Louisiana’s The Eames Era do one thing and do it well, and that’s write short, saccharine pop music that is first and foremost fun, yet still capable of taking itself seriously (when it wants to). Ashlin Phillips recalls Jenny Lewis before she metamorphosed into bleeding heart alt-country diva, and was merely everyone’s favorite indie-rock it-girl. Her sweet fluttering tenor registers high, but never veers too far into the realm of bubblegum, and is the perfect accompaniment to her band mate’s reliable formula.
“Reliable” is the operative word on Heroes and Sheroes, a true homage to pop music in all its two-to-three minute glory. While innovation isn’t necessarily everyone’s litmus test for invigorating the blood and subsequently getting one’s body moving, it’s always welcome to see a different hue transform the horizon into a singularly unique sunset. Such is not the case on The Eames Era’s latest, but that doesn’t seem to really be the point. And that, listener, is the good news.
It takes only 42 minutes to unfurl 17 tracks, ranging from the abbreviated “Let Me Spin” at 53 seconds to “I Am A Thing,” epic at just under five minutes. The Eames Era take their cues from contemporaries in the power pop field, culling equally from A.C. Newman and Rilo Kiley circa Take-Offs And Landings. “Little Brother” erupts in a spray of angst and angular guitar riffs over a throbbing bassline. But Heroes is the younger sibling, struggling to break free of the limelight of more well known pop acts; the L.E.D. in a sea of incandescents.
“Teenage Meth Head” is like a campfire singalong, if that fire was a Bunsen burner in a drug lab, all acoustic guitar and harmonies that end too soon. Tambourine tussle and a simple guitar stutter open standout “Fake Do-Gooders,” brimming with youthful musings and misunderstandings. “Last To Know” nearly drowns in a sea of “la’s” and handclaps before being tossed a lifesaver of riveting electric jangle.
If The Eames Era seem slightly lacking in sheen compared to the veritable army of great pop bands composing the indie market at the moment, that’s only because their competition is that stiff. Not to worry, though—MTV’s already on the job, employing “When You Were A Millionaire” from Heroes on latest reality show “I’m From Rolling Stone”…but, does anyone even watch MTV anymore?