In Handmade Moments’ second album, Eye in the Sky, you’ll find a wonderful array of classy beatboxing, great rhythms and a smattering of political commentary. The beatboxing acts as a subtle foundation for their melodies. Their rhythms are interlinked between South and Central American sounds, classic bluegrass and modern folk with a few twinges of slide guitar. And the commentary – it’s subtle as well. There are no overbearing opinions, just lightly dancing hopes for a better world.
The album begins with an upbeat, jazzy song featuring strings and great harmonies. A nice choice of an opening track for their new album. The song transitions easily into the second track, “Eye in the Sky.” Enter the first instance of the aforementioned classy beatboxing. The song is based on a true story of a friend of theirs; its smooth sound paired with the story are a perfect mix of technique and good taste.
One of the best transitions in the album is from “Don’t Hang Onto My Words” to “Home Sweet Home Again.” The contrast between the end of the first song into the beautiful, radiant next song is somehow not surprising or off-putting. It’s a fantastic example of the small touches of personal style the band folds into their work. The album has a balance of listenability and individuality.
As the album continues, unique songs like “Alien” and acoustic, flowing songs like “Familiar Stranger” and “Flavor” work together nicely. The collection of songs reaches across genres and styles; while the band does have an exactly recognizable sound in the way some bands do, its familiarity lies in the differences they explore rather than the similarities.
When you stand Eye in the Sky against the band’s first album you can hear the band’s growth, including better transitions and a clearer, more focused direction in each song. Over the past two years, the duo traveled throughout Central and South America, developing their sound and recording their album. As they stated in a local NPR interview, their travels helped the band “find a bigger sound” and added a more rhythmic quality to their songs. “We weren’t consciously trying to do anything South or Central American – we’ve been rehearsing these songs for years. There’s a little more intention to each song…we kind of cut out the slack. We got a lot of work done down there,” they said.
Eye in the Sky is being released as a precursor to the duo’s upcoming 2-year trip across America on the Handmade Moments bus. They will start in Arkansas, travel across the U.S. and eventually end up in South America. The bus is beautifully hand-painted by a friend of the band and has been retrofitted by Arkansas’ Unique Creations to use a Cummins diesel engine. One of the best features of the bus is the stage built on top, which is powered by solar panels and will travel with them through their entire journey. A truly huge undertaking, this band is on a mission to travel the continent, playing music in almost any place imaginable…or at least vehicle accessible.
Handmade Moments is going somewhere. They are accomplished, well-read musicians who work hard to perfect their craft. Eye in the Sky would be a perfect gift for anybody, including yourself. From polished genre blending to beautiful, uplifting songs like “Home Sweet Home Again” and “Open Up Your Heart” the talents of Handmade Moments will have you singing their praises and the lyrics of these fantastic tracks. Eye in the Sky will keep you company on a long road trip or provide a fantastic soundtrack to a sunny day, plus everything in between.