By Brittany Rudyck
CALGARY – To describe the homegrown Crystal Eyes as a one-woman outfit would be accurate, but only to a degree. Erin Jenkins began the project to serve herself creatively, enlisting the help of her partner and other musically minded folks to bring her songs to life. Over the last few years, the band has materialized in several forms, welcoming various musicians to the project who would ultimately aid the construction of an album or play an odd show, filling whatever gap was left by the previously departed.
Even Jenkins, who plays guitar and does vocals, was careful to say the current line up in her band has been consistent for the last few months, explaining, “It’s a polyamorous relationship, for sure. It’s really complicated and convoluted.
Even I don’t know the chronology of the band, so it’s hard to explain what this is sometimes.”
Despite the lapse in a conclusive timeline, Jenkins has put together a second full length through the Crystal Eyes guise. The Female Imagination continues to draw from her affinity for nature through a melancholy pop lens. Musically the album doesn’t deviate far from the band’s first offering, still capturing a smoke-a-cigarette-in-the-bathtub-with-a-glitter-bath-bomb-erupting feel.
The album was recorded with the same players as the first, No Man is an Island, utilizing the talents of Mathieu Blanchard, Chris Dadge, Samantha Savage Smith and Kenny Murdoch to round out the recording crew. The list of musicians involved is collectively and partially responsible for the sugary pop of Samantha Savage Smith, the bizarre, abrasive noise of Bug Incision, and the LARP worshipping joy of Outlaws of Ravenhurst. On their first album, themes of loneliness and isolation where explored in via sad, breathy wisps of guitar alongside droning vocals.
The Female Imagination simply ads another layer, guiding some of the songs into a more definitive sound, keeping a sense of fluidity and femininity at the forefront.
“I’m about juxtaposing happiness and sadness together,” Jenkins muses.
“There is light in sadness and something heavy in happiness. They exist because of each other and are balanced in the background of everything. So the songs have evolved a bit but there’s still that dichotomy. The record strives to be somewhere in the middle.”
With the release of the record, the band will amalgamate in some form to head out on an extensive month-long tour to the maritimes with Marlaena Moore. Andy Flegel will fill in on drums with Will Johnson on bass. When BeatRoute asked about tour essentials, Jenkins thought very carefully about her answer.
“Nothing is going to make a tour super comfortable,” she says, smiling.
“It’s always that balance between not bringing too much and not bringing enough. There are so many unknowns. I do think it’s important to bring something to sleep on. If you can get some sort of rest on tour, I think that’s a success.”
Jenkins spoke proudly of The Female Imagination, but also gave the sense she’s prepared to begin work on something new.
“We’re all really proud of the album and we’re glad it’s coming out,” she shares.
“But it’s a weird delay. I sort of feel like I’ve been done with these songs for awhile. I basically have an entire new album ready to start recording, so when we get back, it’ll definitely be time to record again. We have no idea when that one will be out, but I’m looking forward to it. Recording is really fun.”
Crystal Eyes perform July 14 at The Palomino Smokehouse (Calgary), July 20 at The Buckingham (Edmonton), and July 22 at The Handsome Daughter (Winnipeg). For more information on Crystal Eyes’ new record, head to crystaleyesband.bandcamp.com.