Eugene & the 1914, borne from the Long Beach scene, is fronted by none other than Eugene, a big, gentle guy with a cool whisper of a voice and mean guitar. Branding their own style of rock’n'roll, Eugene & the 1914 casually references a slew of influences from Dylan to Marley to Led Zeppelin. Though the band goes by the lead singer’s name, as a whole the group (JP, drums; Michael J, guitar; Timmy, bass; Alfred, keys & tambo;
Eugene, vocals & guitar) succeeds in creating a sonically pleasing, well-balanced palette pickled with hooks.
California opens with a nice instrumental build, keys set to whirling organ mode, tambourine shaking, guitar leading melodically and kick pounding, followed by a prominent guitar line. Then comes Eugene’s vocal over the band’s perky meld of activity. Because of the happy, uplifting energy of the song, I thought for a while he was singing about ‘believing in California.’ Come to find out he’s really excited about ‘leaving California.’ Makes no difference. Lucky for us and the Long Beach set Eugene stuck around. The song easily transmits bright anticipation and an all-around good feeling with vibrant toots and clangs and a full weave of sound from guitars and bass.
Love War bursts out in a dark storm with lyrics foretelling disaster. It twists into a party throb, 80′s style (minus bad digital effects), dotted with fantastic guitar that sounds like a dancing hamster on nitrous oxide. Clever and addictive.
Should I Fall swaggers spaghetti western style into a smooth contemplation of the all-encompassing topics of life, relationships and their meanings. Unlike numerous counterparts in the reflective department, Should I Fall maintains a steady pace forward. Never boring or self-indulgent, the tune remains engaging and leaves you feeling refreshed as opposed to enervated.
Troubles ventures into the hood of boppy ska skirting occasional minor chords and a flirt with shoegaze. Designs in Time breaks it down to a deep Zeppelinlike bassline complemented by ample cymbal splashes and high pitched howling, then unabashedly flames on with a blurry John Paul Jones riff rip-off. Whiskey & Wine fits like a weathered old coat or a track you may have heard on one of your parents’ Dylan records (try Desire (1976), Isis).
A cohesive crew with a lot of love to spread, Eugene & the 1914 was a treat to have in the studio. To get a glimpse of them in action, check out the groovy video below.
Listen to the Exclusive Live Tracks (option/click to download):