It may have taken 24 years, but good things come to those who wait. The lads from (How soon is?) Slough, aka Thousand Yard Stare, have released DeepDreaming and StarGrazing, a banger of a double-EP on the revived Stifled Aardvark record label, that embodies everything we grew to love about the band (and still love), plus a whole lot more.
Hot out of the gate, DeepDreaming delivers “Action Stations”, a head-bopper that first chugs with energetic punk-infused alternative rock, then eases into the vocals of Stephen Barnes where they shine. It’s infectious to say the least and warrants repeat listens before moving deeper into the record.
“Heimlich Mnrvr” highlights the crafty guitar work of Giles Duffy and Kevin Moxon. It’s subtle in its complexities and somehow manages to beautifully convey the feeling of the best 90s British alternative rock bands while sounding completely fresh. The glue holding it all together comes courtesy of Sean McDonough on bass, and Dominic Bostock behind the drum kit.
Drenched in reverb, “Marginal Gains (Stargazing)” ends DeepDreaming in a much more mellow state than it started. Combined with “Black & Blue Sky Thinking”, the other slower song on the EP, and when listened to in album order, there is a high and low, fast and slow balance to the music that makes for a lovely listening experience.
Moving into StarGrazing is a seamless transition. “Epecuen” builds where “Marginal Gains (Stargazing)” left off with its soaring atmospheric guitars and vocal harmonies. Barnes’ metaphorical reference to the ruins of Epecuen are heartfelt and a little bit haunting as he sings;
“If you feel the rubble and the rust. No listing in the breeze. If you feel the crumble and the dust. In everything you breathe”
“Dystopia” is classic Thousand Yard Stare. Brand new or a lost B-side? Both can be believed. Regardless, it’s excellent and a fine addition to the EP.
StarGrazing ends with the lushness of “Ciphers” followed by the final track “This Is A Weight”. Starting off wonderfully melodic, the pretty music of “This Is A Weight” belies the heaviness of the lyrics, until the very end, when urgency takes over and everything erupts into an exclamation point finish.
Thousand Yard Stare has created something wonderful in the double-EP proving they are in fine form. And if you’ve been fortunate enough to catch any of their recent live dates, you know they absolutely blister on stage. More often than not, they steal the evening despite sharing the stage with some very fine bands.
Thousand Yard Stare have some upcoming live dates. Don’t miss out if you’ve never seen them. For more information, visit HERE.
Order the DeepDreaming / StarGrazing double-EP and merch HERE.