Eugene Nihx is the solo project of John Savins. He recently released a five-song EP entitled Mantis, which is off-kilter art rock that showcases some potential. There are a number of inspired moments as well as some that fall a bit flat.
Mantis is a complete DIY effort and is by no means bad from an aesthetic perspective but could have used some improvements. The bass drum could have benefitted from some more low-end and the vocals were sometimes masked by offending frequencies but overall I was able to look past these issues.
The most apparent influence on these songs is Grizzly Bear. There is something with the vocal delivery and occasionally the music that reminds me of them. That being said, there is enough original style here that if Savins can tweak his future work the comparisons won’t be as obvious.
The first song “Welcome To Interzone” combines a time shifting synth with drums and lead guitar. It’s a spacey sounding, dream like song but the start and stop like timing almost makes it jarring. There is a bit of Bradford Cox like vocal delivery on this song. “You Know My Love” is a solid song and I thought the sometimes de-tuned organ was a nice touch. The song does suffer from not having any noticeable changes. A disparate chorus with a different feel would have been a nice touch.
The most obvious Grizzly Bear comparison comes from “Coining The Phrase.” Savins layers a number of well-implemented sounds but the song mirrors the flaws of the previous song. It lacks a change that feels visceral or compelling. The song has the same energy all the way through that it never deviates from.
The next two songs have a similar fate. Savins successfully explores the depths of layering his music but fails to find a hook, chorus and/or general change in momentum. Savins is a work in progress. In order to compete with the some of his influences he still has some work to do but he is off to a decent start.
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