E.S.L’s debut album Eye Contact is a fantastical, muscial-theatrical type hybrid that seems to bridge together the innocence of black and white films with modern day anxieties.
The album opens with a rhythmically-driven track which is backed up by earthy cellos chanting in a catchy gusto melody. Following this sound, the album takes a more soulful, heartfelt turn at “Side by Side” where singer Marta Jacubek-McKeever’s vocal ache resonates alongside the melancholic violin arrangement. However, this album possesses more than just a simple juxtaposition between innocence and heartache, as it ventures into musical dramas and swing melodies. Duffy Driediger of Ladyhawk samples his lyrical talent in “Like a Hurricane,” giving the album a sweet touch of masculinity amongst a plethora of lush strings. Marta indulges her Polish ancestry with “Czarne Oczy,” creating a campy, foreign-like sound that makes you want to dance around a campfire and howl at the moon. Still not random enough? The quartet completes the album with all-girl cover of Beastie Boy’s classic song “Girls.” This fact alone should inspire immediate respect for the Vancouver group.
Retrospectively, Eye Contact seems like the kind of albumv that would have existed if transcendental musicians Bjork and Elsiane combined with the 90’s swing band the Squirrel Nut Zippers would have sounded like, but in a black and white film from the 30’s.