At this point, many miles, several long years, and multiple degrees of separation lie between Jamie Henkensiefken’s Missoula connection and her current life in Seattle. But whether or not you’ve ever heard of Jay’s Upstairs or Henkensiefken’s old Missoula band, Switch, there’s plenty of reason to take notice of her current project, Eighteen Individual Eyes.
With a repertoire of bleary-eyed, heartbroken tunes that artfully blend grime with chime in the manner of bands like Low, Eighteen Individual Eyes barely echoes the desolate din for which Henkensiefken’s past acts – which also included H is for Hellgate, the Pleasure, the Martha Stewarts, and several others – were known.
Indeed, Henkensiefken’s far-distant past as a childhood lover of country music is probably more relevant here. Tune after tune on the band’s debut EP, “Slightly Frightened, Mostly Happy,” singer Irene Barber sighs and soars through vivid story-songs as the band provides a trembling backdrop of guitars and lightly-tapped drums. Willamette Week called the album “part Sonic Youth, part Fleetwood Mac, and all sexy, nocturnal rock music.”
Call it what you will; any way you cut it, it bleeds unabashed beauty. Eighteen Individual Eyes will perform a set this Friday, Apr. 15, at the Badlander, as part of a fundraiser for the UM Women’s Resource Center.