Storytelling is a universal human instinct. Biographies of the recently deceased are the saddest form of storytelling that most people will ever know. People are remarkably good at it. Even those prone to shyness or believing themselves mealy-mouthed find they can get their lips to move well enough to describe a few snapshots from the life of the dead.
Albums, like the various camera angles of the funeral eulogy, are like scenes of a movie. Albums are the writer’s chance to tell a story ten times over, from ten different angles, to ten different melodies. Abundant is the creation and deferment of hope; innumerable questions of what keeps lovers apart; what keeps him from getting it together; why she screws up every time. A resourceful writer will rise and strike down hope constantly, put people out of love and into the acrid glare of lost trust a couple times; confess a dozen of his own sins while hiding behind the writer’s mask; take revenge on enemies, and so on. All the while, touching the brush to the canvas - as the pointillist does with stabs of color - dotting guitar chords, barroom piano hits, pump organ swells….
Eulogies’ Peter Walker does just this on the band’s debut collection. With his voice dipped in reverb, he gently reminds us of the pre-histrionic honesty of Elvis at Sun Studios. With Chris Reynolds’ drums pulsating at his back, Walker lays out his ten scenes.
“We’re all swimming in the bottles of our own accord,” he intones in “Can’t Relate.” Elsewhere, in “Under the Knife,” he confesses “pleasure comes without control …I’m scared to love what death can touch.” Another song, “Useless Amends” tells a lot in its title alone.
There’s a saying that a single artist is fine, but a group has genius. This is true of athletes and certainly of musicians. Eulogies, the band, was formed on the road, bombing around America in a late-model maroon Dodge van, supporting Starsailor.
On that tour, Walker (then the single artist) fused together with his backing musicians over the course of 30 shows in 40 days. They developed that unspoken musical trust that all great rock and roll bands must have. They became a band (the group, with its potential of genius) in any one of a hundred truck stops, dozens of late nights in motel rooms, in between telephone busy signals and botched driving directions, at sound checks and in dressing rooms. Upon returning to Los Angeles, they mixed together a group of chiseled songs that only these three could sink into so easily.
The songs they laid down in the studio, at the direction of Walker and co-producer Hrishikesh Hirway from The One AM Radio, and mixed by John Goodmanson, an intimate of Sleater-Kinney and Blonde Redhead, will be available this fall on Dangerbird Records.
Edited by IRONICtypo on 14 Aug 2009, 18:56
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