Everyone’s Crushed Finds Water From Your Eyes at the Height of Their Powers

The experimental rock duo showcase their evolving chemistry across their best album yet

Music Reviews Water From Your Eyes
Everyone’s Crushed Finds Water From Your Eyes at the Height of Their Powers

Everyone’s Crushed, the latest album from experimental indie-pop duo Water From Your Eyes, picks up right where their last album left off. Its cheeky opening track, “Structure,” shares the same name as the Brooklyn natives’ 2021 breakthrough record. It’s as if vocalist Rachel Brown and multi-instrumentalist/producer Nate Amos are world-building, expanding on the lore of their dense catalog. On their first album for the revered indie titan, Matador Records, Water From Your Eyes deliver on the simmering anticipation surrounding them. It’s another case that marks Brown and Amos as one of the most innovative, exciting creative partnerships of the moment.

Although this is technically their sixth album as Water From Your Eyes, Brown and Amos have a long history together. Formerly a couple, they’ve worked on album after album after album, and their artistry has become a seemingly bottomless pit of fun, off-kilter ideas. Their prolific nature abounds in thanks for coming, Brown’s solo project that also includes plenty of Amos’ songwriting and production. With 79 Bandcamp releases under the thanks for coming moniker, these two musicians understand the symbiotic relationship at the heart of all creative endeavors. There’s also Amos’ solo music as This Is Lorelei and his project with indie-pop auteur Lily Konigsberg as My Idea. How they’ve managed to make so much music—and so much great music at that—is a herculean feat.

On Structure in particular, their vision became fully reified, reaching an apotheosis it never had until that point, merging pop balladry, Berlin techno and indie rock in methods that seemed unfathomable until they executed it. Despite that record’s elliptical abstractions, Everyone’s Crushed takes their collagist ethos a step further. Brown and Amos have thrown Structure out the window, given that most tracks on this album defiantly resist actual structure itself. Take the standout closer, “Buy My Product,” which flouts a conventional verse-chorus format in lieu of tumultuous crescendos and swirling, discordant layering. While Brown’s lyrics maintain their dissociative, surrealist mindset, it’s hard not to hear “Buy My Product” as a noisy lament about the inescapability of hypercapitalism. Brown intones the song’s title, their voice evincing a disillusionment with the economic, consumerist state of the country writ large. “There are no happy endings,” their opening mantra goes, before succumbing to the system itself as a means of self-preservation: “There are only things / Buy my product.”

“Barely,” the pre-release single, might be the duo’s best song to date. It’s an elevated version of the paths they’ve traveled before, a display of their evolving chemistry as a musical portmanteau that weaves sounds in novel ways. Featuring everything from shakers, woozy key samples, Lee Ranaldo-esque guitar squelches and dissonant, atonal synths, each element comes in and out of earshot intuitively. Nothing overstays its welcome, remaining for however long it pleases, before moving on to another section entirely. Like many Water From Your Eyes cuts, the lyrics for “Barley” are esoteric and opaque, but the band suggests it’s about “futile attempts at attaining the unattainable.” I mean, hey, climbing the corporate ladder feels a whole lot like climbing and “count[ing] mountains,” as Brown’s refrain puts it—a physically and mentally taxing exercise that drains all life out of you. “Out There,” which the duo have been performing live, is another compelling exercise in tension and release, carving out open space where Amos layers the same guitar lick each measure until rollicking toms come crashing back into the mix, subdued and propulsive all at once.

Whereas most of Everyone’s Crushed is delightfully jittery—akin to drinking nothing but a cold brew for breakfast—it offers a temporary comedown toward the end. The one-two (soft) punch of “Remember Not My Name” and “14” shows that Water From Your Eyes succeeds just as well at a tender ballad. Those quieter moments, however, still contain a slight degree of off-the-wall experimentalism. The former, for instance, eventually gives in to a wash of static guitar feedback roughly two-thirds into the track, just before returning to the gentle haze shortly thereafter. The latter, despite its meditative tones, comes across as eerily peaceful, like the quiet before a storm—the storm being the cacophonous “Buy My Product” that follows it. Even when Brown and Amos aren’t challenging the listener with harsh siren synths and raucous guitar distortion, they’re still capable of infusing the softest material with their amusingly weird signifiers.

On the album’s dynamic centerpiece, “True Life,” the duo pay homage to classic crooner Neil Young in the bridge: “Neil, let me sing your song / It’s been this way for so long / Your buddy loves to dance.” Although the original version of “True Life” interpolated Young’s own “Cinnamon Girl,” Brown and Amos say just as much by what they leave out. Here, they etch themselves into the experimental rock canon by aligning themselves, however covertly, with the traditional rock canon, underlining their strengths and achieving the purest zenith of their eccentric stylings. Everyone’s Crushed shines an incandescent limelight on Water From Your Eyes at the absolute height of their powers; it’s their best work yet.

Grant Sharples is a writer based in Kansas City. He has contributed to MTV News, Pitchfork, Stereogum, The Ringer, SPIN and others. Follow him on Twitter @grantsharpies.

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