Eugene – The 4 Track Demos (CD)

Eugene puts together a very radio-friendly type of indie-rock that is reminiscent of Hayden, never far from a good guitar hook or full sound, even though this is a very Spartan band. Tracks like “Mr. Solitude” do not have a chronological date to them, so while there might be sections on the track that just screams sixties-rock, there are equally many that look at acts like Husker Du for relevance. Similarly, the genre tag does not stick well on Eugene, for tracks like “Mr. Solitude”, an exercise in pop, there are country-based tracks like “California”. It is a little misleading to dub the tracks on “The 4 Track Demos” purely pop or country; rather, different elements are used by Brandon to create a style of music for Eugene that is distinct and paradoxically able to fit into any musical style without ruffling feathers. While many of the tracks make great use of their musical simplicity, it is “Amalur” which will wow the listeners of this disc the most. The virtuosic guitar track present on the track mixes with Brandon’s Dave Grohl-like vocals to make something perfect, ready-made for the pop-rock stations.

A track like “Troubles” really has problems starting up, with the guitar work laid on the track really having an episodic feel to it that does not further Brandon’s singing in any meaningful way. The follow-up track “Should I Fall” is a nice resumption of the same quality that was such a hallmark for Eugene up to this point. Using “Lifted”-like drums along with vocals modeled after Bryan Adams, “Should I Fall” is a patchwork, albeit one that works well. The strong acoustic guitar presence throughout the disc is one of the most audible factors concerning Eugene; the euphonic sounds that issue from the instrument during tracks like “Whiskey & Wine” serve lead vocalist Brandon well. However, the guitar takes a completely different tack in the dance-like track “Stand”, which due to its continual bass-drum presence, really is contextualized into something that is almost Postal Service-esque in its general sound. While the title of the album is “The 4 Track Demos”, the music contained within has a polish that makes the title invalid. This is an band that is ready for the big time, and should a big label sign them there is no doubt that Eugene could peddle a great amount of merchandise to both pop and music fanatic alike.

Top Tracks: Angel Eyes, Amalur

Rating: 6.4/10

Eugene – The 4 Track Demos / 2005 Self / 9 Tracks / / Reviewed 26 May 2005

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