Even in Blackouts’ first album, Myths And Imaginary Magicians (Myths), was one of the best and most original pop/punk albums to be released during the last five years. Unfortunately, their full-length follow up, entitled Zeitgeist’s Echo is an absolute monstrosity.
I was quite surprised at how difficult Zeitgeist’s Echo was to track down. After re-releasing Myths on Lookout! Records, Even in Blackouts turned to Knock Knock Records for their EP, entitled Foreshadows On The Wall, and have remained with them for their latest effort. Initially, I chalked up the near-unavailability of the new album to poor distribution by their label. After listening to the album several times, however, I’ve revised my theory to account for the hordes of torch-wielding villagers who I expect are hunting down copies and destroying them for the good of mankind.
To be fair, Even in Blackouts shows moments of real growth on Zeitgeist’s Echo. They’ve bolstered their unique “folk-Screeching Weasel” acoustic punk sound with frequent and diverse guest vocals. They’ve also incorporated a wider range of instruments, including piano and cello, into their songwriting. Their doo-wop filled cover of the Clifton’s “One Fine Day” is an interesting standout, as is the maturing talent of singer Lizzie Eldredge who has one of the best voices in punk rock today.
That’s about it for positives.
Songwriting on Zeitgeist’s Echo is handled predominately by guitarist John Jughead and bassist Brad Lipman. Unfortunately, the charm and lyrical cohesion of Myths has completely abandoned the otherwise talented pair. Virtually every song on the album is artless, overwrought and marred by some mind-blowing lyrical bombs. The sarcastic undertone of Myths has also disappeared, replaced by one-dimensional wonders like “I love you and I don’t know what to do, it’s painful to think of you.” I also have to feel awkward for everyone within earshot when the band performs “Curtain Part 1,” which features the jaw-droppingly bad “she had a pussy that could devour, there seemed to be no way to satisfy it.” Not even L7 could make that sound good.
Another odd thing about Zeitgeist’s Echo is the arrangement. There are several bizarre quasi-songs and sound blurbs that repeatedly disrupt the band’s minimal momentum. The only real exceptions are tracks 14-16 which make up the aforementioned 'Curtain' trilogy. Though the trilogy ends on a comparative high note, it’s followed by the forced and out-of-place sounding “Heaven.”
I really wanted to like Zeitgeist’s Echo (indeed, after I wrote a positive review of Myths for this site, Jughead – or someone claiming to be him – emailed me a generous thank you note). There is no question that the band has what it takes to make an amazing album, and if they hang around long enough to put out another album I’ll definitely give it a listen…but I’m afraid I just can’t recommend Zeitgeist’s Echo.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find a mob of villagers to help get this thing out of my stereo.