by Marianne Dowling
Eyes For Telescopes are so close they finish each other’s sentences. Although some of the band members have known each other since elementary school, it’s clear the years of travelling lonely icy roads together to play gigs all over the Maritimes have drawn them even closer.
As soon as vocalist Pat Deighan, drummer Mike MacDougall, vocalist/guitarist Belinda Doyle, and guitarist Dan Currie sit themselves down on a bench inside the dim light of Baba’s Lounge, the playful jabs and inside jokes begin. They even find a way to include absent bass player Craig MacPherson into the interview by using a Morrissey album as his stand-in.
MacDougall and Deighan hold up the album that features a profile of the melancholy rock star and point to his jaw “He kind of looks like Craig, don’t you think?” Deighan asks to his bandmates. “His hair is different though.”
Although the band is exuding fun and playfulness on this night, they all say this was not the case just a year ago, when playing music together became more like a chore. “We went though a period of about a year where we were playing the same songs at least once a week. It kind of got really monotonous after a while,” says Currie.
MacDougall adds that Eyes were “sleep walking” through many of their sets and the mood often stayed sombre off-stage as well. “Our last time out in Ontario, the last three days in the band were quiet drives with no radio,” says MacDougall.
The band decided the only way to cure their boredom was to take a break—so last winter—the band unplugged the amps to focus on other projects. Currie started work on a solo CD and MacDougall focused on his new role as husband and father. The band says they needed this time to rejuvenate, re-energize, and re-focus. The result of the hiatus is Third the band’s aptly-named third release that has a stripped-down sound the band is proud of.
Currie starts to explain why he feels Third is their best album yet. “It sounds the most like us. It sounds…”
“Messy” Deighan finishes.
The band says the new album has a comfortable sound that might be attributed to one of their recording spaces—Deighan’s apartment. Eyes used his place to capture a more intimate sound, closest to that of their live sets. “We just wanted to keep it as rough and as raw as possible,” MacDougall says.
So with the new album, Eyes For Telescopes have a new optimism and enthusiasm. Deighan even says he’s looking forward to the critics, and although he probably would prefer good reviews, he admits that the scathing reviews are fun to read.
With plans to tour around the Maritimes once again, including a stop at the ECMAs this winter, Deighan might want to take some reviews for reading material during those long winter drives.
“It’s going to be a crappy drive,” says MacDougall.
“Getting up there is sketchy,” Doyle muses.
MacDougall lowers his head and his voice. “So this could be the final interview.”
Marianne Dowling is the latest freelance writer to join the Buzz roster. She plans to profile Island musicians, “for a while.”