folking takes a look at Talking To The Operator by Mad Staring Eyes

Mad Staring Eyes are a 6-piece band from North London. Their line up includes pedal steel and flute and revolves around a core that has played together for 20 years. In 2006 Mad Staring Eyes self-titled debut EP won the John Peel ‘Best New Band’ award and they were chosen by Michael Eavis to play the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury Festival.

The band released their third album, Talking To The Operator, on October 1st. The album, recorded live onto tape using all vintage gear (including The Pogues’ 1962 Ludwig drumkit), displays a rich tapestry of folk and Americana styling drawn from a love of The Band, early Fairport, Van Morrison and Springsteen.  Led by the rogue ‘cockneyish’ charm of lead singer Alex Simler, Mad Staring Eyes offer a distinctly different slant on the conventional roots repertoire coming across like a cockney Carter Family. There are times on the infectious opener, “Waiting For The Doctor,” where you would swear you were in the presence of early Fairport whilst the brilliant ‘Don’t Lead Me On’ echo’s the lyrical genius of Pulp in all their glory.  This is an album that grabs you by the throat from the off and thereby throwing you headfirst into a vibrant, earthy, wonderfully conceived folkster world.  The exceptional musicianship and deft, thoughtful arrangements mark out Mad Satring Eyes as a band with the world at their feet.

The band have toured in the USA, UK, Canada, Russia and Germany (touring with Memphis Industries’ Dutch Uncles), playing international festivals such as South By South West (Austin, Texas), and North By North East (Toronto), playing with acts as diverse as Supergrass, The Subways, The Magic Numbers and Pete Doherty.

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