Monday, February 03, 2020

Eamon Ra's "Meat Bones Chemicals Electricity"

Eamon Ra is the performing alias of Eamon Nordquist (Sterling Loons, Truly), who's been kicking around the Seattle music scene since the '90s, but apparently teethed on the same '60s Brit pop psychedelia (Beatles, Kinks, Pretty Things, Small Faces, Who, Zombies) that I did as a snotnose back in prehistory. His solo debut, Meat Bones Chemicals Electricity, arrived accompanied by a nifty self-illustrated comic book which also contains all the lyrics in a font that's more legible than CD slicks or web pages, and immediately pulled me in with "Future History"'s chiming 12-string, lilting background vox, woozy mellotron, gorgeous melody, and disarming invitation: "We're staying together forever because we're a family / And I love you" (less cloying to the ear than it might seem to the eye).

A strong Ray Davies influence emerges on "Pitchforks and Torches," a retelling of the Frankenstein saga which includes the album's title phrase, a recurring theme (along with "future history") on an album that, in its unassuming way, takes on nothing less than the human condition itself. Nordquist's ability to craft a beguiling tune shines through in "Kiss Someone You Love," with its Bolan-esque vocal and more snazzy 12-string action. "Fun To Be Had" evokes the saucy, sassy, music hall-loving side of the Kinks -- who also made ample use of a mellotron in their evocations of bygone Brittania.

Turning the record over, "Waiting for the Morning" is a heavy psych pounder worthy of S.F. Sorrow-era Pretty Things, with ex-Screaming Tree Mark Pickerel kicking the traps in exemplary fashion (although it should be noted that the drumming here, by a revolving cast of tub-thumpers, is uniformly excellent). "Happiest Day In History" is another sweet, upful embrace, offset by the self-explanatory "Simple But So Complicated," which recalls the Kinks of "Afternoon Tea" and "Dead End Street." Instantly appealing, Meat Bones Chemicals Electricity is the Candygram from the power pop gods all you Brendan Benson and Marshall Crenshaw fans have been waiting for.

Downloads are available now. Watch the Bandcamp page for pre-order info on vinyl (due out March 6).


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