Sydney/Eora based Eagle Eye Jones have just dropped their dreamy debut LP, New Growth. The band are difficult to pigeon hole genre-wise. The album is blessed with dreamy psych rock feels, orchestral swirls and lush soundscapes vividly complementing the yearning for connection and reflection throughout the lyrics.
The songs reflect on traumatic events, addiction, mental health challenges, heartbreak as well as celebrations, love, optimism and a belief in a brigher future. The band is a collection of five dear friends, who have created an album that is a captivating sonic journey.
Eagle Eye Jones are currently in the midst of a national tour, with just a few dates left. They are playing in Byron on the 1st July, Brisbane on the 2nd and finishing up in Sydney at Mary’s Underground on the 8th July. Further details are below. I caught their set at Lost Paradise last December and was blown away, so catch them if you can.
To celebrate the release of the album, and to give context to the stories behind the songs, the band has put together a track-by-track description. So do crank it up, <press play> and read on.
Eagle Eye Jones – New Growth – Track by track
A love letter to humanity and an ode to David Bowie, 3021 looks into the next millennia and prays that humanity can sort out its grievances by then.
Written in response to the Christchurch mosque mass shootings in 2019, this song is almost a prayer of hope. It came forth fully developed in an hour or two and marked a distinct shift in the songwriting of Eagle Eye Jones towards a more pensive, introspective relationship towards the world.
At the time Jamin had just introduced Luke to Sigur Ros and he promptly bought a bow to experiment with this guitar playing. There are early recordings of this song with no lyrics that go for hours. Jamin and Luke honed the sound to a mature, spatial, ambient landscape that ripples through the rest of the album. It is the perfect album opener for this reason.
As the rest of the album’s songcraft matured and progressed beyond this point, by the time the band hit the studio in November 2020, “3021” almost didn’t have a place on the album. The band, alongside producer Jack Garzonio reworked the intro 47 times in the studio, employing robotic vocal production until something finally clicked.
The concept of Luke pacing a space shuttle orbiting earth and recording a journal entry while Jamin’s glitched Rhodes echoes down the halls, is what allowed the band to breakthrough and nail the tone of the song on take 48
A song of isolation and alienation, “Paperskin” rails against the seemingly immovable structures of society. These pantheons are merely a house of cards in the face of a global pandemic.
In the first weeks of lockdown Luke was writing full time at a magazine in Newtown. There was an intense moment of alienation and fear as he looked out onto an empty King St and saw newspapers and other trash floating down the road. The initial shock that these massive, immovable structures that we take for granted like society, economy, and general human decency could crumble in a day was a petrifying fear. He rushed home that day and penned the lyrics and music like an ethereal hymn in order to create some beauty amidst the impending chaos.
The final chorus is designed to feel like the world is ending.
“Wardrobe of Masks”
Penned during lockdown, “Wardrobe of Masks” is drenched heavily in feelings of disassociation. It’s a 6.5 minute freight train of angst, determination, heartbreak, and release.
After almost six months of unemployment and serious lockdown, Luke was drinking too much and experiencing full-blown disassociation and derealisation. Every line he spoke was like from an actor, or an alien. With schizophrenia in his family, a disassociate episode 12 months prior, and the recent breakup of his first love, his mental health deteriorated to a place of newfound darkness and instability.
The song came about at 2am in his garage and attempts to capture what it feels like to be an alien in society.
“Drenched in Blue”
A message for a lover, set in the present moment. “Drenched in Blue” relishes in the minutia of falling in love and through strained mumblings, reminds us to cherish the little things.
“Drenched In Blue” is an expression of new love, with simple lyrics and a simple declaration the song details a beautiful romance between two lovers falling in love the way people used to.
A dark, experimental moment; “Spiderland” examines the moment a lady vanished in the CBD of Sydney. Are we all just flies caught in the web of the world? Driving home from the city one day Luke saw a middleaged Asian woman in a green silk gown. She was stumbling down the street, not drunkenly but just lost and afraid. It was right on the corner of Broadway and City Road and as she passed by the Lansdowne and in front of a large green electrical box she vanished. The lights turned green and he drove away and never saw her again, completely confused and afraid he penned the tense, disjointed lyrics to “Spiderland” later that night.
It surrounds themes of feeling dislocated and preyed upon in a big city and like everything is out to get you. Especially from the perspective of women and the heightened sense of fear they feel when lost in the city.
It is certainly the darkest and most experimental recording on the album and marks a perfect midway valley before the listener journey towards euphoria once more.
“A Moment (interlude)”
Reflective of our human need to play, explore, and connect through our instruments. This moment was born out of a jam based around “3021” during the recording of the album.
There is no bells and whistles here. This song is recorded completely live with no overdubs,making it a unique moment on the album. It is also completely improvised. The band had completed the live beds on the fifth day and was ready to pack down and move into vocal production land. Remembering an ambient post-rock warm-up they discovered the day before they bargained with their producer for 45 mins to record something worthy of the record.
The first two takes were over 10 mins long. The third take is what you hear on the album.
An uplifting anthem for humanity inspired by a near-death experience in the Himalayas. This song wrestles with humanity’s collective indifference to the destruction of nature.
While trekking through the Himalayas in early 2020 Luke was almost buried in an avalanche near the basecamp of Annapurna. After hiding in a cave and continuing forth on the trek he was struck deeply by the moving presence of nature and wept before the mountains. After multiple close shaves with mid-winter Avalanches, Luke returned from seclusion to a plague-stricken world and penned Alpine Meadows, a song brimming with hope despite its dire lyricism.
Lush soundscapes collide with walls of bowed guitar, cello and violin to echo the vastness ofthe Nepalese mountains. This brutal confrontation of climate change and suffering, through the lens of the philosophy of Albert Camus transcends upon three-part harmonies and soaring hooks to create an ethereal chamber of resonance and celebration.
“Broke the Spell”
The poetic chronicling of the death of love. A heartbreak that ripples through the fabric of the band.
Inspired by exact moment love dies, “Broke The Spell” is the first heartbreak song Luke ever wrote, using a magnifying glass to distil three years of love into one gut wrenching ballad.
In order to get Luke into the emotional headspace required to record the vocals to “Broke TheSpell”, Jase entered the booth and told Luke to imagine seeing his ex-lover for the final time walking down the street. “This is the last time you will ever see her, and this is the last thing you will ever say to her.” He closed his eyes and recorded the entire vocal track in one take.
An unexpected, orchestral journey through struggles with addiction and abuse, resolving in a cinematic release and the simple realisation that we can all strive to be better people.
New growth is a coming-of-age story that shines a positive and hopeful light on the challenges that come with adulthood like facing trauma, addiction, and calming down the chaos of being young.
“Don’t Let Me Run Out For The Sun”
An impulse, a snapshot. Created out of the need to escape madness.
“Don’t Let Me Run Out For The Sun” was created out of a moment of overwhelming anxiety, it was written in 20 minutes and was written to escape impending panic. With a slow and relatively simple melody, it represents a moment of peace in an environment of internal chaos and uncertainty. When the outside world is a scary place sometimes the only safety and calm that can be felt is in the simplicity of one voice and a piano.
Lyrically the title of the song is something we think ‘almost’ makes sense, it’s so close to a sensible sentence but doesn’t quite make sense when you think about it. But it does capture a feeling of simplicity and fear of external environments causing internal strife
Eagle Eye Jones – New Growth Tour
July 1 | The Northern | Byron / Bundjalung
July 2 | Tomcat | Brisbane / Meanjin
July 8 | Mary’s Underground | Sydney / Eora
Performance photos by Bruce Baker