March 13, 2004

Tears in X-Ray Eyes "Wonderfully Made"

Wonderfully Made is the debut American release from the excellent British pop band Tears In X-Ray Eyes. It's not technically a new album; instead, it's a collection of two EP's that were released over the past year and a half, Sleep Like a Dream and My Strange Love. Here's what I said then about Sleep Like a Dream:

Sleep Like A Dream picks up from the Tears In X-Ray Eyes' well-received debut album, Half-Life. If you're looking for the vapid lyrics and pretty-boy posturing of England's "next big thing," please look elsewhere, because Tim Closs is much more substantial than that. If you're looking for a band that makes intelligent music that will ring true to the pop-fan in you, then you are well-advised to find this EP. From the lovely beat-driven "Sleep Like A Dream," you know you're in for a pop treat! He slows down a bit with "In These Arms," which borrows more than a bit from John Lennon's "Imagine," but it's quite a beautiful piano-driven number. They pick things up with the also-sad, and also-pretty "The Charge of the Light Brigade." Closing out the set is "Wherever You Are (You'll Find Me There)", a country-bluesy number that stands in stark contrast to the other, poppier numbers--but it's still awesome.

The second half of Wonderfully Made continues along those same lines. "My Strange Love" starts off as a beautiful piano ballad, and then is accented by a really lovely drum programming beat that gives the song added depth without ever sounding cheesy. "Science Fiction" follows that formula, except with acoustic guitar. "Who's Gonna Hurt You Now" is a full-band number that gives Coldplay a run for their money, but the real winner is the final "You'll Know a Good Thing (When It's Gone)." It's a blend of every element that made the previous seven songs utterly wonderful, but with the added benefit of an orchestral backing.

Lush, gorgeous pop is always a winning combination in my book, but Tears In X-Ray Eyes is extra special, and Wonderfully Made certainly lives up to its title. This is a nice taste of a band who'll probably knock us out with a brilliant album soon..if we're lucky...

--Joseph Kyle

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