sat 20/07/2024

CD: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye

CD: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye

American institution returns to the Seventies - again

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye

Tom Petty is one of rock’s best-selling artists of all time. However, with the exception of a couple of minor hits, his West Coast Bruce Springsteen with a Byrds fixation schtick has never really gained much traction in the UK. In 2010 his album Mojo saw Tom and his long-time backing band, the Heartbreakers, rediscover their Seventies roots with lots of blues flavours and even a hint of Allman Brothers’ extended jamming.

Hypnotic Eye finds the band in similar territory, in what often feels like an homage to Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere-era Neil Young & Crazy Horse.

Kicking off with the pseudo-garage rock “American Dream Plan B”, the Heartbreakers firmly plant a freak flag in the ground with Mike Campbell’s blistering guitar solo that has more than a whiff of the late Danny Whitten. While “Fault Lines”, “Red River”, “Full Grown Boy” and “All You Can Carry” all show Crazy Horse’s massive influence through classic tunes like “Cowgirl in the Sand” and “Down by the River”. Halfway through Hypnotic Eye, however, non-Neil Young influences also begin to make themselves felt, with “Power Drunk” and the album closer “Shadow People” both betraying hints of Eric Clapton’s take on JJ Cale’s “Cocaine”. “Forgotten Man” feels like The Stooges’ classic “1969” – possibly influenced by the presence of former Stooges man, Scott Thurston on guitar and harmonica. Unfortunately, there is none of the venom of Iggy’s gang though. While “Burnt Out Town” with its bluesy groove and Thurston’s masterful harmonica, sounds like a riff on The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues”.

Hypnotic Eye provides the usual solid, workman-like experience that long-time listeners have come to expect from Petty, however, the album’s Achilles heel comes clearly into focus with the cod-psychedelia of “U Get Me High”: Steve Ferrone’s unimaginative and lumpen drumming which reduces the tempo of many of the songs to a dull shuffle when they could really be kicking out the jams.

The Heartbreakers firmly plant a freak flag in the ground with Mike Campbell’s blistering guitar solo


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters