Album of the Day: The Effects, “Eyes to the Light”
By Joe Gross · October 19, 2017 Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)

The DC scene—more specifically, the loose aggregation of 60 or so musicians that have released music on Dischord Records—moves in waves. Sometimes, there are periods of great activity (1988 to, say, 1999 or so was pretty nuts); sometimes it slows to a trickle (with a handful of exceptions, 2002 to 2010 felt mighty archival). This decade has seemed more vibrant, with an influx of newer bands and local vets combining in new forms.

The Effects fall into the latter category. Singer/guitarist Devin Ocampo did time in/with Faraquet, Medications, Smart Went Crazy, Mary Timony, J. Robbins, and the increasingly visible Beauty Pill, often as drummer (dude can play almost anything). Bassist/keys player Matthew Dowling is in Deleted Scenes, while drummer David Rich played in the instrumental outfit Buildings. The three fell together in 2014.

Eyes to the Light can feel like complicated stuff—complex, almost proggy trio workouts, the sort of things folks might have called “mathed out” during the Clinton administration. Ocampo’s voice is a fascinating element, keening and wailing in an almost androgynous manner. And as with many outfits where busy-ness is a feature, not a bug, the catchiest songs are the strongest, be it due to a strong vocal hook (“Anchors Aweigh”), a chugging groove (the back half of “Low Lier”), or the trio’s ability to stretch out (all 6:29 of the excellent album closer “Moving On”). If you like King Crimson’s trio-motions or the “we got chops” end of post-hardcore, Eyes is sure to satisfy.

Joe Gross

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