Even in Blackouts
Myths & Imaginary Magicians
(Hope and Nonthings)
First Appeared at The Music Box, March 2003, Volume 10, #3
Written by T.J. Simon
In an alternate universe where The Ramones played only acoustic guitars and were fronted by a female lead singer, the band might have sounded quite a bit like Chicagoís Even in Blackouts. The creative force behind Even in Blackouts is John "Jughead" Pierson, who was formerly the lead guitarist of the now-defunct Screeching Weasel, the band that brought punk to the suburbs before Green Day made millions with the same formula. Even in Blackouts' debut disc is Myths & Imaginary Magicians ó a title that is decidedly more apropos for a Jethro Tull disc ó and itís an enjoyable 12-pack (13 with the hidden track) of accessible acoustic rock, free of the clutter of blazing electric guitars.
Singer Lizzie Eldredge is Even in Blackoutís centerpiece, and she carries the tunes with a voice somewhere between Liz Phair and Avril Lavigne ó a dynamic style with a touch of sneer and ítude. The combination of her rich voice, the bandís acoustic guitar-driven wall of sound, and the standout drumming of Dan Lumley should be enough to bring a smile to most listenersí lips. From the world-wise lyrics of Love Cynical Style to the wordy poetry of Missing Manifesto, songwriter Pierson does an outstanding job of turning his deep thoughts into hook-heavy gems. The musicianship is impressive throughout the album, including the unplugged, surf-guitar instrumental Subject to Blackout and the hard strumming rave-out 27 Seconds of Flame. Myths & Imaginary Magicians also contains respectable covers of the Screeching Weasel anthem Hey Suburbia; Operation Ivyís ska-punk, underground classic Knowledge; and the 1982 Yaz single Only You.
The only criticism to be levied against Even in Blackouts' debut is that the production has a do-it-yourself feel that, at times, makes it sound like an extended demo tape rather than a professionally produced recording. That said, this isnít a symphonic rock album requiring a painstaking amount of studio tweaking. At its core, Myths & Imaginary Magicians is a punk album (albeit a gentle one), and the raw sound may have been a deliberate move. Either way, it boldly makes its case that Even in Blackouts is a band about which you will be hearing a lot more in the not-too-distant future. Ĺ
Myths & Imaginary Magicians is available from Barnes &: Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box