BACK to the store

The Eclipse (MP3)
SMMG 030 (2010)

The Eclipse (FLAC)
SMMG 030 FL (2010)

The Eclipse (CD)
SMMG 030 CD (2010)

01. Jixi
02. The Prescriptions
03. Vanilia
04. Dream Rememberer MP3
05. St Michael
06. Bleeder Poem
07. Darker Than Blue
08. Tell Me Why You Want To See Me
09. Feels Like Infinity
10. Dream Tiger
11. The Eclipse

Released May 18, 2010 (CD released July 31, 2010).

Originally released as one the ten CDs in the recent limited edition ceramic box set also named The Eclipse, this is the stand alone and main new album from His Name Is Alive. The Eclipse collects eleven brand new songs including the new free single Dream Remember.

The album features Warn Defever and vocalist Andy FM, with contributions from Steve Sparks on drums and Jeen Cook playing violin. The album was produced at UFO Factory in downtown Detroit.

The album is available in both MP3, lossless FLAC and compact disc (the first 50 copies of the CD include a bonus disc of acoustic demos, weird out-takes, and failed experiments gone horribly wrong).

Originally one of the ten discs in the super-rare The Eclipse ceramics box, Warn Defever of His Name Is Alive subsequently resurrected The Eclipse in mid-2010 as a limited CD-R set, which disappeared faster than you can say "ghosts of collectors past." It's now available as a download from his Silver Mountain Media Group, and though it pains me to direct you to such a dematerialised form of the record, with His Name Is Alive, one of the most confusing and unique presences in pop's underbelly, ultimately it's a case of when, not if.

Unlike its predecessors Detrola and Xmmer, The Eclipse is initially unyielding, a self-contained world unto itself, surprisingly resistant to entry. If His Name Is Alive's recent form has been relatively open, full of blazing pop songs, repetitive mbira melodies, and sideways soul shouters, The Eclipse returns to the denuded song forms of earlier records like Livonia and Home Is In Your Head. The key difference being, those albums were coated in the patented 4AD gloss of ethereality, where now His Name Is Alive is comparatively disarmed.

What does yield with time is The Eclipse‘s hermeticism, and once you’re deep inside the folds of these songs, inhabiting their simple guitar phrases, wreaths of strings, and unmoored drones, Defever's songs reveal their secrets. With the exception of the blasting "Dream Rememberer," where we're reminded that His Name Is Alive can be an absolutely caning rock group, there's something oddly liturgical about the melodies that lap and eddy The Eclipse's shores. "Vanilia" hymns heartbreak to a pirouetting string arrangement; "Dream Tiger" has massed voices steadily charting a melody that’s first outlined by the dinkiest of Casio sounds, then slowly swallowed by an encroaching bass hum.

"Tell Me Why You Want To See Me" peels language from the throats of the choir, who hum an elegiac melody to a ghostly piano, played from deep inside a deserted barroom. It's a lovely little interlude that sets up the album's title track and masterpiece, where Defever's guitars crochet a carillon melody that interlocks, slowly grows, drinks the energy charging from distortion pedals, and then recedes into a wall of sound of its own making. It reminds a little of David Pajo's Papa M, but has a wistfulness of tone that is very much Defever's own.

As a closing imprimatur for this unassuming album, "The Eclipse" is a perfect gambit — the gentle kindness of Defever's patchwork guitars, eclipsed by a rush of blissed-out noise. It may be a hard album to get to know at first, but stick with it — The Eclipse is one of His Name Is Alive's most intimate and compassionate albums.

By Jon Dale
Dusted Magazine