erasing clouds

The Eames Era, Heroes + Sheroes

by dave heaton

I'm liking the Eames Era's style of pop-rock more with each release from their EPs to first album Double Dutch to their new second album Heroes + Sheroes. Much of the appeal is spunk, and a bounty of hard-to-ignore-or-forget melodies. But there's also a lot of flavor to the lyrics. Their youthful stories are full of colorful characters, or colorfully described characters on this album "teenage meth-heads,""fake do-gooders," "grad-school groupies," a would-be Sherlock Holmes, a girl who everyone's gossiping about, a former millionaire. The songs' words are more enticement than storytelling; lines constantly pique my interest, and stick with me as well as the hooks do. The lines that stick the most aren't the small details but the larger emotional hooks, lines like the repeated chorus of "NC-17", "how can we be sure / that this will never happen again?", and "Fake Do-Gooders"' line "tell me everything you know about the human condition."

Musically the album has color, too like they're paying more attention to the textures of the songs, to the ways they fit together, to the surprise factor, to sounds. Vocalist Ashlin Phillips occasionally steps away froom the mic to let one of the men sing, or they all sing together. The album begins with a laser-beam-like guitar sound and closes with squiggly guitars emulating radio static. In between there's glorious power chords and choppy funk-style guitar, rolling basslines and thicker stomping ones, squirmy electronic beats, a music box, and hand-clapping and home-made percussion which, combined with singalong chants, reminds me of Tilly and the Wall, in a good way. They sound like more bands than they did before they're expanding their path. But for all this expansion, the focus is on songwriting, and the songs themselves are infectious, heartfelt, and fun.


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