Sometimes songs are so surprising that they catch not only the listener, but the artist, off-guard. That’s what happened to Detroit’s Zoos Of Berlin, anyway, on the song “Haven’t Eyes” from their upcoming Pallister Chant EP.
“We were quite surprised at the direction the lyrics took, almost of their own accord,” the band’s Will Yates says. “There seems to be an abduction of some kind taking place, with the narrator speaking to his captive … other than that, we can’t be certain.”
There’s a haunting element to “Haven’t Eyes,” for certain, but it’s not the sort of over spookiness you might find in a Nick Cave song: the track is poppy and danceable, with an ’80s art-rock vibe throughout. It’s built off of a pretty killer guitar riff, but the band is keen to mix that with some neatly unexpected sounds. “There are all kinds of subtle tricks we played with,” Yates says. “Pressing our arms flat on the tines of a Rhodes piano, or re-amping a mandolin through a delay pedal to emulate the drone of casino slot machines.” Zoos of Berlin may have not known much when they started “Haven’t Eyes,” but the lesson’s clear: Never dismiss the notion of a well distorted mandolin to get your abduction song just right.
Pallister Chant is out November 21.Zoos of Berlin - Haven't Eyes