Wall Of Eyes (studio album) by The Smile
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The Smile bestography
The best album by The Smile is A Light For Attracting Attention which is ranked number 1285 in the list of all-time albums with a total rank score of 1,369.
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Wall Of Eyes track list
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This album is rated in the top 2% of all albums on BestEverAlbums.com. This album has a Bayesian average rating of 78.5/100, a mean average of 79.0/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 79.0/100. The standard deviation for this album is 9.7.
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Kinda weird, i liked every single track, but as an album i did not love it as much as i hoped.
Album Rating: 82.88
The Smile (UK): Wall Of Eyes
1..Wall Of Eyes. 84
3.Read The Room. 76
4.Under Our Pillows. 76
5.Friend Of A Friend. 83
6.I Quit. 78
7.Bending Hectic. 97
8.You Know Me! 73
The Smile (WoE) - Bending Hectic. 97
The Smile (WoE) - Tele-harmonic. 96
The Smile (WoE) - Wall Of Eyes. 84
The Smile (WoE) - Friend Of A Friend. 83
The Smile (WoE) - I Quit. 78
The Smile (WoE) - Read The Room. 76
The Smile (WoE) - Under Our Pillows. 76
The Smile (WoE) - You Know Me! 73
Even better than the debut, and more compelling than anything released in the past year - by anyone. "Friend of a Friend" is the only weakling, but otherwise it's a solid, unified album.
For me, this is a much more cohesive record than the debut, which while I really enjoyed a lot of tracks from it, it did feel at times like a bunch of ideas that were initially developed during Radiohead sessions as well as some parts from Thom Yorke's solo projects. There are some tracks on this that really build up epically in a similar way to Isaac Wood-era Black Country, New Road and the fact it is not produced by Nigel Godrich makes for an interesting creative detour for Yorke, as the two had worked together on pretty much every Yorke project for the last 30 years now.
An early contender for AOTY and a record that rewards you more with every listen. It's also cool that the members of Radiohead have been coming out with a lot of great work recently even though the band hasn't released a new album since 2016 now (I've also enjoyed Yorke's ANIMA solo album as well as Philip Selway's Strange Dance quite a lot as well as the Smile)
The Smile return with a second offering that's even more interesting than "A Light for Attracting Attention". I was a very big fan of their debut. After all, Radiohead is my favorite band, so I was naturally drawn to this side project. Many people have argued that The Smile sounds exactly like Radiohead, while others haven't been able to get too much into this band. What I'm going to say is that, while it obviously has many similarities, because Thom Yorke is the lyricist and together with Jonny Greenwood they compose the music (with Skinner, alright), this band is able to create and get deep into another sound *just* because they *are* another band with another name.
I loved every single song in "A Light for Attracting Attention", because, yes, they sound a lot like Radiohead (mainly, my favorite cut from that record: "Speech Bubbles"), and even, many could pass off as Thom Yorke solo creations (such as with "The Same"). Having said that, I can't imagine some of those cuts having been able to be recorded by Radiohead as an entity, such as "We Don't Know What Tomorrow Brings" or "Waving a White Flag"; I think they would've been too much out of the equation with the band's history, even taking into account the countless times they've hit a left turn in terms of what people expect from them. Just starting from "zero" with a flagship that doesn't have to specifically adhere to anything prior, can loosen up what they can do, not having to respect any history or live up to any expectations. If something goes bad, well, it was just a side project! With songs like "Thin Thing" or "The Opposite", the third element from The Smile comes to life. Tom Skinner is a perfect way to round up a project that delves, even slightly, into jazz and prog territory.
Coming into "Wall of Eyes" I wasn't too sure what to expect. I saw the band live last year, and I was amazed at the way they are able to almost seeminly, communicate with their instruments. These musicians have reached a level of artistry that is hardly comparable to other rock acts. They are very technical, and also, you can feel a lot of energy and freedom in this sound. I was a pretty big fan of songs such as "Just Eyes and Mouth", that promised an even more radical direction and departure from Radiohead.
When "Bending Hectic" dropped, though, it wasn't what I was expecting. It's a hypnotizing journey that takes you into a very low point, before coming right back at you and ending on a very high note. I loved the song, but I was taken off by it at the same time. When "Wall of Eyes" was released as a single, I had a very similar reaction to it. It was good, though it mainly grew over time. My thought was "Well, I think they're going for a calmer sound and songs that take some time to get to you". And even though that's not a bad thing, I wasn't expecting too much from this album.
I was wrong!
This might be even better than "A Light For Attracting Attention". In retrospect, after talking with other fans of the band, it's true that their debut was somewhat all over the place (something I'm personally fond of). What remains in an album where 3 core members of Radiohead are absent? Some people have said it was lacking in some areas, and that it was too similar to that other main band we are all pretending doesn't exist. But "Wall of Eyes" isn't just a statement that it can do whatever it wants to, but that it can be *as* good as a Radiohead LP, *as* consistent, and even, the right amount of *different* to justify not being a Radiohead album.
"Teleharmonic" is a profoundly amazing song, that goes pretty deep into an electronic sound that doesn't sound nothing like Radiohead's past electronic endeavors, or even Thom Yorke's. "Read the Room" is a more raw and rock-ish cut that strays into post-rock, while keeping a stretched arm that manages to cohesively tie together an album that also features more calm songs such as "I Quit" or "You Know Me!".
Even though I've spent a lot of paragraph trying to argue that The Smile isn't anything like Radiohead, and I still stand by that, at the same time, I incorporate The Smile as part of the bigger Radiohead canon by saying that this might be one of the best albums ever put out by these group of people, in general. The way things blend together sonically and spiritually is *almost* as great as albums like "In Rainbows" or even "Kid A", and not because they sound the same; it's because this feels like an album that's more focused in what it's trying to do. "A Light For Attracting Attention" was testing the waters; it was a singles compilations, even, or just a traditional album in that sense. "Wall of Eyes", however, *is* more akin to what we think about as the *concept* album, or, at least, what Radiohead has delivered time and again.
The atmosphere here is dense, but at the same time, it breathes. An interesting emotion that may be derived from the fact, that for the first time in forever, Nigel Godrich isn't behind a Yorke-led project. This results in a sound that's obviously familiar, from the musicians at play, but feels somewhat different, thanks to a more "natural-sounding production".
In summary, "Wall of Eyes" is another great album from the gang, and I'm pretty excited for their unevitable third album, that's already shaping to be amazing (please, just let me listen to that studio version of "Just Eyes and Mouth"!). I talked about this on my review for the first album, but if Radiohead doesn't return with a tenth album, I'm pretty comfortable with having more albums by The Smile, even if they are the same... even if they *aren't* the same!
Favorite tracks: "Wall of Eyes", "Teleharmonic", "Read the Room", "Friend of a Friend", "I Quit", "Bending Hectic"
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