Logan j Fowler hears words in clips and phrases…
Two years before the 90s ended, a little band called Eve 6 had a hit single called “Inside Out.” The song was on their self-titled debut album, and would go on to become one of the most memorable songs of the decade, and still has it’s time on the airwaves today. Featuring a raw sound mixed with interesting (borderline odd) lyrics, it would propel the band into music history.
A mere 6 years later, after dropping two more albums, the band split and left whatever contributions they made to the music industry in the dust. Their last album pre-breakup, It’s All in your Head, released to a poor reception, and it seemed like the three members-lead singer/bass player Max Collins, guitarist Jon Siebels, and drummer Tom Fagenson would not form again under their Eve 6 title. However, in 2008, the band went out on the road again touring, and word begin to come round that they would be releasing a new album. And this is why we are here; Speak in Code, the band’s fourth studio album, eight years after we thought Eve 6 would never get back together again, has finally arrived. So how is it?
If you are looking to hear the raw Eve 6, the pure form of alternative rock that was found on their debut album, you are going to be disappointed. Speak in Code is more in line with the sound of Horrorscope really. However, considering your loyalty to the band hasn’t wavered at all, or if you are a fan of light music fare with no real ties to substance (with a few tracks serving as curve balls to counterbalance that) but rather something to play with your windows open and the speakers at a level where you won’t go deaf but your eardrums are rattling, then Speak in Code is up your alley for sure.
The opening track, “Curtain” is the format of music perfect for what I just described; in other words, it’s an “open road song (no pun intended).” It’s the kind of song perfect for racking up the miles in your vehicle, although the length of it does not match an extended drive perfectly. In any case, lyrically, singer Collins drops words about a separation of sorts, more likely friends than a relationship (Collins’ reference to a “bro” would prove this theory is true). It’s catchy and airy, and opens the album up well.
“Victoria,” the second track and album’s first single, is just Collins bitching about a woman who flakes out on him while she is away in Mexico. For anyone who has ever worried about their significant other on a trip to somewhere exotic, the lyrics may hit close to home. For everyone else, “Victoria” is just perfect summertime music listening.
Moving on, “Situation Infatuation” is the singer discussing his not-so-innocent thoughts about someone he has met but barely had a connection with. Doubled up with the next track, “B.F.G.F. (a woman is not so sincere with one guy, as she’s running around with another one),” the album has sandwiched the most lyrically naughty songs together, fleshing them out with insanely catchy beats. Definitely two ones to accept at face value.
“Lion’s Den” has to be my favorite track on the album. Collins identifies a male and a female-both at the top of their game in their respective stories, but longing to stir up the pot. The substance laden chorus finally gives Eve 6 their first song on the track that deserves a lyrical listen; if you’ve ever felt like you were at a dead end in life despite your accomplishments, this tune will become your new anthem.
On track number 6, “Blood Brothers” is the lead singer dishing out his complaints about a former friend who he felt really close with, but now it is not so. This track reminded me of “Curtain” a bit, but the opening track of the album provides a much better spin on the theme. In addition, the emphasis on Collins’ reminiscing, “We used to go bowling,” is just, well, odd. This is the only real track that didn’t agree with me.
“Lost and Found” puts things back in the right frame, as it becomes another wonderfully worded song. It’s a simple idea really; if you’ve ever felt like just everything is turning to crap and you need some sort of sanity back, Collins understands you completely. This song proves it. Definitely worth a listen.
The strongest lyrics have to be found in “Moon.” Collins becomes less song writer here and more poet, as he seems to be describing the pain of a severe breakup, surrounded with him laying out the visuals in word form of where he used to spend time with his significant other. In short, the track definitely stands among the best written, and is hypnotically beautiful.
As we get into the last few tracks of the album, it really becomes “see whatever sticks” territory. “Downtown” is basically a tune about a clean cut individual who is going to let loose and demonstrate his against type character. It’s fun, but nothing to write home about. “Trust Me” is sort of the same, as Collins drops lyrics like “You won’t believe my flat/you can quote me on that/I’ve got an elevator and an endangered cat.” It’s been stated before that this album is not going to require heavy analysis, and “Trust Me” is just a dude talking about no matter what you see on the outside, he’s not one to be doubted internally. Basic as it can be.
The final two tracks couldn’t be more different, but they end the disc with ease. “Everything” is simply about a man and a woman who bond through a road trip of sorts, and Collins’ increasing infatuation with the chick behind the wheel. A fun song, definitely a counterpart for a car ride, although one would wonder since it is the last real song with a more positive atmosphere, especially since one could believe it’s about two people driving into the unknown, it would be better suited to be the last track.
But that spot has been reserved for “Pick up the Pieces, “which, in titular fashion, would suit the last few beats that Eve 6 are providing for our listening ears. The song speaks about an anonymous character that seems to have gone off the deep end and it’s affecting those who care. The music behind it is very sweet and sincere, but paired with the wording Collins provides, it’s definitely an interesting take on a family somewhat torn apart. The album definitely ends on a tune that is powerfully written, and thankfully, makes up for the latter half that is somewhat easy to dismiss.
If it seems like I have a ton of gripes, they really are minimal; Speak in Code is equal parts wonderfully written with powerful prose, along with “just crank it up and think nothing else of it.” Collins definitely has a way with words, and he demonstrates it here a handful of times. But for the rest of the album, it’s really just the quintessential sound of summer. Poppy, airy, fun, and light. No one asked for Eve 6 to get all dramatic on us, but you know what, when they do, it’s a nice change from the otherwise simplistic nature provided. In total though, Speak in Code is Eve 6’s grand return, and truthfully, this album made me realize how much I missed them in their absence. The album falls flat in some areas, but as an overall puzzle, the pieces fit together quite nicely. Welcome back, fellas.