Athens-based band Eureka California doesn’t boast supreme vocal abilities or particularly complicated instrumentation, yet it succeeds in spite of this.
With the band’s latest album release “Versus,” they exhibit the versatility to embody the original punk movement of the ‘70s as well as its rebirth in ‘90s grunge, while simultaneously making listeners comfortable in the garage-rock scenario that the band thrives in.
Although almost all of the album carries a similar sense of hopelessness and an understanding that society is much less than perfect, it is extremely dynamic otherwise.
The second track “Sign My Name With An X,” feels as though it could have been played at the classic New York City punk club CBGB with an instrumentation that is best described as loud, gritty and in-your-face. With only three unique lines of lyrics, “Oh I’ll show you where I hide/Cause I guess you couldn’t guess/Sign my name with an X,” the track is simple and straightforward at its core, which is characteristic of the punk movement.
On the other hand, “I Will Write Mine Over Potomac” contains a self-aware characteristic of grunge. From the lines, “Is this the way the future’s meant to be/It looks a lot like yesterday to me,” to “Cause sometimes you just want to go/Where nobody knows your name,” the track carries the sense of disenchantment with both society and the future that could also be found in tracks done by the poster-child of grunge, Nirvana. This track also contains a beautifully picked introduction that separates it from others in the album and adds a simplicity to the song.
The ability of the band to represent two unique genres in one album without feeling disjointed is certainly something to note.
Another important success to note in “Versus” is the band’s ability to keep the album relatable, especially to those living in Athens. The track “Fear and Loathing in the Classic City” not only gives a dark narration to the fears of the average 20-something trying to get established, but also ties it back to Athens fairly directly. This song is also the closest thing to acoustic on the album, and it actually works surprisingly well.
Also in the category of relatable is the song “Sober Sister.” Although quite upbeat, it offers a fairly disheartening description of what seems to be the downtown scene that Athens is known quite well for.
Though Eureka California’s latest album carries a similar sense of hopelessness throughout, the album remains dynamic. With it’s often relatable, albeit dark, lyrics, the album is likely to attract listeners from the Classic City as well as elsewhere.