Eye Contact

BY Scott A. GrayPublished Jul 26, 2008

Western Canada femme folk/pop group E.S.L. corral the talents of pianist/vocalist Marta Jacubek-McKeever of Girl Nobody, fiddler Diona Davies of the Be Good Tanyas and Carolyn Mark, drummer Joy Mullen of the Doers and Cree cellist Cris Derksen for this impressive debut. E.S.L.’s Eye Contact shaves away the slickest pop elements of these ladies’ prior projects, focusing on weighty emotional song craft informed by traditional polish and blended gypsy folk music sensibilities. Bravely, E.S.L. tackle three covers: Neil Young’s "Like A Hurricane,” Velvet Underground’s "Venus In Furs” and a completely unnecessary take on Beastie Boys’ "Girls” to end the album. These covers work best the more the band make them their own, particularly in the instrumental passages and the verses where Marta harmonises creatively with guest vocalist Duffy Driediger of Ladyhawk. Luckily, E.S.L.’s strength is their original material. Cinematically dramatic and catchy numbers like "I Don’t Buy It” and "Not About You” make Eye Contact one of the most thoroughly enjoyable debuts of the year.
(Jericho Beach)

Latest Coverage