On The Radar: A Look At Experimental Indie Rock Band Watkins New Album ‘Unbiased Eyes’

Nashville-based experimental rock band Watkins seeks to expand your consciousness on their new album, Unbiased Eyes

The band’s newest sonic creation is packed with organic sounds, thoughtful lyricism, and endearing character, mixing elements of alternative rock, post grunge, and psychedelia-infused pop. The LP is largely a reflection of the spiritual voyage and growth that the band experienced during the album’s writing process, which transpired while living on the road for the past several years. It explores, often satirically, existential themes of being in balance with the universe as well as the duality we observe in our everyday lives. 

The band consists of Taylor Watkins (vocals, guitar), who has made a name for himself with his unique style of new-age guitar and vocal performances, and drummer Scott Harris. After the release of their debut LP, Interstate of Mind, the pair teamed up to build a recording studio in Nashville, where they recorded and produced their new follow up record, Unbiased Eyes, by themselves. The pair have created a cohesive and catchy alternative rock album that is oozing with positive vibes. 

The first thing you’ll notice about the first track off the record, “Good Problems (Introduction),” is that it sounds like it’s being filtered through an old AM radio. Watkins’ soulful vocals shine through the lo-fi filter, while the earthy, rhythmic strumming of his acoustic guitar and subtle droning strings give the song a sense of somber longing. Meanwhile, a stripped down, driving drum groove offers the otherwise dark song an irresistible pulse. 

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Sad Happy,” the second track from the LP, is upbeat and introspective. It once again features Watkins’ signature style of acoustic picking and soul-driven vocals, with his vocals being fed through an echo effect which glides over the mix in psychedelic fashion. The tune also closes out with a smooth jam-band style electric guitar solo. The song has an undeniable 90’s college-radio rock vibe, similar to that of Counting Crows and Spin Doctors. 

The third track, “Lovely Scares,” features thoughtfully layered guitar tracks, with staccato picking of Watkins’ electric guitar and tremolo guitars undulating behind it. Sudden waves of dense reverb and echo drenched guitars, which almost sound like synth pads, burst forth during the chorus and lend the song a cosmic quality.  

For the following track, “Headed Home,” the group ups the energy from the previous tracks on the record. The verses feature Harris’ big, driving, reverb-y drums and the growl of Watkins’ amp. For the chorus, the band slows down the tempo, letting big open chords and melodic lead parts explode onto the mix. They close out the song with an up-tempo, high-energy breakdown, a perfect finale for such an energetic song. The track sounds like an amalgamation of early Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. 

The fifth track, “Beyond the Ambience,” which was a single released earlier this year, reveals Watkins’ ability to be both vulnerable and profound. His introspective and existential lyrics shine through the triumphant and sublime instrumental. 

In Unbiased Eyes, Watkins dares you and the modern music world to open your mind and let their music take you on a cosmic journey through space and time. This one should definitely be on your must-listen list.

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