perfectly natural; it’s something only Tom Waits’s mother could love the first time around. Subsequent listens don’t make the vocals/lyrics that much more palatable, only more familiar, less scary and as a result, much more enjoyable.
Backing Calvert’s Waits-meets-Tindersticks’ Stuart Staples sulfuric gargle is some exquisitely lovely, Southern gothic ambience not unlike the tropical turn The Black Heart Procession has taken. Calvert even steps behind a guitar for the circa 1950s smoky barroom instrumental “Lares Dust.” Playing like the musical equivalent of a sadistic David Lynch film, The Dirt Tier won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s sure to make ears searching for a new “voice” very happy indeed.