Even in the midst of the latest retro 80s revival, it is no small thing to be one of the rare acts whose music still gets consistent radio airplay. Naked Eyes is just such a band. Fans of their warm brand of synthesized pop, which comprised two albums and two huge 80s hits (Always Something There To Remind Me and Promises, Promises), cant help but launch into song at the sound of their immediately recognizable melodies.
By the time Naked Eyes formed, members (and friends) Pete Byrne and Rob Fisher were old hands at the herky-jerky game of finding the right band. Both had gone around on the Bath pub-n-club circuit while punk, new wave and disco were dominating the music scene, but nothing had clicked for them long term. They had a brief run with Neon from 1980-81, a band that also featured future Tears for Fears members Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith yet that essential something remained elusive. All of Neons material was written by Rob and me, remembers Byrne, so it sounded like Naked Eyes with guitar and drums.
On their own again in 82, Byrne and Fisher opted to keep things simple: Synths, and a two-man format. Early demos (one of which was their lush cover of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David classic Always Something There to Remind Me) led to a major label record deal and producer Tony Mansfield, who put the shine on their 1983 debut album, Burning Bridges (tweaked slightly and renamed Naked Eyes for America), which they recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios.
The release of Always proved successful around the world, and was rapidly followed up with Promises, Promises and When The Lights Go Out, proving that the band had more than just one good tune in them. Pressure from the record label for a follow-up kept the band off the road, and in the studio. And Naked Eyes quickly churned out their second album, Fuel for the Fire (clearly the band preferred albums with heat-themed titles), but it failed to continue their momentum, (the quirky single, (What) In the Name of Love only brushed the Top 40). Saddled with difficult second album woes brought about by changes at the record label, Byrne and Fisher called it quits.
Yet thats been far from the last word heard from Naked Eyes. Relocated to California, Byrne has kept their flame alight in the intervening years, assembling Everything And More, an album which includes all of the bands 12-inch dance remixes including a version of Promises, Promises which features Madonna. Byrne has also made a name for himself by working with Stevie Wonder, Brad Buxer (musical director for Michael Jackson) and as a producer and songwriter for among others The Olsen Twins. And he has released both a solo EP and full-length album of original tunes (2000s The World in Which We Love and 2001s The Real Illusion). Byrne and Fisher, who had remained close since the band breakup, reunited in early 1999 to work on new tracks, but Fisher died suddenly late in the year after complications following stomach surgery.
Since then, Byrne had been mulling over the idea of putting a new Naked Eyes together, and now, he has finally put that idea in motion. Having recruited some of the most talented players in Los Angeles, Byrne has written several dazzling new songs and has headlined many sold-out shows across the U.S. Not that Naked Eyes will stop there....there is a live concert in HD coming out soon and on July 31, 2007, the Naked Eyes "stripped" album, "Fumbling With The Covers" will be released. But there’s more, Byrne is starting work on the next Naked Eyes electric album and more live shows are in the works. Proof that, if ever any was needed, Naked Eyes is a band for whom the lights never do go out.
By Randee Dawn