In an era when guitar bands continue to be supplanted by DJs, making a rock album is a bold decision—especially when that record is more Black Sabbath, Rush, and Fleetwood Mac than Imagine Dragons. Quality, though, is timeless—which is good news for up-and-comers Eye Bender.
Heavily influenced by classic ’70s and ’80s acts, guitarist and band leader Victor Yong pours his efforts into resurrecting a genre so good that we’re not sure why it disappeared in the first place. Faithful to the familiar crunch of hard rock but never shying from adding melodic piano riffs to the mix, Eye Bender has created a seven-track debut that uses the wealth of experience of its players to maximum effect.
Coming alive on tracks like “Tomorrow”—promoted by a slick, Twilight-esque YouTube video that’s already garnered 14,000 views—the group crafts catchy pop melodies and overlays them with overdrive-soaked guitar. Shifting from a classic love song to a balls-out rock jam, the track sums up the mood that runs throughout Tomorrow: loud and boisterous, but harmonically complex.
Singer Betty J. contributes powerful, gritty vocals that are refreshing in a typically male-dominated genre. The singer shows off her range best on the menacing “YOU”—a track that owes a lot to Deep Purple at its darkest.
Sure, new classic rock is becoming harder to come by. But as Yong and his bandmates prove, just because almost nobody is doing it these days doesn’t mean it’s not cool.