Descent of the Astral Canary
Descent of the Astral Canary begins with Eye Guy's first original song, 'I Told Jody.' This somewhat grungy rocker relates the narrator's quaintly unrequited affection for the title character. This song is the first in a series of Eye Guy 'love' songs, which tend to showcase socially inept narrators who fear the woman they are attracted to. In all these songs, there is an almost neurotic atmosphere of sexual repression. 'Jody' is followed by 'Down With Civilization,' a snappy little number about a cynic who is fed up with the world and has vowed to move 'to the woods.' (It is important to recognize at this point that Eye Guy does not necessarily believe in or agree with any of the lyrics contained in their songs, although they might.) Next is 'Bug Nightmare,' a loud crashing study of the fear of insects. This is followed, in contrast, by the sleek yet tongue-in-cheek transcendentalism of 'Eggplant of Your Mind.' The fifth song is the only one penned almost entirely by Nick. This is 'Escalator Junkie,' a frantically fast and furious song with a self-explanatory title. The first half of the record closes with 'Don't Touch Me, You'll Kill Me,' which has proven so far to be one of the most popular songs on the album. Though this is another twisted love ditty, the original inspiration came from Ben Jenkins' bass amp, which was not grounded properly and would produce tremendous electric shocks when he would touch other band members in any way. Hence the song's title and the line, 'I charge with love, I charge you...' Next comes the catchy 'Blah Blah Blah,' with one of those bass lines that's instantly memorable. 'Blah' is followed by the album's groove-a-thon, 'Phobic.' Here Eye Guy takes it's cue from the Police's 'Shadows in the Rain,' Bowie's 'All the Madmen,' and the Talking Heads' 'Psycho Killer,' and continues in rock music's long tradition of 'madness songs.' Perhaps the most exemplary of Eye Guy's early 'fragmented' numbers, 'Fish So Fine' swings between happy bounce-pop, mock flamenco, and hard rock. This is followed by the last of the love songs, 'I've Got Windows,' which, despite title, has absolutely nothing to do with computers. Descent's penultimate song, 'Dust,' opens with a lengthy drum solo and then explodes into frenzied song whose narrator is constantly frustrated by fate. Although 'Dust' is among the younger songs on the album, it strongly reflects Eye Guy's earlier Devo influence and jarring writing style. 'The Sound of Your Own Voice' is the grand finale. Charlie makes his debut as a lead singer on this track, which culminates in an ethereal three-minute jam propelled by Nick's stately marching beat. Descent runs the stylistic gamut, but there remains a coherent style and musical approach throughout. Clocking in at forty-one minutes, the album represents the first two years of this band's work.