If you could imagine Midlake wrestling with Marc Almond, and Sufjan Stevens trying to pull them apart, then you would have a pretty good indication of how Everyone Feels Like A Stranger’s opening trio of tracks sounds. No bandwagon-jumpers, Eyeless In Gaza have – splits and reformations aside – been working on the fringes of dark, melancholy folk since 1981.
Martyn Bates and Peter Becker have the bit firmly between their teeth on this latest outing, crafting a series of songs rather than the instrumental passages that have become something of a trademark for the duo. Becker seems almost apologetic for this in press blurb, but there’s no need: So You Appear, Slow Eve, Seeing/Book Of Days and Among The Gathering Skies are informed by a mature pop chemistry that brings to mind The Lotus Eaters (but of course they never deployed flute, twisting harpsichord passages and almost Gregorian backing vocals). Ironically, the more familiar experimental soundscapes on the likes of Dreaming Boys and If I Could Live As The Sun Does are great, but almost sound out of place on what’s ultimately an excellent song cycle.