When indie bands with quirky monikers come along, it’s always cool to learn how those names came about. Toss of coin? Repressed childhood memory? Or maybe, as in the case of Charlotte, NY based jangly new wave-ish power-popsters The Eyebrows, an awesome quip from Frank Zappa: “The computer can’t tell you the emotional story. It can give you the mathematical design, but what’s missing is the eyebrows.”
A connection with one of music’s most defiant and humorous artists might lead us to take the playful, jangly, raucous, fun, high energy (etc. etc.) music of The Eyebrows a tad less seriously, but there’s a poignant, more serious start to their story. In 2012, lead singer/guitarist Jay Garrigan took a forced hiatus from songwriting and performing due to a painful, life-altering chronic corneal erosion from a botched Lasik surgery. Drummer Shawn Lynch, who played with Garrigan for 18 years in some of Charlotte’s hottest band, invited him to fill in for their old group Temperance League. Rediscovering his passion, Garrigan started working on new material and joined forces to Lynch to dive into a new sonice universe with The Eyebrows.
“Aww” all you want at the inspiring resurrection story, but you can still have a blast rockin’ out with organ and guitar jams like “Red Dress,” punky, B-52’sesque explosions like “Avocado” and percussive keyboard driven, Cars-like romps a la “It Comes Down Hard” and “I Feel Unloved.” The Eyebrows cleverly alternate lead instrumentation to avoid any sameness from track to track; witness the jumpy acoustic guitar the start of “She Can’t Stand Me” and the mystical Beatles-esque keyboards launching “Pent Up Things.”
Garrigan’s compelling voice has been compared to that of Rob Halford, Freddie Mercury and Jeff Buckley, but depending on the song, there’s a little Ric Ocasek and Fred Schneider influences tripping through. When you listen, you may just find your eyebrows being raised, grateful that Garrigan’s return to music led to something this lighthearted and triumphant.