Fronted by the Custom Kings’ Jarrad Brown, Melbourne eight-piece Eagle and the Worm have just released their debut long player, Goodtimes. Blatantly wrapping their melodies around 50’s to 70’s rock and pop influences, it’s an appropriate title for a band that keep no secrets.
With Good Times, Eagle & The Worm have painted a big, red target on their grinning faces. They’re a self-proclaimed party band, they make no attempt at hiding their incredibly blatant and fashionable influences, and front-man Jarrad Brown stresses in the presser that they ask for no commitment from the listener lyrically, musically or aesthetically. Their arms are outstretched, their eyes are closed and they are waiting with full acceptance for the spittle of cynics…but at the moment the saliva hits the back of your pursed lips, you’ll find that you just can’t bring yourself to do it. You hestitate, give them a second chance, and by the time you question the purpose of that delicately formed chunk of cynicism in your mouth, you find that you’re already on the dance floor.
Eagle and the Worm’s laconic party jams are steeped in positivity and optimism, the unmistakable nasal whine of Jarrad Brown fronting an eight-piece that are fast becoming one of Australia’s most energetic touring troupe – one which performs to near perfection on record. From the lazy sway of album opener Summer Song to the Tijuana horn flourish of All I Know (marking their most jovial entry), Eagle and the Worm prove themselves assured purveyors of princely pop. It’s an album clearly informed and defined by its influences, but it takes such a broad slice of genre and era that it ends up incredibly diverse, taking in sounds from Cuba to Trinidad and Liverpool to California all via 50’s and 60’s pop.
The beauty of this album for the band’s pockets is its ability to merge sounds unique to radio with the painful/blissful (take your stance) sounds of late 00’s indie fashion. This means a track like the break-out All I Know can debut those Calypso/Tijuana horns to the youth consciousness, while the Beach Boy harmonies that open Too Young can send the record along the well-trodden path of your Pitchfork flavors of the month. Whether its an intentionally crafted mix of aesthetics or a labour of love is unimportant; it’s a beautifully recorded album that will rightfully find an audience in 2011.
Good Times is a well-timed and near-brilliant retrospective, one which is admirably played and smartly written. Rhythms break down and stutter before reassembling into an effortless hook or floating, choral harmony. Guitar hum sits at the back of the mix on a track like Come Home Love almost intentionally, guitar tones are endlessly warm, and the vocals and lyrics, whilst occasionally haphazard, are always fitting. You may question the relentless positivity, blatant homage to the album’s influences, or the odd lazy vocal line, but there’s no question that you’ll enjoy this record. At the end of the day, if you swallow your pride and give in to the sounds of Eagle and the Worm, you’ll find that this is one of the most exciting Australian debuts of the year.
Good Times is out now via Warner Music.