Review Summary: Eric's Trip escapes from reality
Released less than a year after Eric's Trip debut full-length, Forever Again
came as a jolt in more ways than one. Whatever romantic tension flared between vocalists Rick White and Julie Doiron that made Love Tara
such an engaging listen seemed to have dissipated, or at the very least, wasn't really the first thing on the band's mind anymore. It's tough to put any of the weight on White or Doiron, as each turns in an impressive vocal performance (although the role of the latter is disappointingly limited), instead Eric's Trip seem to have lost their subtlety. It was this that made Love Tara
special, the way that a line like “I didn’t even tell my brother. I just finished telling my mother. She took it okay” just wouldn't have been acceptable on the band's debut--- but here it makes up the majority of the minute-long "About You."
Even forgoing the comparisons, Forever Again
rarely eclipses adequate, especially throughout its first half. "New Love" starts off well enough with its bass-heavy gallop complementing White, but is succeeded by a string of sub-two minute tracks that ebb and flow seemingly without purpose. The record gains no continuity for it, adopting a forced and choppy feel that it fails to shake until the final few cuts. Furthermore, the first taste of White and Doiron together is buried far too deep into the album in "December '93," one of several nostalgia-heavy tracks on that fall well short of their potential both musically and lyrically. Never is the dropoff more noticeable than in the harmonized opening line "I don't know what to do/I'm not in love with you," a far cry from the poignancy of the song's Love Tara
Perhaps most surprising is the band's newfound affinity for quick electric rompers and generally, their dismissal of their acoustic side. The instrumentation is unpolished, yes, but the album suffers more for its haphazard track placement and refusal to alter-- or more accurately, develop-- a formula. The ideas here, especially lyrically, just aren't fully developed, at times seeming like little more than a collection of Love Tara
(or more accurately, Purple Blue
) outtakes, yet small moments of brilliance remain that remind of what Eric's Trip is truly capable.
Still, the album begins to find more depth in its guitar-heavy sound in the latter half. "My Bed is Red" effectively makes use of its four-plus minute length, and the grungy riffage of several of the cuts is more than welcome, adding a fair bit of electricity and contrasting with the lethargic groove that Forever Again
manages to slip into far too often. Both "My Chest is Empty" and the title track are anomalies as far as the rest of the record is concerned, but while Doiron turns the former into a beautiful acoustic piece, the latter serves more as a reminder of what Forever Again
could-- and should-- have been.