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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
The Walter Eugenes are a lively, aggressive group, offering a mature and original sound that constantly skirts both the "pop" and "alternative" music scene while somehow maintaining a solid grip on both. Rick May and Paul Robinette together form the Walter Eugenes. This is the final album by this "power pop" and was recorded 5 years ago and comprised of some of their best power pop tunes.
The first track, "More Than Understanding" really grabbed me. It's a grandiose, ambitious and catchy sound with some choice 77s-ish guitar licks. The second track also catches me with an eclectic mix of aggressive rock sounds fronting semi-funk instrumentals and angry vocals about a "Great White Lawyer." Very interesting. "Where Are You" goes into straight funk. Its power is surpassed only by the first track on the album. It might have the strongest of all choruses on the album, if it weren't for the forced stops and starts. Track 6 introduces the title of the album "There's Something Sick Inside My Head." This song takes some explaining, which is done masterfully in the CD liner notes:
Walter Paul Robinette says: "I have tried to make the most honest representation that I can of a Christian songwriter and write about my life and my life experiences from what I consider to be a more realistic, more honest approach than kind of a "pie in the sky" approach - where it's like just 'love God and everything's gonna be okay.' I don't find that in my personal life."
Well, I've got to love my brother.The tune sounds a lot like a male version of a song by Fleming and John on their album Delusions of Grandeur. In fact, many of the intervals and especially the ending intervals of the song are almost identical. uncanny. I don't think I have ever heard two Christian tunes so musically similar!
"I'm Going There" launches into a smoky funk tirade that carries into the next 7 songs, never to return to the edgier sound from early in the album. Tracks 9, 10 and 11 are these really smooth and cool instrumental jam sessions full of loop-d-loops and whirligigs. "What are loop-d-loops and whirligigs?" you say. Well, they are when. well, never mind. Just consider that the feeble attempt of the art of writing to capture the nuances of another music. It's a music thang, you'll just have to hear it. I can't write it here.
"For the Sake of .." is also pretty ethereal; with "The Choir-ish" space guitars and a free-floating background bass over top less-than-hypnotic spinning vocals. The vocals and guitar in this song have an eerie similarity to the band Love Coma. The Walter Eugenes have a strange mixture of sounds from other Christian bands. Tracks 13 through 15 are a jostled, funky, spacey and grungy mish-mash of music in a tasteful mix. It might put your head in a blender and spin it into a beautiful oblivion, but if you made it this far into chronologically, then you are already accustomed to the disequilibrium.
That's not to say it is not a good album. But they don't quite pull off an eclectic mixture of unbalanced music as well as Chasing Furies. This is defiantly an album for the quintessential Walter Eugenes fan, and a must-have since it is their final one.
Israel Kloss 10/22/2000