Waking Eyes continue to surprise

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

The Waking Eyes

Courtesy of Colin Vandenberg

BLANK EXPRESSION CONTEST: YOU ALL WIN YOU ALWAYS DO. The boys of Winnipeg’s The Waking Eyes, (L to R) Rusty Matyas, Steve Senkiw, Joey Penner and Matt Peters, will return to London Feb. 7 with Arkells at Call The Office.

That never-ending search for new and interesting music will come to a sudden halt with one taste of what The Waking Eyes has to offer.

Any one of the band’s four albums guarantees the electrifying experience of a roller coaster " smooth crooning, explosive guitar riffs and solos, rhythmic twists and turns and the occasional macabre sound effect. The listener is left with a sense of mysterious danger and guilty pleasure as mainstream musical predictability is delightfully thrown into its grave.

Formed in 2001, the quirky foursome from Winnipeg attributes their eccentric sound to an open mind, a passion for writing, constant self-motivation and a game that vocalist and guitarist Matt Peters likes to call “The Four Hour Challenge.”

“Our friends come up with awful song titles. We each pick a song title out of a hat and then we have four hours to go into the studio and write as many songs as we can. When that one’s done we grab another one, and we have to write, record and produce everything in that four hour period,” he explains.

The band has actually released a couple of purely Four Hour Challenge albums, Peters admits with a laugh. More seriously, he adds, “When you analyze yourself and the people around you … that’s really when you find those little pearls of wisdom that make up a good song.”

The group’s latest album, Holding on to Whatever It Is, boasts innovative tracks with slightly ambiguous titles such as “Wolves at the Door,” “Boyz and Girlz” and “Digital Glue.”

Tracks off its new album will be played at the band’s upcoming show at Call The Office in London this Saturday with Arkells.

Besides employing The Four Hour Challenge, the band draws from many sources of inspiration.

“I grew up listening to so much music from the 60s and 70s ... it would be hard to say that that doesn’t influence me or impact me. I like classical, jazz and metal,” Peters says.

“Joey [Penner] and I both have formal classical training. We all listen to different music. We all have different tastes and inspiration. If you listen to our records, it’s pretty obvious we don’t really stick to one sound or one style. We try to stay open to as much music as possible,” he adds.

Each album and track is curiously different, yet each one is equally brilliant and satisfying. The band enthusiastically admits to its unpredictable tendencies.

“We are constantly challenging ourselves and trying to see what we can do next. Our latest record is so different from the last one and I’m sure the next one will be even more different.”

Unpredictability contributes to the group’s addictive sound, as it instantly creates a sense of musical gluttony accomodated by The Waking Eyes.

“I think when we’re able to sell out show after show and people stay hungry for the music ... then I think that will be a pretty good indicator of our success,” Peters says. “We don’t need nominations and awards and billions of record sales ... just finding our small audience and writing music is all we really want.

“People who are hungry for it, I think that’s the biggest thing,” he adds.

Some may call the band’s music indie, alternative or new age " whatever the label, The Waking Eyes is a melodious mélange of indescribable tastes ready to be devoured.

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