Erik Athey - Open House

Eric Athey
Open House

(Independent)

First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2004, Volume 11, #10

Written by T.J. Simon

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Eric Athey is a roots-rock journeyman based out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania whose debut Open House is a mixed bag of barn-burning rockers and weepy ballads in the tradition of Steve Earle or BoDeans. Recorded over a three-day period in a Baptist church outside of Ithaca, New York, the album follows the trajectory of a troubled relationship through its many ups and downs. Athey is a fine songwriter whose upbeat rock numbers, including Matter of Time, Vacant, and Poison have a noisy guitar-centered spirit that exemplifies what bar-band rock ought to be. Unfortunately, things fall apart whenever Athey attempts to slow down the tempo, and while most of the ballads are fairly innocuous, there are moments — Did I Break Your Heart Tonight and An Imitation, for example — where he is clearly beyond his depth as a vocalist. Despite consistently fine instrumentation, 14 songs that combine for more than 52 minutes ultimately prove to be an overstayed welcome. Even so, keep an eye out for Athey’s future releases as he certainly has the core capabilities to make the perfect roots rock album. Open House just isn’t it. starstar ˝

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Ratings

1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

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Copyright © 2004 The Music Box