I hate love songs. No, not because I’m a heartless killjoy (although I am) but because I feel the subject matter has been exhausted. No one is going to be able to write a better love song than Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”, so let’s move on to more interesting topics like the killer whale’s mating habit, tight-roping, and the multiple assassination attempts on Fidel Castro. We already have enough puppy love songs, make-up songs, and break-up songs. Yes, I understand, love is an important emotion. I know “All You Need is Love” and “Love Will Keep Us Alive”, but I’m more interested in the stuff we don’t need and the things that won’t keep us alive.
This of course leads to my review of Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s latest release “Rush to Relax”, an album that is highlighted by a series of love songs. You would think this would be a disappointment to me after falling in love with their 2008 release “Primary Colours” (thanks for the recommendation SongsSuck!). The Australian band doesn’t necessarily explore new areas in the arena of romance, but their take on the courting process sits strangely well with me, which rarely occurs with sappy love tunes. I think my adoration of Eddy Current’s take on love has something to do with their straight-forward, honest approach. There are no orchestra swells or metaphoric language. This album is simply a Melbourne garage band tearing through all-too-blatently earnest rock songs without any shame.
“Rush to Relax” opens with “Anxiety”, an internal monologue of a suitor nervously trying to impress his girl by “trying to hide from the awkward silence.” This theme of anxiety remains throughout the album, with singer Brenden Suppression groveling lyrics that are at times embarrassing. While most punk-rock is fueled by adrenaline and testosterone, this album presents the storyline of a cuckold.
Here’s a dose of “Anxiety” for you:
On “Gentleman”, Brenden lists all the ways he will treat his woman with respect, which is great, but trying “to be the first to apologize…even when you’re wrong” is not a notion that sits well with me. Yet, for some reason, I enjoy the obedient message of the song. It’s charming, unexpected, and so damn honest that Mr. Suppression should never be able to look his guy friends in the eye again. It takes some guts for a rocker to portray himself as being so desperately whipped. In an attempt to be chivalrous on “Gentleman”, he comes off as desperate, and who hasn’t been there? Oh…. just me….my bad.
On “I Can Be Jerk” the apologizing continues. As a fellow jerk, I can’t help but root for the narrator and Brenden’s plain spoken approach. On songs like “Tuning Out”, and “Burn” we hear examples of this self-proclaimed jerk-i-ness. Whether he’s telling his girl “I don’t care about the dream you had” or “I don’t care about your mum or dad”, it’s obvious this guy isn’t always such a gentlemen. All the songs on “Rush to Relax” counter balance each other, giving us insight into why he has to ask for forgiveness so damn much.
“I Can Be a Jerk”, or at least that’s what Danger Mouse thinks of me:
I should give a disclaimer that the entire album isn’t focused on love. “Isn’t It Nice” examines the futility of museums, and “Walked Into a Corner” tells the story of a drunk using the wall to keep from passing out. But when you look at the album as a whole, the truly great moments are those where we see Brenden Suppression putting his heart on his sleeve, making a fool of himself, all in the name of love. At times the music reminds me of the Illinois indie band The Poster Children and there are other moments where I hear a hint of The Stooges. Then again, I don’t remember Iggy ever sounding like such a pussy. That’s probably a good thing.
Here’s the video for “Rush to Relax”. I can’t get enough of his crazy dance: