Xray Eyeballs is yet another creative venture of O.J. San Felipe, a San Francisco native and also a member of the Golden Triangles. Stitching together a new amalgamation of members from already-existing Brooklyn bands, the group plays a laid-back, spaced-out version of garage rock. Many music writers have called it pop, which also applies but only in a borderline way.
I wish I could say better things about the group’s debut album, Not Nothing. The band certainly has its image down pat—a group of well-dressed, universally good-looking people playing instruments is always a sure way to get attention in the music world. But good looks do not translate to good sounds.
On Not Nothing, the (annoyingly, frequently out of tune) vocals are so fuzzed out that they’re nearly unintelligible, so it’s certainly not the lyrics that are driving the music. The guitars have a pleasant, beach-y sound but don’t really do anything interesting. Derivative without bringing anything new, Not Nothing is lo-fi at a mediocre level. If you’re going to listen to the genre, you may as well stick with reliable stalwarts like Crystal Stilts and Best Coast.
If anything, the group’s music videos and marketing campaigns are more interesting than its actual music. For the past few months, San Felipe has been handing out T-shirts featuring the band’s Ghost Girl design all over Brooklyn, in an effort to start a sort of viral marketing campaign. San Felipe speaks of the shirts as sort of a marker for a secret society—a comparison that seems arrogant at best and megalomaniacal at worst. The music video for “Crystal” features a storyline revolving around the practice of voodoo and is equal parts funny and disturbing—the kind of thing that’s sure to be remembered, even in the glut of the internet.
This is the X-ray Eyeballs’ debut album, so perhaps in time, its tunes will catch up with the maturity of its image. But I’m not holding my breath.