Band – One Eye Theory
Album / Label – Good Times and Strife / Unsigned
Rating – 3.5 / 5
Taking you back to some of the great music that came out of late-1960’s San Francisco, the debut full-length from One Eye Theory, “Good Times and Strife” is a straight ahead rocker.
The band is comprised of Leo Patton (guitar/vocals), Scott Biggs (drums/vocals), Matthew Hittle (guitars/harmonica/trombone/vocals), Luke Kucalaba (guitar/keyboard/vocals) and Kurt Maxwell (bass/vocals). The album was produced by Luke Kucalaba and recorded in his studio in Columbus, Ohio.
Late Night Train opens the album like the chugging of a locomotive that’s barreling down the tracks in your direction. The song whisks you away from the sometimes-maudlin lives that inhabit our existence, while channeling the best of UK blues rockers Savoy Brown.
With a happy tempo and some excellent horn work, Lines in the Sand makes reaching the limit of what you’re willing to put up with seem tolerable.
The funk-driven Funky Cookie has a vocal treatment that makes you imagine Tom Jones is serenading you with dripping sexuality. This high energy, jam-based rocker will have your toes tapping faster than you can take the first delicious bite.
Maybe It’s Time is a woeful tale full of loneliness and humiliation. And, it’s the standout track on this offering. Once again, the horn work adds immensely to the track. This track could easily have been a staple in any Quicksilver Messenger Service show from the late 1960’s. The sound is updated, while retaining that early jam-rock feel.
The quiet pace that begins Hand in Glove transitions with an almost ethereal keyboard sound into an uptempo, yet understated rocker. The vocal styling of Matthew Hittle is eerily reminiscent of Transformer-era Lou Reed crooning about finding one love.
Gatlinburg is a jam-inspired southern rocker that recalls the heyday of The Allman Brothers, with elements of that classic “Gainesville” sound of the 1970’s. the guitar work throughout this song is right where it needs to be, never straying into an area that overshadows the song.
Halfway There is a straight forward blues rocker, complete with throaty vocals that place you squarely in the smoke-filled honkytonks of yore. It tells the tale of a journey to hitting rock-bottom, but knowing you still have a long way to go. The harmonica work in this is especially poignant.
The smoky grinder Her encapsulates the feeling of falling in love, with the dirty trombone sound in direct juxtaposition with the floating sound of the flute.
No Ticket is a through-and-through blues rocker that chronicles getting pulled-over by a cop while on a road trip. The siren-inspired horn work is a nice touch, that adds to the overall feeling of resignation at getting caught.
At times in our lives, we all think of loves we’ve had in the past and wonder if they think about us. Pieces is all about that feeling, punctuated with some dirty harmonica that evokes a “what if?” feeling.
The band evoke a Quicksilver Messenger Service meets Santana vibe with Steps, with lyrics pulled directly from bible verses. The chosen lyrics pair nicely with this keyboard-driven number.
The jazz styling of Jersey chugs along, recounting everything about that industrial wasteland that people not from there despise. The shuffle of Scott Biggs’ drums carry the pace in this song.
The sultry rocker Voodoo closes the album with a dark and otherworldly feel. The ominous guitar work in this make it perfect closer that showcases the varied influences of the band.
All-in-all, this is a solid debut effort from One Eye Theory. Fans of some of the best blues rock bands of the 1960’s/1970’s will thoroughly enjoy the 13 tracks that make up “Good Times and Strife.” They have an updated sound that was pleasurable to listen to, while also leaving me wanting more.
One Eye Theory play Spacebar in Columbus on Friday, March 17 for their CD Release Show.