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Terror at the Opera
“I’m in the Eye” b/w “Masquerade”
(Ypsilanti Records)

It is truly lovely — heartwarming even — to drop the needle on a little platter and hear a tale of tiny moments of satori told over a delicately unraveling sea shanty torch song. With “In the Eye,” Terror at the Opera’s Faith Gazic and Gretchen Gonzalez (abetted by percussionist Scott Michalski) invite the listener to revel in the pause, consider the blurry colors of a carnival in the rain, how you feel when painting, leaving a lover or (insert your own moment of dreamlike clarity). Indeed, as Gazic intones as if reading from the first page of a fantastic children’s book: “Everything’s rocking/it’s quiet as a mouse.”

In marrying a meteorological metaphor — the eye of the hurricane — to the Buddhist idea of glimpses of enlightenment (as well as a sly secondhand reference to Goth godfathers Bauhaus), while still managing to keep sight of the empathetic heart of the matter and reel off an accordion solo, TaTO has created an utterly transporting meditation.

The B-side, “Masquerade,” washes in on gently rolling waves of shimmering guitar atmosphere — you know, the kind that were often the preamble to hyper-produced, moody, bombastic records by, say, the Mission UK. But the moment where the cheesy drums and overwrought vocals would bury those songs in drama and action never comes here. In its place is a simple nightmare playground sing-song, a regretful lament, a deceptively simple plunge into murky water as an escape from the clutter with which we surround ourselves.

Chris Handyside is a freelance writer for Metro Times. Send comments to

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