“Brain Waves” (2015) / Eureka Machines
Eureka Machines face possibly the hardest trial of their career: following up their best album yet, 2013’s “Remain in Hope”. So how did they do? Read on…
Fast paced, pop-ish punk, sarcastic lyrics about being bored, start/stop riffs, more harmonies than you can shake a stick at – that’s what Eureka Machines are known for and their newly released album “Brain Waves” has all of these in abundance. You could say that the band have followed a “Eureka Machines recipe” to create the majority of the tracklisting here, right from the offset of “Paranoia”, with its fast-paced liveliness, the hints of an anthem during “Sleep Deprivation”, the ‘take a look at yourself’ mantra of “The Golden Lonely”. For all intents and purposes, the songs are fun-sounding in that typical Eureka Machines way but there is something lacking – there’s not the ‘fighting for their music’ feel that the previous album, Remain in Hope, had. “Brain Waves” feels like the band are stoking the fire to sustain themselves for a little longer, like status-maintenance. The entire first half of the album is full of songs that chug along, an occasional “being normal is boring” line dropped in, key change here, fancy riff there. The years in this decade so far, people have changed into instant gratification seekers by way of social media, content streaming, the whole lot of amazing technology we have at our fingertips. Unfortunately this is bringing its own problems: if there isn’t a very obvious bit of a hook in a song then we will lose interest pretty fast.
But all is not lost. Things do change by the second half of the album. You can find a few new songs on Brain Waves that do take Eureka Machines’ music in a bit of a different direction, and still remain in the memorable and catchy realm that they have a monopoly in. “Every Day I Thank the World I Cut You Off” is a prime example, starting off quiet, lyrics hinting at a need for escape, for revenge, the “get away, get away for the summer” almost taunting. The Eureka Machines have always put a positive spin on things (in a ‘we can change this’ way), but here it’s much more cold and stark, like ‘get away while you still can’. “Vulture of the Culture” is a lament on the current state of musicianship. It’s an earworm of a song with a blunt message, how everyone seems to be all voice but no brain: “Filled with fluff”, “Acting great”, etc. How people “[hide] behind a web of words”, behind computer screens to share opinions, the only way that they’re honest is with anonymity (yes, even this review is guilty of this, any readers most likely are too).
The feeling with Brain Waves is that it probably won’t be considered the best Eureka Machines album in the future. The lyrical content is more mature than previous ventures, but at this early stage there isn’t a particular significant draw here. I have to say that I would be very happy if I am wrong about Brain Waves, but for now if you want a proper Eureka Machines experience it would be best to stick with “Do or Die” or “Remain in Hope”. But keep your fingers crossed, remain hopeful. Maybe this album will make more sense in time.
More information on “Brain Waves” can be found on Eureka Machines’ PledgeMusic profile here.