Review Summary: What the…this is 2012, right?
It has been nine years since Eve 6 last graced us with their unmistakable brand of pop-rock, and their resurgence comes with waves of both nostalgia and skepticism. For a band that only released three albums spanning a five year period, they enjoyed more than their fair share of success – basking in the glory of hits such as ‘Inside Out’, ‘Promise’, and ‘Here’s To The Night.’ Eve 6’s fast and furious claim to fame ended abruptly when they broke up in 2004, however - a split that wouldn’t heal until 2007 when they resumed touring and spent time reconnecting with fans. After years of preparation, it seems that Speak In Code
has helped Eve 6 pull off a most improbable comeback, packing the energy of 2000’s Horrorscope
without skimping on any the infectious qualities that made them darlings of alt-rock radio around the turn of the century.
From the opening minute of ‘Curtain’, it is apparent that very little has changed for Eve 6. A short punchy verse here, a simple but catchy riff there…everything is still about the surface level, and nothing deeper. But considering that Eve 6’s forte is their ability to effortlessly craft fun and enjoyable tunes, it’s not like we should have been expecting anything different. Lead single ‘Victoria’ is actually among the album’s weaker songs, with a relatively forgettable chorus and lazy instrumental backing that is too reliant on muddled electronic effects. Luckily though, Speak In Code
rebounds strongly with a trio of home run party anthems in ‘Situation Infatuation’, ‘B.F.G.F.’, and ‘Lion’s Den’, all three of which hark back to the band’s Horrorscope
days (albeit with a slightly updated sound). They offer some pretty memorable lyrics as well, perfect for a summer joyride with the windows down, “Let’s reclaim our innocence and live in harmony / We can leave the past behind, and make a brand new start.” Once again, nothing profound…just straightforward, uncomplicated messages meant to be enjoyed in either relaxed or inebriated states. And of course, there’s lines like “I’m the happiest prick this side of Detroit” thrown in for good measure, just to remind you that the band is capable of not taking themselves so seriously.
One of Eve 6’s greatest strengths was always their consistency, and that is another quality that appears to have made a full return on Speak In Code
. The second half of the album is just as upbeat and infectious as the first half, with the resplendent climax of the ballad ‘Moon’, the danceable rhythm of ‘Downtown’, and the unexpectedly poignant closer, ‘Pick Up The Pieces.’ The latter isn’t your typical cheese ballad, and it triumphs over its counterpart ‘Moon’ in just about every way, all the way down to the personal lyrical touch: “Blessed by your genetics, you possess a certain aesthetic charm / But something’s disconnected and you’re quite capable of causing harm.” There are still some weaker songs across this record that can be pinpointed (the vapid and redundant ‘Trust Me’, for example), but as per Eve 6’s trademark, they are heftily outweighed by the standouts. By the end of this album, you’ll find yourself humming the chorus to at least two or three of these tracks, and I’ll be damned if that isn’t what classic Eve 6 was always about.
Just like its best qualities, Speak In Code
’s drawbacks are ones that you could most likely predict. The band members possess only average instrumental skills, and that shows glaringly through their simplistic song structures and their rather basic attention to detail. A lot of the tracks sound similar, which is both a result of the aforementioned talent ceiling and their fun, pop-oriented approach to making music. Even compared to their earlier works, it seems that their instrumental contributions have declined, or have at least taken a back seat to more of an electronic/studio based sound. Call it an evolution in style, call it a different era – but either way, if you come into Speak In Code
expecting the riffs from ‘Hokis’ or the punk feel of ‘How Much Longer’, you will most certainly be disappointed. The only consolation, really, is that Eve 6 has always been a vocal-centric band, so any drop-off in musical quality will seem minimal.
If it were possible, Speak In Code
would be, by definition, an Eve 6 album. It’s everything you expect from the fun-loving band out of Southern California: playful verses, unforgettable choruses, fast paced music, and live for today lyrics. After nine years of releasing nothing, Eve 6’s ability to duplicate an early 2000’s atmosphere may actually be their most impressive quality. On this record, any lack of progression/variation is forgiven – Eve 6 is back, and they are here to keep the party going!