Round Eye’s music is bonkers. I mean that in the best possible way. The self-described “experimental freak punk” group makes music that constantly pushes and questions what music can become.
In their self-titled LP you will hear the intersection of what sounds like Ornette Coleman, The Stooges, Circle Jerks, and Frank Zappa having a party and jam session simultaneously. Round Eye is a sonic exploration of what happens when you free music of its genre definitions and throw it into a chaotic display of artistry.
The record is loud, melodic, dissonant, fast, complex, and full of life at every turn. The uninitiated to the worlds of punk, doo-wop and free jazz may not get what’s going on, but that is just fine. It seems that no matter where the band goes they gain a following.
A group of expats based in Shanghai, China, Round Eye (a purposely self-deprecating name) has earned the love of locals in mainland China (numerous local Chinese musicians perform on the LP). They have also managed to earn the ire of the government as they have had to tour at times “underground where they held the secret gigs in bomb shelters around the country” due to their stage antics and more. The controversy has come at a benefit to the group, however, as the Ministry of Culture couldn’t shut down the punk spirit. The group is “a crucial force in bridging a wide gap between the eastern and western hemispheres of punk rock.” As a punk musician and “punk scholar” this is such a welcome thing for me to hear (because in the end fuck politics when we have rock n’ roll right?).
Ultimately there really isn’t anything like Round Eye. In the punk world they are pioneers of sorts, forging new ground for a sound of rebellion and camaraderie. Punk never dies and these dudes know that.
Give this band a try, you’re in for one hell of a ride.
Round Eye by Round Eye can be found at: