While the recording on â€œThe Cost of Livingâ€ isnâ€™t the most clear Iâ€™ve ever heard, the pseudo-grunge feel of the Ephmahs actually gains a little strength from the constant compression offered by the mix of the disc. Rolling strong for about a decade, the band is a cohesive unit that decides on a target and proceeds to attack it, rather than letting each of their members do their own thing and muck up the disc any more than it is already due to the shaky recording. Coming back often to the grunge influence, Ephmahs do it in such a way that it immediately does not rehash the excesses of the movement â€“ gone are all the overblown post-grunge bands destroying the name like Bush, and restored to the former glory are Tad and Nirvana, due to Ephmahsâ€™ looking back. There are times on â€œThe Cost of Livingâ€ where the recording becomes pretty rough, but by these times, individuals are already enthralled by the rich arrangement and increasing power of the Ephmahsâ€™ guitars and vocals (Tim and Mattâ€™s doing).
The impressive thing about Ephmahs is the ability to shine through the recording issues with â€œThe Cost of Livingâ€ and create tracks that would fit alongside Green River, the aforementioned Nirvana, and even someone lighter like Matthew Sweet. Early on during â€œThe Cost of Livingâ€, with their â€œStargazer Lilyâ€ Ephmahs really recall a direct line of influence from Minneapolis to Seattle, recalling The Replacements, Husker Du, and â€œPollyâ€-era Nirvana. Even going farther back into the rich history of rock, a set of bongos and a psychedelic-guitar noodling through â€œThe World Is Your Couchâ€ recalls individuals of another band, this time British that was heavily influenced by The Who, Radiohead (the similarities to Paranoid Android are uncanny!).
With energy to spare, each track on â€œThe Cost of Livingâ€ is straight-forward and hard rocking. Even the slower Tesla-like â€œCareâ€ benefits from receptive drums and screeching guitar solos. Never in a rut during the entire timeframe of â€œThe Cost of Livingâ€, Ephmahs show that a rock band can both be successful and original, hopefully sending out the message to any individuals that being famous doesnâ€™t necessarily mean following the well-worn path of Earshot, Tool, and all the other hack bands that populate the airwaves of Clearchannel radio. The band has no discernible weaknesses, and as soon as they get into a decent studio to record a full-length, I am sure that that album will be on my player continually.
Top Track: Stargazer Lily
Ephmahs â€“ The Cost of Living / 2004 Self-Released / 7 Tracks / http://www.ephmahs.com / email@example.com / Reviewed 15 August 2004