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For his second TeenBeat album, Silver Eyes, former Unrest drummer Phil Krauth tried to clear his head and write from square one. “With my songs, especially with the new album, I was just trying to be real honest and try not to show off any influences, just trying to do something that was just myself.” Krauth must have many selves, because Silver Eyes reflects a number of personalities, from the Manchesteresque baggy pop of “True Believer” and the melancholy balladeering of “Gloomy Highway” to the Herman’s Hermits–style staccato pop of “Taste of Things to Come” and the experimental dub groove “Theme From Lyon Village.” The last is the album’s standout track, and it receives an excellent remix as the album’s hidden concluding track. “That was a little experiment that just took off on its own. I don’t really know how I came up with it,” he says. “I had a calypso thing in mind, and it just kind of rolled out.”
Krauth says many of his songs just roll out. But compared with his scrappy solo debut, Silver Eyes is more accomplished. “The first album, I probably didn’t really know what I wanted to do. So I just got a bunch of songs and recorded them,” he recalls. “Not that I put a lot of thought into the new one, but I think it just came more naturally. This album is more disciplined.”
Lyrically, the album is split between love songs (“I’m Finding Me in You” and “Taste of Things to Come”), glum tunes (“Lonely” and the gorgeously gentle, acoustic “Gloomy Highways”), and compositions that resonate with spirituality (“I’m Thinking of You Tonight” and “Confidant Serene”). “Definitely some of that stuff is spiritual in a sense. Somebody will say, ‘Who did you write that for, your girlfriend?,’ and I wasn’t thinking of anybody,” Krauth explains. “I was just thinking of a universal, spiritual kind of thing. Especially ‘Confidant Serene’—it’s like this little prayer.”
Krauth is pursuing a master’s degree in education and is no longer concerned about making music full-time. “It’s hard to say. When you say ‘full-time,’ I guess that means going on tour all the time, and I don’t know if it’s worth it. I guess that’s what you need to do to sell records. I don’t think I want to do that.” Tour all the time, that is. Krauth surely wouldn’t mind if you bought his disc.—Christopher Porter