Benjamin Verdoes used to head up the Seattle psych rockers Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, but his solo debut, The Evil Eye, bears the marks of another Seattle-area act fronted by a guy named Ben, Death Cab For Cutie. Lead single “Evil Eye” sounds like Death Cab might after binging on old Motown records. Moody indie pop woven from guitar and keyboard parts give way to a grand string arrangement and a syncopated bridge that you could almost imagine at a prom slow dance if the more tumultuous sounds didn’t swirl back to the fore. It’s all streamlined into something seamless — and far smoother than the garage psych Verdoes used to kick out with his old band. Hear it below.
The Evil Eye is out 1/14 via Brick Lane.