Steve Arceri

Texas platters

Phases and Stages

Steve Arceri

Eyes Like Poisoned Birds (Distress Signal)

Recorded at home on a four-track, Steve Arceri's second album resonates with the trebly hiss of local DIY cassettes in the mid-to-late Eighties. While the lack of a low-end is jarring at first, this Austinite squeezes intimacy and charm out of his antiquated approach, creating a pastiche that complements the ambient noise of urban, open-window life. There's a faint, ever-present punk pedigree here, but these are folk songs at heart. Arceri's lyrics are dense with wordplay, occasionally evoking the sardonic, politicized tack of Ted Leo. Coming to terms with mortality, both literal and spiritual, is a near-constant theme on Eyes Like Poisoned Birds. This is especially evident on "Dark Powers Are Listening," a swinging wake-up call to those sleepwalking through the culture of death. "Tawdry Flag" likens blind patriotism to empty sex with lines like, "I'll never be drowned on your convalescence couch/She'd fatten me up for your undulating mouth." Arceri's brightly textured acoustic guitar drives the mix, but he also acts as his own backing band by providing pop-flavored accompaniment. While solipsism is an inevitable byproduct of such an undertaking, Arceri is comfortable enough with his voice to avoid getting sucked into freewheeling neurosis. For someone alone in a room with a tape recorder, this is a formidable feat.

**.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
The Crack Pipes
Fake Eyelashes (Record Review)

Tim Stegall, Nov. 9, 2018

Texas Platters
Grivo / Single Lash / Future Museums
Elude, Providence, Rosewater Ceremony Part II: Guardian of Solitude (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Nov. 9, 2018

More by Greg Beets
Texas Platters
Cherubs
Short of Popular (Record Review)

Oct. 26, 2018

Texas Platters
Shmu
Lead Me to the Glow (Record Review)

Oct. 26, 2018

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle