Monday, October 15, 2012

A Fine Bit of Mayhem

Eclectic Mayhem.  Eclectic Mayhem.
Sleepwalk Recording.  2012.   Eclectic Mayhem:

This is the Cleveland based quartet’s debut album and it’s an impressive swirl of influences and detail. Each track is distinctive and well crafted. These musicians have spent over a decade studying different styles and their album is a badge of their knowledge. 

“Again,” while lyrically predictable (this stickler for word integrity didn’t mind), the gritty flavor of the songs eclipsed any flaw with severe rock attitude and genuine don’t-give-a-fuck and sometimes I just like it when people don’t give a fuck for my rules. Musically Eclectic Mayhem is a strong outfit and clearly know how to create. The guitar solos are absolutely inspired on “Want It Al” which covers the boring vocals on it nicely. The guitar and keyboard fuse seamlessly on “Takin’ Time” and make complicated overtures that any composer would admire. When it comes to making the music, Eclectic Mayhem has the actual talent to make chaotic rock sound beautiful.

The only foible in this group is the vocals, which are just mediocre, especially when compared to the greatness of everything else. Someone with more of a range would fit with the incredibly broad brush of these musicians. Eclectic Mayhem runs the turbulent gambit of moody pensive tracks to raucous electronic experimental bridges within a minute’s time and pull it off. The vocal is too punk and unsophisticated to ride well with the music, which becomes very apparent on songs like “On My Way” and “Fun With Guns.”

However, on “For the Birds,” the juxtaposition of the intricate beauty of the guitar and the rough-hewn strain of the vocal are magical, and I think I might have picked up a harpsichord in there somewhere. It might have just been a mixture of different sounds but if the listener can’t even tell what instruments you’re using you are doing something right. There is not a lot of variety in the background vocals or with vocal harmonies at all, which I would be interested to hear them play with a bit more.

“Inside Your Head” has a mid-90s alternative feel to it that is nice to have on the second half of the album. The tracks evolve nicely into each other and while there is cohesion, everything is so different that nothing falls into the background. There aren’t any boring songs on this album, which is a feat to brag about. This being Eclectic Mayhem’s first album, it’s an incredibly rich debut and I look forward to the next.

Eclectic Mayhem:  Pat Conley (vocals, drums), Dan Cooley (guitar), Nate Dreher (bass), Jonathan Khouri (keys, guitar).
Tracks:  Again. Want It All. Takin’ Time. Let You Down. On My Way. For the Birds. Bender. Fun With Guns. Inside Your Head. Better Off Dead. I Don’t Mind. Lost.

Lauren Parker

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lauren & Jeff,

    This is Jonathan from EM. THANKS SO MUCH! Really kind words, and a pretty spot-on review :)

    So sorry to just come across your review now, but we appreciate you taking the time to listen and write about our music.

    All the best,


    Eclectic Mayhem