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Thursday, January 09, 1997

These Eyes Before Reviews

Auralgasms

These are fantastic.  Probably the best cover album I've heard - they made each song their own.-Mikeylove

Bite Me

It takes a lot of guts to release an album's worth of covers, but when a band is as talented as Collide it's a gamble that pays off.  These Eyes Before presents old classics re-done with Collide flair.  What makes this disc so great is its overall cohesiveness.  Instead of sounding like a bunch of covers thrown together Collide managed to create a mood and a flow that ties these tunes together in such a way that it sounds like a collective whole.The record is further proof that as a unit there are no limitations to Collide's musical expressions.  kaRIN’s vocal interpretations breathes new life into each phrase, and Statik's technical wizardry creates the tapestry that weaves these songs together.  Whether you’re a fan of the originals or a fan of the band's electro-alt-darkwave sound you'll be pleased with what this album has to offer.  Collide's These Eyes Before is proof that you don't need millions of dollars to produce a high quality record.

Electronic Music Mall

Electro-rock-goth cover album. The Collide signature sound is turned toward a series of unpredictable rock and pop classics that have their origins in a rather diverse range of modern genres. kaRIN's slinky, ethereal vocal style most immediately stamps the band's individuality all over these familiar pieces - she takes on hits from such huge acts as Pink Floyd, Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and The Beatles with confident cool. Managing to redefine music that everyone knows so well is no small feat - yet kaRIN does an excellent job, managing to make the songs her own without appearing affected or trying too hard. Statik's instrumental skill complements the singing perfectly: be it the distorted, crunchy guitar work and pounding drums of Depeche Mode's I Feel You, the strings and psychedelic soundscaping of The Moody Blues' Nights In White Satin or the brooding alien electro terrain of the truly unexpected Rock On; originally a hit for David Essex.

These Eyes Before comes in a jewel case with a generous sixteen page booklet. The front cover image shows singer kaRIN in retro monochrome film star pose - blue eyes reflecting the fine font of the album title. The rear cover holds track titles and website information whilst the tray insert shows kaRIN once more - here in caged darkness. The first image of Statik appears inside the booklet opposite a page of credits - again black and white, shadowy. Subsequent pages take a track by track approach listing additional musicians and writing/publishing credits. The booklet concludes with two pages of thanks and appreciation. Appropriately the disc itself mimics a vinyl 45 from yesteryear.

 

These Eyes Before takes it title from the lyrics of Nights In White Satin and comes as the sixth or seventh studio album from the band and follow-up to the 2008 album Two Headed Monster. Having delivered cover numbers before, Collide here have compiled a complete disc of iconic recordings from the last five decades. This release removes any doubt as to the band's desire to break down genre restrictions or expectations and provides considerable insight into the kind of influences that have informed the distinctive Collide sound to date. kaRIN and Statik could so easily have rested on their laurels and continued producing high quality discs of their own unique material, but instead their adventurous spirit seems ever keen to go beyond - collaborative music such as the Ultrashiver album, the remix double disc Vortex and now These Eyes Before. The music is available to preview on the band's website.

Glasswerk

Collide spent the past year putting together this 10 track covers album for your enjoyment, and as usual they are proving to be masters of quality in the results. Those already familiar will know of several cover songs they have done on previous albums in the past, but they have never gone all the way to produce a full on covers album until now.

The choices are a mix of classics (Pink Floyd, Beatles, Bowie), modern popular (Depeche Mode, Radiohead) and then also a few less predictable tracks (David Essex, Chris Isaak).

The album opens with two quite breathtaking renditions of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” and then The Moody Blues “Nights in White Satin” (from where the album takes its title). These two songs were perhaps placed at the frontier to welcome in fans of the band and of the songs without making anyone feel ill at ease with what they were doing as the shoe does indeed fit on both tracks.

Finding time to recover from these two accomplishments is not permitted as the album continues through more rock and pop friendly tracks. Of course the merits of their success on each song can be viewed in many ways. Some songs they manage to completely rejuvenate, others sound more familiar to the originals but with another band putting their sound over the top. The Beatles “Come Together” is a song worth any bands time, but the original equally hard to remove yourself from.

Much more of a surprise is their cover of Radiohead’s Creep. And I will be honest that I wasn’t expecting much from it. I’m not the worlds biggest Radiohead fan (nor enemy), and although I like the song Creep it was forced into my youthful ears back when it was released on far too regular a basis by DJ’s in every pub, club, bar and student union. Collide have done the magical job of altering the song enough for it to still to sounds like Creep; but significantly different from how you are used to hearing it. And this is why the duo work so well together. Statik works his magician’s wand over the sounds and kaRIN lets the words become her own representation of sound.

Much more relaxed and subdued is the David Essex cover of “Rock On,” whilst Depeche Mode could well enter and win a competition for the most covered modern band. Collide take a stab at “I Feel You” which is a very distinct sounding song (like with “Come Together”) that Collide here decide to make very subtle changes in the music while largely following closely to the format of the song. Again it is the two artists putting their own tweaks here and there throughout the song that make it work.

A more relaxed fit to the bands vibe is “Space Oddity” which is perhaps one of the more ‘removed from the original’ tracks and could be quickly mistaken for their own song if you were to remove the opening oft quoted lines. The vocal work by kaRIN on this track is just perfect with layered backing making the sound much more surreal.

Next up is the much more playful “Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing” which perhaps can be seen as an influence on some of their earlier work. kaRIN get’s to get her more moody and punk self out from time to time in this song. Whilst she is still the ethereal mistress of dark subtlety, its nice to see her always checking out new territory and then mastering the mood.

It is an intriguing project to listen to as you get an incite into how they approach the songs and also get a good look into what music outside of creating their own makes them tick. The downside to this of course is that their taste in music may not cross over with your own, so as the choices are varied there may well tracks that strikes more of a high notes than others; depending upon how open you are to interpretation.

And this is what is so vibrant about this band is their approach to their produce. There are always new ideas shimmering away and every other year we are presented with something new artistically from them. For my own money I think their versions of “Breathe” and “Knights in White Satin” easily equal the originals. Being a fan of both this band and those songs it is a pleasure to see that they unified perfectly. But everyone has their favourites, and this is some of theirs.
-Steven Hurst

Goatsden

This California group's fifth full-length shines a new light on the duo's darkly sensual grooves. Formed in the mid-90's amidst the industrial rock frenzy, programmer Statik and vocalist kaRIN have steadily built a solid reputation and audience, fully independently, and their work has been instrumental in diversifying an increasingly testosterone-laden electronic dance/rock scene. They have befriended and worked alongside artists like Tool, Skinny Puppy, and Prince, but fittingly, it's their own work that garners them the most attention. "These Eyes Before" is a collection of 10 covers, beginning with Pink Floyd's "Breathe", which is transformed into a lovely and fantastic soundscape with an appropriately spaced-out vibe, and of course kaRIN's smooth and ethereal vocals. The Moody Blues' "Nights In White Satin" is also respectfully updated, with a superb mix of organic instrumentation and sleek programming. Other standouts? Depeche Mode's "I Feel You" is trippier and better-produced than the original. Bowie's amazing "Space Oddity" is given a wonderful modern electronic cyber-grafting, with kaRIN's breezy vocals pointed to the celestial heavens. Chris Isaak's "Baby Did A Bad Thing" effectively brings some smoldering, gritty rock to the table, and Fleetwood Mac's percussive "Tusk" is recreated, with actual marching band, and it all closes out with another Pink Floyd classic, "Comfortably Numb". Normally, I'd shout "heresy", as some things are just sacred, but Collide admirably pull it off, adding a cool and deep layer of mood to the song's already-potent melancholy. A superb release, and perhaps their best yet.

Gothic Beauty

Collide has always turned out amazing covers of songs, as evidenced by their stellar versions of "White Rabbit" and "Haunted When the Minutes Drag". kaRIN and Statik now treat us to an entire album of covers. Featuring songs by so many influential and iconic musicians such as David Bowie, Pink Floyd, and The Beatles, These Eyes Before feels like a graceful homage. And finally, a Goth band does "Creep" by Radiohead - It's about time! While every song has Collide's signature slithering style, I have to say much to my surprise, my favorite track is "Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing" by Chris Isaak because it just suits kaRIN's vocals so well. Well Done!! (Curse)

Grave Concerns

A cover...singing someone else's song...it can be a tricky thing. Usually a cover is great or it's just not.Collide can cover a song. This doesn't surprise me. One of old fave songs is "Nights in White Satin". Wow..Karin, Staik...this is genius! It represent the song and it adds an ethereal/goth tone to it that I would never have thought of and it's gorgeous!!! The album is a really nice release for this band. This band has covered a song or two in their career and these songs obviously mean alot to them...to put their own flair on these songs...made me like these songs even more! Great job Collide! "Creep" is super sick- Karin's vox are dreamy and edgy.
5 stars!

Little Rat Bastard

Collide is the combination of the dark sultry voice of kaRIN and the largely electronic arrangements of Statik. Their sounds together is a mix of different styles and influences most prominently industrial and trip-hop. Together they have been making and recording music as Collide since 1992, and have been running their own label, NoisePlus, since 2000.

‘These Eyes Before’ is Collide’s fifth studio album and this time out it is a ten track collection of new covers. Now, as much as I love cover songs, usually a collection of them will ultimately be disappointing with only one or two worth listening to. This is so not the case with ‘These Eyes Before’. Collide hooks you in from the very start, and astounds you track after track with the revisioning of some classic songs you never expected to her like this. They have smartly book-ended this collection with two great Pink Floyd covers (”Breathe” & “Comfortably Numb”) and packed in standouts like “Nights In White Satin” and the surprisingly great, “Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing”. The real show stopper here is a cover of Radiohead’s debut hit, “Creep”, just awesome. There is also an excellent cover of Space oddity that the legendary David Bowie would be proud of. They are all so good, I could just keep going but…

You will no doubt be hearing at least a few of these songs pop up in the soundtracks of this years movies and TV shows. ‘These Eyes Before’ has a great ambient, mood setting sound, and is so fresh that I have to imagine that producers will be knocking down doors to get one of these tracks in their scenes. Ps. On a side note, ‘These Eye Before’ was sent to us in perhaps the coolest little hand made press kit I’ve seen in a long time.
4 1/2 stars

Nocturnal Magazine

After only a year absence since their last album, Collide return with this pet project, a whole disc full of cover songs. Already established as a band who can reliably do justice to material they have not penned themselves (see their version of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” and Love and Rocket’s “Haunted (When the Minutes Drag)” for prime examples). This time out they have gone the whole hog and created an entire release full of wonders.

Whilst some choices are fairly predictable (Is there a band out there that hasn’t covered Depeche Mode at some point), there are some other interesting choices that befit the bands charms whilst there are some very unpredictable choices.

The band held a competition for fans to try to guess who and what they were covering, and whilst some smug smart-ass bastards out there managed to get a few lucky pot shots and ran off with some Collide stash, there is no predicting how some of these tracks have turned out. Whilst “Breathe”, “Knights In White Satin” and “Space Oddity” could well be some of their best covers, the way in which they cover some of these is a real mind boggle. Probably the biggest surprise (and a good one) is their version of “Creep.”

Some titles they have picked do sound perhaps too close to the originals (But it is hard to remove yourself from the likes of Depeche Mode’s “I Feel You” and The Beatles “Come Together”). Then again they are not trying to reinvent the wheel here, merely taking it for a spin on their own turf. And there are two ways to cover a song well. One do something different with the song and secondly simply pay homage to it with your own voices and instruments. Collide manage to do both throughout the album. Whilst every song is a well known track they have purposely avoided acts that sound too close to what they are known for producing, so the inclusion of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk”, Chris Isaak’s “Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing” and even David Essex’ “Rock On” make for enjoyable diversion.

They have book ended the album with Pink Floyd tracks… and once they have singed off with the weird and wonderful “Comfortably Numb” the question of what may come next rises. Not a band to rest on their laurels; I’m sure they’ll respond to that in good enough time. In the meantime this is a fascinating study of a band who devote so much of their time to creating music. To have such a personal representation of what has inspired them over the years put to disc is a brave and ultimately rewarding choice they have made.
-Steven Hurst

Music Artery

Noiseplus Music unleashes the latest: These Eyes Before; a new release by Collide revitalizing 10 classic rock favorites every music aficionado will recognize and cherish.

Truly something for everyone is reflected in These Eyes Before. I love it when I open up a brand new CD and immediately begin to sing along! Collide’s talent shines with silky vocals and multi-faceted soundscapes creating a cavalcade of entirely unique and new experiences, melding both past and present audio delights beautifully.

If ever a band composed an entire CD of cover songs and, making them their own, without losing any integrity of the original work, then Collide succeeds within These Eyes Before . Take “White Rabbit” (Jefferson Airplane) covered by Collide on Chasing the Ghost [2000]; which rose in college radio and underground music club popularity until critical-mass, acquiring mainstay status at gothic clubs around the world. (Try ‘Goth Bowling’ to Collide’s rendition of “White Rabbit”!)

Most notable favorites include “Come Together”, “I Feel You”, “Creep”, and “Tusk”.

Statik’s layers of synchopated noise march “Tusk” alongside the Putnam City North High School Marching Band, cohesively delivering a surreal, 50-yard-line gyration effect.

Side Line

After the acclaimed escape under the Secret Meeting wings kaRIN and Statik from Collide are back with a new album. “These Eyes Before” is a kind of concept featuring 10-cover versions from very famous and international recognized songs. Covering artists like Pink Floyd, David Bowie, The Beatles, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Fleetwood Mac, The Moody Blues, Chris Isaak and David Essex is quite of a challenge. Collide feels very comfortable with some songs while other ones sound like having been definitely tougher to achieve. But in the end I might say that the band perfectly adapted the original versions.

The songs remain all easy recognizable, but the Collide touch is definitely there. I think it’s not that easy to work on such famous song while adding your own stamp on it. The two debut songs are definitely well crafted. “Breathe” fromPink Floyd opening the release is an astonishing cover version with wafting guitar parts, a slow and sensual rhythmic and the sexy vocals of kaRIN. “Night In White Satin” fromThe Moody Blues coming next is one of my favorite cuts. I really like the kind of evasive mood reminding me a bit of Hungry Lucy. Another remarkable song is “I Feel You” from Depeche Mode. This is one of the songs where Collide definitely feels the most comfortable. It all sounds a bit like ‘coming home’. The way they covered this Depeche Mode masterpiece in a somewhat darker and floating way is brilliant. A quite surprising cover version is Chris Isaak’s “Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing”. I have to confess I really like Chris Isaak and if you know the original version, you’ll have to admit this is not the most easy song to cover. Musical wise it’s quite impressive, butChris Isaak’s particular vocals were a bit harder to cover. A very last recommended piece is “ Comfortably Numb” from Pink Floyd (again). This version features impressive atmospheres and outstanding guitar parts. A cover of Pink Floyd is always a big challenge, but it all sounds really easy for Collide. A very last cover I want to pay attention for is Fleetwoord Mac’s “Tusk”.

Collide here surprises with quite bombastic drum patterns while the guitar parts are once more irresistible. “These Eyes Before” is an album that will surprise numerous fans of the band and even music lovers who aren’t that familiar with Collide!
(ED:8)ED.

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