Eyeless In Gaza, Plague Of Years (songs and Instrumentals 1980-2006)

Amelia Raitt

By Amelia Raitt

on 10.14.11 in Reviews

[Ed Note: Bjork has cited the seminal post-punk duo Eyeless In Gaza in numerous interviews as highly influential. She also picked their song "Throw A Shadow" for her 2009 NPR Guest DJ podcast on All Songs Considered.]

This single-disc retrospective of the ground-breaking post-punkers Eyeless In Gaza takes in the most potent of this emotionally exhausting duo’s bleak, expansive, art-song dirges. Built from the quavery, unguarded sound of Martyn Bates’ vocals and the droning, black bands of synthesizer, found sound, and guitars conjured by his partner Peter Becker, Eyeless In Gaza tapped into a hyper-dramatic, gushing well of bottomless hurt. This is music pitched determinedly at extremes that only begin with Bates’ striated wail. It also found new corners of complexity tucked away beneath ultra-primitive means — the sound world is an enormously enveloping one, where sounds echo cavernously in all directions. Skeletal bass lines that recall the Cure and the jagged burble of the odd electric guitar are the only elements that keep a faint anchor in rock-song structure. The result is an arresting, inky-black hybrid of art-song and found sound that will freeze you in your tracks.