Some artists aspire for too much. Slick production? Nine-piece supergroup? Sure. When you’re done pecking at gourmet food and hanging around scenesters, Eureka California will be waiting for you just down the street.
The duo’s second LP, Crunch, is even leaner and scuzzier than its first, a whirlwind of raw riffage and nimble hooks propelled by pummeling drum work. It’s a charming mess, a wild yet über-catchy string of power-pop that rivals The Jam’s earliest hits without even the slightest trace of effort.
Songs like “Happy Again” and “Twin Cities” barge into your eardrums like crazy old friends, blokes that can toss off any bad day with a goofy shrug. “I Bet That You Like Julian Cope” is so stupidly absurd that you can’t help but grin; on “Art Is Hard,” singer Jake Ward piles together clichés in a last-ditch effort for dignity but only succeeds at winning you over.
Best of all, though, Crunch bears no baggage—no slavish, backwards garage worship, no careful arty motifs, no macho-misogynist postures. When Ward sings, “This ain’t no B-side/ And it sure ain’t no A-side,” you’re struck dumb. What side is it, then? Is this a stupid joke, or does Eureka California know something we don’t? And why does it matter if you like Julian Cope, anyway?
Maybe it doesn’t matter, and that’s why Crunch works. It could be one silly ramble, or your life in a nutshell, or both. 4 out of 5.
Eureka California plays the Georgia Theatre rooftop on Friday, May 16 and Little Kings’ 10th Anniversary Party on Saturday, May 31.