Sunday, April 29, 2012

Speaking in code for this week....

In late 2011, Collins/Siebels/Fagenson re-formed as Eve 6 for the first time since splitting up in 2004 after being dropped from RCA [the latter half of that decade spent doing side projects independent of each other].  On April 24, 2012, their 4th album "Speak In Code" arrived.  How do they sound after this long?  Just as good, if not better.

Collins has stated in recent interviews that they aren't crazy about Don Gilmore as a person, but as a producer, they value what he can do - and the value of what he can do truly shows in this record.  Second track "Victoria" displays it most obviously - it's a track that references the songs they sung in the 90's - perfect sparkling power rock from end to end.  And even as it references the past, it has a worn-in, evolved feel lyrically - in the 90's some of their songs sang about the FUN of the party - where now they take the listener into the world of the guy left behind while the girl goes out and has fun.  It's somewhat of a teenage trope still, but it's a fine enough way to update their subject matter.  Once again, this is where having Gilmore around suits them so well - he knows best how to make them sound great.

Debut single "Lost and found" is by its very title a reference to the "Where've you guys been al this time?" and was a great way to reintroduce the world to this band when it came out in the months prior to the album release.  Like "Victoria" it traffics in what the band does best - vibrant power-rock guitars, sing-along choruses - but all delivered by a band that has not only done this before, but has learned much since they've been gone and thus has learned how to pull this kind of music off with even more finesse than they did before.

The track immediately following the debut album on the album is as close to this album gets to a ballad as catchy as the ubiquitous 1999 "Here's to the night".  "Moon" is Collins in full on middle aged reminisce mode - an acknowledgment that yes, they have all gotten older and [hopefully] wiser since they released a debut album just as they all graduated high school.  Thoughts like "One life to live many paths to take / one twists and turns and falls away" make quite clear how far this group of men have come - and references to "keep moving on into the unknown" is a far cry from the occasionally frat-boy-ish thoughts that peppered their debut and the follow-up "Horrorscope"

Musically, this album is also far tighter than the last album they put out before splitting.  Where "It's all in your head" showed the band had chops, and pushed boundaries a little, the tracks didn't have the same energy this trio usually brings to their music.  On "Speak In Code" the ballads fit in perfectly alongside the peppier numbers - this was definitely not the case with their previous outing.  Plenty of time to grow and mature as musicians in between #3 and #4 certainly helped them avoid these pitfalls this time out.

Eve 6 may never have the same level of success they had at their peak in 1999.  Whether they do or not, they have a fine batch of songs that hits that certain special note - the sound of a band - once divided - who is playing together again because of a shared desire to make music together.

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