Eyal Erlich – Singles Review
There are a couple of kinds of people in this world I figure…at least when it comes to art, writing, singing etc….you know, the creative stuff. There are the types of people that will go it alone and let their instincts guide them along…and like many a great many artists, they can get lost right into the craft, for better or for worse. Then there is a whole other group of people that understand that need for some input and/or an editor…you know, people that aren’t like me; if you’ve ever read one of these long & rambling reviews, you are certainly already aware of the fact that I desperately need an editor. Not so much for the spelling, I’m all good there for the most part…but just to reign me in…because us creative-types can get so lost into our work sometimes that it becomes impossible to separate ourselves from what we create. That make sense? Take singer/songwriter Eyal Erlich for example…he’s got some great ideas and can definitely sing a solid tune when he’s at his most focused; if you leave him to his own devices there’s almost no telling what you’ll get as a result…but when he’s not too far down the rabbit-hole of his craft, the guy can write a decent song. The key for Eyal is going to be finding that balance between what he wants to do and what connects with others out there…and then making the choice as to whether or not to compromise or refine his music into the general consensus or continue to go his own route and carve out his own path. There’s no right or wrong direction in this situation mind you – there’s only the results that eventually speak for themselves over time and an extensive catalog. As of right now, we’ve got eight singles from Tel Aviv’s Eyal Erlich that are certainly unique…and there’s always potential for unique to thrive out there in the music-scene, especially today in an online world.
So…a couple things I can tell you right off the bat about these new singles that are definitely things to consider along the way throughout this review. One being that for the most-part, Eyal’s got half his music listed as Alternative Rock at his Soundcloud page…and at all costs, we’re going to avoid going there…that’s not what this is or what you’ll find – and as we all know, expectations can count for a lot when listening to music; if you’re expecting one thing and it ain’t that thing…expect that audience to narrow a bit and the response to be a bit more jaded as a result. There are elements you can perhaps trace back to a bit of alternative…maybe…for the most part, Eyal’s working much more of an indie-folk/acoustic sound – that’s what you want to prepare yourself for. The second thing I’d say to consider would be that above all things, you can tell that Eyal’s true passion is actually the singing part; we’re going to be conscious of that and respectful…you don’t get the kind of confident performance that you’ll hear in his music from going into a recording with trepidation – he’s put himself out there as much as an artist possibly can. The confidence and courageousness of going after the art is inspiring on every level, even if the results become somewhat mixed depending on which song you’re listening to. My point in that opening rant at the beginning of this review is simply to express that, more or less, we all need an editor somewhere along our journey as artists…a guide or someone from the outside that can help define what’s working and what’s not in effort to help refine the art and get the best out of ourselves. I’m going to attempt to be that voice for Eyal…because I can tell from the way he sings that he TRULY wants to be great at what he does…and unique potential in music is always worth a couple extra words of advice. We don’t want Eyal to change who he is or what he does – we just want him at his best; you can tell from the humble honesty in his voice & music that he too, just wants to be the best he can for you to listen to. I like that you can hear Eyal’s music MEANS something to him…I think that matters.
And when he gets it right, he does a really exceptional job. The first song he’s got posted to his page at Soundcloud from about four months back, is a song called “Mourning Love” – and this is an example of Eyal with a gripping amount of focus and truly captivating sound…the melody he’s discovered in the chorus of this song is award worthy when it comes right down to it. Amidst a gentle & tender, emotional & acoustic sound that moves slowly & sincerely – “Mourning Love” is truly a formidable beauty…and I honestly can’t speak highly enough about the way that Eyal sings this song. The amount of expression and emotion in his voice is truly breathtaking – you can hear him walk that fine line between boldness & breaking down as he sings this tale of love…I think he does an incredible job and especially in the song’s quietest moments. The more intimate the sound or isolated the feeling on “Mourning Love,” the better that Eyal’s vocals come through in their tone and really capture the connection between the emotion in the lyricism and how he sounds as he sings. Overall, when it comes right down to it, “Mourning Love” is a stunning & beautiful moment in time, mixing melancholy & a hopefulness you can hear in his vocals and in the way he emotes his feelings through the music itself. Things started off as right as right could be…I think Eyal sounds pretty much perfect on this first cut and I think the songwriting truly stands out in a captivating way that can’t be denied.
Artistic & expressive singers…singers that truly WANT to be singers like Eyal does…they can often be the most challenging to review. A voice is different than an instrument…you can ultimately USE a voice like an instrument, but at the end of the day if you tell a band that the guitar-line sucks, chances are the guitar player will easily shrug it off…it’s partly the equipment after all, ain’t it? But when you’re a singer…especially one with their whole heart invested into each performance – it can be tougher to tell someone when their slightly wide of the mark or missing it altogether. And then sometimes, as a singer reaches for even more artistically ambitious tunes, they end up breaking their own ground, often unfamiliar to our ears – and that can take some adjusting. Is Eyal off on “Rain?” Not really, no. He’s right on the edge of what our ears will readily accept in the low tones of the verse…that’s a tough part to sing and he’s almost into opera-esque territory when it comes to the demands being made on his voice throughout this second tune he released. Even though I’d assume the lower-tones are more naturally suited to the organic sound of his voice, it’s actually the incredible use of falsetto notes that makes “Rain” a truly fascinating tune to listen to, along with the stunning songwriting from Eyal shining once again in his early postings online. He matches the energy and mood of his vocals in a really insightful way throughout the flow of “Rain” – the acoustic guitar sounds absolutely fantastic and the raw & real way that he sings this song is truly commendable. Is it perfect? Maybe not completely in the technical sense of the word, but you might find that it’s perfect for YOU; personally I like a little honesty in the music I listen to…and I think you get tons of it here from Eyal. He could have likely spent days in the studio rounding out every corner, nook & cranny of the melody on “Rain” and it would have likely come out half as captivating as a result. Half the joy in listening to “Rain” is listening to Eyal’s voice scale up the melody to reach his highest notes…we’re on pins & needles hoping he’ll get there, and I think he came through really strongly for us all considering the challenges that the writing & melody present. Right around the 2:40 mark…when Eyal starts to open up & just sing…no words specifically, just singing…right there – that’s a magic he’s got to harness, because that sounds absolutely awesome – I could listen to moments like that all day and his voice is absolutely spectacular in this short & sweet highlight of “Rain” just past its halfway mark. Love the melody in the chorus of this tune.
Between the ideas, sounds, moods & atmospheres in the music of “Rain” and “All In All” – I’d venture a guess that Eyal has definitely spent some time listening to Radiohead’s OK Computer as of late…a lot of similar tones that you’d find in the music on that record you’ll find in the guitar ideas and melodies of Eyal’s early work. “All In All” is a tougher one to judge for sure – the idea is completely sound, especially in the music department…the execution though…maybe not quite as there as it was in the first two songs we experience. I like that “All In All” has additional clarity in the production, but at the same time, it becomes entirely clear which of these guitar notes are getting their fair shake while some others are definitely a bit rougher in the performance this time around. “All In All” sounds like it was done on-the-fly & live off the floor – and while that might be true of a few of these songs, maybe even all of them – on this particular track, you notice. As an idea, I love it…I dig the downward progression and bluesy alt-acoustic swagger in this song…certainly a song worth exploring further and a tune I wouldn’t throw away by any stretch, just needs a touch-up or two. Eyal sings this tune with a beautifully bold confidence in his voice…he sounds really at home and right into this acoustic groove – and I dig that.
From there it looks like he takes a couple months off before coming back with three new singles, “I Wish I Knew,” “It Don’t Seem Right,” and “Pain.” Lyrically, I think he has some of his best moments on “I Wish I Knew” – definitely some meaningful & thought-provoking words in this song. Compared to the rest, I think “I Wish I Knew” has some issues that are tougher to resolve…if anything, Eyal might be going too bold within the gentle frame of the music with the big-notes he’s going for on this tune. It’s a bit jarring as an overall experience in that sense…oddly, it still seems to fit well enough…”I Wish I Knew” is a tough call to make. My gut instinct tells me that people will have a harder time with this tune…it’s either one big hook or no hooks at all depending on how you listen to it; the emotion and connection to the words is certainly present…I’d say he’s right on the edge of wailing just as much as he is singing this song – something tells me that the average listener might find this particular performance a bit too close to grating. Idea-wise, once again I think Eyal’s got himself a great melody and noticeable potential on “I Wish I Knew,” I think a remix or re-recording of this song…maybe a bridge or something in the middle to help liven it up just a bit more might help…not sure if I can quite put my finger on it, but there’s just something that feels like it’s missing from this particular tune that the others all seemed to have.
Writing, structure and flow-wise, I think much the same can be said about “It Don’t Seem Right” – for this tune, it’s either all-hook or no-hook once again in terms of how people hear it – but thankfully, I think on this cut, the general consensus is that it’s all-hook for sure. It’s a rad little ditty really – “It Don’t Seem Right” has a subtle charm & groove to it that really worked for me. I think Eyal has an excellent turn on the mic here and sounds fantastic with a slight bluesy-rasp and edge to his vocals on this tune – definitely one of the highlights for him here in terms of style, sound & approach; this is certainly a style that suits the strengths of his voice really well. As always, I dig the way he’s played the music here – I’m pretty much a relentless fan of that from track-to-track – Eyal plays with real soul & passion on each song in a way that you can truly hear. If I was to advise him a little on a track like “It Don’t Seem Right,” it would simply be to remind him to consider it from the listener’s angle…find those ways to make that chorus raise the game and bring his songs to the next-level. The low-key & subtle transition into the chorus of “It Don’t Seem Right” works well enough…but dialing the energy back rather than bringing it up when it comes to the chorus is only ever going to do so much to get the people excited, feel me? I don’t want to complain too much though…I really like the sound of “It Don’t Seem Right” and the groove that Eyal finds in this tune…perhaps I COULD listen to it over and over – I’m just saying I’m not entirely convinced that everyone else out there could. So again, to Eyal, I’d say, just be mindful of the structure and find that way to add more depth & definition between parts in order to help them stand out as they should. “It Don’t Seem Right” actually has a sound verse AND chorus – but with both being so similar in the way they sound tone-wise, I’m not so sure that there’s enough space between them, or uniqueness between them, for each part to get the credit it deserves from the ears of the people out there.
The beginning of “Pain” has Eyal sounding somewhere in between Mimicking Birds and Roy Orbison at times…fairly wide range, but you’ll hear the delicate approach similar to Mimicking Birds in the vocal melody and the classic sound of Roy in the shakiness of the emotion in Eyal’s voice. These shorter tunes from this set are definitely tougher to examine…I think his music could definitely benefit from exploring these ideas a bit further sometimes. Like Dave Grohl always says…’write a great chorus, then use that as your verse and go write an even better chorus’ – I’m paraphrasing of course, but you get the idea. I think in these short bursts, you really do get a great moment in time from Eyal…but I also think he’s got more creativity in the tank than he sometimes reveals. There’s a song in “Pain” buried in there somewhere…and he just needs to dig a bit more into it to mine-out its full potential. As far as the big notes of his vocals are concerned…”Pain” definitely features some tortured moments; chances are he’s making that artistic effort to match the meaning & sentiment of the lyrics, and I get that, but I also think that the biggest moments of his vocals can certainly come down a lot in the mix to help the music stand out more overall…and that the tone might drift towards more of a tortured sound than he’s looking for. Verse-wise, I think he sounds great…I was really mixed on the chorus without question…the notes are massive and bold for certain…but he might have pushed this one a bit too far, going for power over tone at times. The most subtle moments of “Pain” are the parts that seem to have the most balance.
That brings us up to the present-day…Eyal’s just recently popped back online to release a few more singles after another two months or so has passed by. “Already In” features what is likely one of the strongest choruses that I’ve heard from him so far; verse-wise, I’m not quite sure I even know what to say here. The difference between the levels of focus in the writing of these two parts almost feels like it was written by two entirely different people & sung by two different singers or a split personality in one. Musically, I felt like “Already In” was much more of a traditional acoustic song with a ton of familiar chords we’ve heard in similar patterns & ideas throughout music’s history…but it’s also because of that easygoing vibe and comfortable sound that our minds can quickly focus on what else is happening. Straight-up, I think Eyal’s making some seriously bizarre choices on how to sing the verses of “Already In” – and I’m not convinced he hasn’t rushed himself here. What I DO know, is that the chorus of “Already In” is a highlight moment in his material and a serious highlight moment in TIME ITSELF – and the effort, technique, tone and writing there DEMAND that every inch of this song sparkles & shines just as much…and I think that needs to be examined here. The flow & sound of the verse is awkward & wandering by comparison to the focus and pure melody you experience in the chorus…I think if he can go back and somehow find a way to smooth-out the verse somehow, that he’s got serious potential for “Already In” to find a massively widespread and eagerly accepting audience. As of right now, there’s no doubt it’s going to appeal to a more niche crowd…the magic of the chorus on “Already In” is likely to save this tune for many people.
My concern would be that Eyal is not quite hearing himself like we hear him – and that’s where getting those honest outside opinions are really going to benefit his music in the long run. Getting an honest opinion from reviewers out there is about as rare as finding the Fountain Of Youth out there in the jungle, but hopefully he’ll get enough feedback to piece together what’s really working in his music. As things crept closer to the current day from the beginning of his online posts to now with “5 AM” being released only days ago – he’s drifting further from what was making it work and heading towards riskier territory. “5 AM” is just about the most…hmmm…confused I think I’ve felt like one of Eyal’s tunes has been so far…and if I’m being honest, I’m not so sure this one doesn’t need to be completely reworked. The main hook of the melody works – the part that plays along the ‘it’s 5 AM’ line – that part is perfect, and you truly CAN build a song around that…and I’m sure that’s likely where this particular track started & that’s what the intentions were. Sometimes we get that blissful idea and we rush to fill the space around it in effort to get that golden idea out there – and I’m here to tell you, don’t. Both his latest tunes, “Already In” and “5 AM” have some of the strongest parts he’s written to-date, but also some of the most mixed results in how he’s choosing to approach and perform them…and that tells me the man has gotta slow it all down a bit. Unless someone’s in the recording booth with him, poking Eyal with a sharp stick and yelling at him to have finished all his parts yesterday – he’s gotta go back, listen, examine, re-record if necessary…but to take the time his writing deserves and get the best from himself. If it seems harsh, it’s not intended to be – you have to remember though, once someone reveals themselves to be capable, which Eyal certainly has in the earlier tunes we’ve talked about, that we then have to somewhat hold them to that standard…I want Eyal to push forward and not slide backwards.
There are definitely redeeming qualities in each of his songs and I still think there’s definitely potential for Eyal’s unique perspective and approach to music…but I do think he needs to really focus on being a bit less loose with the vocals and zero in on what makes some of his tracks straight-up magical and the others just okay…because it’s actually a really thin line that separates those two results. The more he observes, examines and immerses himself in his music, practices, writes, rewrites & records – the more experience he’ll have with each song and when it comes time to hit the studio, he’ll know exactly which way to take his vocals…whereas right now it seems like he’s a mixture of confused but confident tones. As always, I wouldn’t write so much if I didn’t believe the potential was there to polish it all up in a way that would be widely accessible to all…Eyal’s got great ideas in his songwriting and melodies – the more he refines his vocals and mines to the core of his creativity, the more stunning the results will become.
Find out more about Eyal Erlich at his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EyalErlichMusic