Friday, August 31, 2007

Reviews:: Eulogies

With a band name like Eulogies and an intro track called Inward, you kind of know what you are getting into. You are going to get hit with a flood of emotion, reflection, internalization and slow plodding tracks ... right?

Well, not so much. Don't get me wrong, the album isn't light or easy by any stretch, but the band isn't solely interested in crafting sad notes. Peter Walker is back with another record, but this time he's delivering a much more focused effort and he's adopted his tour support into his musical family. I have to say this was the best decision he could have made. While I enjoyed aspects of his solo release (I could have sworn we reviewed it for herohill, but I think we lost it in the move/migration), I was more intrigued by the potential than the actual effort.

Eulogies - the record not the band, stay with me now - on the other hand, is a surprisingly concise release (despite the potential for meandering with the themes of the songs) and shows Walker really finding his stride. The songs usually come in under 4-minutes, and the band keeps you interested with subtle shifts and bursts of energy and they aren't afraid of cranking up the amps to help you rock out.

The record opens with a remorse filled number, One Man, that can't help but knock you a step back. The electric work is nice, but you are bowled over by the depressing subject matter. But half way through the 2+ minute song, the band starts to add some energy. The bass and drums pick up, and Walker's voice fills in the rest of the space. When the band mastered this record, they made some good choices. Suicide is a quick, punchy rocker with a big chorus and this energy gets you primed up for the longer, drawn out, melancholic tone of If I Knew You. The somber sounds have more impact after the driving rhythm of Suicide, and the band gradually adds more and more to the track, until it becomes a swirling, soaring anthem and refreshes your interest.

I find the band is more successful at the quick, hard hitters, so Under the Knife is a welcome track after the epic that precedes it. Walker's voice works better with the simple guitar, bass, drum ditties. As the album moves on, the band down shifts and while the record is cohesive, I find it starts to blend a bit (Compromise, Can't Relate kind of run into each other). The band connects again on Running in the Rain. They turn up the power and volume and its probably the song that will be best received in their live set.

The album slows to a walk for the last few tracks and I start to hear the influence of producer hrishikesh hirway | the one am radio. Little Davie uses some atmospheric backing guitar and cymbal washes to really add depressing undercurrent to the track. The organ heavy funeral procession sound of Can't Relate Reprise, the drum machine shuffle of the acoustic Big Eyes, and the heavy swirls of the closer - Blizzard Ape - are so close in tempo that you start to feel weighed down, especially with the soaring nature of the last song.

But to be fair, I think that is kind of what the band is hoping for. You don't leave a funeral feeling peppy and excited (and although Walker says this record is a tribute to the living and things that usually go unsaid, a emotional toast to those who are gone is the vibe I get when I listen). You leave with some precious memories of someone you love, a pit in your stomach and a weight in your heart (and unless you sit down and digest the whole record in one listen, I don't think you by overwhelmed by the weight of the effort).

So where do I stand with Eulogies? I think Pete made good strides as a songwriter with this release, and as he and the band develop their relationship, I expect even better things from them. In the meantime, you are left with a record with more ups than downs, and a few real ear grabbing tracks.
MP3:: One Man

web site :: label

Posted at 1:28 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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