Listeners of Eyedress — the stage name of Filipino musician Idris Vicuña — are no strangers to his flawless emulation of music’s hazy, punk-filled past. His recent release, “Let’s Skip to the Wedding,” which dropped Aug. 7, harkens back to the deep, mumbled vocals of gothic 80s staples like Joy Division while still upholding a sense of unshakable modernity. Vicuña — the producer, instrumentalist and lead singer of this project — is seemingly influenced by the rebellious post-punk electronica scene of 20th century Los Angeles as well as his past work with the psychedelic indie band Bee Eyes. No matter its specific genre, the new album is the modern-day fuel for chipped black nails and septum piercings — with a hint of what could only be described as an inherent love of skateboarding.
After receiving acclaim for his first album, “Hearing Colors,” in 2013, Vicuña has worked with household names like King Krule, who is featured in their collaboration as Edgar the Breathtaker. Vicuña also started his own label called Babe Slayer on which he released his 2015 record “Shapeshifter.” The album received widespread attention due to its varied spectrum of vocal features, giving way to a diverse sonic experience. “Let’s Skip” is also Vicuña’s first release after moving from Manila to the United States in 2018, marking both a milestone in his career and personal life. With full length albums now dropping yearly, Vicuña shows no signs of slowing down.
The album’s title track, “Let’s Skip to the Wedding,” greets listeners with shiny, high-pitched synth. This unique instrumental addition contributes bubbly undertones to the morose vocals of Vicuña, elevating the desperation of the song’s lyricism. A noticeable contrast between bright instrumentals and gloomy lyrics is a persistent trend throughout the record. Rosy, electronic elements are often mixed with the repetition of phrases like, “I don’t wanna be your friend.”
The overall simplicity of these lyrics, as well as the instrumentals, allow the listener to enter a virtual trance, guided by sporadic whisperings about a complicated love. “Let’s Skip” is the epitome of slowed, repetitive punk. Sit back, channel your emotions and feel free to chant along.
In spite of the repetition, the track “Never Been To Prom” offers a fresh, nearly R&B-esque style of vocals similar to those of Devonté Hynes, the name behind critically-acclaimed project Blood Orange. The gentle sentiment, “I just wanna be the best you’ve ever seen,” is draped in layers of velvety synth and innocence. The jarring variation continues in the following track, “Mystical Creature’s Best Friend.” Listeners have now entered a sonic space marked by electronica, funk and the comforting regularity of heartsick lyrics. Avid listeners of artists similar to Eyedress may find the tune reminiscent of bedroom-pop style bands like Triathalon, with whom Vicuña has collaborated in the past.
Arguable breakout songs “Jealous” and “Can I See You Tonight?” are on track to rival Vicuña’s previous popular releases. Despite their high volume of streams, they remain comparable in quality to the lesser-known songs hidden in the middle of the record. Past albums released under the moniker Eyedress uphold a similar sound, only halfway departing into the closely related genres of indie and hip-hop. Vicuña’s 2012 collaborative album, “Moisture,” explores the electronic depth of indie R&B with artist Lofty305, while his 2019 album “Dark Web DMT” delves into the realm of trap. Overall, Vicuña’s consistency and his output with “Let’s Skip to the Wedding” promises a steady flow of reputable tracks. Eyedress seems on the brink of gaining impressive and deserved recognition.