Eureka Farm - "The View"
(Loosegroove Records 1999, LG0024-2)
From Aural Innovations #8 (October 1999)
From the great Pacific Northwest state of Washington, Eureka Farm returns with their second release of 1999. The band has expanded to a quartet with Arman Bohn on guitar, organ, moog, and vocals and Jason McGerr on drums being joined by newcomers Charles Keller on bass, organ, moog, and vocals, and David Rueben on organ, moog, bass clarinet, saxophone, piano, and vocals.
Eureka Farm's "pop to the 10th power" is once again in evidence though the presence of organ and moog makes this is a more spaced out affair than their previous disc "Analog" (reviewed last issue). Rueben's sax and clarinet are also a welcome addition as they both lead and embellish the songs nicely, particularly the clarinet. The pop side of Eureka Farm is an odd one... odd in that they are not your average pop band. As on "Analog" the songs are melodic and catchy but far more complex than the average pop tune. XTC comes to mind. The rhythm in any given song rarely sits still or stays the same for long though the songs are at all times structured and controlled. And the vocal harmonies are absolutely gorgeous! In fact, the high register vocals are in my opinion integral to the Eureka Farm sound.
Among the highlight tracks is "Colorblind", which is a primo track to illustrate my claim about the vocals. On "Spare", the clarinet goes wild to a bashing drum beat and additional varied percussion. The start/stop tempo and pace alternating between aggressive and laid back provides the opportunity to introduce numerous new instrumental segments, and over the song's eight minute length there is plenty of room to stretch out. At one point the intensity builds to where the clarinet is leading the band on a manic freakout only to abruptly move into an organ lead segment. Whooaaaa! Definitely my favorite track on the disc. "Quinsonnas" is one of the more overtly spacey tracks on "The View". The organ and moogs rule here to create a cosmically psychedelic wall of space debris that just happens to also be a catchy little ditty of a song. And "Escalations" is yet another astral pop tune that features interstellar overdrive guitar in addition to the space synths. A real rocker.
In summary, Eureka Farm is developing into one of the more interesting pop ensembles I've heard in a long time. Complex pop with a spacey edge and exciting well composed music to back it up. And those vocals... can't beat 'em. I suggest all those music "journalists" who are making a fuss over Olivia Tremor Control give Eureka Farm a listen.
For more information visit the Loosegroove Records web site.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz