This is drunk music, and I’m listening to it on a Wednesday morning at 7am, not drunk. The debut album by Eddie Rascal Esoteric Meandering as the album title hints, may not speak to everyone. At 7am, it sure didn’t speak to me on the first listen. After a few plays however, I was awake and almost singing along. The core sound of the album harks back to the post punk movement of the ’90s and early 2000s. On each of the six tracks, the group zigs in a slightly different direction.
Eddie Rascal proclaims to have made a conscious effort to stray from the recent resurrection of shoegaze. They instead move towards emo. The emo age, and the early youtube wave that accompanied it, are referenced frequently on the album. In addition to post-punk and emo, an element of doom slips in here and there.
This mood change manifests most noticeably through the vocal style and lyrics. On tracks such as “Aka Manto” an eerie guitar leads up to an intense vocal scream, resulting in a slow hardcore punk head banger. This contrasts with songs like “Athens” and “Hospital,” which highlight a youthful, slightly snarky, voice that matches the lyrics well. Some of these vocal style shifts felt abrupt. With more tracks, or perhaps in a live setting, they would potentially flow better.
On the song “Hospital” Eddie Rascal most successfully balances danceability, grunge and a realness that’s difficult to master in the genres they’re working in. This song is an anthem for growing out of youth. They grapple with the consequences. It strikes an odd balance between self-deprecation and asshole.
I’m tempted to compare Eddie Rascal to bands like My Chemical Romance and Jimmy Eat World, but Eddie Rascal has something that emo bands often don’t have; irony. Eddie Rascal pairs emo sounds and messy drunk punk with poignant, relatable lyrics. Their lyrics often represent a self-awareness and believability not present in previous emo bands that have come and gone.
Beneath the endearing, self-aware lyrics and emo vibes, Eddie Rascal brings a skill set necessary to hold these pieces together. The base drives at the right time. The drums are messy but tight when needed. The lead guitar creates some deliciously addictive riffs.
Although the styles are markedly different, Eddie Rascal’s punk roots and ironic lyrics remind me of bands such as Parquet Courts and Radiator Hospital. Compared to these groups, Eddie Rascal seems to have more bite and grime. For instance, at shows, they have been known to launch specialized Eddie Rascal condoms into the air. I just might have to see that for myself.
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