‘Eve’ album review
release date: November 9, 2018
star rating: three out of five
review by Levi Yager
Emery’s latest effort is a unique creation, to be sure. Eve is their softest studio album to date, and quite a few songs are on the shorter side, clocking in under three minutes. However, these attributes aren’t necessarily negative qualities since the band effectively capitalizes on what they can do within the context of a slower, more toned-down record.
“Is This the Real Life” gets things rolling and is a somewhat surprising opener. It’s a laid-back, reflective tune with thoroughly engaging melodies in both vocals and guitars. The lyrics of “Is This the Real Life” address the duality of dreams and and reality. While it certainly sets the stage for the rest of the album in a way Emery hasn’t really done before, it doesn’t quite hold up as a true album highlight.
But if you’re hungry for highlights, the next string of songs have plenty to offer. “Fear Yourself” and “Jesus Wept” follow the first song and are actually complementary tracks; one leads into the other. “Fear Yourself” speeds things up a little bit and feels more familiar considering Emery’s established sound, and “Jesus Wept” features some screams and the band’s signature overlapping vocals. Both songs deal with the concepts of fear and religion.
“Safe,” the fourth song, is another strong point. It starts with captivating vocals that grab your attention and keep you intrigued for the rest of the track. A slower song in general, it builds to a bridge that’s thick with emotion and begs to be sung along with. The end of “Safe” closes with the same opening line of “You could always see yourself in me,” a moment that definitely leaves an impression in the listener’s mind.
A couple other standouts on the first half of the album are tracks six and seven, respectively titled “People Always Ask Me If We’re Gonna Cuss in an Emery Song” and “Streets of Gold.” The former is about ridiculous legalistic standards, and it has some exceptionally absorbing sections: great hooks, low-end guitar work with an unhinged characteristic to the strumming and a memorable conclusion of chanted vocals. “Streets of Gold” starts as an acoustic song contemplating and desiring a life after this current one. It later becomes a full-on rock ballad at the two-thirds mark, with a sweet guitar solo segment and a chorus that will quickly get stuck in your head.
The remainder of Eve has a greater tendency to falter from here on out. The album is actually a tad bit front-loaded, as most of the more-memorable songs end up on the first two-thirds of the album; the back third lags a little. Yet, listeners will undoubtedly find things to love on the later tracks all the same.
“Bones,” track number 10, is one of the best – and most interesting – songs further on. It’s less than one minute long and is an eerie, acoustic track about death and isolation. While there are still other solid cuts after “Bones” that are perfectly serviceable, the majority fail to prove as impressive as many tracks heard earlier on Eve.
“Sins of Every Father” is the closer, and it has some cool, rhythmic strumming that carries through a lot of the song. The best part of this track is when it builds to an explosive confessional of an ending and then slowly fades out. It’s not really one I’d list as a gem on Eve, but “Sins of Every Father” concludes the album well.
Eve is ultimately a good record that showcases Emery’s strong musicianship and writing. Though I personally would’ve liked a few additional heavy sections here and there, I’m left with the fact that Eve is still a satisfying listen. So that’s a rather minor complaint in the big picture. The main reason why Eve misses the bullseye is simply because it struggles to consistently retain interest as it goes on. That being said, I can’t deny Eve has multiple moments worth experiencing. Die-hard Emery fans won’t want to skip out on this album, and new listeners should find more than one song to enjoy.