Switch off your devices and switch on Tunnel Visions’ debut EP, Clear Skies: a homage to the waking reality of our subconsciousness and the first half of their conceptual double-release.
Carried by waves of rock and roll never before seen on the shores of Brighton, the 7-piece psychedelic experimental band, Tunnel Visions are ready to tell their story.
Have you ever woken in a panic, short of breath and disturbed as your psyche attempts to navigate between nightmare and new day? If you are foreign to such feelings, allow Clear Skies to verse you accordingly.
Through their inaugural release, the Brighton 7-piece share the day-in-the-life of a person whose paranoia and persistent nightmares shape their waking hours. From start to finish, dawn to dusk, TV’s immersive storytelling and experimental instrumentation will keep you fixated.
Clear Skies EP opens with the soft chords and gauzy symbols of Track 1, ‘Overground’, up until a sharp ‘Woo’ signals the go-ahead and wakes the rest of the band. Swiftly, all seven instruments rouse, and thus, the story begins.
Track 1 leans gently into track 2, ‘Lazy Eyes’. Profound surf-rock riffs bounce from one guitarist to the next. The dread behind its lyricism toys with the crowd’s urge to dance. Temptation succumbs and we are all on our feet bopping to the very end.
Next up, is ‘The Son’ ensuing track 4, ‘The Sun (Through Summer)’. I asked TV if there was an intentional nuance between the two. Here’s how they answered: “These two songs, in particular, are actually “responses” to songs on the upcoming album (The Father and The Moon) story-wise, but all of the songs are intentionally connected. The whole thing is about recurring nightmares in a looping day and night cycle, with Clear Skies representing the ‘day’ part of that story.”
The second half of this conceptual double-release, Foggy Moon, is expected to be released later this year, hinting that this one “is much longer and more dramatic” than its precursor.
Intimations of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, as well as Ty Segall and YAK can be felt amid Clear Skies without overlooking the group’s individual sound. Amongst the musical eclecticism and patent friendships, TV’s winning USP for me goes to the group’s two drummers, Cam Black, and Laur Underwood. Their live punctuality and affirming head nods to one another on stage were widely commended by the crowd at The Victoria.
We caught up with the group at The Victoria in Dalston, moments after playing their opening show on their jaunt yet electric tour.
A 7-piece ensemble would leave many in shambles – but not you guys. How did you all come together and who’s who in the band?
Before moving to Brighton, we all met in Plymouth – our paths crossed due to us all playing in bands or being otherwise involved in the DIY music scene as teenagers. It’s pretty much just a case of only wanting to be in a band with our best friends so we’ve always been picky about who’s involved, just as we wanna feel as comfortable with each other as possible, haha.
Andrew started the band and writes all the music, and then we’ve had Elliot and Cam in the band for many years, with more Janners joining over time, with lots of switcheroos in the line-up (probably over 15 variations by now).
Tunnel Visions: Andrew Girdler (Guitar, Vocals), Elliot Stanford (Guitar, Vocals), Cameron Black (Drums), Tim Girdler (Guitar), Rory Lethbridge (Bass), Rachel Bailey (Keys/Percussion), Naomi Girdler (Bass, sometimes) and Laur Underwood (Drums).
Mass musical energy in a single space can undoubtedly be both joyous and challenging. What’s the creative process?
Haha yes, having seven (sometimes eight) members can definitely be difficult to organise – for rehearsals, recordings, photos, everything really, but it just gives us so many options musically. Every member is a multi-instrumentalist so it’s nice to know that we can rearrange ourselves to fit around future songs, and it’s very freeing!
The process has always been that Andrew writes the songs and then brings them to the band in rehearsals or demo form and then we go from there, which keeps it nice and simple, as I think having seven songwriters would get messy quick.
Watching wooden-faced beings tail Drummer Laur Underwood through forests and fields in the Lazy Eyes music video irked juvenile memories of being chased upstairs by friends at a sleepover. As the music intensifies, so does the video, and panic creeps in. Is this the reaction you had hoped for from viewers and could you tell me a little more about the concept behind the production?
That’s definitely the reaction we were going for, a sense of uneasiness building into full-blown panic. The concept of the video is heavily linked to the themes and story of the EP, it’s about facing up to mistakes and guilt (hence the briefcase shtick, a la the Tarantino mystery), none of the video is really supposed to be reality, more a visualisation of Laur’s character’s subconscious.
The video was shot a long while ago with the help of our very talented friend (and fellow Devonshire Don) Reuben Davies Lindley, who helped Andrew to get all his rambling ideas organised and on camera, so massive shoutout to him.
From Plymouth to Brighton, coast to coast, this band of Janners is putting the rock in stick-of-rock – and they are not stopping there. TV hopes to make sweet sounds all across the country. After recently performing at Brighton’s Hope and Ruin with the support of promoter Acid Box Promotions, they are due to play Brighton’s Alternative Escape Festival on the 13th of May.
Decades been and gone have graced us with defining 7-piece bands whose names are indented within musical history: The Flaming Lips, Madness, S Club 7.. perhaps it’s about time the new roaring ’20s had their own.
Photo Credit: Beasley St Photography
Tunnel Visions’ debut EP is available now