For British Eyes Only

Tamara Lee

Two words: cute and fun. If I had to completely summarize Vancouver’s local band, For British Eyes Only, this would be them in simplest terms. But let me elaborate…

Cute, like you want to cover them in strawberry ice cream and lick them down head to toe; like you could pinch their sweet cheeks until they went black from blood loss; like you just can’t control the stupid goofy grin on your face when you watch them.

Fun, like nothing was ever worth worrying about, like they don’t bring a single ounce of self importance or pretence to the stage; like you feel like jumping around in a silly fit and you just can’t control that stupid goofy grin on your face.

Okay, I could be taking things slightly overboard here. But I am speaking truth, and now that I have your attention, let me tell you about this unknown gem. British Eyes began as a two-woman show, Emily and Katie on acoustic guitars. Recently they have expanded to also include bass and drums, but the flavor is still the same.  Their sound has a calm folksy feel, maybe with a slight hint of country blues. Overtop the sway inspiring rhythms, they place wide-ranging harmonies, blended so perfectly together they’re hard to differentiate.  A sultry alto and a modest soprano create an interesting fullness, which reminds me of Tegan and Sara in a different genre. While listening, you feel washed over with a sense of relaxation and innocence, sending you away to a grass roots place back in time…

That is, until you listen to the lyrics. There is not a simple innocence in their topic matter; in fact the vibe is more devious punk mixed with quirky experimental, if that could be deemed as an actual style. The trouble making begins with their favorite cover tune, Seattle. This song is about associating the city with sexual experiences and “being horny when I’m in Seattle”. Also, a particular best original song, It’s Not Me It’s You, is about dumping the deadbeat boyfriends. This song claims zany lyrics about betting on the Winnipeg jets, makes no apologies for underworked abs, and classically reveals to him that “the sex was better when I was on my own”. 

Among the other many notable songs are an ode of love to Katie’s dog, Tully (who may occasionally be at a show), and a tribute to Ryan Speed, (who has never been to a show of theirs).  The name sounds famous, though Ryan is just unassuming chap that they arbitrarily met on facebook. Unfortunately, Ryan has never heard his tune, despite being funny enough to inspire a song.

But that’s just the type of fun British Eyes brings to the table. If you visited their merch table at a show, you could barter for miscellaneous items, from Fabio books to used golf balls displaying carefully crafted messages, such as “time?”  If you visited their My Space you’d find that they classify themselves as “Acoustic / Japanese Classic Music / Crunk”, and that they are inspired by music in elevators, “both fast and slow moving ones”. In other words, British Eyes isn’t out to prove themselves and simply don’t take life overly seriously. And this is why their audience finds them to be completely irresistible.

Those who have not yet joined this journey along with the “magicians and whiskey” I suggest its time to give For British Eyes Only a listen, and at least drop by their My Space page.  I said before we could summarize them as cute and fun, but if pressed to elaborate, how about: delicious, witty, devious, charming, obscure, random, hilarious, thoughtful, great music and completely worth checking out.  


  • Posted on: 12 April 2016
  • By: Administrator