Eureka California at Athens Banner-Herald

With all due respect to Eureka California, the local garage-punk band that just released the stellar “Crunch” on Happy Happy Birthday to Me records, the best song on their newest collection is their shortest and simplest.

“I bet that you like Julian Cope/ Don’t tell me you don’t,” Jake Ward sings over and over again on “I Bet You Like Julian Cope”. Those lyrics, and a Ramones-y beat cribbed from “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”, last all of a minute. The song is refreshingly minimalist among all this perfectly-quaffed indie rock marketed as edgy to us music journos.

A barrage of pick slides between verses is just extra sprinkles.

I point out the “Julian Cope” tune because it represents the core values of a band that does a lot with very little. On this particular song, they are doing a ton with the very least. Eureka California is but two people, Ward and drummer Marie Uhler. Much of their catalogue has been home-recorded. Their songs are frantic. The vocals break. The guitars fuzz. It’s all very immediate.

I often find myself lamenting that rock lyricists these days are over-emotional, fretting over nothing, crying over filled milk. Ward is slacker-style angry, intellectual and caffeinated. He’s the type of ne’er-do-well I like to see championed. The kids aren’t alright, Ward seems to say, and neither are the 20-somethings, the parents, the professionals and the retirees.

It’s OK to be depressed, Eureka California tells us with “Crunch”, especially when despondency is delivered via two-minute pop-punk songs.

“Crunch” is released officially on May 27. The release show for the album is May 31 at Little Kings (223 W. Hancock Ave.), part of the bar’s 10-year anniversary party. The shindig begins at 6 p.m.