By Ryan Alex
With their first full length album, Maurice Narcisse, the Connecticut noise-rock band Eula shows off a surprising amount of versatility which is very interesting to hear but it’s not enough to carry the album.
The band’s sound mostly consists of dissonant guitar parts over chugging bass and drums with angular vocals until their a sudden change into to pure catchiness for the chorus. This best seen in the album’s single “Texas Stampede” or the album’s title track. All aspects of the band have moments where their talent shines especially in Nathan’s innovative drumming on “Maurice Narcisse”, Jeff’s melodic bass riffs in “Wake up” and Alyse’s distinct guitar work during the track “Awake.”
The album shows maturation over the band’s debut EP with its experimentation with new styles. Songs like “Bone Density” and “Canyon” are full songs of dreamy pop reminiscent of a dark Twin Sister; fans had only heard pop like this in 30 second choruses sandwiched in between verses of hyper Ponytail-esque noise. Songs like these give the band room for some pretty cool instrumental parts which helps break up the brashness of some of their music.
The final song, “Hollow Cave”, is the first of theirs to feature an acoustic guitar and displays Alyse’s talent as a songwriter and crafter of melodies; it is probably my favorite from the album. The use of keyboards on songs like “Wake Up” and “Oh Lord” is also pleasant and adds an interesting dimension to the band’s sound without compromising their rawness. This makes one wonder how they will continue to progress; perhaps similarly to Husker Du, who went from breakneck hardcore punks to impressive songwriters.
Although it does have its moments, this album is not something I would expect everyone to fully appreciate upon their first listen. If you are someone who is really into punky, no-wave artists such as Marnie Stern, this could very well be their album of the year. Many people will simply not enjoy this album and may justifiably find Eula’s sound to be overly noisy and annoying. I can tell from listening to songs like “Canyon” and “Texas Stampede” that this band is capable of making a noise rock masterpiece; however this album is not it.