Eureka Machines - Brain Waves

Posted by vibrations on 24-08-15

Life, it appears, does not take any prisoners. When Eureka Machines started up back in 2008, they were an optimistic digitus impudicus to the world, sticking it to the man and not being men known for the giving of figs. But 2013’s Remain in Hope saw a more world weary EM struggling to keep their chin up in desperate times. Sadly, we are still in desperate times – the cavalry never arrived, the good guys didn’t come good in the final reel and hope remains… but little else. Brainwaves  reflects what must be going through the minds of the majority of people in the country these days and is more concerned with the personal battles each one of us faces… but that’s no excuse not to sound cheerful…

“Paranoia! Paranoia! Always in three minds!” belts Chris Catalyst with cheerful angst in the opening salvo of Eureka Machines’  fourth album. Before you know it he is joined by messrs Wayne, Davos and Pete, laying down the simple yet effective underline to Chris’s mental turmoil, reflected in multitude of harmonious voices that fill the spaces between. From the onset, it is apparent that this is a very personal album, painfully so, and reveals a fragility rarely seen in CC. Each song seems to peel away another layer of his armour: ‘Television’, an homage to The Wildhearts’ ‘TV Tan’, sings of loneliness with harmonies too sweet for your average boy band and a huge dollop of 70’s/80’s power pop cum Frieheit or Air Supply, ‘Sleep Deprivation’ is ridden with the edgy pickiness of anxiety induced insomnia, ‘Brainwaves’ points out the pointlessness of everything… all to the poppiest of pop tunes. It’s akin to a forced smile at a dinner party, whilst you stab yourself under the table with a fork. 

‘Every Day I Thank The World I Cut You Off’ has more of a Cardiacs/Pixies feel to it, veering slightly from the pop path to tell of a difficult open wound of a relationship that should NOT be touched (“it’s better to fuck off than to fade away”, ‘Human’ has a pop at religion, ‘Vulture of the Culture’ berates the proliferation of bands and the inevitable critics (rhymes with ‘parasitic’), and this trio mark a release of angry man bile, which feels a bit like Axl Rose when he gets his dander up… which is most of the time… or was. Special mention must go to ‘The Golden Lonely’, a more goth melancholy number drawing down the spirit of Siouxsie and The Damned – I really think they could do more of this.

By the time we get to ‘Neuro Bolero’, we are almost at the end of the album and the root of the problem as our intrepid hero finds himself collapsing under the weight of overthinking – it’s almost like Brainwaves was a concept album of mental ill health – but in a burst of pure pop punk he overcomes his demons. Finally we reach ‘I Miss You’, a reprise of all the themes of the album as the singer nervously awaits a meeting with his lost love, overcoming that final barrier needed to move on, building to a crescendo of anxiety and excitement that never quite… reaches… the…

I say that ‘I Miss You’ is the end as ‘We’re Going to the Future’ is more of an aftermath song, a kind of ‘we’re okay really’ song to raise your spirit: “we’re all gonna win”. After the events of the album, it seems a bit hollow, over optimistic, or just a reprise – depression is a continuum that may not be felt as much, but never really goes away. And it’s that that you carry away from this album – things may look and sound okay, but don’t be too sure. We’re all fighting our own battles, of course not all of us can do that through the medium of pop music. But if there’s any reassurance, then here it is. You, me, we are not alone. A brave, but yet again heart breaking album.

Rob Wright

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