First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2007, Volume 14, #10
Written by John Metzger
Sun October 21, 2007, 06:00 AM CDT
In more ways than one, indie songwriter Peter Walker caught a lucky break when he was tapped to support Starsailor during its 2006 tour. Not only did he find himself gaining prominent exposure from the sojourn, but he also connected so well with drummer Chris Reynolds and bass player Tim Hutton, the musicians that he hired to form his backing band, that the trio decided to stay together. Adopting Eulogies as its moniker, the group quickly laid down the tracks for its self-titled debut. In listening to the endeavor, however, there’s little doubt that the collective could have benefitted from spending some more time together.
Throughout Eulogies’ eponymous effort, Walker pushes to the fringes of his songs the alt-country inflections that previously had framed his work. In their place, he embraces the lo-fi atmospherics that are commonplace among indie rock outfits. Although his cracked and weary voice still bears the same cigarette-stained markings as Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, the arrangements combine the gritty grunge of Nirvana with the buoyant bass lines that drive the Smashing Pumpkins’ material. Crossing Dinosaur Jr. with Kings of Leon, Eulogies uses Life Boat to rough up the chorus to The Flaming Lips’ Do You Realize, while the subsequent If I Knew You begins in the spirit of the Velvet Underground’s minimalist mourning before it erupts in a blaze of tormented vocals, chugging guitars, and crashing cymbals. Elsewhere, Walker sings One Man with an air of resignation as the music clatters around him, and despite the resistance that is inherent to Running in the Rain’s hard-driving groove, the tune reiterates the permanency of his defeat.
As the band winds its way through its self-titled affair, however, Eulogies increasingly loses its way. Whether crawling slowly through Little Davie’s ominously drugged-out death march or slipping back into a sluggish reprise of Can’t Relate, the songs begin to feel claustrophobically similar. Nevertheless, although the set doesn’t exactly live up to the ensemble’s full potential, it doesn’t deflate it any either, and while, midway through its self-titled debut, Eulogies’ forward progress slips away, it at least succeeds in laying the groundwork for better things, which undoubtedly will come.
Eulogies is available
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box