Avra’s biographic details claim that the band formed after attending a Chameleons gig in 2002. This is certainly a promising indicator for the New Jersey band’s own take on the post-punk sound.
The first three songs present a gothic and earnest start but do sound a little dated thanks largely to the lack of subtlety and space. It’s as Avra are trying a little too hard to impress. Light relief eventually arrives via ‘Cellophane’; the frontman apparently singing about ‘Shepherd’s Pie’ but the slower pace and less busy production result in a more inclusive experience. Another mid-paced track, ‘Reconcile’, brings in the strings but the group carry off the endeavour with some panache and from there, the confidence the band clearly possess is backed up with better arrangements. ‘Return’ and ‘Strap Discipline’ certainly tick all the right boxes for urgency and intensity whilst ‘In Other People’s Eyes’ is the closest the group get to achieving the melodramatic sound of their Mancunian heroes. They also save one of their best songs to the end, courtesy of the chiming, cascading melodies of ‘4am’.
‘In Other People’s Eyes’ definitely displays the same self-belief and passion as The Chameleons but almost inevitably the band fall short of their status. No matter, it’s an album which stands up in its own right and has that rare quality of sounding better the further you get into it.
Hearts Fail, The Mission, The Chameleons