If you’re a regular AGB reader, I’m sure you’ve noticed I’m not too into weird folksy stuff. But every now and then, something really weird comes along and sweeps me off my feet, smothering me with smooches. That’s Laughing Eye Weeping Eye. This shit is wacky as fuck and it’s the only time I’ve deemed “freak folk” an appropriate & relevant descriptor.
Chicagoans Rebecca Schoenecker and Patrick Holbrook probably heard all the lame jokers getting labeled as freak folk and were like “fuck this” and felt the urge to show everybody what’s up. The heart of LEWE’s weirdness is Rebecca’s initially almost unbearable vocals. At first, she sounds whiney, abrasive, and incompetent but by the end of the album you realize she can actually have a remarkably beautiful voice. She chooses when to sound like a howling cat, enchanting siren, demented shaman, or elegant princess, and it always works perfectly.
Like most freak folkers, LEWE’s array of instruments is vast but pretty traditional. There’s the tambourines, bells, chimes, recorders, Casios, guitars, plenty of handclapping, and, most importantly, the ever-present and always welcome harmonium. In fact, it sounds like they use a harmonium as the core for most tracks and I fucking LOVE IT. Gorgeous reeds humming and wheezing those irresistible droning chords, adding an element of soothing bliss to the frequently atonal album.
I’m not gonna lie, when I first heard Where Snakes & Seers Go, I wasn’t sold. I was damn interested because anything this weird always catches my attention, but it took me awhile to see its genius & inner beauty. Laughing Eye Weeping Eye probably aren’t going to be the next Prince Rama but I’m absolutely certain their fans are going to be wayyyy more dedicated. Once you have that LEWE epiphany, you’re fuckin hooked for life.
And the album is available on the cheap digitally and analog-ally with the limited LP being pressed on some super swanky pink/lavender vinyl, which they somehow did even though this is self released? I think? Unless I missed the label info somewhere. Dunno. Either way, slick as hell and totally worth the mere $10.