Mike McCoy’s Trompe-l’œil
Eyein' Lies (Flak Records)
Reviewed by Greg Stitt, Fri., Jan. 3, 2020
Mike McCoy approached songwriting with a troubadour's wit going back to the 1991 formation of Cher UK, a Kansas City-birthed punk amalgam in which he remains the only constant. Eyein' Lies, the studio debut of Trompe-l'œil (French for "deceive the eye"), offers 11 tracks of populist folk through a modern, Americana-informed lens. His keen eye toward turning a phrase recalls contemporary Javier Escovedo, who provides backing vocals. Opener "Overreactions" fires off Bloodshot Records-fueled country rock accentuated by a solo from lead guitarist Jacob Schulze, while idealist power-pop take "Believe in the Trees and Bees" gallops Beatlesque worship into an elated chorus. "The Hard Way" veers toward folk country with a swelling string arrangement that continues into "Far Away," both accompanied by violinist Jenny Smith and A Giant Dog's Graham Low on cello. Christine Smith's swirling organ on "Stock Your Horses" best highlights the tight rhythm section of Son Volt's Andrew Duplantis on bass as Will Courtney collaborator Travis Garaffa takes care of the percussion.