Euphoria – Precious Time (CD)

There is enough swamp-rock present in “Back Against The Wall” to grill a whole mess of crawdads on the heat of the guitar and harmonica alone. For an instrumental track, “Back Against The Wall” tells an entire story in its relatively-short five minute runtime. Incorporating vocals into the Tina Dico-sung “Blue” makes Euphoria into an act that easily panders to the pop element of society, even if the instrumentation and arrangement during the track is eclectic to say the least. Mid-nineties alternative singing (a la Fiona Apple) mixes with a heavy Cajun and middle Eastern influence to make a track that swings completely on its own frequency.

Coming back to familiar territory for “Cowboys”, Euphoria shows that a disc can go back and forth between vocals and instrumental tracks with ease and not shock listeners too terribly much. Songs like “Back Against the Wall” and “Cowboys” can sound similar, almost cut from the same cloth but Ken Ramm (the mind behind Euphoria) mixes things up enough to keep individuals incredibly interested. When Tina Dico or Tracy Bonham join a Euphoria track, there is a completely different feel to Ramm’s music that borders on the difference between Savatage and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. In fact, the instrumental tracks really build up to the vocal tracks on “Precious Time”, in that there seems to be a meandering nature to these instrumental tracks that is blown to hell by the much more on-topic vocal tracks. A track like “The Glendale Train” will undoubtedly remind individuals of Aerosmith’s “Dulcimer Stomp”; “Fire in the Hole” continues with the same general sound but has much more of a range of tempos for Ramm to choose from.

Like a storm, different parts of “Fire in the Hole” will buffet individuals with gale-force winds and driving rain. The spread-out, doped-up sound of “Precious Time” is perhaps the farthest that Euphoria gets out of their comfort zone. This is done by mixing in trip-hop (along the lines of Portishead and the Propellerheads) in large doses to the diverse mix of sounds that Euphoria uses to create “Precious Time”. While ultimately radio-friendly, Euphoria comes forth with some of the most challenging music to be labeled that in recent memory. The music on “Precious Time” works on so many levels that individuals will have to listen repeatedly just to decipher all of the meaning that Ramm has imbued the disc with. Give it a go.

Top Tracks: Blue, Sinners and Saints

Rating: 6.3/10

Euphoria – Precious Time / 2006 Zoe / 12 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/euphoria / http://www.rounder.com/publicity / Reviewed 14 March 2006

[JMcQ]

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