â€œWe like to flip off conventions because it sucks to be in a straitjacket,â€ says Rebecca Schoenecker, the â€œprimary singer/songwriter/visionaryâ€ of Laughing Eye Weeping Eye. A quick listen to LEWE calls a great variety of adjectives to mind, but â€œconventionalâ€ definitely isnâ€™t one of them.
Schoenecker describes some of the ways LEWE â€œflips offâ€ conventions: â€œSinging like coyotes, cross-dressing like a nightmare out of the thrift store or costume shopâ€¦ singing spiritual Christian-inspired hymns as Pagans, singing very serious songs and ideas in a way that does not appear serious, encouraging people to engage in the lost art of thinkingâ€¦â€
While the band’s sound is extremely dynamic and multi-layered, this Chicago-based act is a mere duo, with Schoenecker joined by multi-instrumentalist co-writer Patrick Holbrook. LEWEâ€™s dedicated, imaginative utilization of nontraditional instruments and techniques is both fascinating and estranging.
A harmonium Schoenecker bought in 2010 â€œcaused something jagged and fierce to stir up in [her] soul; an outpouring of songs erupted, spewing forth princess hags, sirens and gnomes.â€
Nontraditional, indeed. â€œWe play and choose our instruments like explorers; there is a sense of possibility and curiosity,â€ says Schoenecker. â€œThe instruments have their own personalities, and we allow them to contribute to the songwriting.â€
Whether or not one enjoys LEWEâ€™s sound seems almost irrelevant; the specter of such a bizarre and experimental approach to rendering art ought to entice even the least curious among us.
Athenians who are â€œsick to death of the ‘serious, wispy female singer/songwriter and the male rock star masturbating with his guitar’ modelâ€ (Schoeneckerâ€™s words) are in for a refreshing, albeit likely confusing, evening; Laughing Eye Weeping Eye will fit right in with locals Future Ape Tapes, Bubbly Mommy Gun and Basshunter 64, all of whom strive to deliver what critic Darko Suvin calls â€œstrange newness.â€ Look it up.
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