Eden’s first major release doesn’t disappoint, but no songs stand out as “can’t-miss.”
Perhaps it’s because I don’t break out my emo rock collection very often. Perhaps it’s because the metal guitars combined with Baroque pop piano throw me for a loop. Perhaps it’s because each member seems to be influenced by different sub-sections of alternative rock.
But it took me a while to process Eden’s new EP.
The youthful band from Eden Prairie, Minnesota—most of the five members are only a couple years out of high school—worked for nine long months on their new release, the first big time addition to their discography. Their musical ability is definitely not in question. All five members know the ins and outs of their instruments.
These jams just aren’t completely in my comfort zone. I never dug Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance. The dude from The Used straight up frightened me.
But most of the record is too slow-paced to be easily grouped with those bands, lending a sort of post-grunge hugeness to the songs, sans the big-time pop hooks. This whole album is ready to be played in an arena. The sound is that big.
The only thing in the way of Eden is the lack of a surefire hit. The album has a consistent sound and theme, but no tracks stick out in terms of radio material. And, like it or not, that’s the missing link for a lot of great touring bands, as well as the curse for local artists that are stuck in the regional circuit.
This is not due to Eden’s genre; The band takes a couple big swings at choruses in songs like lead single “The Man I Am” and “Jealousy,” but miss ever-so-slightly. Everyone knows slam-dunk songs are tough to come across, and I just don’t hear any on Guilty Pleasure(s).
However, let me make one thing clear: The boys (and girl) of Eden did a hell of a job.
Everything is tight sound-wise, with very few—if any—production gaffes. This is impressive considering the band’s constant crusade against Auto-Tune and other contemporary studio techniques. Every note you hear from front man Chris Clark’s pipes is his. Drummer Adam Szczepaniak’s thwacks are unaltered from his original takes.
Eden is a very talented group that puts on a great live show, and they undoubtedly have the ability to make a career out of the music game. While Guilty Pleasure(s) is not the record to put them over the hump, it’s a very important step toward their promising future.