The name Heavy Eye of the Sun inspires vivid imagery. I imagine Mayan temples erected toward the sun-borne gods, and ancient ritualistic dances performed in the fire light by feather-adorned priestesses. It's one hell of a name that insinuates something monolithic, something great. So it takes some guts to name your band that. Thankfully on Heavy Eye of the Sun's latest album (and their debut before this, quite honestly), they certainly live up to these lofty expectations.
Housed in a beautiful collage by the artist & photographer, Maryse Latulippe, "II" is the aural equivalent of a sacred talisman. It is enchanted with mystic spirits. This Montreal duo, comprised of Olivier Borzeix and James Schidlowsky, at times remind me of a more acoustic-based, freer version of The Skaters. Their voices bounce off each other like trees spiralling toward the sky. The opening track, "Comme les ailes des libellules," is an absolute mind-bender. Dueling, rapid-fire acoustic guitars destroy everything in front of them so that Borzeix and Schidlowky's voices can rise above the ether. It's perfectly executed and totally great.
After following a similar track on the second track, the duo unleash some absolutely hypnotic folk goodness on "Shivers." Their voices, again, are the key here. High-pitched wails sound as if they're conjuring the essence of long-dead gods. "Shivers" is thick with layers of acoustic guitars, like a neverending cosmic thicket. Hints of banjo rise from the haze to show you the path home. This is truly brilliant stuff.
"II" ends with the loose-blues of "Sun Spiralling Down." It's far more meditative than its three brethren, but is the perfect end to an excellent album. "II" is full of beautiful acoustic drones, steeped in decaying leaves adn wrapped in walls of sonic ivy. It is masterfully organic in all the right places. "II" carefully carves out a niche like an archaic stream slowly etching its way toward bedroock. This is Heavy Eye of the Sun's journey to the sea. Recommended. 8/10 -- Brad Rose (28 August, 2006)