Eagle and the Worm – Good Times (2011 LP)

You might not have heard of Eagle and the Worm yet, but you will. Maybe you’ve half read their name in the street press, or distractedly listened to a tune off their debut Good Times on 3RRR, but like the music contained on the album, Eagle and the Worm are both familiar and refreshingly new.

EATW are a collaborative creation, formed by singer/songwriter Jarrad Brown, pulling together many of his talented from friends from such Melbourne bands as Downhills Home, The Incredible Dead Goons, The Custom Kings, The Fearless Vampire Killers and The Jordie Lane Band. At last count their membership stretched to eight, with the basic lineup of Brown (guitar, vocals), Michael Hubbard (lead guitar), Richard Bradbeer (bass), Joe Cope (keys), and Jim Lowrie (drums), being augmented by a horn line of Ross Beaton (saxophone), Liam McGorry (trumpet), and Emily Mould (trombone).

Once Brown had his material ready he called the aforementioned friends together for a four day recording session, with no rehearsal. This, according to Brown, was to allow each player’s personality to shine through, and consequently the album maintains a feel of well versed musicians jamming together over a style of music that they know and love, namely souful rock’n’roll. If the sessions had been carried out in a more conventional, structured way the results would surely have been very different. However, perhaps due to the fact that the musicians have mostly performed together in previous bands, the jam style works very well, helping to create some unexpected moments in terms of song structure and musical interaction.

Due to the fact the songs are almost completely upbeat tracks featuring thick grooves and an Atlantic Records style horn section which shows the occasional Latin influence, the group EATW are most easily (read: lazily) compared to are The Cat Empire, with whom they have shared both a stage and a co-producer/engineer in Steven Schram. However, the songs on Good Times dig a little deeper, featuring strong ties to gospel and classic 1960s rock, recalling at their most upbeat, such as on infectious single “Futureman”, Exile on Main Street-era Rolling Stones.

It really is impressive the amount of influences that Brown and company have managed to boil down into ten tracks while still managing to sound like themselves. The breezy acoustic guitar and soaring guitar melodies of opener “Summer Song” allows the listener to ease into the EATW sound like an old armchair, while still hinting at some of the psychedelia to come, before hitting you with a string of possible singles; “Futureman”, “All I Know” and “Good Times”.

On the latter the band manage to celebrate the act of celebration without sounding twee, which is no easy task, as listener’s can easily discern when musicians are purporting to be fun, and when they are actually enjoying what they are doing. When Brown sings “we’re bringing back all the good times” you know he means it in an entirely un-cynical way.

Part of what makes EATW so enjoyable is that they have chosen a familiar set of boundaries within which to work, and have innovated within that setting. The overall result is something that is simultaneously old and new, they are, excuse the term, a ‘party band’ of sorts, but there is enough musical interest to transcend that meaningless tag. The musical hotpot that is Good Times means that there is something for, if not everyone, then a wide audience, their successful blending of so many styles whilst sticking to a simple vocal and guitar melody formula is enjoyable on several levels. Basically, it would be difficult to imagine this album not doing bit things, or the band not becoming a standard inclusion on the summer festival circuit.

As Molly would say, do yourself a favour, debut albums don’t come this concise that often.

Originally published on The AU Review. View original article.

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